Sicily need help with Aeolian Islands!!

Mar 15th, 2009, 03:56 PM
  #1  
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Sicily need help with Aeolian Islands!!

I am planning to fly into Catania, spend 3 nights in Siracusa, 4 in Taormina. Should I keep Taormina as my "home base" to see the Aeolian Islands, or plan a stay in Lipari or Salina (add 2 nights?). Then wanted to move to Cefalu (1 or 2 nights)and fly out of Palermo. If we stay in Aeolian should we ferry to Cefalu?? Trying to limit number of times we move hotels. Would love suggestions
lisaannmack is offline  
Mar 15th, 2009, 04:30 PM
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I say stay two nights in Lipari. I think it is too far to be an enjoyable day trip from Taormina, but the islands have frequent excursion boats among themselves.

In Lipari I stayed at Giardino Sul Mare, which overlooks the water and has the most beautiful views I've ever seen. It has steps down to the water, but no beach. It is about an 8 minute walk from the center of town. Great food, lovely grounds, nice pool.

I went to meetings at the Grand Hotel Arciduca, which is also very nice, a little more upscale than the Giardino (which has a more ``beachy resort'' vibe with wicker furniture and such). It is a few blocks inland, and has no views to speak of. About the same distance to town center.
capxxx is offline  
Mar 16th, 2009, 12:54 PM
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Hi Lisa,
Your post wasn't too clear. How many nights altogether? Would you stay 2 extra nights if you decided to go to the Aeolian Islands? If you have the extra time, I think you should take it, regardless of whether you stay in the islands or just do a day trip.
I'd also suggest at least 2 nights in Cefalu. If you decided to stay in Lipari and take the boat to Cefalu, I think it's a fairly long trip, so you'd miss a good part of a day in Cefalu. It's really a lovely little town and worth several days. You might want to do a hike up "La Rocca" while you're there. And there's a sandy beach right in town.

I did a day trip to Lipari and Vulcano from Taormina, and actually felt that it was sufficient to at least see the islands. Of course, if you want to stay overnight and go to the beach, that's a different story, but with 2 islands in 2 days, it's a lot of moving around.
I went to the museum up on the hill at Lipari and walked around the town and did some shopping, took lots of photos, had a bite to eat, and really didn't feel rushed. We then spent a few hours in Vulcano, which is really small and rather stark. There's an opportunity to take the sulphur baths or hike up the volcano, but it was so hot that day I just found a shady place to sit and relax.
There are plenty of boats between the islands throughout the day.
I took a "tour" from Taormina, but it only consisted of the bus ride to Milazzo, where we picked up the hydrofoil to Lipari, and then meeting up for the boat to Vulcano. The rest of the time was on our own, which was great.

You can also take a trip to Etna from Taormina. You can get to Agrigento from either Taormina or Cefalu, altho' Cefalu is probably closer.
panecott is online now  
Mar 18th, 2009, 03:21 AM
  #4  
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thank you so much panecott. you have been so helpful. sorry for not being clear. yes, I would want 4 nights in Taormina and then 2 additional nights in Aeolian islands (or just 6 total nights in Taormina w/ day trips to Aeolian). Thanks for the tip with Cefalu for 2 nights. Any hotel recommendations ($200-350a night). Most of the hotels seem to be by the beach instead of town, which doesn't seem far away. Didn't know which is a best place to be..in town or beach. Then that would only allow 1 night in Palermo, which I am ok with.
lisaannmack is offline  
Mar 19th, 2009, 02:27 PM
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Hi Lisa,
In Cefalu I stayed at a hotel outside of town, an easy 15 minute walk into town, which I did every day. It was the Hotel Kalura - beautifully situated right on the water, with its own private beach, pool, a wonderful terrace where you can have breakfast or just relax. Many rooms have balconies and sea views. I spent two weeks there taking an Italian course and it was really lovely. They also have bikes, scuba rentals, etc.
I can't recommend it wholeheartedly, but only b/c the owner was obnoxious - at least he was to me - and I'm loathe to send him any business. But things may have changed since I was there.
Anyway, I was given a single room with no view and when I asked for a change he was very nasty and said I had booked a single and that was that. I offered to pay for a double and he said they were all booked. He also said he'd let me know if anything opened up, but he never did. And I never bothered asking again. So, that was a turn off. Maybe he really didn't have any available rooms, but he should have been more gracious about it. I thought his attitude was terrible and I told him so. If it weren't for the fact that I had prepaid and the Italian course was given right at the hotel, I would have moved. There are a few other hotels right near the Kalura and he owns all of them as well.
But, as I said, everything else about the hotel was really lovely, and they serve typical Sicilian food. If not for that unpleasantness with the owner, it would have been perfect.
I don't know what the current price is, but when I was there, about 9-10 years ago, it was dirt cheap, unbelievably so. Of course, that was before the Euro, but it's probably still a good buy.
panecott is online now  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 04:43 PM
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Thank you so much again panecott for your suggestions. I looked at Hotel Alberi del Paradiso in Cefalu. Seemed like a good option. Still debating which Aeolian island to stay at (Lipari or Salina)or just trek from Taormina and save having to change hotels again. That way we would be going from Taormina to Cefalu at the end of 6 nights, which may be a little easier.
lisaannmack is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 05:14 PM
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The islands are magical. Stay in Lipari--if you can, take a day trip to Panarea
cmstraf is offline  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 06:06 PM
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You're welcome, Lisa.
Just one thing. In one of your posts you mentioned possibly staying 6 nights in Taormina and doing "day trips" to the islands.
If you're thinking of doing more than one day trip, then I think you'd probably be better off staying on one of the islands for the two nights, b/c you'd be spending a couple of hours each day traveling, when you could be just enjoying the islands. Good luck.
Wouldn't it be nice if all of life's decisions were this tough!

So, maybe that's something to bear in mind when deciding what to do.
panecott is online now  
Mar 22nd, 2009, 08:00 PM
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I too recommend staying on Lipari. As cmstraf writes, the Aeolians are magical. I was there for a week and could have stayed longer. Nowhere quite like it. Here are some photos, if you're interested: http://jmstudio.fotopic.net/c1461898.html
julia1 is offline  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:47 AM
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Beautiful pictures, Julia.
panecott is online now  
Mar 23rd, 2009, 08:54 AM
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I honestly can't think of the value of doing a day trip to the Aeolian Islands, other than to say you've been there. We spent a delightful 5 nights in Lipari, hopping around to the other major islands. There is much to do and enjoy. I'd definitely go for the two nights there at the minimum.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 03:09 AM
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OK, thanks everyone (Julia, those pictures were a definite sell)! We are going to stay in Lipari for a couple of days at least..maybe even skip Cefalu to stay there more!
lisaannmack is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 04:04 AM
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Julia those pics are spectacular! I put the Aeolians on my own list!

Is there a big difference between Lipari and Salina? I have a friend who insists that Salina is the best place to stay..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 04:12 AM
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None of the islands are what you'd call "big city" or "bustling", but Lipari has the bulk of the population, the tourists, the restaurants, the center for all the boats, and (limited) nightlife. All of the islands are very low key and laid back, but Salina is perhaps the most laid back of all. If you really want to get away and veg out, I suppose Salina is great. If you want a little more activity, then Lipari is certainly the answer.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Mar 24th, 2009, 04:17 AM
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Thanks! they really look lovely. But with only one week they are a bit out of my geographical range, I think..
ekscrunchy is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 05:39 AM
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Julia and NeoPatrick,
Any suggestions of hotels on Lipari. Was thinking of Hotel Tritone??
lisaannmack is offline  
Mar 29th, 2009, 07:36 AM
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We were doing a very extended trip (three months total) and went budget. We stayed at a small, but delightful place pretty much in the center of town -- the Hotel Poseidon.
NeoPatrick is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 05:57 AM
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Hi Lisaannmack. Just happened upon your post. Did you finish your trip? I am planning to do the same & was wondering what island & hotel you decided to stay in. Thanks!
studiommi is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 06:48 AM
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Just some info on the Aeolians. Vulcanoconsult.it/Lipari.asp is a good site for accomodations (hotels/apartments) Page comes up on apartments, but you can just click on "hotels." Site is also in English. For Cefalu, check out conventisicilia.it There is a lovely convent right at the point. The good nuns don't speak english, but manage good communication. If you go to Lipari for one day, you won't think there is much to do. If you go for a week, you will find out you don't have enough time on the islands. Really, magical.
TravMimi is offline  
Apr 26th, 2009, 10:09 AM
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Sicily is best done slowly. Having some sort of "home" base and exploring the area from there is ideal for this area. 4 days seems like a bit much in Taormina, for me. I would recommend a couple more days in Siracusa, exploring the area more fully: Ortigia, Siracusa Archaeological sites, Noto, Modica, Ragusa then moving onto Taormina, visiting Mt. Etna(maybe a winery or two up there). The weather should be great for your visit, and there are some breathtaking white sandy beaches(Fontane Bianche, Aranella, San Lorenzo). There are a couple of great places to stay near the sea, Masseria sul Mare and Corte del Sole.

Salina is my favorite of the Aeolian Islands. It is amazing.
There are some great places on the port of Salina:

www.hotelprincipedisalina.it
www.mammasantina.it
www.lasalinahotel.com

But my favorite place is the quiet place on the Pollara side of the Island...where they filmed "Il Postino", called Locanda del Postino: www.lalocandadelpostino.it

Make sure and get a granita at da Alfredo in Lingua, do a wine tasting at Capo Faro or Hauner for some Malvasia.
AgaveTravelCreative is offline  

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