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Where are they?
The Aeolian islands are in the Thyrrenian sea off the coast of Sicily. They are ideal for a peaceful holiday and getting away from it all.
The best time to enjoy the beauty of the islands is in low season when the summer crowds have gone or have not yet arrived.
Reasons for going there?
The sea is cobalt - blue. The mountains (former volcanoes) are covered with wild flowers, vineyards, trees including lemon, caper and olive trees. The little towns and villages are delightful. The inhabitants are very friendly and helpful.
These islands are a real paradise for nature lovers, hikers and scuba divers. Since 2000 the islands were declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.
Getting there and getting about
Flights from London airports to Catania (BA) or Palermo (Ryanair) are convenient as you can easily reach Milazzo or Messina by train or bus in order to catch the hydrofoil (Ustica Lines or SIREMAR) to the island of your choice. You can also go from Naples by boat if you fancy a few hours on a boat until reaching your destination.
There is no real need to bring a car with you as the islands (Lipari and Salina) are small. The others (Vulcano, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea, Stromboli) are very small. You can walk everywhere easily or rent a bike or a scooter. There are taxis and the bus service on Lipari and Salina is very good.
Accommodation and eating
There is a choice of hotels, Bed and Breakfast and villas for rent. Locals wait for tourists at the various ports and have rooms to offer if you did not book in advance. Be aware that in the Summer everything is packed by holidaymakers.
Restaurants at every price can be found. The food is very nice especially fish dishes and the wine is delicious (try Malvasia on Salina). Tourist guides are a good source for recommended restaurants.
Lipari town is a delightful maze of pastel coloured houses The Citadel , overlooking the port has the most interesting archeological museum, the XVIIth century Cathedrale di San Bartolomeo as well as views on the town. The Marina Corta is very attractive with cafés, restaurants and fishing boats in the little harbour.
· A great walk to the Observatorio at Punta Crapazza takes you to a promontory where the coastline is amazing, rugged, wild and with beautiful views on Vulcano, rock formations in the sea .
· A bus goes to Quattropani stopping on the way at Quattrocchi (stunning views) and Pianoconte (Roman Baths at San Calogero). From Quattropani there is a great, easy and enjoyable walk to Acquacalda. The flowers along the way are a most wonderful sight.
· At Acqualda you can catch a bus back to Lipari or walk along the road to Cannetto in order to appreciate the views on the islands in the distance.
The Pensione Neri offers very good accommodation in an old patrician pink villa near the town centre.
The Trattoria d’Oro prepares excellent food at a good price.