| Home | April-13th-2003
Aeolian Islands

The Aeolian Islands are an island archipelago consisting of seven small islands northeast of Sicily. It would not have made sense to go on that tour by our rental car because we would have had to leave the car at the harbor of Milazzo anyway. Thus we had decided to book this tour with a local travel agency in Taormina. It was no problem.

We left Taormina at 6:30 a.m. on a coach. Already at 9 oīclock the ferry to the islands left in Milazzo. First we headed for Lipari, the Gran Cratere on Vulcano Islandthe largest and main island of the archipelagio. The crossing lastet approx. 2 hours. Having arrived on Lipari, we went on an one-hour ride across the island in a coach. It was not very outstanding and impressive. We had three stops for taking pictures. In our opinion Lipari has to offer nothing special. There you find pumice quaries and view points with views of the coast of Lipari and the neighboring islands, but thatīs it. We think itīs not really worth visiting the island, maybe because we were driven around in a bus. We simply did not like that kind of mass processing. However, we had chosen that way of visiting the island.

view of the neighboring island Salina
By hydrofoil - a lot faster than the ferry, but nearly three times more expensive - we drove afterwards to the neighboring island Vulcano where the volcanic origin is still obvious. On the island we had three hours at free disposal.passing Vulcano Island Actually we wanted to walk up the Gran Cratere, a still active volcano, but temperatures of more than 30°C and a very high humidity kept us from doing that because we were exactly at midday on the island and the ascent would have been without any shade. Nevertheless, we did not want to expose ourselves to this torture. The ascent and descent would have taken us approx. 1,5 to 2 hours. After we had bought some food in a supermarket, we went to the near Porto Ponente ("West Harbor"). There is a beautiful bay with fine lava sand - perfect for a lunch and swimming break. After we had refreshed and strengthened, we visited the beach of Porto di Levante ("East Harbor"). Here itīs actually supposed to bubble in some places of the sea because funnels produce gases and steam and heat up the surrounding water that way. We could however not observe such activities in the sea. Somewhat off the beach there is Aqua di Bagno, a warm natural mud pool where some visitors take a mud bath (entrance fee 1 €). The mud is supposed to have great healing properties. We did not really want to believe that at the sight of the pool. Directly beside the mud pool it steams from the ground, the rock appears in different colors, due to the deposits, and everywhere you can smell sulfur. At 4:20 p.m. the ferry left for milazzo. Although we had walked not much, we were nevertheless quite exhausted.
mud pool
Our summary: The islands are quite overcrowded by now. They hardly offer any individual experience. If you havenīt been there - donīt worry, you did not miss much. We had also been tempted to visit Stromboli - the furthest island of the archipelago from Sicily where volcanic activity can be observed nearly once per hour with small volcanic eruptions, but that tour is quite expensive.

Our Tips

If you go only on a day trip to the Aeolian Islands, you should visit only one island and take your time to explore the island. Island-hopping makes no sense in our opinion. If you like to visit one of the nearer islands, weīd recommend Vulcano.

Interbus, the tour operator we went on the trip with, organizes the tour in 3 different languages and he had the best offer in Taormina (41 € per person). You can also go on a tour to the Aeolian Islands by car. You just park the car in Milazzo, pay the fare for the ferry yourself and you have no stress with a group of tourists.

Hot tip: Stromboli, the island with the most volcanic activity. Volcanic eruptions every hour are guaranteed and you can watch it at night from a boat. However, the guided tours are pretty expensive.

Cava GrandeTaormina