The Aeolian Islands (Isole Eolie)
Clustered in the blue-green Mediterranean about an hour’s boat ride north of Sicily are the Aeolian Islands – one of Europe’s most visually stunning and historically intriguing archipelagos. Each of the seven main volcanic islands has its own distinct character, allowing for an enticing variety of activities as you island-hop across the chain. As well as the main islands, there is also a set of minor islands and rocks forming the total archipelago, making this whole region sublimely attractive.
The seven main islands (Lipari, Vulcano, Panarea, Salina, Alicudi, Filicudi and Stromboli) are all of volcanic origin but each has its own distinct atmosphere, sense of hospitality and charm. The most popular destinations with tourists are Lipari and Stromboli.
Lipari is the biggest and most populous of the Aeolian Islands. It is a beautiful locale with mesmerizing sea views and lovely homes and buildings. Historically, it has been the most important of the islands since Neolithic times. The island was created centuries ago by volcano activity that resulted in a large amount of volcanic stone settling in the sea. It consequently offers a diverse landscape and rare natural wildlife that you can appreciate on one of the island’s beautiful coastal walks. If you would also like to immerse yourself in culture on your Sicily vacation, we recommend visiting Museo Eoliano, which is an impressive archaeological museum housed in the buildings around the Duomo in the upper town of Lipari. This part of the island is still surrounded by its old city walls and a visit here feels like you’re stepping back in time!
Stromboli is the most northern island of the archipelago and is home to one of the most active volcanoes in the world. It is indeed famous for its normally small, but regular explosions that exhume glowing lava from the vents inside its summit crater. This volcanic activity has been going on for at least 2000 years – in fact, for as long as there has been written history of the island. Its spectacular incandescent night-time explosions have long-attracted visitors from all over the world and resulted in it being nicknamed the “Lighthouse of the Mediterranean.”
However, most of Stromboli’s activity consists of brief and small bursts of glowing lava fragments and this means that it is quite possible to visit the island and even watch the eruptions from the safety of a boat anchored out at sea. For those who know and love it, Stromboli is a magical place, not only for its volcano, but also for its unique charm, its beautiful beaches, the lush vegetation and its characteristic and unspoiled architecture.