Sunrise on Panarea
The Islands

Chic and car-free, Panarea is the ultimate stress-free escape

Aeolian Adventures

Welcome to Panarea

At just three kilometres in length and two kilometres wide, Panarea is the second smallest of the islands, with just one port. With a slightly glitzier feel than the other islands, the island is a favourite with the rich and famous, who arrive on jet-setting yachts seeking simplicity and tranquillity. Despite the size of the island, there’s a good selection of relatively upmarket hotels, such as the chic hotel Raya, as well as several mid-range hotels to choose from.  During July and August, expect some low-key late-night partying but at other times, Panarea is a heavenly escape from modern day life.

The island is immaculately kept, with narrow, cobblestone streets and flat-roofed whitewashed villas festooned with bright splashes of frangipani and hot pink bougainvillea overlook caper bushes and tiny vineyards. Don’t expect too much in the way of transport on Panarea: in place of cars, there are just a few golf carts which serve as the local taxis and police vehicles  In fact, walking is the best way to get around.

Beaches on Panarea

The island’s coastline is punctuated by a series of stunning bays with dramatic rock formations. Those in the know head for the beach at Zimmari where golden sands are lapped by clear water.

This protected marine area of Cala Junco, in fact a sunken crater, offers translucent water and encircled by high basalt cliff walls, is also one of the most beautiful coves of the whole archipelago. The funnel of the crater is still visible at the centre of the bay but it’s also a popular spot to idle away a couple of hours in the water.

Things to do on Panarea

By day, wander through the island’s white-walled lanes; at night, enjoy al fresco meals under impossibly starry night skies, even more dazzling thanks to the absence of nighttime street lighting on the island. You can explore much of the island via a now disused network of mule paths and for the more energetic, a walking route leads from the harbour to the island’s summit at Punta del Corvo. From here, there are views of both sides of the island.

Make tracks for the island’s only port, San Pietro, for some serious people-watching and some relatively tame retail therapy – unlike Capri, the island is pleasantly lacking in designer names. Stroll through the car-free whitewashed streets behind the harbour and feast on fresh seafood at one of the waterfront restaurants.  From San Pietro, you can walk to the beach at Zimmari, then continue along to the Bronze Age village of Capo Milazzese via a path carved through the rock face. The village still bears the remnants of some twenty-three dry-stone huts which look out over the beautiful rocky bay of Cala Junco.

Evenings are all about sitting on the sea-facing terrace of the Lisca Bianca hotel and sipping an aperitivo as the sun goes down. Once darkness falls, it’s hard to beat the night-time fireworks display offered up by the volcano on neighbouring Stromboli.

Getting to Panarea

Choose from a selection of ferries and hydrofoils from Messina and Milazzo on Sicily, with stops in Lipari or other Aeolian islands. The fastest crossing from Milazzo to Panarea is around 1hr 30 minutes.

Ferries also depart year round from Naples on the mainland, and during the summer months, from Reggio Calabria and Vibo Valentia in Italy’s southern region of Calabria.

Hotels in Panarea

Aeolian Adventures

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