Sun, sea and wind in our sails. A holiday in Sicily by boat is an experience that should be lived following the sailing timing.

Luffing, bearing away, anchoring and waiting for becalmed. Pull the plug of our Metropolitan living and resume the rhythms of nature, learning from the skipper to recognize the blowing of winds and of currents looking for the most beautiful bays and waters.

Even a day tour can be relaxed and full of surprises! From Milazzo (Messina) to the Vulcano Island, for a taste of the Aeolian Islands, or from Palermo to Mondello and Capo Gallo.

But if you have more time, here it is a 6 days sailing route within the Eolian islands, at north east of Sicily and a 5 days to the Egadi islands, in the sea in front of Trapani and Marsala.

Have a good sailing!

From Milazzo to Vulcano – One Day Tour

Volcano is a must for a sailing tour of the Aeolian islands. It is the closest island to the mainland (Port of Milazzo) and, for those who have not enough time, this is the right destination. If you are a large family or a group of friends, we suggest you to contact a charter company and rent a full equipped sailboat with kipper and professional crew.

Starting early in the morning from the port of Santa Maria Maggiore, in Milazzo, after about 3 hours of sailing, we reach the island of Vulcano. We lie at anchor along the island’s south coast, sheltered from the wind usually blowing from the north, so we can enjoy a swim in the crystal clear waters of Mulberry Beach. From this black, sandy beach, overlooked by a picturesque lighthouse, we can see the Saracen coast and even Mount Etna.

view from Vulcano  - ph. robianni

view from Vulcano – ph robianni

Later on, together with the skipper, we decide to head the sea in the north-west direction, towards the Grotta del Cavallo (Horse Cave), so named because it once was a paradise for seahorses. On our left the charming Pool of Venus: let’s take a long, relaxing bath in this natural pool with clear, shallow waters. The story goes that the goddess used to dive in these waters to regain her lost virginity.

In the afternoon, after a light lunch fixed by the crew, we continue our navigation towards the Fumaroles Beach and the mud-area, close to Porto Levante. Here we are in a real natural Spa: this beach is known for its waters, heated by some bubbles of sulphurous steam – that can reach very high temperatures – coming from active fumaroles that lie a few meters below the sea level.

The area of the mud baths, on the other side, characterized by the unpleasant smell of sulphurous emanations, is renowned for its healing properties and for body care.

Vulcano mud baths -ph Iganzio Mannarano

Vulcano mud baths -ph Iganzio Mannarano

From Palermo to Mondello and Capo Gallo – One Day Tour

From Marina di Villa Igiea (Palermo) we set sail in the direction of Capo Gallo, the extended marine protected area located in front of Mount Gallo, between the fishing villages Mondello and Sferracavallo.

We have hired a sailing boat with skipper. We decide to anchor off shore just to take a dip in the clear waters of the Nature reserve. We suggest to snorkelers and to kids who love to explore the underwater world, to be equipped with mask and snorkel so that they can admire the various species of marine life that populate these waters, like scorpion fish, morays or starfishes!

Mondello beach Palermo - ph robianni

Mondello beach Palermo – ph robianni

After a few hours break, we sail towards the nearby Gulf of Mondello, where we can enjoy the magnificent experience of a swim in the clear waters laying over a sandy bottom. Right here, in front of what once was a small fishing village then transformed – in the early 900 – into a seaside resort with several villas in Art Nouveau style, including the famous beach club “Charleston”, we open the canopy and we let ourselves be lulled by the waves.

Stabilimento Liberty a Mondello - ph Vincenzo Mallo

Art Nouveau style beach club Charleston in Mondello – ph Vincenzo Mallo

Aeolian Islands Cruise – 6 Days itinerary

For a satisfying and relaxing sailing holiday in the Aeolian Islands, first of all, you must take at least 6 days. A tour of the Islands by boat is an experience that should be lived following the sailing timing .

For this kind of holiday is always a good idea to rely on a professional charter company for safety reasons. The Aeolian Islands are very windy and there aren’t many available ports, especially during high season. Therefore, sometimes you need to be at anchor and shelter in those bays which have shallow waters.

Basiluzzo and Stromboli on the back - ph robianni

Basiluzzo and Stromboli on the back – ph robianni

Day 1 Early in the morning, we leave from Portorosa and head towards the first of our islands: Lipari, about 16 miles away. A swim in front of the Faraglioni or the Cava Pomice is almost a must. We continue swimming until we reach the Spiaggia Bianca (White Beach): small and white stones of pumice will float on the surface of the clear, blue water.

Cave di pomice (Ph. Robianni)

Lipari Cava pomice – ph robianni

Docking in one of the ports or piers of the island, we take a walk in the historic centre of Lipari and visit its Castle, the Archaeological Park and Museum. We poke around the alleys and make a stop to enjoy a good mulberry granita with brioche and cream or a warm doughnut with ricotta. Here, as in all the Aeolian Islands, the bougainvillea climbing on the white walls of the houses and the blue doors and windows create a suggestion of colours that enliven the soul.

Panarea - ph A Butler

Panarea – ph A Butler

Day 2 Panarea is 12 miles from Lipari. We recommend a stop for a swim in Cala Junco bay and then a swim towards Lisca Bianca, Dattilo and Basiluzzo, some beautiful beaches often chosen as set for commercial advertising.

Cala Junco - ph A. Butler

Cala Junco – ph Adam Butler

In Panarea there is an intense activity of underwater fumaroles that can be seen just by snorkeling, so let’s bring with us our mask and snorkel and discover these marvelous seabeds!

We stop for a nap at Cala degli Zimmari, the only sandy beach of the island, also called “Red Beach” for its striking reddish sand.

Once on the island, we can’t miss a walk along the streets of the village and its several boutiques.

Aeolian islands The shopping - ph Guido Sorano

Aeolian islands The shopping – ph Guido Sorano

Social life and entertainment alternate with moments of peace and relaxation. The sunset is a magical moment in Panarea. Some people prefer to spend it in the privacy of his boat or ashore, in one of the magnificent terraces of the many clubs of the island.

Here the chillout sounds blends harmoniously with the colors of sunset, creating an elegant and unmissable atmosphere. This is the most glamorous gathering place of the island, where until the early hours of the morning, the sound of the chillout clubs mixes harmoniously with the dawn’s floating colors, creating an elegant and unmissable atmosphere.

Panarea - ph Beppe Fontana

Panarea – ph Beppe Fontana

Day 3 Before leaving Panarea, first thing in the morning, we enjoy the seaside and take the opportunity to taste the best peach and malvasia granita of the world. Soon after we move towards the isle of Stromboli, only 14 miles away. Best place to take a swim, the waters of Strombolicchio, a nice islet; good alternatives are also Scari and Ginostra.

Strombolicchio view from Stromboli - ph Guido Sorano

Strombolicchio view from Stromboli – ph Guido Sorano

After mooring to the South of the island, we reach the main Pier by tender and we go discovering the village. We stroll through the narrow streets of Stromboli up to the Church of San Vincenzo, where we can enjoy an amazing sea view; or let’s venture in a charming guided tour to the top of the crater of Stromboli.

Stromboli - ph Massimo Calcagno

Stromboli – ph Massimo Calcagno

If we are lucky and there is an eruption in progress, we could take a midnight swim in the harbor, right in front of the Sciara del Fuoco. From this position we can admire the spectacle of lava and incandescent slags flowing down to the sea from the top of the crater.

The red of the volcano, the silver moon and the dark sea create in the night a unique charm.

Day 4 Sailing along 22 miles from Stromboli we reach Salina. Before lunch we take a wonderful swim into the fresh waters of Lisca or Pollara. The place of landing of the island is Santa Marina di Salina, or Rinella or Leni. We suggest to rent a scooter to explore the hidden corners of the island and its unusually lush, green landscapes.

Salina - ph I. Mannarano

Salina – ph Iganzio Mannarano

Don’t miss a visit to Valdichiesa, where you can see the sanctuary of the Madonna del Terzito dating back to the 17th century, or an excursion to the Fossa delle Felci. Here too, the granita is a must but even more so is the famous pane cunzato, a hot loaf seasoned with olive oil and local food.

Don’t forget to stock up on capers and cucunci – you will find a lot of them in the island – along with a few bottles of malvasia, the island typical wine with its sweet and aromatic flavour made from grapes passes.

Pani cunzatu - Salina

Pani cunzatu – Salina

Do not miss the sunset in Pollara, the beautiful bay formed within a prehistoric crater partly sunken. Before a seafood dinner let’s enjoy an aperitif in one of the many local bars.

Day 5 Sailing along 14 miles, we set a course for Filicudi, a wild and not very fashionable island.

Here swimming and lunch must be in Punta Perciato, a lava promontory where the sea has opened a breach. Not far there is the Grotta del Bue Marino, so named by the old local fishermen because it was thought to be the refuge of the monk seal.

Once rounded the Perciato, we make a stop at the beach, before heading to the fascinating rocks with spectacular shapes at a short distance from Canna.

Filicudi la Canna - ph Ignazio Mannarano

Filicudi la Canna – ph Ignazio Mannarano

Near this basalt cliff surrounded by crystal clear water we will dive in a charming seabed full of fishes of any species.

After docking at Filicudi harbour or at pier Pecorini a Mare, possibly in the coolest times, we explore the small village. From this island, one of the most distant from the Sicilian coast, the night view is idyllic: a vivid starry sky where the Milky Way is visible to the naked eye.

Day 6 From Filicudi let’s set a course towards the island of Vulcano, about 22 miles away, landing at Porto di Levante. Unmissable the visit of the island and a stop at the therapeutic mud, a real natural SPA. There are not enough words to describe the view you can enjoy while climbing to the crater (we strongly recommend to use a pair of comfortable trekking shoes). And finally let’s take a ride on the coast and visit the various caves among the sulphurous gases released from the ground. (See also one day tour from Milazzo to Vulcano)

Vulcano  - ph robianni

Climbing to the crater Vulcano – ph robianni

Trapani, San Vito lo Capo, Isole Egadi – 5 Days Itinerary

Day 1 Our starting point is the port of from where our boat can easily move under full sail and reach San Vito Lo Capo, after 38 miles.

The “pearl of Costa Gaia“, San Vito Lo Capo is known for its one kilometer long white, sandy beach, considered as one of the most beautiful in Italy. Here there are no sea currents, so swimming or exploring the seabed is a real pleasure.

Let’s explore the village, made of low-floored houses covered with vines, and let’s visit the beautiful Arab-Norman Shrine. We can’t miss a visit to the ancient Tonnara del Secco (tuna factory) and to the wonderful Zingaro Nature Reserve.

Riserva dello Zingaro the beach- ph Eddy Galeotti

Zingaro Nature Reserve the beach- ph Eddy Galeotti

In this characteristic seaside hamlet, food culture, typically Arabic, is based on fish and cous cous.

Day 2 From San Vito Lo Capo we set a course for Levanzo (about 25 miles), the first of the Egadi Islands. We stay at anchor in roadstead and take a dip in the charming Cala Dogana, the only residential area of the Island; equally beautiful Cala Tramontana, Cala Calcara and Cala Minnola. We cannot miss the chance to give a glimpse to the Grotto of Genovese, where paintings dating back to the Neolithic age have been found.

Egadi Island - ph Erika Chaubert Studer

Egadi Island – ph Erika Chaubert Studer

Dinner at one of the restaurants overlooking the sea during sunset is one of the things not to be missed, as well as tasting the typical cabbuci (stuffed hot bread) prepared in the levanzara way.

Day 3 Marettimo, 12 miles away, is the farthest and most uncontaminated of the Egadi Isles. With its famous caves, including the Camel Cave, and with its hiking paths appreciated by nature lovers and trekkers, it has very precious vegetation and fauna, typical of the Mediterranean.

The Island offers many small bays with pebbles beaches which can only be reached by boat, while the diving lovers have the opportunity to explore some magnificent backdrops. An interesting experience is, for example, is making scuba diving off the coast, where you can see the wreck of a mercantile.

Marettimo - ph Dario Di Vincenzo

Marettimo – ph Dario Di Vincenzo

Let’s visit the archaeological site Case Romane and the small Byzantine church, as well as the castle of Punta Troia located on a high promontory from where you enjoy a spectacular view.

An afternoon walk along the streets of the center can only end with an excellent seafood dinner. Very popular is the pasta with lobster of the Egadi.

Day 4 From Marettimo, the island of Favignana can be reached within 12 miles of sailing. Monte Santa Caterina, where every year in May the ancient Tonnara ritual is held, dominates the island.

Favignana - ph Emiliano Milanesi

Favignana – ph Emiliano Milanesi

Here the typical dishes are based on this fish rich in exceptional nutritional qualities: tuna meatballs, spaghetti with bottarga (salted and dried tuna female eggs), sweet and sour “tunnina” (Tuna in brine), fried or salted “lattume” (seminal fluid of Tuna).

Not to be missed is the ancient Palazzo Florio and the visit to its famous museum. The Isle is surrounded by marvellous coves, including Cala Rossa, Cala Azzurra and Cala del Bue Marino, where once one of the main activities of the island was practiced: the extraction of the tuff.

Stabilimento Florio - ph Erika Chaubert Studer

Stabilimento Florio – ph Erika Chaubert Studer

Day 5 After 9 miles navigation we return to Trapani. There are still many fascinating places to visit and flavours to discover. Let’s also enjoy a wine tasting tour in one of Marsala’s wineries.

There is still enough time for an excursion to the Ettore e Infersa Saltpans that, with their three restored and operating mills, stand out in the Stagnone Lagoon, right in front of the island of Mothia.

 

If you would like to stay in this area some more days, you can’t miss a visit to Segesta and Selinunte, important evidence of the Greek time.

The territory in this part of Sicily is rich in famous oil mills which organize tastings and lunches with traditional Sicilian dishes. The place speciality is the unusual oil ice cream.

Our itinerary ends with a tidbit: the ancient village of Erice, with its pastries (don’t forget to taste the famous filled with hot custard and sprinkled with icing sugar.), its ceramic shops and its colourful carpets.