Top 5 islands of Italy to visit this summer
Here we are, we are getting ready for summer – which in Italy goes from June to September – so it is time to plan holiday vacations! And in Italy summer mainly means enjoining long days on the beach (of course not forgetting to eat food specialties of each area!)
The Italian peninsula is full of spots where you can find crystalline sea, sandy beaches or cliffy rocks, from North to South, but the Belpaese is also rich in beautiful islands, where glamourous boutiques and nightlife come often with heavenly landscapes and peaceful bays… do you remember the adventure of Itziar in Alghero? Love it!
We listed here the most recommended islands where to spend an unforgettable summer holiday!
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Eolian islands (Sicily)
Sicily, the largest island of the Mediterranean sea, besides its countless attractions, boasts also some of the most lovely little islands of Europe. Particularly, the Eolian Archipelago offers very varied landscapes and atmospheres: located up in the North East coast of Sicily, it is composed by seven islands which are also UNESCO heritage site. It is easy to get there from Milazzo in Sicily by hydrofoil or even from Naples Port by ship.
The most renowned one and also the smallest one is Panarea, the “jet-set” island, very famous among VIPs and populated by high fashion boutiques; in August there is a flotilla of yachts coming and go and billionaires, actors, politicians from all over Europe strolling around the tiny streets of the island.
The biggest island of the archipelago is Lipari, less touristy than Panarea but as well rich in beautiful beaches and breathtaking views.
The island of Stromboli is home to one of the three active volcanoes of Italy, not really dangerous but also the source of one of the most spectacular sights of your life: every night lava erupts from the top streaming down to the sea creating a stunning mix of water and fire that you would hardly see again!
Off the beaten path and for those who wish to have an out-of-time vacation, there is Alicudi island, where cars are strictly forbidden and donkeys are the main mode of transportation! Here you can feel the peacefulness of wild spots and enchanting views, far away from the posh Panarea.
In Campania region, besides the posh (and beautiful) island of Capri, there is Ischia, a much bigger island and less crowded, easily reachable by hydrofoil from Naples. By the way, don’t forget my advice: if you are going to stay in this city, the best way to move is a scooter, trust me!
Ischia is well known all over Italy and attracts thousands of Italian and European tourists in summer (the German Chancellor Angela Merkel is a regular vacationer here). Ischia is a volcanic island and it is known for the old thermal baths, dating back to the Roman period and now present in almost all of the hotels or touristic structures of the island. A regenerating swim into thermal water can be easily followed here by a dive into transparent water of some of the most beautiful bays, such as the bay of Sorgeto or Maronti beach.
Ischia would be a perfect location to mix wellness, relax, swimming, sunbaths and culture: on the top of a little island connected with the mainland, there is the Aragonese Castle, a medieval castle built to control the enemies’ movement passing through magnificent royal wedding to bombs during the War. Now it hosts exhibitions and festivals and it is open to public visits.
Do not miss also a visit to the colorful fisheries’ village of Sant’Angelo on the south coast of Ischia, to breathe the timeless magic of this island!
Let’s move to another enchanting Italian region: Tuscany! It is mostly famous for stunningly green hills, red wine and excellent food, but most of foreign tourists miss the sea of Tuscany, which shows its best side in the Elba island, located amid Tuscan coastline and Sardinia.
Elba island used to be the harbor of Napoleon during his exile for almost one year and today it still keeps the characteristics to be a perfect place for an exile (just for holiday purpose, of course!). The island, which includes 8 villages, is very varied in landscapes and beaches. From tiny coves like Punta Rossa, to the white beaches with incredibly blue water of Cavoli and Laconella.
Trekking lovers will also find something really interesting: Elba is part of the National Park of Tuscan archipelago and the scenery varies from the sandy coast to wooded mountains. You will easily find many trekking routes and trails, both for dummies and for expert hikers, to enjoy the flora and fauna of the Park and also to reach some hidden spots to admire a breathtaking view on the island.
Tremiti islands (Apulia)
Back in the South of Italy, Apulia region offers one of the most incredible archipelagos in Italy, mostly off the beaten path of foreign tourists, the Tremiti islands. Located off to the North coast of Apulia, in front of the Gargano area, they are barely uninhabited during winter and the rest of the year while during summer are a popular destination for Italians, also if they are very tiny and it is very hard to remain there for more than one day and one night (the three main islands together are less than 5 square kilometers!)
The archipelago is composed by three islands: San Nicola, San Domino and Capraia, plus two uninhabited ones, part of a marine protected reserve, Pianosa and Cretaccio. The largest one is San Domino, where you can find some hotels, restaurants, shops and nightlife spots during summer. There is just a stretch of sea between San Domino and San Nicola island, which boasts on the top an imposing old town with a fortress and an ancient abbey, in white sand stone where you can enjoy a wonderful sight on the archipelago.
The other little islands are covered with wild nature and fauna, rich in bays, grottoes and heavenly beaches with turquoise sea water. That is why we highly recommend to have a tour by boat to relax and discover all the hidden gems of the archipelago!
The islands are easily reachable by ferry boat from Peschici, Vieste, Pescara and other locations between Apulia and Abruzzo.
La Maddalena (Sardinia)
Last, but not least, one of the most peculiar Italian regions and an island itself: Sardinia! The area offers a huge variety of landscapes, from wild mountains to sandy beaches and posh sea towns, but it also includes the Archipelago della Maddalena, located off the Northeastern Coast, composed by 7 islands of which La Maddalena is the largest and the most appealing.
Ferry boats to la Maddalena depart often from Palau Port, to bring you to heavenly scenes of shimmering waters and cliffy rocks, with a rich profusion of fauna such as seabirds and fishes! La Maddalena is the liveliest island, full of shops, hotels and restaurants, it offers for sure the most comfortable locations for the holiday. The other islands are barely uninhabited but definitely worth a visit for their several coves and bays.
Among the others, Caprera and Budelli are unmissable spots when travelling to la Maddalena archipelago. Caprera is connected to la Maddalena by a bridge and it is named for the wild goats (“Capre” in Italian) living on the top of the hill; it used to be home of Garibaldi for more than 25 years and a refuge during his adventurous life.
Budelli is probably the most recommended for swimming and snorkeling, due to its powdery sand beaches and particularly famous for its “pink beach”, a unique rose-colored beach shining among lush marine vegetation.