Sicily and the Aeolian Islands

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Sicily and the Aeolian Islands

Sicily can sometimes be off British sailors radars when it comes choosing where to spend you summer sailing holiday; but with terrific scenery, weather and sailing it's not to be missed.

The Aeolian Islands are a pretty special place with their rugged and volcanic landscapes; the seven islands are linked by a vast 200km ridge from Mt Etna to Mt Vesuvius. As a result of the Aeolian Islands volcanic landscapes, they have been UNESCO listed; so pretty special.

Sailing Sicily and its Aeolian Islands are great for crews who are adventurous as much as in their exploration as their taste buds; this is the only place in the Mediterranean where you can anchor your yacht and watch a live volcano in action.

Where can we sail from?

There are three different bases from which to choose from to sail into the Aeolian Islands.

Palermo (30 minutes from Palermo airport) – The base at Palermo has modern facilities and is within walking distance of a mini market to stock up for your sail.

Portorosa (2 hours and 20 minute from Palermo airport or 1 hour 50 minutes from Catania airport) – Portorosa Marina is surrounded by canals and restaurants, with a mini market inside the marina.

Sant Agata (1 hour 45 minutes' drive from Palermo airport) – Sant Agata di Millitello is a small port with a few facilities and is also in a good position to sail into the Aeolian Islands.

So, tell me what's the weather and wind like?

In the summer months the winds and weather on the northern and western side of Sicily is typically Mediterranean. The prevailing wind is a North Westerly with an average of a force 3 to 4.

As with most Mediterranean destinations the warmest time of year to visit is during July and August with temperatures at their highest, then in the shoulder months of May and October it hovers around the 20's.

What should I budget for mooring fees?

In Italy the mooring fees vary according to yacht length and also when in the season you are sailing. As a general rule high season runs from June to August, sometimes until mid-September – each marina has a different season.

The costs of mooring fees for a 39ft yacht range from €30 to upwards of €100 per night, with prices sometimes rising to double the cost when staying over a weekend. When sailing in Italy there are anchorages available, some of the better anchorages have mooring buoys which you do have to pay for, but are less expensive than a marina.

The cost of taxis and private transfers in Italy can be expensive, so where possible our top tip would be to reach your destination by train.

How can I get there?

EasyJet fly from London Gatwick and Ryan Air fly from London Stanstead. If you're choosing to sail from Portorosa you can also fly into Catania airport with Norwegian Air, British Airways and EasyJet from London Gatwick.

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