Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 4

Sicily is a pretty big place for sailing with a lot to offer, seducing sailors with its dazzling diversity of landscapes ringed by the sparkling Mediterranean sea.


North Sicily (West to East)

You could easily spend two or three weeks cruising the north and east coasts of Sicily, visiting the volcanoes and historical sites. The Aeolian Islands are not to be missed, either. Marinas in south Sicily offer wintering bargains.

The West Corner of Sicily is cut with cliffs, caves, coves, beaches, quarries and plenty of anchorages. It´s a pretty busy spot. The three Égadi islands are protected, but

Must-See Spots

Égadi islands, San Vito lo Capo, Castellammare del Golfo, Ballestrata and Terrasini; Palermo, Cefalu and Porta Rosa.


The Égadi islands are a well worth a visit.

San Vito lo Capo, Castellammare del Golfo, Ballestrata and Terrasini are four small towns spaced about 10 nm between Trapani and Palermo, which with its own leisure harbor. Terrasini is a small port that would be convenient for crew change, 10 km from the Palermo airport by road.

Many people like Palermo, but there is some petty theft.

Cefalu is a delightful mediaeval town on the north coast.

Marinas and Anchorages

The three Égadi islands are protected, but there is an anchorage and several buoy fields. They are busy in season during the day, but quiet at night. Access from Trapani marina (a very good winter lay-up ashore).

Palermo harbor is not very pleasant, and it´s expensive. Head to one of the marinas north of town, like Marina Villa Igiae, or yacht club berths just north at Aranella.

Anchor off and risk some swell at Cefalu. The quays at Porto Nuovo 1 nm east are available.

Porta Rosa is a very well-sheltered marina and part of a holiday complex. Suitable for winter lay-up. It´s expensive and very quiet outside of the peak season, though.

Sunrise in Trapani street, Sicily

The Aeolian Islands

The eAolian islands are explosive. Named after the ancient wind god, Aeolus, it’s no wonder these islands are famous for sailing. There are some intense peak season crowds, but they are still worth visiting.



Must-See Spots

Alikudi, Filikudi, Panarea, Salina, Stromboli, Lipari, Vulcano.

Alikudi is the tiny westernmost outcrop of the Aeolian islands.

Filikudi is primitive and a bit bigger.

Panarea is most upmarket, and has lovely, extremely narrow streets.

Salina has fine wine, its own capers and is a cool place if you like walking.

Stromboli is a mini-active volcano that sends ash and lava into the air every 20 minutes.

Lipari is a busy island with a tidy little town by the main port.

Vulcano is a smelly island due to its sulfurous volcanic fumes, but it’s a fascinating destination, too. Plenty to see and do in the town.

Mount Etna, Sicily

Marinas and Anchorages

Anchorages on the Aeolian islands are pretty exposed, and the quays created for yachts can be expensive: up to $100 per night.

Filikudi has mooring buoys for visitors.

Panarea has moorings available off the town, but they are sometimes subject to swell.

Salina has several anchoring options on the north and south sides. There is a dramatic anchorage in a bay at the north-west corner of the island. There´s a leisure habor at Santa Marina Salina.

Stromboli has a small village on the NE corner with mooring buoys for a fee. The anchorages are pretty exposed.

Forza D’Agrò, Sicily

Lipari has an extremely expensive marina, but there are several anchorages around the island, all exposed to some wind.

Vulcano has two good anchorages separated by an isthmus.

East Sicily is coming next, in the last part of this sailor´s series.

Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 5

Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 1

Sailing the Western Italian Coast and Sicily, Part 2

Confession: Why and How I’m Writing My First Book, Part 2




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