Panarea, Sicily

© Giancarlo72 –

Verdant Panarea is the smallest aoelian island, a peaceful and secluded spot surrounded by its own mini archipelago of islands and cliffs, and historically one of the most sophisticated and fashionable of the archipelago.

Panarea means disconnected and you’ll understand why on your first view of its irregular slopes. It is a little green island with an even rocky coast like the rest of the archipelago. Only part of the island is visible today because it sank after a series of eruptions of its now extinct volcano.

The charm of Panarea is its quiet beauty, luxuriant vegetation and a visit to the tiny islands surrounding it such as Spinazzola – a little nature reserve – with its rare dwarf palms and Basiluzzo, a natural cathedral, with its rocky dome perched over the sea and its multicoloured stripes of different lava rocks.

Its fashionable bars and night clubs and the most vibrant night life of the archipelago make it definitely the youngest island.

San Pietro and other villages

The village of San Pietro is the island’s harbour. With its small white houses set in lush vegetation, it is picturesque from the sea too. The prehistoric village of Cala Junco, where a number of oval stone huts dating to 1400 BC were found together with a huge collection of bronze age utensils, is worth a visit.

In Drautto, another small village of scattered houses, you can visit the great rocky lava flows called spine, one of the island’s main attractions.

Beaches and sea

There are very few sandy beaches in the Aeolian archipelago and one of these is in Panarea. Cala degli Zimmari is actually mixed sand and pebbles with a wonderful backdrop of cliffs and luxuriant vegetation.