A unique family sailing trip in Sicily's Aeolian Islands


It was on top of Stromboli, the most spectacular of the Aeolian Islands, that The Thinking Traveller was conceived back in 2000. Since then, we’ve frequently returned to the Aeolian Islands for our family holidays and a couple of years ago we spent 10 days with a family of friends cruising around the archipelago on a catamaran. It was a memorable experience and we all agree that it was one of our most fun, relaxing and culturally interesting family holidays. It gave us lots of quality time all together and yet the freedom to enjoy different things. 

The kids loved every minute of their adventure, walking up Vulcano, sitting in the thermal sulphur baths, star-gazing whilst bobbing at anchor in hidden bays, exploring cute villages, having breakfast of granita and fragrant, warm brioches. And they learnt so much! Mythology, marine biology, a bit of Greek and Roman history, and, of course, the paramount importance of sustainability in such a diverse archipelago. 

With such memories still fresh in our minds, we're delighted to be offering a unique family sailing experience in the Aeolian Islands. It would be a great add-on to a stay at one of our villas or as a holiday in its own right.

Read on for inspiration and please don't hesitate to get in touch with our expert team for information and advice.

A presto,

Rossella & Huw

Picture the scene...

You, your friends and family are cruising together in a pair of luxury catamarans around the breathtakingly beautiful Aeolian Islands.  You soak up the sun, take an occasional dip in the crystalline cobalt waters, marvel at the beauty of your surroundings, and enjoy the discreet ministrations of the crew.  

Just ahead of you is a yacht, manned by an experienced skipper, an activity leader, and... all the children of your group. This is the Kids' Club sailing boat and your children are having the time of their lives, learning to sail, playing at pirates, snorkelling in the sea, meeting the archipelago's marine life face to face, putting into harbour to explore volcanoes, hunting for treasure on uninhabited islands, and learning about ecology.

As the sun sets, you all come together. Dinner is being prepared by your on-board chef, and your children are full of stories about their day's adventures. Anchored safely in a picturesque little bay, you dine under the stars on spaghetti and freshly caught seafood. Then, exhilarated but tired, your children head to their cabins, leaving you to crack open a chilled bottle of Malvasia delle Lipari and toast your good fortune.

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At a glance


  • an all-inclusive, fully catered sailing holiday in the Aeolian Islands for groups of family and friends with children. During the day, children aged 5 and older can spend their time on a dedicated Kids' Club sailing boat, where an experienced, fully-qualified activity leader will provide a non-stop itinerary of fun, games, learning experiences and adventures, all tailored to different ages. The sail boat may also be used by adults in your group for some proper sports sailing. 
  • please note that the holiday can be adapted for groups of adults without kids


  • 4th-18th July 2020


  • 7/14 nights

Should you book 14 nights, the itinerary shown below would include more time in each location and would also be extended to incorporate the other Aeolian Islands of Alicudi and Filicudi.


  • 2 luxury catamarans with a total of 9 double cabins for a maximum of 18 guests (+separate cabins for crew)
  • 1 Kids' Club sailing boat (for children aged 5 and above). The sailing boat may also be used by adults for some proper sports sailing


  • each catamaran has an experienced skipper and a host/hostess, who is also a cook
  • the Kid's Club sailing boat has an experienced skipper and an activity leader 

Family sailing trip route in Sicily's Aeolian Islands

An example itinerary*

*The itinerary below is intended to give you an idea of what a typical week might look like. Certain elements may be adapted to better suit your requirements and the ages of the children in your group. Please also note that itineraries are always subject to meteorological conditions and navigational requirements.

Should you book 14 nights, the itinerary shown below would include more time in each location and would also be extended to incorporate the other Aeolian Islands of Alicudi and Filicudi.


Your voyage begins at Portorosa marina on Sicily's north coast. After meeting your skipper, the activity leader and the rest of the crew, at 6:00pm you weigh anchor and set sail towards Capo Asino on the island of Vulcano, where you will spend the first night of your adventure at anchor. After a gorgeous sunset and an aperitivo, a welcome dinner of Sicilian specialities is served on board.


The sun is shining, the views are bewitching and there's a palpable sense of excitement in the air. You dive into the transparent cobalt waters for a swim, have breakfast, and set sail for the island of Lipari. You stop off at the beach of Punta Levante, where the children swim, play, and get used to life at sea, guided by the activity leader. 

The adults, meanwhile, are free to spend their time swimming, reading, enjoying a drink in the shady outdoor sitting area, or snoozing on a hammock. In the afternoon, you set sail once more, this time to the island of Panarea, where you drop anchor for the night just off the little town of San Pietro. While the little sailors hoist their pirate flags and indulge in some fun and games, the adults are free to explore the worldly pleasures offered by one of the Mediterranean's most glamorous islands.


After breakfast, you head off to explore the deserted islets of Basiluzzo and Lisca Bianca, just off Panarea. Re-energised by another tasty light lunch on board, in the afternoon you set sail for the perpetually erupting island of Stromboli. Depending on the level of volcanic activity, you may wish to engage the services of an expert guide and make an evening ascent - an experience you will never forget. Alternatively, you could while away the time in the welcoming village below, where Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman began their affair.

An evening or a night-time circumnavigation of the island is a great idea as you'll be able to see the Sciara di Fuoco (a geological phenomenon caused by volcanic activity over thousands of years) and admire Stromboli's incandescent molten magma eruptions from the sea. You will overnight at anchor in one of Stromboli's bays.


While you tuck into breakfast, the crew set up a private beach on the beautiful black sands of Stromboli . While the adults relax and soak up this unique atmosphere, enjoy a snack and a drink under a canopy of designer sunshades, the children head off on a volcanic treasure hunt. 

The next destination is Salina, where you will arrive as the sun begins its descent into the sea. Dropping anchor at the bewitching bay of Pollara, you sip an aperitivo and await another fabulous dinner on board. So magical is the light of the moon playing on the sea's surface that you dive in for a night-swim, an unforgettable way to end another unforgettable day.


Salina is arguably the most varied island in the archipelago, so after mooring in the harbour of Santa Marina, where you will spend the night, you head on shore to explore it, accompanied by a member of the crew. Mopeds, quad bikes and cars are available for rent if you wish to get round as much as possible. Alternatively, you could enjoy one or two of the island's charming villages at leisure, have a vineyard and wine-tasting tour, spend a few  hours in the spa of one of the island's top hotels, or sample some Aeolian cuisine at its very best at a Michelin-starred restaurant. The choice is yours.


Today you set sail south towards Lipari. Your first stop is at the incredibly turquoise sea of the ex pumice quarry, whose bright white stone gives the water its irresistible hue. Later in the day, when the sun eases a little, you can venture through the streets of beautiful Lipari Town, the proud capital of the archipelago. Home to an impressive fortified citadel, a world class archaeological site and a weave of picturesque streets and piazzas, it's a great town to explore. You drop anchor just outside the old harbour of Marina Corta, from where you will be able to take the tender ashore. We recommend an aperitif in town, followed by dinner at one of the many excellent restaurants.


After breakfast on board, you head to Vulcano for a swim in the translucent waters of the Piscina di Venere (Venus' Pool). Later in the afternoon you can try one of the island's sulphur spas or hike up to the volcano's crater. Dinner is served on board tonight to give you the chance of admiring the island's illuminations while sailing back towards Portorosa marina, where you will spend your last night.


Time to pack and bid farewell the southern Tyrrhenian Sea. Breakfast is served early so you can check-out by 9:00am. You say fond farewells to the fabulous crew, promising to see them again next year. 

Kids' Club activities

The activity leader on board the Kids' Club sailing boat will tailor the week's activities to the ages and the preferences of the children in your group. One of the main elements will be sailing itself, and by the end of the week, your kids will have, quite literally, learnt the ropes. Other typical activities include:

  • snorkelling
  • hike up volcanoes (depending on age and fitness levels)
  • pirate games and treasure hunts
  • picnics on the beach
  • arts and crafts
  • diving off the boat (depending on age and swimming abilities)
  • water sports, including paddle boarding (or fun with inflatables for younger children)
  • star-gazing and learning about night skies
  • movie nights
  • evening sing-songs on the beach

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Your boats

1. A Bali 4.8 catamaran

Sleeps: 10 in four double cabins and one twin cabin (+ 1 separate crew cabin)
Bathrooms: four with shower 

A Bali 4.8 catamaran floor plan

2. A Bali 4.5 catamaran

Sleeps: 8 in four double cabins (+ 1 separate crew cabin)
Bathrooms: four with shower

A Bali 4.5 catamaran 4 double cabins floor plan

A Bali 4.5 catamaran floor plan kitchen and lounge

3. The Kids' Club sailing boat

A sailing boat of around 45 feet. Only crew members will sleep on board. This sailing boat may also be used by adults interested in doing some proper sports sailing. More details about the exact model will be available soon.

Facilities on board

Each catamaran is equipped with the following:

  • air conditioning & a 220V generator
  • fine linens and bath towels
  • bathroom amenities
  • 1 outdoor shower with hot water
  • a fully-equipped galley kitchen
  • cutlery, crockery and glasses
  • beach towels
  • large beanbags and a hammock
  • Bluetooth audio entertainment
  • Wi-Fi (available with 3G coverage)
  • tender with outboard engine
  • welcome kit with sarong, sunscreen, after-sun cream and t-shirts for children
  • certified life jackets
  • flotation arm bands
  • safety nets on the guardrails where there are children under the age of 5
  • a selection of fins, masks and everything needed for snorkelling

The Kids' Club Sailing boat is equipped with the following

  • certified life jackets
  • flotation arm bands
  • safety nets on the guardrails where there are children under the age of 5
  • a selection of fins, masks and everything needed for snorkelling
  • 2 SUP boards
  • 2 sea-scooters (at the Kid’s Club) Fishing equipment
  • 3 dinghies with oars for children
  • inflatable Bigmouth and Sunnylife
  • water guns
  • board games (cards, draughts, chess, scrabble, etc


€56,000 per week

Prices include:

  • the rental of three boats for up to 18 guests: 2 catamarans (as specified above) + a Kid's Club sailing boat for 7 nights
  • a crew consisting of three skippers (one per boat), two hosts/hostesses (one per catamaran), and an activity leader for the Kids' Club 
  • 6 breakfasts on board
  • 6 light lunches
  • 3 dinners on board*
  • snacks and soft drinks, wine and spirits **
  • daily maid service and boat reorganization
  • linen/towel change midweek
  • all the facilities specified in the Boats section above
  • port and fuel taxes
  • excursion planning and a member of the crew with you throughout
  • organised daytime activities for the Kids' Club

*for the four dinners not included, we or the crew will be happy to recommend restaurants on four of the islands you'll visit:  Panarea, Stromboli, Salina and Lipari. If you do not wish to leave the boat, your host/hostess will gladly prepare a simple meal aboard.
**alcohol and spirits are included up to the following quantities: 24 bottles of Italian wine and 4 bottles of local spirits per boat per week.

Price excludes:

  • airfares
  • airport transfers
  • the four dinners that are not included in the price, as specified above
  • insurance
  • rental costs for mopeds, quad bikes or cars during island visits
  • gratuities and tips
  • entry tickets to museums, wine-tasting, spa treatments,  and any other activities you choose to do while on shore
  • anything not specified in the "Price includes" section
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