The Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie) are a UNESCO World Heritage site located about 25-50 km north of Sicily in Italy. Once you’ve visited these beautiful volcanic islands it’s not difficult to see why they continually draw yacht charterers to their shores. These islands are remarkably untouched considering they are in the heart of the Tyrrhenian Sea and Italy is one of the most popular routes on any Mediterranean yacht charter. Nature is abundant on the seven islands, dotted with citrus and olive trees and surrounded by deep blue waters. Here’s a guide to each island.


Lipari is an essential stop on any sailing trip around the Aeolian Islands. It has a cathedral and archaeological park as well as more materialist attractions such as shops and restaurants. It’s famous for its internationally celebrated pumice, which makes the water a brilliant turquoise colour and gives some of the beaches a powdery aesthetic. The rocky coast is undeveloped and absolutely perfect for viewing from the deck of an Italian yacht charter. Come ashore and walk the footpath between the Terme di San Calogero and the kaolin quarry at Bagno Secco for a unique experience. It’s a kaleidoscope of colours where emissions from steaming sulphurous fumaroles have caused the kaolin to stain.


This island is dominated by the Gran Cratere volcano which emits clouds of sulphurous gas. Climb up to the crater at the peak for spectacular vistas of the islands and sea, but don’t forget to bring hiking boots to cope with the slippery ashy track. The hike takes less than an hour, but once you get to the bottom you might want to relax in a mud bath, which is reputedly good for your skin. All of these attractions and the pretty beaches are close to the port.


Salina is a rugged and hilly change of pace with lush green blanketing the islands’ peaks. Offset by impossibly aquamarine waters, this island is an oasis of nature away from the smelly sulphuric gases. It has lots of coves and bays to drop anchor, including Pollara, a gorgeous bay created by an underwater crater complete with a natural rock arch. If it seems familiar, that’s probably because you’ve seen it before in the masterpiece, Il Postino, the final film of actor Massimo Troisi, who died just twelve hours after he finished working on it.


Panarea continues the volcanic theme and is probably the most beautiful of the islands. It is also the smallest of the Aeolian Islands, but makes up for its size with the whitewashed buildings of San Pietro, its picture postcard port settlement. The international jet set come here to play and they can usually be found throwing all day Ibiza-style parties on their yachts. This definitely isn’t the place for solitude during the peak season and it doesn’t have the best beaches. However, the swimming is wonderful at the inlets around the main island as well as the jutting offshore rocks and islets, such as Basiluzzo, Dattilo and Lisca Bianca.


The conical volcano in Stromboli is active and makes up most of the tiny and remote island. It’s a popular place for watching a volcano in action; its magma bursts out of the crater for a firework show courtesy of Mother Nature.Watch it either close up or from a safe distance in the sea on the sun deck of your yacht charter in Italy. If you want to climb to the top, it will take less than two hours and guided walks take you there just in time for sunset. The island is best known for the film Stromboli Terra di Dio, directed by Roberto Rossellini and starring Ingrid Bergman, who clearly felt the romance of the area and engaged in a scandalous affair. The most interesting beaches of Stromboli are covered in black sand tucked into coves along the coast at Piscità.


The two magical islands of Filicudi and Alicudi are the most remote and least touched by the tentacles of mass tourism. Herbalists and botanists will love Filicudi’s wild vegetation that includes fennel, mint, capers and oregano. A Sicily, Aeolian Islands yacht charter is the best way to access the small pebbly beaches and clear water. Sailors can also view the majestic coastline that overhangs the sea in some places or is punctuated by beaches like Capo Graziano in others. The volcanic rock formation of “La Canna” erupts 74 metres out of the sea and is another highlight. The seabed is home to an abundance of ancient shipwrecks and offers some interesting diving. There is also a hidden sea grotto where a candlelit festival takes place annually on 15th September. Every other August, artists host the “smallest biennale in the world” on Filicudi.


Sail onwards to the most far-flung Aeolian Island, Alicudi. This is a place of leisurely simplicity for the 100 inhabitants who are mostly comprised of farmers and fishermen. This means that you will find tranquil beaches undisturbed except for the occasional fishing boat. The western side of Alicudi is uninhabited and reveals some spectacular rock faces of natural beauty that descend into the turquoise water. There are some fantastic spots to anchor and enjoy freshly caught calamari or fish with the obligatory Sicilian wine.