Italy: Sicily and Aeolian Islands
8 days / 7 nights or 11 days / 10 nights | Ship Sundial | Guided/self-guided bike tours
Be enchanted by this spectacular cruise among the extraordinary Aeolian islands. On board a charming caique – a traditional fishing boat – you’ll discover these volcanic islands, today part of the UNESCO World Heritage list. Starting from Milazzo on the north-east coast of Sicily, your first stop will be the island of Vulcano. The journey continues to Panarea, with its large rocky ridges. In the background you’ll admire the continuous explosive activity of the Stromboli volcano. We then head to Salina, where you can’t miss tasting a typical Sicilian granita! Finally, enjoy a tour around the charming island of Lipari.
Get ready to experience a truly active journey combining exploration with relaxation. On our cycling and walking tours, you’ll enjoy the wonders of the Aeolian Islands, also known as the “pearls of Sicily.”
Highlights of this cycling cruise
✔ In the heart of the Mediterranean Sea
✔ Visit 5 Aeolian Islands
✔ Explore UNESCO World Heritage landscapes
✔ Barge with max. 12 passengers
Day 1: Embarkation Milazzo
Individual arrival and meeting at 3.30 pm at Catania airport, where you’ll be transferred to Milazzo harbor. Embarkation is at 6 pm at the Marina di Nettuno in Milazzo. Get to know your crew and accommodation on board, and enjoy a welcome drink, dinner and presentation of the program. Overnight in the harbor of Milazzo.
Day 2: Milazzo (Cycling 15 km / 9 miles)
Today you’ll cycle towards Capo Milazzo, where you’ll have the chance to bathe in the wonderful “Venus Pool”, a protected natural sea pool. Once back in Milazzo, you can visit the castle and its ancient hamlet. We’ll stay the night in the harbor of Milazzo.
Day 3: Milazzo – Vulcano Island | Vulcano, roundtrip (Cycling 20 km/12.7 mi.)
Today your caique Sundial will start navigating towards the island of Vulcano, the so-called “Sulphur Island,” where by bike you’ll explore the island’s hinterland around Piano Grillo, an ideal place to admire an amazing landscape. Then enjoy free time in the afternoon, with plenty of interesting suggestions: walk up to the crater of the volcano, take a mud bath at the island’s sulphur beach, or you can even swim among underwater fumaroles (volcanic vents). Overnight in the harbor of Vulcano.
Day 4: Vulcano – Panarea – Stromboli (3h30 walking)
After breakfast we head towards Panarea, stopping for a swim close to the little islands of Lisca Bianca, Bottara and Dattilo, where volcanic activity is still clearly visible. Once in Panarea, the smallest of the Aeolian Islands, you’ll have lunch at anchor in a picturesque bay. Then the caique, Sundial, will navigate towards Stromboli, with a superb view over the Sciara del Fuoco, Stromboli’s famous talus scree, which sometimes still features lava flows. In the late afternoon, we’ll take a walking trip up to 400mt (1312 ft) above sea level to admire the volcanic activity at dusk. Then we’ll enjoy a picnic dinner at a scenic panoramic viewpoint. Tonight we’ll stay in a sheltered anchorage at Stromboli.
Day 5: Stromboli – Panarea (2h30 walking) | Panarea – Salina
After breakfast, we’ll navigate back towards Panarea. After dropping anchor in the bay of Porto San Pietro, we’ll enjoy a pleasant walk to visit the little village of Panarea, as well as Drautto Beach and its prehistoric village. We’ll stop for a picnic lunch at Cala Junco and then return back on board. Afterwards, we’ll head towards the island of Salina, where you can visit a local shop and sample local products. Overnight in the harbor of Salina.
Day 6: Zelo – Salina (Cycling. 20 km/12.7 mi.) | Salina – Lipari
Today, you’ll start cycling directly on the island of Salina. From Santa Marina on the east coast, you’ll ride to Pollara, a panoramic point on the west coast, where you’ll visit the lake of Lingua. In Pollara you can try a delicious, refreshing granita. Back on board, the Sundial will navigate to the island of Lipari, where you can stroll around its charming village. Overnight in the harbor of Lipari.
Day 7: Lipari (Cycling 25 km/16 mi.) | Lipari – Milazzo
After breakfast, you’ll experience a wonderful coast-to-coast bike ride. Starting from the hamlet of Lipari, you’ll pass by the beautiful village and beach of Canneto. Stop for your picnic lunch at the panoramic point at Quattrocchi and then return to Lipari’s historical center, rich in shops and restaurants. Back on board, Sundial will navigate to Milazzo. Enjoy your last dinner at one of Milazzo’s many restaurants and overnight in the harbor of Milazzo.
Day 8: Disembarkation: Milazzo
Check-out at 9am after breakfast and collective transfer to Catania airport. Arrival in Catania airport will be around 12 midday.
Optional Extension program
Day 8: Milazzo Porto – Villafranca Tirrena | Villafranca Tirrena – Messina (40 km/25 mi)
End of tour by caique, and transfer by minivan from Milazzo Porto to Villafranca Tirrena.
Upon arrival in Villafranca, you’ll pick up your bike and start cycling with a digital “Roadbook” in the direction of Messina. Along the way, you’ll follow the entire northeast coast of Sicily, riding along the old state road 113. Passing through the Calamona pine forest and the small village of Spartà, you’ll reach Capo Peloro and the small village of Torre Faro. There, you can admire one of the most beautiful beaches in Messina, but also the Pilone, a huge tower 232 meters high (761 ft) towering over the town. It may not be beautiful, but the locals are fond of it and see it as one of the symbols of the town. It stands at the closest point between the Sicilian and Calabrian coasts (on the Strait of Messina). In the village of Torre Faro, you can cool off with a typical Messina granita, a sweet frozen desert.
Departing from Torre Faro in the direction of Messina, you’ll can stop to admire the two lakes of Ganzirri and Faro, a Protected Nature Reserve. Next, you’ll take the dedicated cycle path toward the city center, where, following our Roadbook, you’ll reach the market square and the cathedral, where you’ll see one of the largest astronomical clocks in the world. It’s not much further to your B&B and the end of your cycling day.
Dinner is not included, so you can try a local restaurant in Messina. Overnight stay at Emme B&B or similar.
Day 9: Messina – Giampilieri Marina | Giampilieri Marina – Taormina (35 km/22 mi)
Breakfast at the “Delia” bar affiliated with the B&B, end of breakfast transfer by minivan from Messina B&B Emme to Giampilieri Marina.
After delivery of the bikes, we’ll start our cycling route toward Taormina. We’ll follow the old state road 114, passing Capo Alì and continuing along the seafronts of the various old seaside villages of the Ionian Coast until we reach the Castle of Capo Sant’Alessio. We will then descend to Taormina and Mazzarò Beach, near the legendary Mount Etna.
Dinner is not included, but there are plenty of restaurants to choose from in Taormina. Overnight stay at Hotel Baia Azzurra Taormina or similar.
Day 10: Taormina – Alcantara Gorge – Riposto | Riposto – Catania (43 km/27 mi)
After breakfast at the hotel, you’ll depart by bicycle from Taormina to the Alcantara Gorges. Turning away from the coast, you’ll take state road 185 to Alcantara Gorge Natural Fluvial Park. There, in addition to a lunch stop, you can descend into the Gorge and, depending on the time of year, enjoy its small beach and take a swim in the Alcantara River.
On the way back, you’ll reach the seafront beach of Marina Cottone. From here you’ll move on to the town of Riposto, where we suggest a visit to the fish market.
After returning the bikes and a private transfer from Riposto to Catania, you can enjoy a free afternoon visiting Catania’s historic centre.
Dinner is not included, so try out the local specialties in Catania. Overnight stay at La Collegiata Hotel or similar.
Day 11: Catania
Breakfast at the hotel, marking the end of this optional extension. Transfer from your hotel in Catania to Catania Airport.
Good to know
- Cycling route distances in the travel program are approximate.
- If you prefer not to cycle on a particular day, you’re welcome to stay and relax on board.
- The tour itinerary and route are subject to possible changes due to nautical, technical or meteorological reasons, or other unforeseen events.
- A detailed cycling map and a GPS app are available for guests who wish to cycle individually and at their own pace. The tour guide is always available via cell phone in case of questions, breakdowns or emergencies.