Top 15 things to do in Salina

Sanctuaire de Madonna de Terzito

For your next vacation, head for an extraordinary archipelago in northern Sicily! Discover the best things to do in Salina, one of the Aeolian Islands.

For a sunny vacation off the beaten track, choose the Aeolian archipelago in northern Sicily and visit Salina! This volcanic island with its breathtaking scenery is packed with things to do. Immerse yourself in island life and enjoy the Dolce Vita of southern Italy.

Two volcanoes rise majestically on either side of Salina, giving it an impressive appearance when viewed from the boat. On site, the hospitality of the locals, the many activities, the beaches and the gastronomy guarantee an unforgettable and relaxing stay. To help you prepare for your trip, we’ve put together a list of the 15 best things to do in Salina.

1. Village of Santa Marina

Village de Santa Marina - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – 1234zoom

With a population of less than 1,000, the town of Santa Marina is nonetheless the island’s capital. Home to one of the island’s two ferry ports, it’s an ideal base from which to begin your visit to Salina.

Take a stroll through the historic center and its narrow streets crowned with beautiful wrought-iron balconies. The light-colored houses will immediately immerse you in the Mediterranean atmosphere. You can stock up on souvenirs in a number of shops, while restaurants and ice-cream parlors will delight your taste buds.

The tour of the village takes about an hour and a half. Santa Marina also boasts one of the island’s only scooter rental companies, a great way to visit Salina with your hair blowing in the wind!

2. Pollara cliff

Abris troglodytes de Pollara - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Melissaberry

Following the road to the west of the island, you reach the end of the road and the charming village of Pollara. This was the setting for the film Il postino (« The Postman »), about the exile of Pablo Neruda, played by Philippe Noiret.

Pass through this pretty village and follow the steps down to the sea. You’ll find a beautiful pebble beach lined with stone huts and troglodyte shelters that provide refuge for fishermen.

As you enter the turquoise waters, turn left to admire the majestic Pollara cliff, one of Salina’s must-sees. At the end of the day, watch the sunset from the lighthouse high above the village.

3. Percioto rock arch

Arche rocheuse de Percioto - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marco Crupi

Not far from Pollara, another Salina must-see is the Percioto rock arch. This geological formation impresses with its size and the finesse of its natural architecture. It towers over the Adriatic Sea like a perfect bridge.

This place to visit in Salina is only accessible by boat, so you’ll need to book an excursion to enjoy it. On a clear day, you’ll be able to see Stromboli in the background, ideal for taking original photos with beautiful views of the volcano.

4. House of Pablo Neruda

Maison de Pablo Neruda - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – JorgeMiller

Pablo Neruda’s house is where Philippe Noiret lives in the film. Pablo Neruda never actually lived there, but it serves as a symbolic place for film lovers.

This small, ochre-walled property perches high above the village of Pollara. Its owner, Pippo Cafarella, will be delighted to tell you all about the filming anecdotes and the many purchase requests he has received for his little corner of paradise.

On the way back down, have fun following in the letter carrier’s footsteps. You’ll find a statue in his honour, a fresco of the actor Massimo Troisi in the church square and a visit to the mini-museum. Every evening, a screening of the film takes place under the pine trees of the Oasi snack bar, giving you the chance to meet the island’s inhabitants!

5. Sanctuary of Madonna di Terzito

Sanctuaire de Madonna de Terzito - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marco Crupi

The Maria Santissima de Terzito sanctuary stands in the center of the island, in the municipality of Leni, on the road leading to Rinella, Salina’s second port. The church was built around 1630 in homage to the Virgin Mary.

Here you’ll discover the story of Alfonso Mercorella, a woodcutter to whom the Virgin appeared in 1922, and the legend surrounding the construction of the sanctuary. It’s one of the most popular wedding venues on the Aeolian Islands, and it’s easy to see why. Set between sea and volcano, the church offers an enchanting setting for immortalizing the most beautiful day of a lifetime!

6. Admire the falcons on the slopes of Pizzo del Corvo

Faucon

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Zdenek Machacek

Visiting Salina also means discovering a varied fauna, and in particular numerous species of birds. The most easily observed are the buzzard, the kestrel and the imperial crow. On the west coast and the slopes of Pizzo del Corvo, you may be lucky enough to spot a specimen of the Queen’s hawk. One of the rare Mediterranean falcons, it lives almost exclusively on the Aeolian Islands.

7. Visit the fishing village of Rinella

Le village de pêcheurs de Rinella - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Natursports

Rinella is a must when visiting Salina. The village is built on the seafront and rises quickly from the foothills of the volcano. At the very bottom, a large black sand beach awaits your towel.

A number of bars and restaurants with terraces give you the chance to sample island cuisine from the comfort of your own seafront seat. Watch as fishermen return to moor their colorful boats along the jetty and unload their catch.

8. Climbing the Fossa delle Felci

le Fossa delle Felci

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marco Crupi

Fossa delle Felci literally translates as « the fern pit ». With a summit at 962 meters, this volcano is the highest point on the island and in the entire Aeolian archipelago. It faces its twin, Monte dei Porri, and offers magnificent views as far as the islands of Lipari and Vulcano.

The climb is not very long, but can be steep in places. Allow two and a half hours for a family outing. You can ask for a map at the tourist office before setting off. At the top, you’ll see the ferns that cover the crater and give the mountain its name.

9. Take a boat trip

Stromboli - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – baileyc1

Several companies offer day trips to discover the island from the sea. Whether on an organized excursion or a private tour, with friends or family, you can contemplate the beauties of Salina from a boat. You can take a full tour of the island, or opt for a combined trip to Lipari or Stromboli.

Swimming breaks are included, as well as a meal served on board or in a restaurant, depending on the option chosen. Be sure to ask beforehand if any of the crew speak French! In any case, it’s a beautiful day ahead, and some magnificent photos to add to your vacation album.

10. Try scuba diving

Plongée sous-marine - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Damsea

The Aeolian Islands are among the best diving spots in the Mediterranean Sea. If you’re visiting Salina on vacation, be sure to discover its magnificent underwater world. More than a dozen dive sites are listed around the island, accessible to beginners and experienced divers alike.

From sandy slopes for beginners to drop-offs of up to 50 metres for the more experienced, there’s something for everyone when it comes to putting their head under water. The rich seabed is home to a wide variety of fish and crustaceans. Groupers, amberjacks, shrimps, lobsters, moray eels and other nudibranchs await you during an unforgettable immersion.

11. Taste local specialities

Poisson aux câpres - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Magdanatka

Like any good Mediterranean island, Salina has a rich, sea-focused gastronomy. Each little restaurant has its own speciality, some even offering a unique dish based on the catch of the day.

Capers, the region’s pride and joy, are found on every table. They go deliciously well with dishes, as a condiment or to spice up sauces. Herbs such as bay leaf, fennel and wormwood go wonderfully with jugged hare or fish.

12. Enjoy the beaches

Falaise de Pollara

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marco Crupi

Visiting Salina also means relaxing and enjoying the sunshine that is present almost all year round on the Aeolian archipelago. The island covers an area of 26 km² and boasts dozens of kilometers of coastline. On foot, by bike, scooter or boat, enjoy discovering the small coves carved out of the island’s volcanic relief.

Sandy or pebble beaches await you for long, lazy sessions. Don’t forget your mask and snorkel – the water is clear and rich in fish, even just a few metres from the shore!

13. Going to Lake Lingua

Lac de Lingua - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marco Crupi

In the extreme south-east of the island lies the charming town of Lingua, directly on the sea. This peaceful, relaxing spot boasts a number of hotels and restaurants ideal for a few days’ vacation.

Separated from the sea by a dike, the lake was mined to produce the salt that gives the island its name. Here, you can swim in the clear waters of the large pebble beach and admire the boulders that bear witness to ancient volcanic activity.

A lighthouse stands at the tip of Lingua to guide boats. The former keeper’s house has been restored and now houses a small sea museum.

14. Discover the village of Malfa

Le village de Malfa

Photo credit: Shutterstock – Marco Crupi

A visit to Salina without passing through the village of Malfa is unthinkable! This picturesque village in the north of the island boasts pastel-washed houses that stand out harmoniously against the backdrop of the sea. A perfect backdrop for amateur photographers!

Another reason to visit Malfa: il vino! The vines grown around the village are used to produce Malvasia de Salina wine. This nectar, with its soft, sweet notes, is ideal as an aperitif. It’s also the perfect accompaniment to terrace meals and seafood dishes or freshly caught fish. Stroll along the narrow streets and discover the local way of life!

15. Rent a scooter to tour the island

Scooter - visiter Salina

Photo credit: Shutterstock – NUTTANART KHAMLAKSANA

For complete autonomy, we recommend renting a scooter to accompany you throughout your stay in Salina. There are only two rental companies on the island, in Santa Marina and Malfa. Although prices are a little high, there’s nothing like riding around a small volcanic island with your hair blowing in the wind. You’ll have easy access to all the island’s towns and can explore the trails in true adventurer mode.

How do I get to Salina?

By plane

There is no airport on the island of Salina. The easiest way is to fly to Sicily, then take a ferry from Milazzo. Sicily’s two main airports are Palermo Falcone-Borsellino and Catania-Fontanarossa.

To find the flights best suited to your budget, use the Skyscanner search engine. By entering your preferred criteria, you’ll find the ticket that’s right for you in just a few clicks.

By ferry

Ferries run daily between all the islands of the Aeolian archipelago. To reach Salina, you’ll need to pass through Panarea, Lipari or Filicudi, with or without a stopover.

The nearest port to Salina is Milazzo in Sicily. The archipelago can be reached from the Italian mainland by other routes, but the crossing will take longer. From Naples, for example, it takes 5h30. From Milazzo, the crossing takes between 1h30 and 2h30, depending on the company.

Where to stay in Salina?

There are many choices when it comes to accommodation when you visit Salina. Away from the hordes of travelers, the island boasts a plethora of accommodations to ensure a pleasant stay, whatever your desires.

On the Airbnb website, many individuals offer magnificent houses or apartments with panoramic views. By using a hotel comparator, you can enter your criteria and find the one that’s right for you.

Spending a few nights in an agriturismo is also a must in Salina. In addition to self-catering, these farms offer a catering service based on produce grown on the estate. You’re guaranteed to taste fresh, seasonal produce!

 

Map of hotels and accommodation – Aeolian Islands,it