The 6 Best Island Tours in Sicily, Italy

Photo of Aubrey Martin
21 November 2017

Sicily is surrounded by a trail of exotic islands that provide incredible vistas, vibrant towns, and historical landmarks and ruins galore. Whether you crave climbing the ridge of a sleeping volcano, or pacing through colourful shops, criss-crossing alleyways, or discovering ancient artifacts and antiquities, the islands encircling Sicily have something for everyone. How do you go about deciding which island tour is best for you though? This guide will paint a picture of different jaunts to partake in during your stay in this beautiful area.


One of the most fulfilling trips you can accompany is the ferry boat ride from the popular port of Messina, around the rocky and cave-ridden islands of Lipari. You will cascade through turquoise waters, marvel at the sun bleached boulders and mountainous islets, you can spend the afternoon lapping up seasonal gelato flavours, and walking the classic angular alleyways. You can explore the Lipari Cathedral that sits at the end of a steep stairwell, and offers a magnificent view of the entire island and expanse of striking cityscape. This area is surrounded by interesting archaeological museums, a miniature Greek style amphitheatre, plus other cafés and attractions.

Lipari | ©Aubrey Martin


If you’re intrigued by the idea of walking along the crest of a dormant volcano, the island of Vulcano will prove beyond satisfactory. After departing from Messina, another cruise through the sparkling blue Mediterranean will take you to this rustic island. Once docked, you have a variety of activities to fill your day. Not only can you climb the vertical summit of the quiescent peak and get a towering perspective of the island, you can stroll the unique black sand beach Baia Negra, or sooth your skin in the simmering sulfur mud baths while enjoying the view of the serene seaside. After filling your day with activities you can wolf down some local cuisine at any of the bustling caées and bars in this blissful town.

Baia Negra | ©Aubrey Martin


In the case that you are an extreme daredevil, a visit to the island of Stromboli is absolutely necessary. On this thrilling endeavour you will be provided appropriate shoes, helmets, and flash lights required to take on this exciting trek. Most guides offer the option between a morning or evening excursion in which to digest this daunting sight, and admire its different affects depending on the time of day. You will also have the opportunity to explore the black sandy beach and rummage through the small village residing there.

Stromboli | ©Veronique Mergaeux


Another inhabitant of the Aeolian Islands is Panarea, one of the most heavenly of jewels in the collection of model archipelagos. Panarea has gained a name for being chic and attracts celebrities and tourists alike, year-round. The charming island is best for relaxing on the beach, ambling through burgeoning gardens, and exploring old mule paths and agricultural platforms. You can discover the Bronze Age settlement of Capo Milazzese that provokes a sense of ancient ways of life, and other narrow stretches of land to hike through, offering up majestic views of the island. Otherwise spend your tour moseying through the cheerful shops, and enjoying aperitifs at any of the local bars.

Rock formation near Panarea | ©Aubrey Martin


One of the smaller islands belonging to the chain of seven sisters, Salina is the most green and flourishing of the bunch. It became famous due to the 1994 film Il Postino that had been filmed on its unspoiled shores. Cruise ships running from Milazzo will deliver you to the winding vineyards and caper bushels, glistening pebble beaches, and bobbing fishing boats. You can venture through the rolling verdant hills, visit the pulsing city of Malfa, go snorkeling in their clear waters to observe underwater volcanoes and craters, or enjoy the local cuisine of fresh fish, salty capers, and sip on Malvasia delle Lipari, a sweet wine that the island is known for.

Rock formation near Salina | ©Aubrey Martin


Although all the islands belonging to the Tyrrhenian Sea vie for your attention, Filicudi captures the essence of tranquility, and has the feel of being untouched by humanity. After docking at one of their two diminutive ports you will be taken aback by the quiet and peace that encapsulates the island. Here you can admire the bright hues of the foliage and greenery while exploring the age-old cultivation and plains that create the space, submerge into the renowned Grotte del Bue Marino, or investigate La Canna – a magnificent spire that appears to pierce the sky from the serene Mediterranean. Overall, Filicudi is a break from the hustle and bustle of travel.

Filicudi, Salina | ©Emanuele Longo/Flickr

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