Cruising the Aeolian Islands
Tour Guide: Dr. Michael Metcalfe
8 DAYS £3,975 / Single Supplement: £985
The Aeolian Islands, a gorgeous volcanic archipelago off the Northern Coast of Sicily, are renowned for offering a relaxed and luxurious retreat to rich and famous Italians, while also being home to some fascinating archaeological sites from the ancient cultures of Southern Italy. Strung out in two intersecting lines, with a handful of their fellow islands always visible on the wide horizons, they create one of the most perfect areas for gulet cruising in all of Italy, and one of the most varied set of island experiences that can be enjoyed in just a week of glorious cruising.
Although they lie tantalisingly close to each other, each island has its own vibrant identity, and offers something unique and enticing to the discerning traveller. From the spectacular food and wines of verdant Salina to the soaring majesty of Stromboli, with its smoking crater, lovely hiking trails and ever-present promise of fiery lava flows reaching down to the sea. From the feeling of peaceful isolation on sparsely populated Filicudi, with its beautifully-located Bronze-age village, to the famed hedonism of gorgeous Panarea, with its lovely flower-lined paths and renowned night-life. Each of these islands offers a distinctive experience and adventure, brought together with exceptional meals, wine, swimming and cruising throughout.
Most travellers to these islands crowd on and off the speeding hydrofoils that ply these waters, dragging their luggage along the crowded jetties while searching for their accommodation for the night. You will cruise in stately splendour, watching with a glass or a book in hand as the islands pass slowly by; swimming in the beautiful clear waters of a succession of gorgeous coves and bays, while your ever-attentive crew prepare the table for a delicious meal. To view these islands in this way is to partake in the very best that they have to offer, day after perfect day.
Your host and tour leader is the wonderful Dr. Michael Metcalfe, who for many years was Assistant Professor in Ancient History at The Mediterranean Center for Arts and Sciences in Sicily. A specialist in deciphering ancient inscriptions, he is the editor of the Blue Guide to Sicily and co-editor of the Blue Guide to the Aegean Islands. He looks forward to welcoming you.
Day 1: Your gulet awaits you in the port of Milazzo on the North-East coast of Sicily, 1 hour and 40 minutes’ drive from Catania airport. Welcome drink and dinner on board.
Day 2: Your day begins with a lovely morning cruise to a beautiful bay on the north-west coast of Lipari, for a first swim in the Mediterranean and a delicious lunch served at anchor. The stunning island vistas unfold across the wide horizon as we cruise across to the island of Filicudi in the afternoon. After dropping anchor in the tiny harbour, we will disembark and walk along the quiet lanes to the Bronze Age village at Capo Graziano set in a stunning location with magnificent views. Here we discover the story of the early inhabitants of the island and explore their millennia old settlement before returning for sunset drinks and dinner aboard our gulet.
Day 3: The famously hedonistic island of Panarea beckons us today, at the end of a glorious long cruise eastwards through the island chain. A relaxing swim and lunch on board will be followed by a leisurely stroll along the flower-lined paths that lead from the small island port to the strikingly-located archaeological site at Capo Milazzese. After exploring the ruins, you could enjoy another swim, or perhaps sample one of the famous Sicilian granitas, or taste a perfectly chilled glass of wine, before preparing to step ashore again for dinner at one of the renowned local restaurants.
Day 4: A short cruise brings us to the lovely islet of Basiluzzo, for a restful morning of swimming, kayaking, reading, sunbathing and exploring the unexpected Roman heritage of this isolated spot. After lunch, the stark but fertile island of Stromboli is our final destination for the day. An active volcano spearing steeply out of the sea, its smoking summit will have been visible for much of our voyage so far. Its infamous lava flows are now intermittent, and many walking paths have been forged on its flanks. For those who wish, it will be possible to join our hiking guide to experience this volcano first-hand; anyone who prefers a more sedate afternoon is welcome to enjoy the views from the deck of the gulet instead!
Day 5: Salina, the verdant island at the northernmost tip of the central spine of the archipelago, is the famed producer of some of the most charismatic wines in Italy. We will visit one of the innovative new wineries on the island, before sampling their wares over a sumptuous lunch at one of the region’s finest restaurants. An afternoon visit to the charmingly presented Museum of Emigration, which brings our historical journey right up to the early 20th century, is followed by a final wine tasting on a terrace with beautiful views out over the islands.
Day 6: We cruise to Lipari, largest of the Aeolian Islands, stopping to enjoy a long swim on the way. After stepping ashore in the bustling harbour town, we will visit the astoundingly rich archaeological museum on the fortified headland overlooking the two harbours. After exploring its collections, there will be plenty of time to stroll through the streets, admiring the local architecture and browsing through the shops, before we head up into the hills to visit a spectacular new winery overlooking the straight between Lipari and Salina. A light meal will be served in the vineyard, accompany our wine tasting, as the sun sets over the archipelago.
Day 7: A day of pure leisure and relaxation, filled with swimming, sunbathing, delicious food and chilled wine as we take a leisurely cruise back to the mainland port of Milazzo, stopping off at Vulcano, the final island of our cruise, on the way.
Day 8: Transfer to Catania airport, about 1 hour and 40 minutes away.
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport - Catania Fontanarossa
Departure Airport - Catania Fontanarossa
Our transfer vehicle will collect from Catania Airport at 16.00 should you wish your arrival at the gulet to be organised by us. If you prefer to arrange your own arrival, we recommend you arrive at the gulet in Milazzo (approx 1 hr 40 minutes from Catania airport) after 17.30 on Jun 24. You are more than welcome to arrive earlier to drop off your bags, but please be aware that the crew will be busy cleaning and tidying making everything ready for you.
Disembarkation on the 1st is from Milazzo. We will arrange a transfer at 09:00 from the gulet to Catania Airport.
The cheapest way to book flights is directly with the airline online.
Please note: Flights are subject to change. Please contact the airline for exact details.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits. If you would prefer not to take out travel insurance please let us know. We would require you to complete and return to us a travel insurance waiver form.