The Aeolian Islands lie just to the north of Sicily, and, beyond Europe, are still pretty much off they tourist radar. With no direct flights (apart from private helicopter) to the islands, it takes determination and a certain degree of expense to get there. In fact, the best way to explore the islands is by yacht.
Born of volcanoes, the crescent of islands sits in some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean and offers an array of delights in a reasonably small area.
Stromboli may be the best-known island due its active volcano; in fact the whole island is a volcano; it is one of the few places in the world where tourists can hike up and view the eruptions in relative safety.
The island of Vulcano, not surprisingly, also has an active peak; here you can bathe in mineral-rich mud baths then wash off in a sea turned into a natural Jacuzzi by hot bubbles of gas released under the seabed.
Panarea is a very special island; and can sometimes feel like the exclusive preserve of those arriving by superyacht. There are no cars, but there is a string of luxury resorts, designer boutiques and nightclubs that attract rock stars and billionaires alike.
The largest island is Lipari; a good place to pick up souvenirs, visit archaeological museums and rocky beaches made of pumice, which often floats off into the sea! Salina is the second largest island and the only one clothed in lush vegetation, including crops and lovely strawberry wood forests.
The tiny islands of Alicudi and Filicudi have just a handful of inhabitants and are harder to reach (except by boat) so are ideal places to relax and enjoy the peace – Alicudi has no roads and no cars. The water clarity and marine life is great, ideal for snorkelling and diving. Inland, the rugged open terrain is perfect for active hikers looking for superb views from the volcanic peaks.
Vulcano: Clear waters make for great diving and conditions here are very good for the Med.
Superb Snorkelling / Swimming
Vulcano: Here you can roll in volcanic mud and then wash it off in the adjacent sea which, dotted with fumaroles, gives the impression of being in a spa pool!