Lipari town, Lipari, Aeolian Islands
The Islands

Cobbled streets and an imposing citadel in lively Lipari town

Aeolian Adventures

Welcome to Lipari

Just 9km long and 8km wide, Lipari is the most populated of the Aeolian islands and although it feels busy compared to sleepy Salina, still retains a charming unsophisticated feel. Tourism on Lipari has increased in recent years, and the island is a popular choice with Italians and an excellent base for island hopping with regular connections to the other islands.

Lipari’s first inhabitants settled on the island as far back as 5000BC and, as with much of Sicily, the island has a long history of invaders. Its location ensured its importance in terms of maritime trade and the natural resource of black volcanic obsidian was a valuable asset. Greeks arrived in the early 6th century BC, followed by Carthaginians, Romans, Arabs, Normans and the Spanish, whose legacy was the fortified walls around the castle today. In the 20’s and 30’s, Lipari was used as a detention centre for critics of Mussolini’s regime. Much of the island’s history has been uncovered at two main excavations sites where an astonishing collection of intact ceramics date back to early Greek and Roman civilisation. Other archaeological finds have been uncovered at the Necropolis Diana.

Explore Lipari Town

Lipari town is the only sizeable town across all seven islands, characterised by cobbled streets with trailing flowers and an impressive citadel. Lipari town’s main street, Corso Vittorio Emanuele, links the town’s two harbours, Marina Lunga and Marina Corta. Wander off from the main street down alleys and cobbled streets, past historic town houses, to the castle and the prettier of the two ports, Marina Corta. Here you’ll find a charming piazza, cafés and tiny artisan shops and views over brightly painted fishing boats bobbing on the glistening water.

The citadel is sandwiched between the two marinas, enclosed by ancient fortified walls and home also to Roman ruins and five churches, including the cathedral which has a 12th century Norman cloister. An excavated area inside the citadel shows the remains of different layers of civilisation in addition to ancient Greek ruins. However, the biggest draw is the archaeological museum where everything from theatrical terracotta masks to hundreds of amphorae, salvaged from a shipwreck at Capo Graziano, are on display.

Beaches on Lipari

Overall, the coastline is undeveloped and rather wild, with the most scenic bays only accessible by boat. Beaches on the island are generally pebbly.

Top beaches include Canneto, a long stony beach framed by an attractive bay and equipped in stretches with umbrellas and sun beds, and the long pebbly beach at Acquacalda, set against a white pumice mountain backdrop. Valle Muria Beach and Bianca Beach are also very beautiful, accessible by boat from Marina Corta port. In the south of the island, near to Punta Crepazza, the partly sandy beach has crystal-clear water which is heavenly for snorkellers.

A natural paradise

Inky blue waters, thermal springs and a mountainous interior make the island a clear winner with nature-lovers.  The landscape is essentially Mediterranean, with rocky cliffs and a coastal footpath between the Terme di San Calogero and the quarry at Bagnosecco where powder from the pumice caves gives the sea a translucent turquoise appearance.

Thermal springs and fumaroles are also very much part of the island. The last eruption was 1400 years ago but the island’s geology is still largely determined by the ancient obsidian flow from a crater on the northern part of the island and the huge deposits of pumice. The obsidian, important for building tools, was first mined by the Greeks. Pumice, which was used for tools and weapons, defined Lipari as a centre for tools and trading but mining halted when the island gained UNESCO World Heritage status.

Getting to Lipari

Lipari is the largest island and its port is the busiest in terms of hydrofoil and ferry connections. Travel by hydrofoil from the ports of Messina, Milazzo, and Palermo on Sicily, or from Naples and Reggio Calabria on the mainland. Connections are frequent with the shortest crossing from Milazzo taking 1.05 hours.

Hotels in Lipari

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