We've all heard of Capri and Sicily, but if you’re anything like me, you like to wander off the beaten path every once in a while. Sure the big islands are gorgeous, but Italy actually has over 450 islands! There are around 350 sea islands, 100 lagoon and lake islands, and a few river islands. Of course I haven’t been to all of them (yet), but I do have a few suggestions I have to share with you! I’d say now is the perfect time to start planning your dream island escape!
Salina is one of the Aeolian Islands off of Sicily. It is the second largest in the group and has a green and lush landscape with over 400 different types of plants. The island is probably best known as the setting for the oscar-winning film “Il Postino”, but the island is also memorable for its rocky beaches and peaceful atmosphere.
Where to Stay: Principe di Salina
The Egadi Islands are off the west coast of Sicily. Favignana, or la Farfalla, as it is often called due to its butterfly shape, is the largest of the islands. It’s 10 miles off the coast from the Sicilian port of Trapani, so it makes for a great day trip. The island is famous for its caves of calcarenite rock and tuna fisheries. If you’re looking for a beach, though, Cala Rossa is one of the best known, however, if you really want to get away from it all, then hop over to Marettimo, the most isolated island in the group, which only has one hotel.
Where to Stay: Cas’almare
An island in the Mediterranean Sea that is closer to Tunisia than Sicily and known as a black volcanic dot. It’s also one of the lesser-known islands of this bunch, but has historical archaeological importance. No real beaches, just swimming off of rocks, but it's secluded and wild—like being on another planet. It's an adventure worth going on.
Where to Stay: Sikelia Pantelleria
This is the magical Italian island that I dream of returning to and the place where I first fell in love with the Aperol Spritz. It's unpretentious and real. Most of the tourists are Italian - if you find a spot where all the “tourists” are local, you know you’ve discovered a gem. This crescent moon shaped island is part of the Pontine Islands, and reached by hydrofoil from Anzio on the mainland. If you like exploring rocky coves and grottos, then this is the place for you. The best sunset of my life was enjoyed from the terrace of Kibar at Hotel Chiaia di Luna..
Where to Stay: Chiaia di Luna
This is the smallest island in the Bay of Naples and also its best kept secret! Although it’s not on the radar of many foreign tourists, that doesn't mean Procida hasn’t enjoyed a number of screen moments. The island is one of the locations in “The Talented Mr Ripley”. Its tiny piazzas and winding streets appeared in many scenes, but it's actually the pretty pastel houses gently rising up the hillside above Marina Corricella that you will remember forever (a very instagrammable moment). It’s a small, authentic island where the local fisherman still sell their catch of the day directly from their boats.
Where to stay: La Suite