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Sailboat around the Aeolian Islands

kcalnyc

10+ Posts
Hi everyone. My friends and I are hoping we will be able to travel again next summer. We are thinking of chartering a sailboat around the Aeolian Islands in July. It is a very reasonable 7 day trip. Has anyone ever stayed on a sailboat for a week? How was it in terms of sleeping? The sea there is relatively flat and calm in summer so I am thinking it should be ok but I really have no idea what to expect. I have taken the ferries between Rome and Sicily and I slept just fine but those are much, much larger ships.
 

Ian Sutton

500+ Posts
I can't answer your specific question, but have holidayed on Lipari and will say that the ferry services are good, with additional tourist excursions e.g. the night-time trip to Stromboli that we took. If you fancied being on dry land every night, travelling around isn't bad at all (though arriving / leaving with heavy bags is a minor irritation)

7 days allows plenty of flexibility, though it;s worth considering whether filicudi and alicudi are an unnecessary diversion, or the potential highlight.

Personal highlights included:
- Wallowing in the basic volcanic mud bath on Vulcano
- A very good meal at the 'Casbah' restaurant in Lipari which might or might not still be there, but on the occasion we went, had staff that had that magical ability to be out of sight until that very moment you wanted them, and then they were at you table before you could catch their eye.
- An inland restaurant on Lipari, which I guess was more for locals than tourists, and had very good food including some exquisite smoky shrimps served in a horn
- A gaggle of very older gentlemen who were very chivalrous to my partner who had twisted her ankle on the Amalfi Coast
- The staff and patients in the Lipari hospital who were equally as considerate and compassionate when we ended up going for an x-ray on said ankle. Not an experience I would recommend the pre-requisite injury for, but nonetheless it's this beautiful and genuine hospitality that typifies Italy off the beaten track
- That boat trip was a good one (and I normally shy away from tourist excursions)

Other things to be aware of
- English is not at all widely spoken, which was great for embedding the Italian language skills I had at the time, but might be a frustration. We heard much more French and German (and Italian) whilst we were there.
- The Islanders grow some food, but have to ship much in, and hence it can feel a little pricey for seemingly 'basics'
- Normally you'd say "avoid the major tourist sites to eat", but here it felt like be wary of eating in the harbours. We ate on return from that stromboli trip, a dish that was like tinned spaghetti that had been under lights in tomato sauce for a few hours - easily the worst food I've experienced in Italy, yet that's very much not indicative of the general standard.

If going ahead with the sailboat idea, I would definitely look at what mooring fees would be. That would give you the option of dining out with some of the fine local wines (Hauner recommended and not just for their more famous dessert Malvasia di Lipari, but for a modestly priced red that has more than a hint of vulcanicity - called Hiera). Walking around once the temperature cools down is very enjoyable indeed.
 
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kcalnyc

10+ Posts
Thanks! I was on Lipari once ages ago (2003) and have been wanting to return. I vaguely remember the Casbah restaurant but didn't go there. We did go to one place not far from the port with some fantastic seafood. I hope I can find it again!

My friend is very into cruises so this was our way of meeting in the middle. From what I understand the company I am talking comes to about $5k a week for the boat with a skipper, including the mooring fees. And we have 5 people committed to a 6 person boat so I think we are going to do it (as long as we can travel next summer).
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
How big is the boat?? Did a sail down the coast of Croatia on a boat with 12 cabins and no issues with room size or any disruptions to sleep, but every night was at a city/town dock. On other hand, did a Canal du Midi trip on a boat with 3 bedrooms (only 2 couples on board) that was a real challenge due to size of beds, low ceilings, heat, and mosquitoes at berthing sites (some nights along canal; some, at a docking area). Loved the trip, but was a lot like camping.

Having an empty bedroom on the canal trip to use for storage and general messes was a huge help. There were two bathrooms/showers on that boat, so would also assess ratio of those facilities to people on board.

The sailboat was chartered, so nothing to do but eat, drink, and take pictures. The canal trip was just us, so lots of time (fun??) stopping to eat at canal-side restaurants or to go shopping for groceries (but still managed to also drink and take pictures).
 

Sharon J

100+ Posts
How big is the boat?? Did a sail down the coast of Croatia on a boat with 12 cabins and no issues with room size or any disruptions to sleep, but every night was at a city/town dock. On other hand, did a Canal du Midi trip on a boat with 3 bedrooms (only 2 couples on board) that was a real challenge due to size of beds, low ceilings, heat, and mosquitoes at berthing sites (some nights along canal; some, at a docking area). Loved the trip, but was a lot like camping.

Having an empty bedroom on the canal trip to use for storage and general messes was a huge help. There were two bathrooms/showers on that boat, so would also assess ratio of those facilities to people on board.

The sailboat was chartered, so nothing to do but eat, drink, and take pictures. The canal trip was just us, so lots of time (fun??) stopping to eat at canal-side restaurants or to go shopping for groceries (but still managed to also drink and take pictures).
I would be interested in what canal trip you used. Sounds fun, and something different to do.
 

kcalnyc

10+ Posts
We have looked at two different boats and one is 3 cabins and one is 4 cabins. If the 4 cabin boat isn't much more we said we would take that one - and it seems from the price list that is the case but who knows once we actually inquire. There are 5 of us - one couple and three singles (two of us could share if we have to). The three cabin boat has 2 bathrooms and the 4 cabin boat has 4 bathrooms. We would set our own itinerary and kind of determine each day if that is indeed what we want to do as we have the boat for just our group.
 

Alpinista

100+ Posts
I would be interested in what canal trip you used. Sounds fun, and something different to do.

We used Le Boat and traveled on the canal from a June 9th pick-up to June 19th return. We started in Castelnaudary and terminated in Port Cassafieres. We were in Italy prior to and after the trip, so went to Avignon, Pont du Gard, and Toulouse on the way to the boat (from Lucca) and stopped in Nice and San Remo on the way home. The highlight of the canal was a day spent in Carcassonne, but was a fantastic, but hard-working, trip all the way through. It takes some effort and a lot of teamwork to get through the locks and (we were told and would agree from what we saw) that it is much easier to go north to south due to the work done tying up to the locks as the water levels are adjusted. One item to note is that disease has killed many of the trees along the section we traveled and there was not much shade on long stretches (was a hot summer). The low bridges do not allow for the Bimini to be raised while in transit, so could get pretty warm at the wheel. That was the only negative....beyond that, was great for sights and food -- and I was happy that my high school baseball coaching avocation had provided me a nice white sunhat as part of the uniform distribution that year :)
IMG_3811 (2).JPG
 

giuliadileo

New Member
Hey kcalnyc, actually I do organize boat charters and my operating area comprehend also Sicily and the Aeolian Islands. I'm Italian and during summer I move around between Milazzo, Portorosa, Capo d'Orlando, Palermo, and the rest of South Italy (as Amalfi Coast, Sardinia, and so on).

The best period to sail around the Aeolian Islands goes from May to September. My favourite and definitively the best is July, the weather is ideal and (after 10 years spending there the summer months) always good conditions, both sky and sea.

A sailboat is amazing to discover this volcanic archipelago that is composed by 7 striking islands: Vulcano, Salina, Lipari, Stromboli, Panarea, Alicudi and Filicudi. If you land in Palermo the best marinas are Palermo and Capo d'Orlando. If you land in Catania than embark from Portorosa or Capo d'Orlando.

A sailboat is so fun and relaxing, but if you are looking for a more stable vessel, I would recommend a catamaran: bigger as they all have minimum 3/4 double cabins, usually each cabin with its own en-suite toilet. Thanks to the multihull are extremely stable and you can easily stay at anchor during the night. It's also more spacious both internally and externally. Contact me for further assistance about the itinerary, how to organize the galley, the itinerary, the ports, and the best offers.

Check here for your yacht charter in the Aeolian Islands.

Ciao!!!
 
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