Lipari, Sicily

© enrico zacchetti –

The biggest island of the Aeolian isles, the geographical centre and hub of the archipelago, Lipari is full of beautiful and interesting things to do, an ideal base for a long and relaxing holiday in exploration of the whole archipelago.

The ancient Greeks called it Meligonis which means sweet because of its mild, temperate climate. They found it inhabited by an ancient population whose long history, still visible in its towns and villages, dates back to the neolithic. Important throughout its history it is to all intents and purposes a town afloat, an open air museum to which civilisations, seafarers, travellers, Saracen pirates and Norman conquerors have come and gone.

Landscape of contrasting colours, the black of the lava rocks and the white of the pumice stone, which compete for ascendancy, Lipari is an island for an unhurried holiday on a moped or in a boat along its rocky bays.

Lipari town and its hamlets

Lipari is the only town on the island. Its centre is dominated by its castle perched on the cliffs over the town. One of the symbols of the island, rebuilt many times by the various conquerors of Sicily, its current walls and bastions were put up by the Spanish Bourbon kings in the sixteenth century. It also contains the cathedral, built in 1804, and is an archaeological museum.,

The town fans out around it between Piazza della Marina Corte, the town’s hub by day and night, and the long seafront, Lungomare Via Crispi. The village of Canneto, beach, fishing village and boat harbour, is worth a visit too.

On a high plateau over the fields, Quattropani village is the ideal vantage point for spectacular views of Salina and unforgettable sunsets. The San Calogero thermal baths, famous since Mycenaean times for their healing properties, are also nearby.

Beaches and sea

Canneto’s large beach is one of the island’s most popular gravel and pebble beaches. Further north, near the pumice mines, are the beaches once known as the white beaches because when the mines were active white pumice dust mixed with the sand and the bay of Porticello is also attractive. The village of Acquacalda has great views of Panarea, Stromboli and nearby Salina and an attractive restaurant overlooking the sea and its pebbly beach.

Where to eat

There are a great many restaurants and bars in Lipari’s old town between the port and the castle where you can try anything from a water ice to a gourmet lunch. Kasbah Café is one of the most original places to eat with its inner garden courtyard and Sicilian cuisine with a twist. There are many bars and places to eat in Marina Corta, Lipari’s tourist port, too. Ristorante Aurora in Acquacalda is also worth a visit for its Aeolian cuisine and seafront position.