Island hopping in the Aeolian Islands

Explore the Aeolian Archipelago

If you want to break free from the norm and plan something unique for your holidays this year, the Aeolian Islands are waiting for you! And if you’re wondering which of the 7 volcanic islands to visit, the answer is pretty straightforward: ALL of them!

Check out our complete guide and travel to each and every one of the Aeolian Islands, and discover the best vacation tips on Ferryhopper.

Alley with houses in Panarea, Italy

View of the sea from a narrow alley in Panarea

Aeolian Islands: tips and recommendations

The Aeolian Archipelago consists of 7 volcanic islands that are located close to the north coast of Sicily. The Aeolian Islands, known as the “pearls of the Mediterranean”, impress their visitors with dreamy beaches, natural paths as well as unique activities and events.

Since 2000, the Aeolian Islands have been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, thanks to their special morphology and beauty. Lipari is the biggest of the Aeolian Islands. Part of its administrative comune are the islands of Vulcano, Panarea, Stromboli, Filicudi, and Alicudi. The island of Salina is the only one that’s considered independent.

The Aeolian Islands consist of the following:

  • Lipari
  • Vulcano
  • Stromboli
  • Salina
  • Panarea
  • Filicudi
  • Alicudi

How many days do I need to visit all of the Aeolian Islands?

You may need more than 1 week to visit all 7 Aeolian Islands and appreciate their unique beauty.

The island of Lipari is an ideal starting point for your island-hopping journey, as it provides visitors with numerous amenities. Alternatively, you can choose a different destination and plan out a different island-hopping itinerary.

For more holiday recommendations, check out our Aeolian Islands guide and plan your vacation according to your desires.

Why are they named "Aeolian"?

According to the myth, the islands were named after Aeolus, the god of wind.

His home, specifically, was in Lipari. From there, he would observe the clouds hanging above Stromboli and was able to predict the weather! As fishing was rather important to the inhabitants of the islands, understanding the weather conditions was vital. And thus, Aeolus became popular in the area.

View of Stromboli and the fumes of its active volcano, Italy

Try predicting the weather like Aeolus!

Ιsland hopping and ferry routes in the Aeolian Islands

Thanks to the numerous ferry connections available, traveling between the Aeolian Islands is smooth sailing.

The most frequent routes to the Aeolian Islands start from the port of Milazzo, Messina and Palermo in Sicily. Some routes are operated year-round, while others are seasonally available. You can also travel to some of the Aeolian Islands from Calabria and Campania, through the ports of Reggio Calabria, Vibo Valentia and Naples.

There are also plenty of daily crossings between the islands. All routes to and between the Aeolian Islands are served by the following ferry companies:

Important: ferry crossings to the Aeolian Islands are operated by conventional ferries and flying dolphins alike.

How can I travel to the Aeolian Archipelago?

To visit the 7 islands and dive deep into their archipelagos, you have to travel by ferry.

The most frequent ferry connections begin at Lipari (the largest of the islands) and Salina. Some islands are not always directly connected by ferry, so you might need to stop at either Lipari or Salina before resuming your journey.

Each island may have 1 or more ports. Salina and Stromboli, for instance, have 2 ports.

Tip: as you book your ferry tickets to Salina, make sure that you have chosen the correct port (Santa Marina or Rinella). The same applies to Stromboli, where you can find the ports of Ginostra and Stromboli.

Ferry connections between the Aeolian Islands

There are numerous options if you wish to travel between the Aeolian Islands. Here, you can find useful information for some of the most popular connections:

  • Lipari to Salina ferry: the ferry route from Lipari to Salina is active all year round. There are up to 26 daily crossings to Santa Marina and Rinella, the 2 ports of Salina, with the trip lasting 25 minutes to 2 hours. Travel time depends on the company you’re traveling with.
  • Stromboli to Panarea ferry: the ferry route from Stromboli to Panarea is available with up to 15 daily crossings from the 2 ports of Stromboli. The duration of the trip varies between 25 minutes and 45 minutes.
  • Salina to Filicudi ferry: the route to the island of Filicudi from Salina is served around 6 times a day. Ferries from the ports of Santa Marina and Rinella arrive in 25 minutes to 1.5 hours.
  • Filicudi to Alicudi ferry: the Filicudi - Alicudi ferry route is active year-round and is served more than 3 times a day. The duration of the trip may vary between 25 and 55 minutes, depending on the crossing and the time of the year.

Houses at the port of Filicudi, Aeolian Islands, Italy

The characteristic harbor of Filicudi

The most popular crossings for island hopping in the Aeolian Islands

You can get creative and discover the Aeolian Islands in countless ways. Whether you're looking for a brief escape or have plenty of days to spare, make sure to visit as many Aeolian Islands as you can.

Below, you can find some recommendations for an unforgettable trip to the Aeolian Archipelago.

Day trip to the Aeolian Islands

The Aeolian Archipelago is perfect for a unique and comfortable island-hopping experience, thanks to the connections between the islands. We highly recommend planning a day trip to Salina or Vulcano.

Excursion from Lipari to Salina

A great idea is to plan a day trip from Lipari to Salina. Out of the Aeolian Islands, Lipari is undeniably the most popular one, thanks to its natural beauty and visitor amenities.

Before getting on the ferry to Salina, make sure to visit some of the best attractions Lipari has to offer. You can begin exploring the historic center and the castle of the island, which are rather close to the port. Wander through its scenic alleys, admire the monasteries and churches, and hike to the Geophysical Observatory for great views of the archipelago!

The port of Lipari and its castle in the background, Italy

The magical port of Lipari and its castle

The ferry to Salina from Lipari stops at the port of Rinella and then resumes its journey to the port of Santa Marina. We recommend booking one of the earlier departures to have as much time on the island as possible.

The duration of the trip ranges from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours, depending on the itinerary. The price of a standard ticket is around €8-13, depending on the company and the port of arrival.

Once you arrive in Rinella, head to the paths leading to the church Madonna del Terzito. On your journey there, you can admire the green landscapes of Salina, its olive trees, capers and vineyards, known for producing the famous Malvasia wine. Continue to the small beach of Pollara, which appeared in the movie Il Postino. Explore its beautiful waters and admire views of the neighboring islands of Filicudi and Alicudi.

In Malfa, a gorgeous seaside village on the north coast of the island, you can find the beautiful Scario beach, which is only a 10-minute walk from the village. If you’re a fan of history, don’t forget to visit the prehistoric village Portella, with remains dating back to the Bronze Age and breathtaking views. You can then continue your journey to the mystifying Grotte dei Saraceni (Saracen Caves).

Before you return to Lipari, make sure to stop at the Wine Museum, found in the historic center, and then try out Salina’s cuisine at one of its traditional restaurants. Our personal favorite? The reputable pane cunzato (bread with olive oil, oregano, tomatoes and anchovies)!

The beach of Pollara in Salina, Italy

The famous little beach of Pollara in Salina

Excursion from Lipari to Vulcano

The ferry journey from Lipari to Vulcano is a popular option for day trips in the Aeolian Islands. There are up to 20 daily crossings in the high season and if you choose a flying dolphin, you can get there in 10 minutes. Ferry tickets from Lipari to Vulcano cost around €6-9.

One of the most memorable experiences in Vulcano is reaching the crater of its volcano. Though getting there might take a while, this unique location and its view are guaranteed to steal your heart.

From the port, you can also walk to the nearby lake and enjoy relaxing moments with its healing mud. Make sure to explore the peninsula of Vulcanello and the beautiful rock formations at the Valley of Monsters.

After such a long day, full of seaside adventures, climbing and visiting unique landscapes, it’s time to return to Lipari by ferry. The last itinerary from Vulcano usually leaves shortly after 20:00!

Panoramic view from the crater of the volcano, Vulcano, Italy

The extraordinary panorama from a crater on the island's volcano

Multi-day holidays in the Aeolian Islands

Do you have plenty of days or even a week to spend on the wonders of the Aeolian Islands? You can then combine multiple islands in one booking on our Map of ferries and plan the island-hopping journey that your heart desires.

Continue reading to learn everything about 2 island-hopping tours in the Aeolian Islands:

1st Tour: Salina - Panarea - Stromboli

We suggest that you spend at least 3 days in Salina, 1 in Panarea and at least 2 in Stromboli.

Salina is probably the greenest island of the complex and deserves all your time and attention, as it’s a relatively large island. Its unspoiled beauty, gorgeous views and mouth-watering cuisine deem Salina a perfect destination for all kinds of travelers.

From Salina, you can visit Panarea, the smallest of the islands. The Salina - Panarea ferry route lasts 25 minutes to 1 hour 50 minutes, depending on the itinerary.

Romantic, with lush greenery and modern elements, Panarea is a magical place. You can easily get around on foot, crossing the white alleys of Punta del Corvo, its highest district. You can also go on a boat tour to nearby islets and enjoy rewarding views.

After Panarea, it’s time to welcome the island of Stromboli! Or, to be exact, for Stromboli to welcome you with its colorful beauty.

Go for a walk to the square of San Vincenzo, wander through the narrow streets of the city center and visit the historic church of San Bartolomeo. Interested in hiking? Climb to the top of Stromboli to admire its natural beauty along the way. You can also travel from Stromboli to Ginostra by ferry in 10 minutes and enjoy moments of pure tranquility.

Once you’re done with your explorations, catch a ferry to the port that best suits your needs. There are daily crossings to mainland ports, such as Naples, and Sicilian ports, like Milazzo and Messina.

Tip: if you travel to Vulcano at the end of the summer, don’t miss out on the lively festival of Vulcania, named after Vulcan, the Roman god of fire!

The wreck of Lisca Biana in Panarea, Italy

The wreck of Lisca Bianca, found close to the island of Panarea

2nd Tour: Salina - Filicudi - Alicudi

Our second recommendation also includes Salina as a starting point, but the journey continues to the island of Filicudi and concludes in Alicudi.

By catching the earliest ferry from the port of Santa Marina, you can reach Filicudi at around 09:00. With more than 246,000 years worth of history, Filicudi is considered the most “ancient” of the Aeolian Islands.

You can walk through its paths, visit historic villages, such as Capo Graziani and Zucco Grande, and admire the archaeological remains in Le Macine. It’s worth joining a boat tour to visit Scoglio della Canna and Grotta del Bue Marino, and go for a refreshing swim.

It’s time to leave Filicudi behind and take the ferry to the neighboring Alicudi. In less than 30 minutes, you can reach the heavenly island where time has stopped. There, you can find areas with limited amenities and prohibited circulation of vehicles, so we suggest that you’ve got all you need in advance.

From the port, you can walk among the houses of the village, admire quaint views and reach the plateau of Montagnole, the highest point of Alicudi, in less than 20 minutes. The island includes 15 marked paths and hiking trails. Its coast is mostly rocky, with coves full of cacti.

Tip: you can easily see the highlights of Alicudi in one day and return to Salina by ferry in the evening.

Balcony overlooking the Aeolian Islands, Italy

Balcony overlooking the beautiful Aeolian Archipelago

Book cheap ferry tickets to the Aeolian Islands on Ferryhopper

On Ferryhopper, you can book ferry tickets to the Aeolian Islands with no hidden fees! Compare ferry itineraries, companies and prices, choose your next destination and get ready for unforgettable holidays in Italy!