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Industry Insight

Specialist Pick: Hanneke Maljaars' Dream Aeolian Islands Yacht Charter

From the remnants of ancient civilisations to the sophisticated high-fashion scene, here’s why Italy's sprawling volcanic archipelago is Hanneke’s favourite yachting destination of 2024.

With a Career that spans superyacht crew, ski chalet sales director, and her current role as Senior Charter Consultant at Ocean Independence, it is fair to say Hanneke knows a thing or two about luxury travel.

So, when the Aeolian Islands were her answer to the question, “What is your favourite yachting destination?”, we just had to find out more.

1. WHY THE AEOLIAN ISLANDS?

One of my favourite places to visit – which, to this date remains a hidden gem – is the unspoiled and utterly fascinating Aeolian Islands, just north of Sicily.

The Aeolian Islands are a mixture of jewels that attract an equally mixed crowd of Sicilian princes, European royalty, families in search of a quiet holiday, and an international fashion crowd.

Once the haunt of ancient deities, the beautiful island group in the Tyrrhenian Sea is now worshipped for its smouldering volcanoes and glittering nightlife.

Aeolian Islands
Aeolian Islands
Aeolian Islands

2. Favourite YachtS cruising there?

Italian life is all about living well, and looking fabulous while you’re doing it. There are a lot of stunning yachts in and around southern Italy that fit the bill. But, for me, three yachts stand out for their impeccable service, amenities, and stylish designs. 

 

ELEMENTS

A magnificent 80m Yachtley for charter with accommodation for 12 guests across 12 en suite staterooms plus numerous entertainment and relaxation spaces.

"ELEMENTS"

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ALMOST THERE

An innovatively-designed and luxurious 34m Sanlorenzo motor yacht providing accommodation for up to 11 guests across 5 suites. 

"ALMOST THERE"

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Q

Q was built for extensive blue-water cruising. This multi-award winning ketch presents an outstanding combination of performance, excellence and sophistication.

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3. THe best place to anchor / berth?

Known as ‘The VIP Island’ and a favourite of fashionistas, Panarea is the smallest of the Aeolian Islands. Anchoring in front of the whitewashed streets of chilled San Pietro allows for spectacular views towards the active Stromboli volcano.

"Panarea and Stromboli"

4. where is a great spot to go for a drink?

At dusk, the rooftop terrace at Raya Hotel, a short stroll from the quaint harbour in San Pietro, comes alive. It is an essential stop and meeting place for all who decide to spend their holidays in the Aeolian Archipelago. The panoramic view, accompanied by music and fragrant cocktails offers a unique experience.

 

5. TO EAT OUT?

The Aeolians have long boasted one of the Mediterranean's most dynamic—and underrated—dining scenes, and there’s no shortage of exciting eateries to choose from.

For me, Signum on the island of Salina is a must-visit. Best experienced with your nearest and dearest, ask for a table on the main terrace, covered by a pergola. Head Chef Martina is deeply committed to her island, sourcing regional delicacies that pack her dishes with authenticity and freshness.

"Signum"

6. TO DIP INTO THE LOCAL CULTURE?

The remote island of Filicudi is filled with natural wonders. Ancient pathways meander amidst ancient vines and olive trees, while prehistoric village ruins can be found at Capo. Cruise past the famed La Canna rock and the bright blue Grotta del Bue Marino – the area’s largest cave, which is also home to monk seals.

"Grotta del Bue Marino"

7.    TOP TIPS?

If I was planning my dream Aeolian Islands yacht charter, my first move would be to book a larger yacht with overnight cruise capacity and combine the Aeolians with the Amalfi coast (10+hrs) or the Sicily coastline (Taormina).

Culinary exploration would also be essential, starting with the region's traditional dish, Involtini –  (aubergine rolls) and huge, ripe Sicilian capers.

To connect with the area's natural beauty, my itinerary would just have to include a swim around the volcanic rock formations and caves on Lipari where waters are cobalt blue.

Cast adrift from mainland Italy, this archipelago is a unique melting pot of culture set amid phenomenal volcanic landscapes. The islands gurgle and spit, their fertile slopes rich with wildflowers, capers, and Malvasia grapes, plunge down to turquoise waters. Quaint eateries, high-fashion boutiques, and ancient ruins sprawl across the seven islands, offering an experience best enjoyed by yacht.

Discover the Aeolians in unmatched style and comfort with a private yacht charter. Providing both luxury and the flexibility to effortlessly hop between the islands, a superyacht remains the most beautiful way to travel.

For some inspiration read this sample Aeolian Itinerary and find out what is possible. Or, to begin crafting your bespoke charter itinerary, don’t hesitate to enquire below.

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Vulcano, Aeolians

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