Sicily can sometimes be off British sailors radars when it comes to choosing where to spend your summer sailing holiday; but with terrific scenery, weather and excellent sailing it's not to be missed. The Aeolian Islands are a pretty special place with their rugged and volcanic landscapes; the seven islands are linked by a vast 200km ridge from Mount Etna to Mount Vesuvius. As a result of the Aeolian Islands volcanic landscapes, they have been UNESCO listed; so pretty special.
Sailing around Sicily and its Aeolian Islands are great for crews who are adventurous as much in their exploration as their taste buds; this is the only place in the Mediterranean where you can anchor your yacht and watch a live volcano in action. On this route you can start from any of our three bases, Palermo, Sant Agata or Portorosa and use your two weeks to island hop round at your leisure.
In the summer months the winds and weather on the northern and western side of Sicily is typically Mediterranean. The prevailing wind is north westerly with an average of a force 3 to 4.
Our advice for the first few days is to head over to the Aeolian Islands. During these days you can sail between the stunning Sicilian volcanoes and explore the natural beauty that Sicily has to offer.
Head to Vulcano first, a short hop from Sant Agata or Portorosa, if you're coming from Palermo it is a longer first day (around 8 hours). If you fancy breaking the sail up a bit we suggest stopping off in Cefalu, a beautiful seaside town with lovely sandy beaches.
Vulcano itself is is quite spectacular with mud baths, hot springs and of the the Foss di Vulcano to explore you won't be short of things to see and do.
After Vulcano its a very short hop over to Panarea. This island is a car free zone so you can enjoy the white washed houses without having to avoid any traffic. Nearby there are also some wonderful underwater 'fumaroles' and crags to explore.
From Panarea its another nice easy sail up to the northernmost Aeolian Island, Stromboli. Possbily one of the most popular islands in the archipelago, Stromboli is a live volcano, so look out for blackened earth and volcanic scenery.
Use the next few days to explore the smaller islands of Sicily in all their untouched glory. We suggest Salina as your next stop.
Salina is quite the contrast to her Aeolian sister islands. Salina has a lush and colourful landscape thanks to its many fresh water springs, the only island to have them, which mixed with its volcanic soil make for a breathtaking landscape.
From Salina a nice sail on is to Filicudi, around 10 miles. Filicudi is a tiny little island, only 9km square. It's lack of mass tourism is a huge draw and it's white washed village Pecorini Mare is very quaint with a simple beach and restaurant. A great place to get away from it all.
Alicudi is a great follow on from Filicudi and if its possible it's even smaller than Filicudi! Alcudi is also known as the 'island of heather' and when its stunning pink sunset covers its surface in spring its quite the sight to behold!
You've seen all the the Aeolian Islands has to offer and now its time to head back over the mainland to continue your exploration of Sicily. A longer sail than between the Aeolian Islands, from Alicudi to Palermo is around 50 miles.
Once in Palermo you can relax, the marina here has all facilites you could want and the town itself has a great mixture of culture, history and nightlife, not to mention the food!
A nice short sail on from Palermo is to San Vito. Since it's quite a long sail getting back from the Aeolian Islands, have a relaxing next day heading to San Vito, a beautiful town sandwiched between mountains. Make sure you try a Panini con Panelle whilst you're there, a traditional Sicilian dish.
You've seen one set of Sicilian islands why not explore another? The Egadi Islands are a good sail from San Vito. Head to Favignana first.
Here you'll find lots of tuna fisheries but the island is most popular for diving and snorkelling so don't forget your flippers!
Marettimo is another great island in this archipelago to visit. A very short sail from Favignana, Marettimo got its name from the large amounts of thyme on the island, which makes for a great landscape.
It's time to head back to the mainland now. When returning back to base most charter companies like you to be back between 4-6pm and then the only thing left to do is to return to the base and enjoy one last Italian feast!
Remember depending on which base you're chartering from you might not be able to reach all these destinations in two weeks, this is just a rough guide!
Below is an indication of the yachts that will sail on this flotilla. Please call us on 020 8459 8787 to check live availability.
Our Shore to Sail holidays are a combination of a one or two week flotilla sailing holiday with another relaxing week or two ashore.
These holidays will appeal to those who enjoy sailing but have family or friends who are not quite so enthusiastic about sailing - a compromise can now be made!
Most people opt for a week of sailing followed by a week of winding down on shore. However it is entirely up to you to do what you want to do (and when!)
Choose from studios or apartments beside the sea at the Iris Hotel, Stena, near Nidri, or opt for one of our carefully selected boutique hotels. The San Nicolas Resort Hotel is now available in nearby Roudha Bay, or really pamper yourself at the Salvator Villas and Spa Hotel in Parga, which also has a selection of two-bedroom villas with private pools.
We have no doubt at all that our flotilla sailing gang will really score a few points with the non sailors of the family by bringing them here! The combination of one of our yachts and a room here is about as good as it gets!
For 20 years, our flotillas have been enjoying the wonderful food from the 'Castello Restaurant' in Parga. Spiros and his six sons have now expanded their programme in Parga with a fabulous boutique complex of rooms, apartments and villas called the Salva…
The Iris Hotel is one of our accommodation options in the South Ionian, ideally suited for a shore based week before or after one of our Lefkas or Ithaka flotillas, or one of our two week flotillas which finishes in the South Ionian.
A 'beside the sea' base for your shore based week on Lefkas …