If you imagine the Med islands but much quieter and with a much more culture seeking crowd, you have the Aeolians. As with a lot of our travels, I did a fair bit of reading before we went out there. From what I imbibed through the travel books, I imagined azure blue waters, relaxing walks, freshly caught fish for lunch, cobbled streets waiting to be explored and a lively local scene. The Aeolians were all that and more. Yet, they felt like a precious little secret I shared with a select few.
Lipari is the main hub for the Aeolians. We chose to have Lipari as our base for this very reason. Accommodation was reasonably priced (outside the August madness) and we could easily get to mainland Sicily as well as the other islands. I also liked the idea of having shops to visit, cafes to frequent and plentiful choice of restaurants. As always, the locals (Italians/Sicilians) always provide their share of entertainment via a keen interest in you and a general sense of drama in everything they say or do.
The best way to see Lipari properly is to hire a scooter. We even managed to negotiate the price of one for about 15 Euros a day. Nevertheless, due to various reasons, we ended up exploring Lipari by foot. You could stick to the touristy trail and explore the castle, museum etc. or just wander the streets and see what you find. We did more of the latter. I loved visiting the little grocery stores that sold local produce (oils, wine, bread, fruit etc) and stopping by tiny local cafes for the mandatory granita or gelato.
The beauty of Lipari and the Aeolians in general is that there isn't that much to do and so you are forced to slow down after a day's worth of exploring. Instead, find a spot to relax by the beach or a sidewalk cafe and people watch whilst sipping on good quality coffee. We bought bits from the local shops for an impromptu picnic by a bench and wandered into pretty Trattorias in search of dinner. The food never failed to disappoint, especially if you sought out local specialties.
Have you been to Liapri or somewhere similar? What were your favourite activities? Ann x
Wearing: Hat bought from a local Sicilian store, Vivienne Westwood Sunglasses; H&M Blazer, Thrift Store Playsuit; La Redoute Sandals, Mandarina Duck Bag via TKMaxx ( all old collections)
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Photography by Edward Chandler