Scattered just above the toe of Italy and the north-east tip of Sicily, the volcanic Aeolian Islands might just be the most captivating yet inaccessible archipelago in the Mediterranean. Here’s a little insight to whet your appetite…
Named after Aeolus, the god of the winds, these dramatically beautiful islands jut perilously out of the sea. Of the 8 tiny islands, we particularly love Salina, the second largest. It’s a peaceful haven where you’ll find tumbling bougainvillea, vineyards, palm trees and two wonderfully indulgent boutique hotels. With only two roads, you can easily hire a scooter and zip around discovering the island’s tidal lagoons and hidden coves. You can also explore its rocky lava-flow coastline by boat, and the crystal-clear water is perfect for snorkelling.
Capofaro is a boutique resort nestled in a working vineyard. A huddle of low white buildings look out past the vines to the deep blue shimmer of the ocean. Guests recline by the decked pool, and at night the view from the restaurant stretches to the horizon, where sparks fly dramatically from the distant volcano of Stromboli.
Hotel Signum, a charming country house in the laid-back village of Malfa, is half-hidden among citrus groves, fields of flowers and winding lanes. The hotel balconies are patches of serenity, perfect for soaking up the scent of blossom and the sound of birdsong. And the hotel’s sun terrace is the ideal spot for enjoying the island’s breathtaking ocean sunsets.
The nearest airports are Palermo and Catania on Sicily. You’ll then need to take a ferry, hydrofoil, hydroplane or helicopter to the islands. There are 3 hydrofoil / ferry companies operating in the Aeolian Islands (navi means ferries, aliscafi are hydrofoils): Ustica Lines, Siremar and SNAV (Naples-Salina).