The Liparian archipelago is shaped like a “T”. To the west are the islands of Alicudi and Filicudi. In the centre there are three islands on a north/south line: Salina, Lipari and Vulcano. To the east are Panarea and Stromboli.
We chartered a Bavaria 40 from Helm Yachting, the Sicilian subsidiary of the charter company, Kiriacoulis, to visit five of the seven islands. Helm Yachting is based in Sant’Agata is on the north coast of Sicily, 170 kilometres east of Palermo and 25 nautical miles south-southeast of Vulcano Island. Because the charter week generally starts on Saturday afternoon at 5 pm, it is safer to spend the first night at the S’Agata marina because an evening start would mean a midnight arrival on Vulcano. There is a very good and friendly fish restaurant on the S’Agata beach called Trattoria Za Pippina.
After a swim we arrived in the early evening and took a mooring in the Vulcano Levante bay, which cost 35€. The island’s name comes from the volcano which covers half of the island. White smoke permanently escapes from the crater, which is quite easy to climb. On the beach of Levante Bay you can have a bath in bubbling seawater as gas from the volcano escapes through the stones. There is an excellent restaurant in the main street, “Il Cratere”, with a nice terrace overlooking the sea.
The straits between Vulcano and Lipari have two big rocks near the Lipari shore.
We reached the Salina marina in late afternoon. It is very safe and well-organized but expensive, 95€ for the boat and 10€ for power and water. The village has not yet been invaded by too many tourist shops. The view from the top of the village is fantastic, looking east toward the Islands of Stromboli and Panarea. It’s on this island where the most important shots of the movie “Il Postino” were taken.
Stromboli is an active volcano with the nickname “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean.” For millennia it has shown the entrance of Messina Strait to boats coming from north; Ulysses certainly used it as a navigation mark. It is permanently active and every hour and a half or so a small eruption occurs. At night you can see from afar the red glimmers of the lava in the crater illuminating the dark sky.
After rounding the eastern point of the island you will find the village and a good mooring spot. The beach consists of very fine black sand; all the island soil is black. Even the famous “risotto de sepia” you will find in the restaurants of the village is black! If you are in good physical shape you can climb the up volcano to the crater (900m).
At lunchtime we moored behind Milanese point in a beautiful bay and near the remains of a Stone Age village, and then went on to Panarea village in the afternoon. Panarea is the most sophisticated village of the archipelago. Have a drink at the splendid terrace of the Raia restaurant overlooking the harbour. If the weather is calm, try to avoid this mooring at night; cargo ship and fresh water tankers came alongside the pier during the night and make a horrible noise.
We made a midday stop at Canetto beach on the east coast. The sand is super white and the sea was at 29.7° centigrade. The island has one of the biggest pumice stone quarries in Europe; you can catch some of the pumice stones that float around and bring them back for your bathroom.
We stayed the night at Pignato marina (50€ for the night including water and power) situated at the north end of Lipari Bay. It’s far enough from the ferry pier to be a very good and quiet night. Lipari town is the capital city of the archipelago. The main street remains the same as it was thirty years ago. In the middle is a bar that covers both side of the pavement and is a great place for a drink and to watch the local life.
During the 6 days we covered 116 nautical miles and used about 70 litres of fuel.
Editor's Note: This itinerary was submitted by Michel Villeneau. Photos courtesy Phillipe Comu.