The spectacular landscape of volcanic Sicily draws in countless tourists each year, and of course the best way to explore the island’s natural beauty is by yacht, where you are free to travel at your own pace in the comfort of your private yacht. Sicily is the Mediterranean’s largest island and is surrounded by the iconic Aeolian island group and their beautiful black sand beaches. Island hopping here is truly unique; completely different to anything you’ll experience in the Tyrrhenian Sea, mainland Italy, or even the entire west Mediterranean. Sicily and the Aeolian islands have a charm of their own.
Below we have listed a collection of stunning islands surrounding Sicily and where to visit to make your charter holiday truly unforgettable.
Taormina, located high up on a rocky terrace above the Ionian Sea on Sicily’s east coast, is a must visit on your trip and boasts some of the most breathtaking views. Flower-draped cottages and the island’s renowned Greek theatre frames the incredible views of the Mediterranean sea and Mount Etna.
The most notable tourist attractions in Taormina has to be it’s ancient amphitheatre as well as the old town’s picture-perfect features. But there’s so much more to see and do in this town, from admiring the stunning Baroque church interiors, shopping in one of the many boutiques, wandering through the cobbled streets and gardens or visiting the glorious beaches below. The Four Seasons Hotel is instantly recognisable from Series 2 of The White Lotus where it featured as the exclusive backdrop for all the drama to unfold.
If you’re one for fine dining Taormina is the place to visit, with three Michelin star restaurants including La Capinera, St. George by Heinz Beck and Principe Cerami. Fresh seafood, classic Sicilian, mediterranean or Italian dishes, there is something for everyone. Every dish is unique and bursting with flavour, you will never be disappointed by visiting one of these restaurants.
Here are just some of the reasons why you should make sure to visit Palermo, Sicily’s capital city:
- Palermo is recognized as the most conquered city in history, and it boasts Europe’s second-largest historical center.
- Palermo is among the cities with the largest number of UNESCO sites.
- In and around Palermo you will find charming villages in the province recognised as the most attractive in the country.
- The cuisine of Sicily is recognised the world over. Inventions like cannoli and gelato are now available almost everywhere on the planet.
- White sand beaches and crystal clear waters make the city among the most popular destinations throughout Europe during the summer months.
In regards to the cuisine in Palermo, you are bound to find dishes that will change your taste buds forever. The city is a melting pot of various different cultures, making it a one of a kind culinary experience. Not to mention it’s the city where ice cream and cannoli were invented… So if you’re looking to try some of the best food in Italy, Palermo is where to find it. From the street food (Forbes listed it as one of the top 10 in the world), pastries, fresh seafood, pizza (try the Sfincione which nowhere else does as authentically) and of course the ice cream.
There are many beaches dotted around Palermo, including pebble, sand and cliffside options. There is nothing quite like the charm of the Sicilian coasts, all with sparkling waters and spectacular coastlines. Some of the locals favourite beaches are:
- Mondello (Palermo Seaside)
- Ustica (Islet off the Palermo coast)
- San Vito Lo Capo (Accessible in 1 hour by car from Palermo)
- Salina (the wildest among the Aeolian Islands)
Home to one of two active volcanoes in the Aeolian Islands is the iconic Volcano island, boasting natural hot springs, a pristine black sand beach, excellent snorkelling locations along the south and northwest coasts, stunning hiking trails around Fossa di Vulcano and an impressive volcano museum.
Grotta del Cavallo is a distinctive half-submerged cave where you can explore underground lakes with hanging stalactites and Porto di Ponente provides an ideal protected anchoring spot.
Vulcano, with its sulphurous surroundings, makes the perfect dramatic backdrop for a delicious lunch on deck prepared by your chef. In the afternoon why not climb the crater, soak in the mud baths and have a stroll on the unique black sand beaches.
Panarea is a hotspot for jet-setters and fashion fanatics, and is known as the VIP island of the archipelago chain. The islets off the island’s coast, such as Le Guglie, have magnificent coves and beaches. Discover some of the best swimming spots off the coast of Lisca Bianca, where you can take a dip or use the water toys that your yacht has on board! In the evening, witness the vibrant colours of the sun setting over the Aeolians. You can berth for the night near the beautiful car-free streets of San Pietro.
Panarea is full of super chic, modern restaurants, so searching for a good place to eat is an easy task. Hycesia is a popular Michelin star restaurant with a very unique touch; they don’t have a menu as everything is dependent on the catch of the day! Can you get any fresher than that?! With a range of Sicilian, Mediterranean, Italian and seafood dishes to choose from. Cusiritati is another great restaurant for a lunch or dinner ashore. There are also a selection of galleries to wander round as well as many bespoke shopping opportunities.
The enchanting island of Filicudi, centred around the mountain of Fossa Felci, is laced with natural splendour and authentic travel experiences. Filicudi has a network of well-marked hiking routes providing a good amount of physical activity while also showcasing the island’s stunning on-shore beauty. Remains of an old village going back to 1800 B.C. can be seen just a short walk from the major harbour at Capo Graziano. Visit La Canna’s natural rock structure for excellent snorkelling conditions.
Filicudi is one of the most scenic and least developed of the Aeolian Islands, dating back to tectonic activity 700,000 years ago. The island, which from some angles appears to be shaped like a snail, entices travellers with its rugged coastline kissed by crystal clear waters and deep grottoes. There are only a few small villages on the island. Capers and figs are the staples of the local cuisine here in Filicudi, ensuring all dishes are bursting with flavour and freshness.
The largest, oldest, and most densely populated of the Aeolian Islands, Lipari is an ancient Greek acropolis where you can immerse yourself in rich culture and history at the settlement of Castello. The 13th-century Lipari cathedral’s wonderfully preserved Norman architecture is a beautiful sight, so make sure to visit! For a perfect afternoon stroll, visit the Aeolian Museum in Lipari Town and sample some excellent local wine at one of the vineyards along the eastern coast. Cruise across to Basiluzzo, a small isolated island with fantastic snorkelling areas and a great lunch spot.
There are numerous beaches found throughout the island that are suitable for water sports and are known for their stunning turquoise seas. A short walk will take you to some shops, cafés, and great restaurants, including Sangre Rojo and Michelin star Trattoria del Vicolo. The volcanos here are considered inactive, though steaming fumaroles (emissions of hot gas and steam) may still be seen.
Portorosa is located in the north-east corner of Sicily, beneath the towering Mount Etna and perfectly situated for cruising the coast of Sicily as well as the beautiful Aeolian Islands. Portorosa Yacht Harbour offers secure docking and excellent amenities. Once ashore, visit the picturesque town of Tonnarella or take a day trip to nearby Mount Etna, which has been declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is considered one of Sicily’s most stunning natural attractions.
Many say Portorosa has a very Caribbean feel, with houses and apartments overlooking navigable canals and natural paths. Good facilities and services, assistance by skilled staff, as well as shops, bars and restaurants, will ensure a comfortable stay.
Salina is well known for its lush landscape and greenery and vast wooded area of ferns known as La Fossa dell Felci. There are numerous freshwater springs to enjoy across the island, and the panoramic views from atop Salina’s three towering hills are nothing short of breathtaking. There are a number of scooter and bike rentals available to make the trip to the top more enjoyable, and Santa Maria Salina has a number of beachfront restaurants where you can enjoy local seafood delicacies in a gorgeous setting. Pollara is a great place to anchor overnight offering protection from easterly winds and beautiful sunsets.
The translucent waters at Spiaggia di Pollara are home to a wide variety of fish and perfect for families due to the shallow water. Stop for lunch in Malfa at the Michelin-star restaurant Signum for an unforgettable experience. Fitness fanatics and nature lovers can take on the challenge of hiking to the summit of Monte Fossa delle Felci, the highest point in the Aeolian Islands. End your day with a well-deserved feast aboard your luxury yacht.
If you’re feeling inspired and want to experience these stunning islands firsthand, get in touch with Lizzie now at email@example.com to start planning your own personalised charter!