One week around the Aeolian Islands on Santa Lucia
Day 1 Sunday morning Taormina
Instead of leaving right away for the Aeolian islands I decided to take the family to Taormina. Quite a busy town but nice to visit. Very nice hotel called Belmond Grand Hotel with a beautiful view from the restaurant deck.
After lunch and shopping we went to the impressive Greek amphitheater. We then returned to the boat in Milazzo. It was a good idea to have the boat waiting in the port of Milazzo as this is the closest point to the islands.
We left in the afternoon for Vulcano island and arrived late afternoon which was very nice. The port is quite simple but quaint. There is a mud bath as part of the thermal treatment from the volcano.
Day 2 Monday Volcano island, Panarea
The highlight of this visit to Volcano island was an early morning climb to the crater. It only took 45 mins each way but for anyone who has never seen a smoking crater it was impressive!! After that we rented quads and toured the island. The quad ride (we rented from Paolo who is very nice and is married to a Colombian and speaks fluent English and Spanish) was fun but the destinations at different points of the island were disappointing. The main port was the nicest part of the island. In the afternoon we decided not to follow the original itinerary to Panarea as the captain predicted that there would be strong winds mid week in Panarea. I was impressed that the captain was always studying the weather so that we experienced as little bad weather or strong winds as possible. So instead of going to Lipari that afternoon we went to Panarea and decided to spend two nights there.
Day 3/4 Tues/wed Panarea
Panarea is a beautiful island with a beautiful quaint town. The towns of Panarea and Salina (Fri night) were the nicest island towns. Panarea had great stores, restaurants and bars (very good quality). The town and island have clearly been protected by the high end clientele that lives there. We had a beautiful excursion on the Santa Lucia to some small islands between Panarea and Stromboli. Beautiful swimming, calm waters and very interesting sulfur bubbles under the water. In the town of Panarea we had dinner at an excellent restaurant called Trattoria da Pina (expensive but very good). In the morning we walked across the island to the site of a temple which was beautiful and very interesting. The captain asked if we wanted to visit the island of Stromboli – he explained that the only highlight of that island is the volcano that is active and emits a flame and smoke which is impressive at night – but it is a five hour night walk so we decided to spend an extra night in Panarea instead of going to Stromboli.
Day 4/5 wed/thurs Lipari
On Wed afternoon as the winds started to pick up in Panarea we went to Lipari. The captain opened the sails which was a nice experience.
Captain Maurizzio cautioned us that the weather would be mixed in Lipari. Lipari is a very nice large town/city with a very nice old historic district that has a cathedral and museum. This was a very nice town/city to visit. We went to an excellent restaurant which ironically was called Il Filippino !! Excellent service and food :):) We spent two nights in Lipari. We rented Mehari Citroën cars which I have not seen in SO long and which are funny looking cars. It was fun to tour the different parts of the islands. We also took the small speed boat of the Santa Lucia to swim in a nice area across the Unesco protected Porticello stone mine. We had drinks in a nice bar/restaurant called white beach. (There are no white beaches on any of these islands as it is all volcanic but there are very nice places to swim with very clear light blue water)
Day 5/6 Fri/Sat Salina
On Friday morning we left for Salina, another beautiful small town and island. Very nice island. We had an excellent lunch at Trattoria Cucinotta. Toured the island in rented cars. Santa Marina is the main town and the nicest part of the island. In a nearby town (near the lighthouse) ‘Alfredo’s’ has the best graniti in Sicily.
Day 6/7 Sat Vulcano
On the way back to the port of Milazzo in Sicily we stopped at Vulcano island for another night which was very nice.