The Aeolian islands: Panarea

After the quick visits to Lipari and Salina, we had more time to dedicate to our third island – Panarea. It’s the second smallest island from the Aeolian archipelago (3 km wide and 2 km long), but the most picturesque for me. If I had more time – this is the island I would spend several days on. It doesn’t have cars on it, only motorbikes, 3-wheeled trucks and golf cars. So – it was pretty quiet and unpolluted.

The green island of Panarea

The port of Panarea does not open a good view to the actual beauties it’s home to. You better take some of the paths winding in between the village and be patient – as you reach the inside of the island, you’ll see charming houses, lush gardens and sea views opening up in front.

Each house had a unique name and picture depicted on a ceramic plate (after seeing those, I got my own plate for my home 🙂

Casa nostra = our house

The dominating white and blue colors remind of Greek villages a lot, yet the abundant greenery both inside and around the houses make them way different.

This is what a regular house garden in Panarea looks like

Panarea is famous for its luxury vacation homes and celebrity visitors. While it has a modest population of 200-300 people during the winter (in April we hardly saw any people on the streets), during the summer the island becomes a gathering place for wealthier tourists. This was obvious not just from the impressive vacation houses, but from the sophisticated restaurants and exotic bars on the central street.

Cute little hotels with golf cars parked inside were popping up on every corner

Still, the island did offer more than luxury spots. Following the paper guide, after almost an hour (~ 5km)  of walking the village alleys, a lonely bay and then climbing a steep flight of stairs – here we were! At the top of a steep rock there was an even surface with impressive remnants from an ancient prehistoric village.

The prehistoric village, naturally protected by the sea on all ends except the entrance point

The village, dating back to the Bronze Age (1300 BC) shows 23 oval stone huts. One of them is a square one and is deemed to be a place of worship.

Map of the hut outlines in the prehistoric village

The place is naturally protected with steep cliffs on all ends but one, and offers a great view to all possible sea entrance points. What’s curious about it is that all pottery and belongings to the people who dwelt here were found in the village, left just as they were being used. Seems that some surprising attack or event made all residents suddenly leave the place.

Just below the village there’s an amazing bay, which we visited the next day for a swim. It’s accessible from the prehistoric village, or from the sea. Given that in the low season we hardly found a place to anchor (bottom is rocky), don’t recommend visiting it by boat in the high season.

The bay just below the prehistoric village

Pity, there was some pink jelly fish all around, and we weren’t really tempted to swim with it. The beach is also a pebble one, though crystal clear. But nevertheless, the turquoise waters of the bay and the view to the prehistoric village made the few hours we spent there a complete pleasure.

If you want to stay at a sandy beach – just 20 minutes from the village there’s a black sand beach (one of the two sandy beaches on the island).

The black sand beach next to the prehistoric village

If you decide to stay on the island – have in mind accommodation is expensive (we stayed on the boat, but I checked the hotel prices afterwards and wow – they were steep!). Also, in the low season you will find hardly anything open – mainly bars selling tasty granitas (semi-frozen dessert made from sugar, water and various flavorings). So a better choice might be to visit in the high season and stay in the nearby island of Lipari.

In any case – an island really worth visiting!

Next comes the volcano part of our Aeolian trip, expect it in a week or so 🙂

2 Responses to The Aeolian islands: Panarea

  1. dana says:

    do you think two days is enough in panarea? Did you go to taromina?

    • Svetla says:

      Yep two days seems perfectly fine, the island is a small one but pretty beautiful.
      I’ve been to Taormina on another trip, much worth a lengthier visit I would say, pretty much to see inside Taormina but also 20-30 km around.

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