Panarea juts up in beautiful defiance from the Sea of the Aeolian Islands, announcing too many fortunate travellers that a paradise awaits them here.
This volcanic tear-drop of an island is the second smallest (after Basiluzzo) of the eight Aeolian Islands, a volcanic island chain north of Sicily with a rich historical pedigree. In antiquity, the island was named “Euonymos”; with archaeological evidence on the island dating back to Mycenaean inhabitants (1200 BC); later the island was settled by Romans. There were people still living on the island until pirates and other Mediterranean raiders made life unbearable after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.
In modern times, Panarea has become a fashionable vacation spot. In 2011, it was described by W magazine as “the epicenter of the chicest summer scene in the Mediterranean” which means one needs to plan a visit with care, unless of course you like getting yourself on the cover of Vogue?
How to Get There
You could take the fast train from Rome to Naples, and then take Siremar from Naples to Panarea on Tuesdays and Fridays – crossings take between 4.5 and 6.5 hours. Otherwise, fly from Rome Fiumicino to Catania – Catania is the preferred airport for the Aeolians. It’s easy to get to the Port of Milazzo to catch the shuttle ferries to all the Aeolian islands – crossings take between 1.5 and 6 hours depending on which island you are heading for.
Where to Stay
Hotel Raya has a note of luxury about it and if you agree with Coco Chanel who said, “Some people think luxury is the opposite of poverty. It is not. It is the opposite of vulgarity.” There is no vulgarity here and the location and views are stunning. Spoil yourself.