Antic Roman History settings, volcanoes, clear blue waters, untouched natural landscapes, amazing cliff sides, black sand beaches and picturesque villages… This week Navily takes you to the Aeolian islands! The Italian Archipelago is a prized destination for cruisers in the Mediterranean. The archipelago offers amazing sailing opportunities for sailors in quest of authenticity and amazing landscapes.
We have gathered comments and ratings shared on Navily by our community to help us build this list. Showing some of the most stunning gems of this Italian paradise, here’s our selection of the best anchorages and moorings in the Aeolian Islands.
The small volcanic island is a gem of the Tyrrhenian Sea. Filled with history, amazing natural settings and plenty of amenities to enjoy, you will not get bored in this exceptional Sicilian setup. The village of San Pietro and its typical Sicilian architecture is a must see. From visiting the archaeological vestiges, to roaming around the picturesque city and taking advantage of its many local restaurants, Panarea will offer a comfortable and unforgettable stopover: take it from our Navily users who had a great time there!
Panarea Nord: Stromboli postcard view
Featuring a top-ranking view on the famous Stromboli volcano, Panarea is a unique location to visit in Sicily. Nested on the north-eastern side of the island, just north of the marina of Panarea, the mooring area is well protected from West winds. The sandy seabed will allow safe anchorage but be aware, boat traffic intensifies in the high season which can cause some swinging and rolling. Paying buoys are also available and a well-organized and responsive supervision will make your stay enjoyable and worry-free.
If well located on the anchorage, you have an exclusive view on the Sciara del Fuoco, a river of lava flowing from the Stromboli’s mouth to the sea. An exceptional sight directly from the deck. Boat Taxi to shore is included in the price of the buoys and gives you access to the many treasures the Panarea Island holds.
Robert, a Navily contributor left this insightful comment:
Really nice anchorage, very calm, and yes, the turtles are there! Several bars and restaurants b‘’The mooring field operated by Sea Panarea is located to the North of the ferry jetty and about a 100m or so off the shore. It was quite busy when we visited (September 2018) – a flotilla was also in residence – and so we were secured both bow and stern to ensure no issues with swinging. The only issue with this was that we were beam-on to any onshore swell or wake, resulting in a little bit of roll; no great problem though.
The ormeggiatori were very helpful, professional and also offered a free shuttle service ashore. Being located fairly high on the east side of Panarea affords a view out to Stromboli, and after sunset, we were able to sit on the fore deck and watch for the Sciara del Fuoco. Ashore, you have all the delights that San Pietro has to offer, and in the past, we enjoyed a splendid lunch at Hotel Cincotta. No shops, so come with provisions.
Caletta dei Zimmari : A natural creek filled with History
This anchorage is seated in a protected cove on the south part of Panarea Island. Calm, quiet and free, it’s a magical setting for a stopover. Although intimate, it is a prized destination for the Italian jet set during August. Therefore, the usually calm area can get very crowed some days in Summer. Something to be aware of.
Anchoring is facilitated by a sandy seabed and relatively shallow waters. The mooring area offers good protection from swell and wind. Natural caves are accessible by snorkeling on the east side of the anchorage. There, you can enjoy a swim in a unique Mediterranean wilderness.
Here’s what Philippe, had to say about his visit to the anchorage last June.
Excellent anchorage in all points of view. The small bay is beautiful and a seaside path that winds through the houses leads you to the port of Panarea in less than 20 minutes by foot. Mooring in 8m of water with good holding.
Porto di Ponente: A natural harbour with amazing sunsets
Located in a haven north of Vulcano Island, 16 miles north of the Sicilian shores, the mooring area benefits from exceptional wind and swell protection from North-East to the South-West through the East. Anchoring will be your only option available in the safe sandy seabed of Porto di Ponente. The crystal blue waters overlooked by raw rocky formations will give you stunning sunsets. To enjoy directly from your deck. Arriving early is advised, as it can get pretty crowdy especially in high season.
The quiet haven gives you access to plenty of amenities and is a perfect base to go for a hike in the Natural Reserve of the Island (Riserva Naturale Orientata Isola di Vulcano) home to the famous Gran Cratere.
Additionally, you will have exclusive access to some of Sicily’s most unique black sand beaches, typical of this volcanic Island. Don’t forget your camera! Finally, you can enjoy natural mud baths that will leave you feeling cleansed and refreshed for the rest of your trip, apparently one of our users’ favorite activity!
François was there in August 2019 and left this comment:
Magic setting. We stayed at anchor for 3 days towards the exit of the bay, on rocks. The comings and goings of local boaters are incessant. They don’t even slow down, so the boat is rolling. Otherwise, you are well protected and close to the volcano for a hike or a visit to the black beach. You can leave the dinghy at the platform on the right. No one asked us for anything.
Punta Crepazza: Find peace in the quietness of Lipari’s South Shore.
Situated in the south of Lipari Island, this peaceful anchorage is a prized stopover. Punta Crepazza benefits from a great protection from Northerly winds with some protection from the East as well and its sandy seabed offers good holding.
The natural setting is majestic and is perfect for a few days of relaxation. The white rocky cliffs overlook a vast slender sandy beach. Easily accessible, it’s a great environment to rest and take advantage of the warm Sicilian summer days. In addition, the anchorage gives a clear and open view on Vulcano Island, and a perfect sunset to enjoy from the deck.
In summer the area is a bit more crowded but stays relatively calm for this part of the region. A good spot to keep in mind for some peaceful sailing days in the Aeolian Islands.
Marco visited the anchorage last summer and gave a bright review:
A lot of atmosphere in this historical bay. Several welcoming bar-bistros. Mooring buoy are rather expensive in this bay. You will have the opportunity to walk safely on the small road that leads you to the village passing through the banana plantations. It’s a nice and relaxing stopover that we recommend!
Santa Marina Salina: A convenient anchorage in a romantic setting
The anchorage of Santa Marina Salina is not the prettiest place in our list, but it is favoured by our users for its practical location – right outside of the marina – and exclusive access to the picturesque Sicilian village.
The anchorage offers good holding on a sandy and weedy seabed in 5 to 10 meters of depth if you’re close enough to the shore. Located on the East side of the Island, the mooring area is protected from Northern and Western winds. The Ferry passage can cause some rolling but it stops in the evening. It is however forbidden to anchor further south of the marina.
The mooring area is calm, often less crowded than other parts of the Island. The picturesque little village of Santa Marina Salina offers a romantic and typical setting that provides all needed amenities with some good restaurants for the foodies.
Jean Louis navigated to the anchorage last September and advocates for stopover with this flattering comment:
Excellent anchorage sheltered from the wind and the West swell, the ferries make strong waves, but their movement stops at the end of the day. The city is next door with sufficient amenities. Grocery stores deliver directly to the boat (when in port) or to the tender. You must visit the island; scooters are for rent next to the port. The visit of a Cantina (producer of Malaïa) is to be recommended. I advise the Fenech Cantina, the boss offers a tasting that is worth the detour (10 € per person), plan to leave the scooter some time before taking the road. For us, this stopover was the best anchorage of the Aeolian Islands.
Porticello: The clearest water of the Aeolian islands
In the north-eastern part of Lipari, Porticello is a popular stopover for its uniqueness.
Nested in a protected harbor, the anchorage is well protected from wind and swell and features sandy seabed with good holding.
During the day, the place is busy with boaters and tourists that come to enjoy the clearest water of the Aeolian Islands. In a paradise-like setting, the crystal blue waters of this rocky natural coastline are a magical scene! A swimming pool in a wild setting, boating doesn’t get better than that.
At night the place is calmer, and nothing but an old abandoned rock factory will remind you of the human presence on the coast. A unique anchorage to visit that will wrap up magnificently your cruise in the Italian archipelago.
Arnaud from Navily gave a thorough description in his comment on Navily, with good anchorage tips.
Very nice, very spacious anchorage, sandy bottom, turquoise waters. Be careful, do not anchor in front of the old pumice plant, there are vertical piles under the surface up to 150 meters from the edge, in the axis of a promontory on which we also see a metal portico. Certainly the ruins of a ship loading facility. Very busy during the day, the anchorage is empty at night. Just under the cape to the north, there is a factory that still seems in activity with a huge harbor infrastructure, this part is less beautiful and spoils the landscape a little.
Spiaggi Pollara: Wild, Free and Rocky
Located in the North West side of Salina Island, this anchorage is a dream come true for sailors seeking calm and serenity in a natural atmosphere. The seaside features amazing cliffs which abruptly fall into the shallow waters of the bay. Thousands of years of erosion have beautifully shaped the piercing natural rock formation of this exceptional setting. In the evening, magical sunsets paint warm lights on the rocky scenery, promising unprecedently good golden hour pictures. Enjoy them from the deck of your boat or get on shore to the belvedere right above Cala Pollara and Poggio del Semaforo for the full experience.
To good to be true? There’s a catch! The rocky seabed doesn’t provide the safest holding and this mooring area is not enjoyable when Westerlies blow. However, sailors still describe it as the most beautiful anchorage of the Aeolian Islands.
Robert was there in 2018 and gave a thorough review of this unique place!
We anchored in about 8-10m on a rocky bottom. At the North end of the bay and close in, the bottom is supposedly sandy, and this would be a better option if you can squeeze in. It was busy with day-trippers when we arrived but there were only three of us overnight. In hindsight, it would have been a good idea to reposition and thereby avoiding the sounds of the chain sweeping the rocky bottom as we gently swung in the docile winds.
We enjoyed a wonderfully peaceful anchorage, but, obviously, this exposed place would be untenable in heavy weather, especially if there’s any hint of W or NW in it.
Disclaimer : New buoys have recently been put up to prevent anchoring to close to the beach and the cliff from which rocks might fall. This anchorage might become officially forbidden in the near future.
That was the last destination on our list. We hope it will inspire you for your next boat trip! Don’t hesitate to share your favorite destinations with us!
The Navily Team