If you are doing the tourist thing in Italy in summer than you will definetly want to see the many splendid islands Italy has to offer. Some of the most diverse and beautiful island chain in Italy is in Sicily and is called Isole Eolie by the Italians. For the rest of us they are more commonly refereed to as the Aeolian Islands. They are chain of seven islands that are very beautiful.
Planning a holiday to the Aeolian Islands can be difficult as you will find there isn’t much practical information on the internet about prices for ferries, and secure car parking locations (well at least there wasn’t for me when i tried to plan this trip). Firstly the closest, cheapest and fastest ferry port is at Milazzo, a northern Sicilian coast town that offers fast ferry boat services for foot passengers and depending upon the island (vehicles). That’s right Panarea and Stromboli do not permit cars to drive on it.
Your first stop to the Aeolian Islands is Milazzo, here you can catch the hydrofoil ferry to either island. If you are arriving by train, beware that the train station is 3km south of the Milazzo port, you will need to either catch a taxi (quite expensive) or a bus, try AST (Azienda Siciliana Transporti) bus-lines. The buses run from the train station to the port regularly.
The are two companies that currently operate out of Milazzo, but the larger one that operates more time daily is Liberty Lines. Their current ferry schedule is captured in the below photo:
If you are arriving by car, you can park your rental car securely in one of the many garages that are located on the south side of the port. The ferry company has prices listed for parking on the front window for secure parking (that includes video surveillance) this car park also offers a free bus service from the car park to the port.
As you drive south from the Port turn left when you see the Mazda car dealership sign, and immediately in front you will see the gates to the secure car park, it will look something like this:
As soon as you turn left down the street from the Mazda dealership, in front of you will be the entrance to the secured car park (pictured below).
There are also a number of private venture secured car-parks located in the surrounding industrial area, if you so wish to park somewhere else.
Once you do arrive at the Milazzo port you will be faced by the ticket office. Here you will have an ATM (Euronet) to withdraw funds if you so wish. There is also a bar, for the late snack or espresso coffee to get you perked up ready for your Aeolian Island adventure.
Tickets cost approximately 20 euro for a one way trip to the islands. Withdraw enough funds for your trip to the islands, There are ATM’s and cash-points on the islands but you don’t want to risk getting caught out with an Italian bank ATM not functioning properly while you are on the island. Get your cash before you leave.