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Italy: Recommendations from Cruisers

By Sue Richards last modified Nov 30, 2016 04:16 PM

Published: 2011-11-18 15:45:00
Countries: Italy

The following comments are from sailors who have recently cruised in Italy and contributed to a survey run in co-operation with Segeln magazine, about Mediterranean cruising recommendations.


Busy port, but a visit into the winding streets of the old town on the hill are a must and well worth a walk.

Nice harbour close to the old town.

Santa Teresa di Gallura:
Stay in Sardinia for 22 Euros a day, surroundings are just great!
Il Porto Turistico, Santa Teresa Gallura in N Sardinia, has a bar/bistro called “Il Chiostro”. When you have experienced the bustle and drama of Bonifacio, and when you have survived the commercialisation, and overcrowding in the Maddelenas, this is a peaceful place to come. Just across the straits from Bonifacio, you can be in calm delight. Prices are half those around the corner in Costa Esmerelda. This Bistro `` at the head of the marina, is run by a young couple experienced in the business and determined to provide fantastic local food at a reasonable prices.We are,nt wine experts, but they had some lovely wine too.

Golfo de Saline is a beautiful, peaceful and very scenic anchorage and a haven if the wind is blowing through the Bonifacio straits and you need to delay a day or two.

Maddelena Archipelago (N of Sardinia):
Caprera Island in the Maddalena Archipelago is nice.
Do you want to have a nice rest in the La Magdalena Archipelago, North of Sardinia? To anchor in a clear bay and swim in clear azure water sunbathing on a pure white shell sand strip surrounded by the fragrance of the lentischio and other intense smelling Mediterranean bushes? To enjoy a full safe overnight anchorage, under a sparkling starring night without the noise of the daily shuttling yachts? And when tired of, to be in a full-equipped marina or resort within a couple of hours, whatsoever the weather will be? Go and anchor into south-east of Caprera island, 41o11.00N 9o28.00E: a super bay with a magically fine white sand strip surrounded by rocks; well protected from all NNW, SSW, S and E dominant winds. All the best sea spots and marinas of North Sardinia are within a range: Porto Cervo Costa Smeralda: 5 nm; Arzachena bay: 6mn; la Magdalena: 7 nm; Palau: 6 nm. Being a natural area ruled by the Archipelago Park administration, entering yachts need a specific stay permit.

Good Anchorages in Sardinia:
good anchorage on the east bay looking the village from the sea. Nice night market during 2 last weeks of July.
Stintino: Nice beach with fairly good anchorage.
Cala Bitta & Cala del Faro.
Porto Zafferano: I suggest Porto Zafferano on the right side of Teulada Head at SW extreme point of Sardinia (Lat. 38°53'46"N Long. 8°39'16"E). The entire area is forbidden for all year long for military purposes, but in July and August private boats are admitted. Sand is beautiful white and sea is incredible blue. The shore is full of sand dunes and nothing built by human being is around: no concrete, no lights, no noises! It is something very similar to paradise I've seen so far.

General Comments about Sardinia:

The Northern Part with Porto Rotondo, Porto Cervo, Cala di Vople can not be recommended in the high season, as this area is becoming very, very expensive and suffers from masses of motor yachts of all sizes. The same for the Maddalenas. In the so called "natural reserves" (where you are supposed to have permission and to anchor on buoys only), you find yourself suddenly in a bay with hundreds of motor yachts and sailboats. Anchoring of course. In the middle of the scenario, you find tourist boats circulating. Off season, this area remains a must. Fantastic. Spring / Autumn are the only seasons to go!

I would seriously consider leaving our boat in Sardinia because of the beauty there. One irritating thing is the lack of respect or control or both, for using the VHF. Daily our experience has been idiots broadcasting musing and children and “friendly speak” consuming the frequencies.


Southern Sicily. New harbour with good facility, and very good service. Anchoring in the big bay is very secure, and a wonderful city to visit too.

Not possible to stay in the marina (sanded), stay at anchor and visit the town. Just a lovely setting!

This is a great port and destination. There is an excellent marina on the west side of the bay. The city has excellent restaurants within easy walking distance. The hotel that is on a hill overlooking the harbour a short distance from the marina has a great view and excellent food. Much of the central city is within walking distance and is a delight to visit.

Our recommended stops in Sicily:
Taormina - good anchorage on the bay, Punt Raisi, Bagheria, Isola delle Femmine, San Vito lo Capo & Terracina.

Aegadian Islands:
Very crowded during high season.
Levanzo - good port and granite place right on the port. Many nice spots/anchorages on the east side.
Favignana - nice anchorages on the north east and south west.
While approaching the Favignana Island with a catamaran, we were worried about the moorings availability. Our four kids wanted to land, after some hours of sailing. The last space was between a motorboat and a daily-cruiser, one of those big motorboat used to bring tourists around the island for daily visit, lunch included. Obviously, space was too narrow for us... We were ready to give up, when the captain of daily-cruiser suggested to abandon his buoy and to drop anchor few meters on side, just to allow us to mooring. It was a great gift. In 15 min, we docked. Not finished: being a commercial mooring, water and electricity were not available. Well, he called one of his local contact and organized a water filling for the day after (300 lt) and split his electricity with us. In the morning, water-man arrived with a small truck with tank and, unbelievable, also with hot croissant and pastries for the breakfast. Total costs: 80 euro. Real Sicilian style!

Aeolian Islands (Lipari Islands) – N of Sicily:
The largest island is Lipari. The other islands include Vulcano, Salina, Stromboli, Filicudi, Alicudi, Panarea and Basiluzzo.
The Aeolian Islands are incredible! Isla Vulcano offers a fun hike to the caldera rim. But start early on summer days to avoid the heat. There is a wonderful, tall spire off Isole Filicude that is awesome to circumnavigate. Watch the anchoring - easy to get ground tackle snagged on the rock bottom. We had a great time in the Aeolian Islands from May to September. Not too windy, the islands are so different one from the other.
Anchoring off the Island of Vulcano and climbing the volcano and then visiting the mud-baths is a very rewarding experience and a great contrast to sailing! A very different experience.
The anchorage to the west of Vulcano is good. Hotel there offers classic set menu for very reasonable price. A walk up the volcano early in the morning is great and does not take too long.
Sabbie Nere beach and anchorage, all black and with fire red sunsets, and a walk on top of the volcano itself.
Nice restaurant on the square of the main port. In Lipari you'll find everything you can shop to bring home Aeolian specialties, especially their huge capers.
Watching Stromboli erupt in the dark is fantastic. Anchor to north east of the island then get up early and motor round to north for unforgettable sights. Stromboli Island is great, because you can see the Stromboli spitting hot lava at night. It's an active volcano. Sitting on deck with a nice drink and watching the volcano go wild is one of the greatest experiences I ever had in the Mediterranean.
Stromboli is an amazing village, the anchorage is very very close to the shore because of the great depth of the water, also very black sand. You have to wait for the night and have a guided trip to the top to see the still active eruptions and the Sciara di Fuoco, a red boiling cliff that falls directly into the water.
Lisca Bianca - good anchorage and swimming spot with underwater sulphurous bubbles.
Panarea: fashion island, summertime is crowded with famous people and lots of boats!
Filicudi - good restaurant sig Maria, nice little quiet town.
Alicudi - fairly good anchorage on the north
Salina - good anchorage on the north east. This is a very typical island, nice bars and restaurants, houses, and above all food. Especially go to Lingua, a smaller village where you can find the best granita (pistacchio and gelsi flavour) of all the archipelago.


All the coast on the eastward side was not necessarily great, but still ok. We liked the beating and wind experience in the straits of Messina, and the actual tiny marina in Messina, and the village/city Messina.

Visit Portofino, but anchor in Santa Margharita Harbour nearby which offers a great safe and free anchorage and is only a short bus ride (1 Euro) to Portofino. Continue along the coast, visiting Cinqueterre and staying at least 1 night at the tiny Porto Venere close to La Spezia. From there, I recommend going to Elba then Giglio, Roma, Ischia, Amalfi, Camerota, Eolian to end at Portor.

Ponza Island
The most beautiful island in Italy! There is a nice small town and several beaches. Many hotels and shops. The harbour is small but there are a couple of good places where to anchor. ( 40.894509N,12.963663E)

Palmarola Island
Near the beautiful island of Ponza, just sixty miles from Rome, there is the deserted island of Palmarola. In the south of this island you can see Cala Brigantina, one of the most beautiful creek in the Mediterranean sea. You can swim in one of the large numbers of caves from one to the other without exit!! In May you can see a lot of sea gulls with their pups.

Associated Noonsite Reports

Southern Italy: Off Cape Rizzuto - Mysterious Incident (June 2011)

Italy, Sardinia, Olbia: Break-in and Burgled (July 2015)

Armando Addati
Armando Addati says:
Jan 11, 2016 07:17 PM

I am available to help on informations, does and don'ts while cruising in Italy, in particular areas like Sicily, Sardinia, Tuscany, Rome, Calabria(Rocella Ionica). My contact information is on my profile.