PWk: Prod, Tlk: GS2, Datacash: Live
The first thing you’ll notice about Salina is the countryside. Instead of the volcanic vistas you’ll find in the rest of the Aeolian Islands, you get hills painted in vineyards, forests and flowers. That’s all down to the natural springs that pop up all over the island.
Most people sail into the east-coast port of Santa Marina Salina. Lemon-and-cream houses, cafés and trattorias keep close to the coast, where a tree-shaded prom and fishing boats rest. Rinella is the second port town. It’s much smaller, tucked into the hills on the south coast. Or there’s always Salina – both holidaymakers and birds migrate to its seaside lagoon.
Pollara, on the west coast, is even tinier, with a spectacular coastline of precipitous steps chipped into sheer cliffs and wave-bashed sea arches. Inland, the scenery takes an even more dramatic turn. The twin peaks of Monte dei Porri and Monte Fossa delle Felce rise up from the coastline – climb them for widescreen views over the Aeolian Islands.
Lingua is the fishing village that gave Salina its name. This south-east corner of the island was once home to salt mines, but these days it’s more well-known for its sorbet-like granita – said to be the best in Italy.
Once you’ve sunk a glass of this much-loved dessert, explore the town. Museo Civico showcases local archaeological finds, the salty lagoon is a hit with migrating birds and fishermen, and a winery balances in the hills behind.
Wander through the Val di Chiesa
Valdichiesa is a bright green valley that dips between the two tallest volcanoes on Salina, Monte Fossa delle Felci and Monte dei Porri. Trace the trails around here, and you’ll come up with well-signposted footpaths that lead past wild herbs, vineyards, flowering capers, mossy forests and churches – including the golden sanctuary of Madonna dell Terzito.
You can choose to go for a wander through the mossy pine forests of the foothills, or aim higher. The peak of Monte Fossa delle Felci is a hike and a half, so you’ll need a decent map and walking boots – or a local guide. On a clear day, though, your reward is 360-degree views over the volcanoes of Salina and the Aeolian archipelago beyond.