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Stunning Sicily Yacht Charters,
by Seamaster

Discover the wonderful Aeolian Islands of Sicily on a crewed or independent sailing holiday

Welcome

Sailing Sicily, rugged, dramatic and wonderful

➣ Outstanding natural beauty

These islands are a stunning example of dramatic natural beauty and power. Formed from still active volcanoes, you'll love sailing amongst this striking geography.

➣ Off the beaten track

This is not a touristy destination. Here you'll sail from island to island, visiting small island villages, absorbing the undeveloped islands, empty bays and grand geography.

➣ Stunning local cuisine

Sicilian cuisine reflects the array of conquerors over the millennia: Greek tyrants, Norman knights, Byzantine bishops, Roman Emperors and Arab emirs have all left their mark.

➣ Balanced sailing conditions

Generally balanced sailing conditions with prevailing winds from the north-east or north-west. Stronger winds can be felt early and late season.

Description

Snapshots of sailing in Sicily

Sicily presents a wonderful tapestry of culture, not least of all through its wonderful people, food and architecture. The sailing area around Sicily is truly unique, fantastic sailing conditions combine with a breath-taking backdrop of erupting volcanoes, traditional island villages, black sand beaches and a historic cross-road of cultures best experienced through the wonderful and varied cuisine.

Sicily is historically cosmopolitan, having been been ruled by a range of civilisations including Greek tyrants, Arab emirs, Norman knights, Byzantine bishops and Roman Emperors. Notwithstanding this, Sicily actually plays second fiddle to the primary sailing ground, the Aeolian Islands. Located 25 miles off the north east of Sicily, the Aeolians are part of a 200km long chain of volcanic islands (that include Mt Etna and Mt Vesuvius), which offer a dramatic backdrop to a sailing holiday.

 

A Sicily yacht charter is dominated by the Aeolian Island group, which is formed of seven islands; Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Alicudi and Filicudi. On the northern coast of Sicily, other than our bases, there is also the lovely town of Cefalu, which is well worth a visit, particularly to break up the trip to and from Palermo.

 

Lonely Planet describes the Aeolian Islands as the “European Holy Grail for island lovers”, with diverse attractions that include active volcanoes (you can see flowing lava as your sail by), rugged coastlines, small traditional villages and exclusive top-end bars and restaurants. The collective beauty of the Aeolian Islands was recognised in 2000, when they were awarded a place on Unesco’s World Heritage list.

 

Lipari is the largest of the islands and has a lively main street with shops, restaurants, bars and is overlooked by a 16th century castle. Panarea is the smallest and most exclusive of the island group, attracting wealthy Italians and Europeans who enjoy filling their days with ‘dolce far niente’ (sweet nothing).

 

Vulcano is barren and dry, with thermal hot springs, mud baths, fumaroles and black sand beaches. Escape the unexciting city centre with a walk up to the Fossa di Vulcano, the volcanic peak. Stromboli is permanently active, with gases continuing to send up an almost constant spray of liquid magma. Salina is green and lush, offering stark relief from the other arid volcanic islands. It has steep ragged cliffs surrounding it, which plummet to lovely sandy beaches.

GALLERY

Snapshots of sailing in Sicily

SAILING ITINERARIES

Sicily Sailing Itineraries

1 Week - Aeolian Islands

Day 1 - Vulcano

Vulcano's volcanic nature has long been impressing visitors – the ancient Romans believed it to be the chimney of the fire god Vulcan's workshop and the island is today celebrated for its therapeutic mud baths and hot springs. The main drawcard however, remains the Fossa di Vulcano, or Gran Cratere (Large Crater), the steaming volcano that towers over the island's north eastern shores.

Day 2 – Filicudi

Filicudi measures less than 10 square kilometres and is the most ragged of this group of islands. It’s a quiet holiday island and the two small villages lie on a small peninsula stretching out towards the south. Remains of prehistoric settlements from the Bronze Age have also been found here.

Day 3 - Salina

Salina is the second largest island in the Aeolian group. In stark contrast to the exposed volcanic terrain of the other Aeolian Islands, Salina boasts a lush, verdant landscape. Woodlands, wildflowers, thick yellow gorse bushes and serried ranks of grape vines carpet its hillsides in vibrant colours and cool greens, while high coastal cliffs plunge into the breaking waters below.

2 Weeks - Aeolian and Egadi Islands

Emerging out of the blue haze like a menacing maritime pyramid, Stromboli's smoking silhouette conforms perfectly to one's childhood idea of a volcano. In fact, the island of Stromboli is just the tip of a vast underwater volcano that rises from the seabed 1476m below. The most captivating of the Aeolian Islands, it's a hugely popular daytrip destination as well as the summer favourite of designers Dolce and Gabbana.

Day 5 – Panarea

The ancient island of "Euonimo" is 3.5 sq km and is predominantly focussed on luxury tourism. The main village, Contrada San Pietro, consists of a picturesque group of white houses clustered along the eastern side of the island. The built-up area is crowned with olive trees and protected by huge walls.

Day 6 – Lipari

The largest, oldest, and most densely populated of the Aeolian Islands, Lipari is an ancient Greek acropolis where you can immerse yourself in rich culture and history at the settlement of Castello. Feast your eyes on the exquisitely-preserved Norman architecture of the 13th-century Lipari cathedral. Visit the Aeolian Museum in Lipari Town and indulge in some superb local wine at one of the vineyards located on the eastern coast. Cruise over to the small uninhabited island of Basiluzzo to enjoy some spectacular snorkelling and a charming lunch spot

Day 7 – Palermo

As with much of Sicily there is always more to a place than meets the eye. Palermo is no exception and we recommend you take the time to explore the back streets away from the bustling town centre to really appreciate what this town has to offer.

2 Weeks - Aeolian and Egadi Islands

Day 1 – Palermo

Sicily's main city is draped in a mantle of unpredictability and adventure: its streets are chaotic and its buildings are magnificently dishevelled. We’d recommend a thorough look around Palermo starting in the old city where you will find a wide mix of architectural styles thanks to the wave upon wave of invaders.

Day 2 – Cefalu

Cefalu is most famous for its two-towered Norman cathedral which dominates the town’s rooftops. Inside the cathedral you’ll find an interior decorated in lovely mosaics dating back to 1138. Towering above the town is a massive crag called the Rocca. The climb to the top is hard but the views make the effort well worth while!

Day 3 – Vulcano

Vulcano's volcanic nature has long been impressing visitors – the ancient Romans believed it to be the chimney of the fire god Vulcan's workshop and the island is today celebrated for its therapeutic mud baths and hot springs. The main drawcard however, remains the Fossa di Vulcano, or Gran Cratere (Large Crater), the steaming volcano that towers over the island's north eastern shores.

Day 4 – Panarea

The ancient island of "Euonimo" is 3.5 sq km and is predominantly focussed on luxury tourism. The main village, Contrada San Pietro, consists of a picturesque group of white houses clustered along the eastern side of the island. The built-up area is crowned with olive trees and protected by huge walls.

Day 5 – Stromboli

Emerging out of the blue haze like a menacing maritime pyramid, Stromboli's smoking silhouette conforms perfectly to one's childhood idea of a volcano. In fact, the island of Stromboli is just the tip of a vast underwater volcano that rises from the seabed 1476m below. The most captivating of the Aeolian Islands, it's a hugely popular daytrip destination as well as the summer favourite of designers Dolce and Gabbana.

Day 6 – Salina

Salina is the second largest island in the Aeolian group. In stark contrast to the exposed volcanic terrain of the other Aeolian Islands, Salina boasts a lush, verdant landscape. Woodlands, wildflowers, thick yellow gorse bushes and serried ranks of grape vines carpet its hillsides in vibrant colours and cool greens, while high coastal cliffs plunge into the breaking waters below.

Day 7 – Filicudi

Filicudi measures less than 10 square kilometres and is the most ragged of this group of islands. It’s a quiet holiday island and the two small villages lie on a small peninsula stretching out towards the south. Remains of prehistoric settlements from the Bronze Age have also been found here.

Day 8 – Alicudi

Alicudi is known as the ‘Island of Heather’ due to the pink blanket that covers its lavic surface in spring. This is the smallest and western-most of the inhabited Aeolian Islands and lies about 67 miles from Milazzo. Near the village there is a rise called "Timpone delle femmine' where women used to be hidden to prevent them from being kidnapped by the pirates during their raids.

Day 9 – Isola Delle Femmine

The English translation of Isola Delle Femmine means “The Island of Women” which is a little misleading as the town is actually located on mainland Sicily. It’s thought that the name originated in the 19th century when a plague slept through the local area and women and children were sent to the island just off the mainland in order to protect them.

Day 10 – Levanzo

Levanzo is the smallest of the three islands, covering an area of 5.82 square kilometres. The island has approximately 450 inhabitants who are concentrated around a tiny port. Levanzo is famous for the Grotta del Genovese with Neolithic cave paintings of animals and human figures.

Day 11 – Marettimo

Marettimo probably gets its name from the profusion of thyme on the island (mar – sea, timo – thyme) and is considered the most laidback of the three Egadi islands. It was an important observation point during the Roman times, hence the Casa Romana where it was easy to observe passing maritime traffic.

Day 12 – Favignana

The island of Favignana in situated approximately 7 kilometres west of the coast of Sicily and is the largest of the three principal Egadi Islands. It is famous for its tuna fisheries. Its name is derived from Favonio, an Italian name for the foehn wind.

Day 13 – San Vito Lo Capo

This town is located in a valley between two amazing mountains and is home to a well-known beach with is popular with the locals. The mountains are popular with climbers and have plenty of caves, unfortunately most of these need climbing gear to be accessed. If you happen to be visiting in May we recommend going to the beach as an International Kite Festival is held there.

Day 14 – Palermo

As with much of Sicily there is always more to a place than meets the eye. Palermo is no exception and we recommend you take the time to explore the back streets away from the bustling town centre to really appreciate what this town has to offer.

Day 1 : Milna

Pool Party

A beautiful protected bay on the West side of Brac. This town has stunning restaurants and a picturesque marina. We will arrive around midday when you can explore the town and have lunch before heading to Olife Club for a poolside party.

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Day 1 : Milna

Pool Party

A beautiful protected bay on the West side of Brac. This town has stunning restaurants and a picturesque marina. We will arrive around midday when you can explore the town and have lunch before heading to Olife Club for a poolside party.

itinerary-img1
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Day 1 : Milna

Pool Party

A beautiful protected bay on the West side of Brac. This town has stunning restaurants and a picturesque marina. We will arrive around midday when you can explore the town and have lunch before heading to Olife Club for a poolside party.

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More Advice

Helpful hints

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Wind Conditions

The prevailing winds around the Aeolian Islands during the summer tend to be easy breezes from NW or NE, although in calm weather sea breezes can be encountered from any direction blowing onto and between the islands. The climate when sailing in Sicily is typically Mediterranean, being dry and hot. Sicily is also quite far south in the Med, so enjoys a longer summer season as well, from April to October. Expect temperatures in the early 30s during peak season and temperatures in the early to mid 20s during May and October.

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How to Get Here

Fly into Sicily using Catania or Palermo Airports. Catania Airport is located on the east coast of Sicily, while Palermo Airport is on the north-west of the island. Our Sicily bases are on the northern coast of Sicily, so typically require a longer and more costly transfer than you may have experienced previously. Fortunately, the train system from either Palermo or Catania works well to all our charter bases and is much more affordable. When booking flights, ensure you leave enough time to train to the marina you are to board your yacht.

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Our Bases

We have three bases on the island of Sicily – Palermo, Cap d’Orlando and Portorosa. All three of these bases are located on the northern coast of the island and offer various benefits. Palermo is the largest and the capital city of Sicily. It has its own airport so the logistics of reaching the marina are straight forward. Do be aware, however, that it is quite a long sail to the Aeolian Islands. This can be broken up by visiting the pretty ‘mainland’ town of Cefalu. Cap d’Orlando is two hours drive east of Palermo, though is better (cheap and quickly) reached by train from the main Palermo station. A smaller village and marina, we believe the transfer east is well worth the effort as it does cut down on many, many hours of sailing time to get to and from the Aeolian Islands. Portorosa is located on the north eastern coast of Sicily, directly south of the Aeolian Islands. It is the closest base to the islands, though also the furtherest from any airports. A picturesque little marina, Portorosa has all the amenities that you’ll need to start an enjoyable sailing holiday.

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Mooring Fees

Mooring fees in Sicily are a mixed bag but you should expect to pay upwards of €400 per week on overnight stays. Prices are difficult to pin down at the best of times due to variable fees based on boat size, the time of year and sometimes your negotiation skills. This is an important point as we have heard of guests having lower mooring fee offers accepted. There is also the ability to anchor in some of the islands, (Porto di Ponente and Porto di Levante on Vulcano being two good examples).

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Sailing Qualifications

To charter bareboat in Italy you are required to have a valid sailing qualification issued by a recognised authority (e.g. RYA, ASA, IYT, USSA). This qualification should not have any restriction on daylight hours or distance sailing from shore. If you have an RYA Day Skipper certificate or similar, for example, we recommend you should also obtain the International Certificate of Competence (ICC), which is accepted. RYA Yacht Master is, of course, accepted.

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Money and Currency

The currency in Italy is the Euro. There are plenty of cash machines and bureau de change can be found on the larger islands, so withdrawing money and changing alternative currencies is possible. We recommend you arrive with some local currency to cover the first couple of days of your holiday. Cards are accepted in supermarkets but most restaurants and tourist shops tend to prefer cash.

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Language

The national language of Italy is Italian! However, English is widely spoken and understood throughout, especially within the service industry, including restaurant staff and taxi drivers. All Seamaster partners and crew speak English proficiently.

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Typical Sailing Weather in Sicily

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