Panarea trip planner

The chic, celebrity resort hideaway amid the Aeolian Islands of Sicily

Panarea guide
• Sights
• Hotels
• Restaurants
• Planning FAQ
Tiny, posh Panarea features a gorgeous red lava landscape brushed green with scrub—and some 14th-century BC stone hut foundations for when you're in a mood to sightsee or at least have a destination for your hike—but is otherwise primarily a playground for the well-tanned, well-toned rich.

Where to stay on Panarea

Panarea is trendy, which means astronomical prices. Low season hotel rates more than double in August, but it's a splurge year-round.

For something cheaper than the Liscia Bianca below, try the Rodà (tel. +39-090-983-006). Otherwise, accept offers of rental rooms at the docks or wander around looking for signs. In July and especially August, though, the island tends to be fully booked well ahead of time, and unless you're on the morning's first ferry in, your chances of finding anything at the last minute are pretty grim.

Hotel Liscia Bianca
Panarea, Isole Eolie. tel. +39-090-983-004. Closed Nov-Feb. €€ » book
This hotel complex at the foot of the dock is thoughtfully laid out, with the restaurant and upstairs terrace bar overlooking the port and outlying islets, but the bungalow rooms set behind, back from the main road and ringing a pretty little garden. The accommodations are tooled to recall the Mediterranean peasant homes that characterized this island just 40 years ago—whitewashed walls, simply patterned tile floors, and plain, sturdy solid wood furnishings. The frilly wrought iron bed frames back firm mattresses on stiff boards, and each room is fronted by a ceramic-paved terrace covered by an arbor bursting with flowering vines. The baths are modern, the staff accommodating.

 

Where to dine on Panarea

If you can wiggle out of hotel pension plans, try the following:

Da Antonio il Macellaio
Via S. Pietro 20 (just along road toward Iditella). tel. +39-090-983-033. Open daily.
A butcher shop grown all out of proportion, with a proper restaurant out back—on two levels of open terrace with the oven in one corner—and a bit further down the hillside a large, open-air pizzeria on a stone deck shaded by a vast reed-mat roof. Islanders, especially the seasonal variety, flock here for what passes as a cheap meal on Panarea, so reserve ahead in August. Their dishes are standard Sicilian island fare, but well prepared: maccheroni alla norma, the pungent pennette all'eoliana (pasta quills with capers, olives, basil, and tomatoes), grilled fresh fish or agnello (lamb), involtini di pesce spada, or simple pollo (roast chicken).

Hike the road toward Idatella to find Da Paolino (tel. +39-090-983-008), a family-run seafood spot on a cool second-story terrace overlooking the sea. The main course is whatever papa fished that morning, and mamma cooks it up along with heaping plates of spaghetti.

Tips & links

Details
Hotels on Panarea
Planning your time

Panarea is a one-trick pony: sun, beaches, and relaxing. Stay for as long as that kind of vacation thrills you. (More tips on spending from one to four days exploring the Aeolian islands)

How to get to Panarea

You can only get to Stromboli by boat—a hydrofoil (aliscafo) will be twice as fast, twice as expensive, and half as romantic as a ferry (traghetto).

Ferry companies to the Aeolians
All boat companies charge pretty much the same prices, so choose based on convenience of departure times. Buy your tickets one-way so you’re free to choose among the companies for the most convenient departures times as you go along, either to the next island or back to the mainland. View current schedules and ticket prices at the websites of the various ferry and hydrofoil lines, listed in the box on the right.

The main Sicilian port for the Aeolians is Milazzo, on a promontory 40km (24 miles) west or Messina—though there are also limited services from Messina, Palermo, Cefalù, and Naples.

  • How to get to Panarea from Vulcano, Lipari, or Stromboli: Most boats island-hop, stopping at all the major islands (and sometimes at smaller Aeolian islands not detailed on this site). As you'll see below, most boats from any port are also going to stop at the three other Aeolian islands, so you can easily pick them any of them to get from elsewhere in the Aeolians to Panarea.
  • How to get to Panarea from Milazzo: In winter, expect about half as many runs as listed here, and not always daily ferry service to Stromboli (hydrofoils, however, will run daily). (Read how to get to Milazzo here)

    • The hydrofoil from Milazzo—Siremar or Ustica Lines (see box above to right for contact info on all companies)—runs 7 times daily to Vulcano (40–60 min.) and Lipari (55–60 min.), 4 times daily to Panarea (1.5–2 hr.) and Stromboli (1–3 hr.).
    • The ferry from Milazzo—Siremar or N.G.I.—runs 9 times daily to Vulcano (85 min.) and Lipari (2 hr.), 1–2 times daily to Panarea (4–5 hr.) and Stromboli (6–7 hr.).
  • How to get to Panarea from Messina: Ustica Lines runs 5 hydrofoils daily to Lipari (1.5–3.5 hr.), 4 to Vulcano (2–3 hr.), and 3 each to Panarea (2–3.5 hr.) and Stromboli (1.5–3 hr.). [The hours look funny because while some island-hop, others are direct.]
  • How to get to Panarea from Naples: June to early September, there is a 2:30pm SNAV hydrofoil from Naples to Milazzo that stops at Stromboli (5 hr.), Panarea (5.5 hr.) Vulcano (6.5 hr.), and Lipari (7 hr.). In July and August there is a second run Saturdays leaving Naples at 9am (though it skips Vulcano).

    Siremar runs a 8pm ferry from Naples to Milazzo at least twice weekly that stops at Stromboli (9–10 hr.), Panarea (11–12 hr.), Lipari (13.5–15 hr.), and Vulcano (14.5–16 hr.). If you take the ferry, be on deck around 5am to watch Stromboli erupt as the sun rises.
  • How to get to Panarea from Cefalù: Ustica Lines runs one hydrofoil daily that leaves at 8:15am and stops at (among others) Lipari (just over 2 hr.), Vulcano (3.5 hr.), Panarea (just under 4 hr.), and Stromboli (4.5 hr.).
  • How to get to Panarea from Palermo: Ustica Lines runs 2 lines daily that stop in Lipari (4–4.5 hr.), Vulcano (4.5–5 hr.), Panarea (4.5–5 hr.), and Stromboli (5–6 hr.).

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