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Where are the Aeolian Islands?
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.
Monta del Porri and Monte Fossa delle Felci are two of the five extinct volcanoes on the island of Salina. Walking there takes you through lush woods and you can see many wild flowers, vineyards and amazing cliffs.
The little town of Santa Marina has one long street street with a few shops and restaurants.
· Walking to Lingua (2km) following the road is a good way to enjoy the views and then have a good reason to indulge in a “granite” sitting on a lovely little piazza in the sun once you get there. The last remain of a lake is rich with migratory birds.
From Lingua you can ascent the volcano Fossa delle Felci the steep way.
· A better route is from Val di Chiesa which you can reach by bus, visiting the charming little town of Malfa on the way will enable you to see the nice church in the centre and go down to the port. After the walk to the summit of Fossa delle Felci enjoying the amazing views on the other islands, descend to the villages of Leni and stop for a while in quiet Rinella before returning to Santa Marina by bus.
· The bus ride from Santa Marina to Pollara takes you through lovely landscape until the steep descent to Pollara. The village is very remote. A disused church and school, scattered houses stand on the remain of an old volcano. The vegetation and flowers are beautiful. Unfortunately the beach was inaccessible at the beginning of April 2007 due to a collapsed cliff.
The film “Il Postino” was filmed in Pollara in the villa where the exiled poet Pablo Neruda stayed until his return to Chile.
Suggested hotel and restaurant
The hotel Mamma Santina is absolutely fantastic. The food is excellent.
From the rooms you can have a view on Lipari, Panarea and Stromboli.