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Sicily, cruise in the heart of the Mediterranean

Published on 20 july 2018 at 0h00

The biggest island in the Mediterranean is a real gem, ready to offer those who venture there the most wonderful cruising… Sicily is a land of mysteries, but also, and above all, of beauty. To be discovered urgently!

LOGBOOK

You can’t understand Sicily without knowing the history of the Mediterranean. At the crossroads between Greece, Italy and Africa, the biggest island in the Mediterranean has often aroused greed.

Throughout the centuries, this land has therefore been dominated by no fewer than fourteen different peoples, ranging from the Carthaginians to the Bourbons, from the Arabs to the Romans, via the Phoenicians, Aragons, Normans, Greeks, Moors and many, many others.

These invasions have brought something unique to this island, and the Sicilian population is a very diverse melting pot where one can find inhabitants with dark skin and Nordic blue eyes. This rich island has more than 1,000 kilometers of coastline, with beaches of white sand (on the south coast, between Syracuse and Ragusa), of black sand (on Vulcano island), black rocks (on Lipari island) and black volcanic cliffs (at Catane).

Sicily offers everything a leisure sailor could ask for: fascinating scenery and anchorages, moderate winds all the year round, 250 days of constant sunshine (from April to November), architectural and historic sites (from the mosaic in Piazza Armerina to the Greek theatre at Taormine), incredibly tasty food… 

TYPICAL ITINERARY

As the charter company Moorings explains: "Sicily's perimeter is studded with small islands, in groups or isolated: in the north, opposite the straits of Medina, there are the Aeolians or Lipari (Stromboli, Panaréa, Salina, Lipari, Vulcano, Filicudi and Alicudi) and the island of Ustica.                                                                                                                                                                                                                             In the west, the Aegadian archipelago is opposite the port of Trapani, on the west coast of Sicily. A maritime nature reserve since 1992, it is made up of three islands, with very different charms: Favignana, Marettimo and Levanzo…” In short, Sicily is a little paradise for cruising, especially in a multihull. Discovering the volcanoes, the black sand beaches, the ‘dolce vita’ atmosphere will be a real delight for those who dare to take the step... 

The Aeolian Islands:

7 islands in 7 days (with 3 hours’ sailing per day). These seven volcanic islands take their names from the ancient Greco-Roman wind god: Aeolus…

Day 1

Alicudi, the smallest of them all: around twenty inhabitants live on this wild, peaceful island, where you can find peace and quiet and admire the amazing sunsets.

Day 2

Filicudi, the island with the most fish, where you can taste fresh oysters and succulent crab.

Day 3

Salina, the most fascinating, which offers a diversity of syrupy wines called Malvasia, and the best fruit granite in the whole of Sicily, freshly prepared every morning by the old barman, Alfredo…

Day 4

Panarea, the glamour island where all the jet-set from the cinema, fashion and television meet up.

Day 5

Stromboli, an active volcano, spectacular and fearsome, for those looking for nature and thrills.

Day 6

Lipari, the biggest of the islands, perfect for buying souvenirs, and Vulcano, for those looking for well-being and who like spending hours in the invigorating natural hot mud springs.

Day 7

Tindari. a long tongue of sand, with a natural harbor which borders two attractive little salt lakes, on the edge of which you can have a fabulous horse ride for your last night in Sicily.

The Pelagian Islands (opposite Tunisia): Lampedusa, Pantelleria and Linosa. These three different islands offer an exceptional week’s cruising, ideal for visiting the wonderful white sand beaches (Rabbit Island, Lampedusa), swimming in a salt lake (Venus, Pantelleria), savoring the famous sal capperi and the often rewarded Passito ‘meditation’ wine, or admiring the luxurious Armani villa close by. 

The Aegadean islands (Favignana, Marettimo, Levanzo)and Ustica

These four islands are home to the most delightful underwater scenery. They are part of the strictly controlled marine nature reserves. At Ustica, you will find the only place in the Mediterranean where coral is still growing. At Favignana, you will be able to take part in the ‘mattanza’, the famous ritual fishing for giant red tuna (as long as there are some left…). A paradise for diving and underwater photography. 

From Syracuse to Agrigento: the South Coast

This part of Sicily offers exceptional scenery (the fascinating little island of Streams, where the Ionian sea meets the Strait of Messina, and where you can contemplate a stunning sunset, the white cliffs of Eraclea Minoa…), white sand beaches (Fontanebianche), historic sites (including the little town of Ortigia which has recently been registered as a world heritage site by the UNESCO); Noto, the European Baroque capital; Agrigento: the valley of the Greek temple, gastronomic specialties (la bottarga: salted tuna eggs, dried in the sunshine of Marzamemi, an attractive and welcoming fishing village)

 

PRACTICAL SICILY

Getting there:

Numerous flights, charter or regular airlines, will allow you to arrive directly in Sicily, at Palermo, whose airport is around 25 km from the marina where the charter companies are situated. 

When:

Spring, summer or autumn: each season has its fans. The weather is more than fine in Sicily, and the sea temperature varies between a minimum of 11 °C in winter and over 25 °C in summer. The summer can be very hot, even stifling, hence the importance of being aboard a boat…

Cruising conditions:

This island really is very big, therefore varied sailing conditions are found there, depending on where you are sailing. During the season, the north and west coasts are bathed in a wind from the north-west or west, blowing generally at between 10 and 20 knots. On the east coast, a sea breeze from the south (which can become quite strong) will blow during the day.

Practical tips:

Sicily is Italian, the official currency is therefore the euro. Credit cards are accepted everywhere.

Although the coasts are sumptuous, don’t leave without some good travel guides so you can also enjoy the interior of the land and the islands… 

The local charter companies:

Absolute Yacht - Dream Yacht Charter - Italy Charter - Kiriacoulis - The Moorings - NSS Charter - Oceans Evasion - Sunsail - Trinacria Sailing

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