Off the Tyrrhenian Sea, nested between Rome and Napoli, lies the Pontine Islands, an archipelago of 6 islands: Ponza, Isola Palmarola, Gavi, Isola Zannone, Ventotene and Santo Stefano. Very famous in Italy, these wild and unspoiled isolated lands welcome many boaters in search of a real change of scenery. Located in the Lazio region, the Pontine Islands, called Ponziane in Italian, take their name from Ponza, the largest island in the archipelago.
In Ponza, you will find sandy beaches, Roman ruins, heavenly coves, crystal clear waters, picturesque antique villages and much more. Very festive in summer, it is a place of choice for Italians coming from Rome, Napoli, or Milan. The island is filled with bars, restaurants, and clubs where you can enjoy the warm summer night in a convivial atmosphere. The inhabitants of the Pontine Islands are renowned for their sympathy and hospitality.
It’s pretty clear for the community, Ponza is a must, but the other islands are just as interesting to see: They are smaller and less touristy, therefore more authentic, and wilder. Ideal for resting and discovering the bona fide daily life of the inhabitants and the blooming unspoiled natural worlds of these precious islands.
To help you choose the best stopovers, the Octopus has put together a cruise in the Pontine Islands with the help of the Navily community so that you can make the most of a cruise in the Pontine Islands!
The cruise's stopovers in Pontine Islands
Let’s start our journey in Isola Palmarola, just west of Ponza. It’s the second largest island in the archipelago and is much more wild than its big sister Ponza.
When reaching Cala Brigantina, you will be amazed by the majesty of the rocky cliffs that form the cove, bathing in crystal clear waters reflecting a thousand shades of colors and revealing a blossoming aquatic life. Just around the corner, there are also magnificent natural caves accessible for a speleological expedition. The anchorage of Cala Brigantina is very well sheltered ensuring a comfortable stay at anchor. The cove will protect you from the winds coming from the West, North, East and South-East. Rocks and seaweed cover most of the anchorage’s bottom, but you can find little patches of sand to throw your anchor. Be careful though, as your chain could get caught in the rocks.
La Cala Brigantina is ideal for spending a relaxing day picnicking with your family and friends. In this heavenly setting, taking advantage of a swim is also warmly recommended. Only downside in this natural paradise : you will not have access to land from Cala Brigantina, the rocky shoreline is too wild to welcome a dinghy.
Isola Palmarola is the ideal start to your journey in the Pontine Islands as it offers comfort, good shelter and an amazing introduction to the natural beauty of its coastlines.
Once rested, it is time to set sails back East to reach Ponza in the heart of the archipelago.
About 10 kilometers east of Cala Brigantina lies the Lucia Rosa anchorage, on the West coast of Ponza Island. This unique Cala is appreciated for its famous beaches, most of which are accessible only by boat: Everyone knows it in Ponza, it is by sea that you can visit and take advantage of the best spots the island has to offer.
Lucia Rosa anchorage is a peaceful introduction to Ponza Island. Isolated from the village and its festive atmosphere, it’s strategically placed to take advantage of the Island without the crowds in high season. It is one of the reasons why Lucia Rosa is so well rated by the community on Navily, a must stop when visiting Ponza.
Its steep cliffs covered with greenery as well as its desertic beach will leave you speechless. This wild and preserved scenery is bathing in some of the clearest waters you can find.
A beautiful place, that is even more enjoyable in the evening when the burning lights of the sunset reflect on the rocky coastline.
The anchorage is protected from winds from the North, East, South and South-West and the sandy and shallow bottom will guarantee solid holding for your anchor. .
It is unfortunately forbidden to set foot on the beach for the moment because there is a risk of falling rocks, but technicians are installing nets and it will soon be accessible again.
After enjoying Lucia Rosa’s mesmerising landscape, it’s time to leave for the next anchorage. Head South to reach Cala Chiaia di Luna.
Cala Chiaia di Luna
The landscape of Cala Chiaia di Luna is simply incredible. Any boater who would stop there will be amazed by the beauty of this natural cove. Its smooth white cliff, its central rock that emerges from the water and small sandy beach overlooked by green hills make Cala Chiaia di Luna an exceptional anchorage to stopover. It is protected from winds from the North, East and South-East. The bottom is sandy and provides good holding for your anchor.
The old tunnel built by the Romans that got you directly to the marina is unfortunately no longer accessible, but there is a path nearby that will allow you to reach the island’s center.
The water in the anchorage is crystal clear and you can observe an aquatic effervescence from your boat. It may be that in summer, this anchorage is crowded with boaters eager to experience such a spectacle, but it is true in all great popular places.
A few days in this wild paradise before you make way for the village of Ponza and all its festivities. Navigate along the coast to the South and once you pass the tip of the Island, go up North to Pontile Porzio.
After visiting two iconic anchorages in Ponza, it’s time to get down to business and take the village of Ponza by storm. For that, you can book a berth at Pontile Porzio through Navily. Pontile Porzio is the best rated marina in Ponza with an average 5 stars raiting given by the community.
This small family marina is the best rated on Navily in Ponza. It’s a 10 minutes’ walk from the city and with a warm and welcoming staff, boaters love to dock there. In this picturesque setting all you have to do is arrive,dock and enjoy the lively village and its various activities.
Indeed, you will find restaurants, grocery stores, bars, and iconic places to visit such as the Grotto of Pilate (only accessible by boat), built by the Romans 2000 years ago.
Finally, In the heart of the summer heat, you can spend the afternoon sunbathing on Giancos beach and go for a relaxing swim. In Ponza you never get bored and there is always something to do.It is where all the Italians in town go on holiday to enjoy the sunny season, and you will be welcomed in a warm and lively atmosphere.
If the marina option does not appeal to you but you still want to visit the village of Ponza, then the Frontone anchorage is a perfect compromise. Located a little further North of the village, it is less subject to the bustle of the city even if it can get quite busy in high season due to its popularity (the best rated anchorage on the Island).
A Taxi Boat, which will drop you off directly at the marina, is available for € 10 (round trip).
Frontone is an essential anchorage in Ponza. Primarily, thanks to its proximity with the village but also thanks to the Spiaggia di Frontone and its Beach Club / restaurant where you can enjoy a meal and have a drink. The Ristorante da Gerado is another establishment in the anchorage, more typical than the Beach Club, it offers classic Italian dishes and is located high up the hill offering a magnificent view of the bay.From the restaurant or anywhere else on the anchorage you will enjoy this magnificent scenery. Frontone is in the heart of a dream setting where you can see in the distance the village leaned on the imposant cliff sides bathing in crystal clear waters(ideal for snorkeling).
Finally, boaters appreciate the anchorage because it is located in a very well sheltered bay. It offers protection from winds coming from the South, West, North and North-East and the sand banks making up the bottom of the cove will allow you to easily drop anchor. Further North, you will find the U Spaccapurpo anchorage, less known but very popular with the Navily community.
That’s it, you arrive at the end of your tour of the island of Ponza. Wasn’t it fantastic? Before leaving this paradise on land (and at sea), here’s a last anchorage that is worth a stopover.
U Spaccapurpo, north of Ponza, is one of those atypical anchorages where nature has taken its ease. In a cove dominated by high cliffs, a rocky arch stands still and proud in the middle of the Bay, immersed in waters of the clearest blue. An unusual and beautiful sight that attracts many boaters every year, who come to visit the cove, intrigued by this natural anomaly. Although magnificent, it is overcrowded in high season where boats and ferries carrying tourists stop there all day long, but leave at night.
U Spaccapurpo remains an exceptional anchorage that one must visit when traveling in the Pontine Islands. The white sandy beach is splendid, but it is unfortunately inaccessible now because of rock falls. Finally, the anchorage is very well sheltered from winds from the South, West, North and North-East and the bottom of sand and seaweed offers decent holding.
A perfect stopover to end your tour of Ponza but fortunately, the Pontine Islands have many other surprises in store. If Ponza is very festive and adored by Italians who come to party, Ventotene and Santo Stefano are much more wild, picturesque, and authentic.
Porto Vecchio Ventotene
After Ponza, Head for the island of Ventotene! To fully enjoy the island, the Porto Vecchio de Ventotene is a perfect place to dock, right next to the village.
The marina is modest but very charming: a Roman port between modernity and tradition.
You will have access to water and electricity at the dock and the service is considered excellent by boaters from the Navily community who have booked there. Some boaters nonetheless denounce the excessive prices of the marina restaurant, but it’s not as if the village of Ventotene lacked a variety of restaurants anyway. For instance, you can head to Il Giardino restaurant for typical Ventotene food!
After a good meal, you can enjoy a drink in a music bar offering a superb panorama of the sea. Finally, for food supplies, the Conad store delivers groceries directly to your boat.
Ventotene is a small island but very often boaters fall in love with it and stay longer than planned. Before leaving the Pontine Islands, we recommend one last stopover on the very mysterious island of Santo Stefano. You can find information on how to visit Santo Stefano in Ventotene and we recommend you do so, it’s definitely worth it!
A few kilometers east of Ventotene lies the Isola de Santo Stefano. The particularity of Isola di Santo Stefano is its penitentiary center, built between 1794 and 1795, which was operating until 1965. This now deserted prison has a strange architecture: arranged in a circle, the building is very particular and exudes a peculiar and mysterious atmosphere. It is possible to visit the old detention center, but for that you must find out about the times and prices of the guided tours in the municipality of Ventotene: the island of Santo Stefano is now private, but the anchorage is accessible for free. Protected from Southerlies, it presents a blooming underwater world, filled with many species of marine fauna and flora. It is a paradise for snorkelers and divers who come in numbers to enjoy this paradise every year.
End your tour with a visit of Santo Stefano to enjoy a touch of history and folklore and your itinerary will be complete.
After having explored all these idyllic anchorages, these still wild and unspoiled coastlines and authentic villages, do not hesitate to share your feelings about this cruise with our team and other boaters by commenting and posting your most beautiful pictures of the Pontine Islands on Navily!
Fair winds Captains,