How to get to Aeolian Islands: practical information

Are you in Sicily and the temptation to visit the Aeolian Islands is strong? Well, plan your trip and treat yourself to a relaxing time in these beautiful islands. The Aeolian archipelago consists of 7 islands which are all different in morphology and types of attractions: Vulcano, Salina, Lipari, Panarea, Stromboli, Alicudi, Filicudi.

A view of the 7 Aeolian Islands
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The best months to enjoy Aeolian Islands are June and September. July and August are peak season so consider your budget. They are also the most crowded months.

If you are in Sicily there are several ways to get to Aeolian Islands:

  • BY CAR: Have you hired a car for a tour of Sicily? Great, because trains do not work in Sicily, avoid them in advance. I recommend to go to Milazzo, from where ferries leave. When you arrive at Milazzo port, you have to park your car. Here are 2 solutions:

Blue strips at a cost of about €4 per day (recommended only if your visit to the islands lasts 1 day);

Guarded parking at a price of €10 – €15 per day (among the most well-known parks Al parcheggio delle isole or Central garage). At Milazzo harbor there is always someone who will you ask you to park. He will take you to the parking by a mini bus.

  • BY BUS: there is a direct bus service from Catania airport to Milazzo port, but it is seasonal and works only from April 1 to September 30. You can always catch Giuntabus bus but you’ll get to Messina station, then you have to change bus when in Piazza della Repubblica in Messina to get to Milazzo. Here you will find all the timetables. You can buy the ticket at the Sais Autolinee ticket office, which is at the airport . The journey time is approximately 2 hours.

If you are in Catania, you can leave from Catania (Via Libertà) catching Sais Bus to get to Messina (not Milazzo). When you are here you have to change your bus.

NOTE: AMT Alibus is a bus service that gets you from the center of Catania to the airport!

Next step is how to get to Aeolian Islands from Milazzo. Hydrofoil or ship? Choose the hydrofoil, which is operated by Liberty Lines and SIREMAR companies and it takes 1 hour. The first stop is Vulcano. During the low-mid season, you can book the hydrofoil directly in Milazzo. Just in front of the port of Milazzo there is the ticket office. The cost is about €18, one way. You can also book via the web.

TIP: Do not catch the ship because it takes 2 hours to arrive!

Aeolian Islands
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To visit all the islands and fully enjoy them you need at least a week. Decide which island you want to visit and consider that the ticket is not so cheap. You can also opt for a mini cruise, operated by Tarnav (eg. the tour of Panarea and Stromboli cost €45 per person).

Are you confused because you do not know which Aeolian Island to choose for your stay? I will write a post to help you! Stay tuned! 😉






8 replies
  1. Alison says:

    Hi Maria,
    Thanks for this information!

    Do you know if it’s still possible to park your car in Milazzo when you arrive at the port? And if the Guarded Parking is still an option at a price of €10 – €15 per day (Al parcheggio delle isole or Central garage)? I know it’s been a few years since you wrote this article so I’m not sure if anything has changed.

    Thank you so much !
    Your website has been really helpful in planning my upcoming trip 🙂


    • Maria Orlando says:

      Hi Alison!!

      Thanks for contacting me and I am so happy you found out useful info on my blog 🙂

      Yes, you can always park there and parking prices start from about €11. I always say my readers that prices can change. They usually become higher, and almost never lower.

      Feel free to contact me if you need other info! 🙂


      • Alison says:

        Great- thank you Maria !!
        I appreciate the help and may reach out to you soon for some other tips. 🙂


  2. Clo says:

    Hi Maria – Me again!!!
    Could you please advise me whether we can do a 1-day tour of the Aeolian Islands? I’d like to see one of them (Lipari, Panarea or Vulcano) and Stromboli. My Italian friend told me there were daily tours of the islands but I’m having a hard time finding something in English online. I only found 1 way ferry trips instead of an organised tour.
    That would be for March 18th.
    Thanks a lot!!!

    • Maria Orlando says:

      Hey Clo!

      Yes, when you arrive at Milazzo you can choose to have 1-day tour of the Aeolian Islands (or more days). There are brochures everywhere at the port and at the tourists office, or where you buy the tickets. My advise is not to choose among Aeolian Islands tours on Internet, some of them are too expensive!! It’s not worth it! And yes, there is no much information in English, this is why here I am! lol

      If you want you can choose a mini cruise by Tarnav or Navisal companies. Their sites are in English.

      Please, check out my article about practical info to get to Aeolian Islands.

      It will be easier when you will be there, don’t worry!

      Please, remind that prices and timetables are subject to change. It is something often happens in Italy. Always check it out! Ok?

      • Clo says:

        For some reason I was never notified that you answered me so I’m not sure I’ve checked all your answers, sorry about that!
        It’s almost travel time now, I’m planning more details!

        Thanks for your answer on this – we may just drive to Milazzo and hope we find a cruise there!!! It was more about times and getting this right since we don’t have that much free time!

        I heard that Etna has started erupting again, does that mean we cannot climb it now? Is all access blocked? I was also looking for a half day or day organised tour.
        Thanks again a million!!!

  3. Thomas Debono says:

    Pls can you tell me which are the best islands to views and if there are a ticket to buy to view them all. Thanks alot

    • Maria Orlando says:

      Hi Thomas!

      Yes, there are many excursions to see some of them and you can buy the ticket with your favourite combination in Milazzo. From here ferries leave every day to get to Aeolian Islands! The choice depends on what you want to do there! The most traditional islands are: Salina, here is my itinerary > It is called the green island and it is my favourite island. Panarea is very chic and small (you can see it in one day), Vulcano is famous for wild nature, volcano and its curative muds, Stromboli is very characteristic and lovely (the volcano is active and there is ainteresting excursion by night). Lipari is not traditional as the other islands but a good start point to visit the other islands. I don’t recommend Alicudi and Filicudi because they are far. Hope it helps 🙂

      All the best

      Maria, xxx


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