Golden Day Forty-Seven: Relax On Salina Island
I’m always getting asked, “What’s your favorite….?,” which I always find impossible to answer. When it comes to Italy, I call on Goddess Venus, and go according to my mood. For a totally blissful time in the Aeolian Islands, I’d check into La Raya on Panarea, the smallest and most tranquil–no cars allowed! For a livelier spot, I choose Lipari, the largest island, that has a great archaeological museum, busy port, and it’s fun to wander the alleys where little shops, delicious restaurants, bakeries and gelato shops await.
I took a great hike there, up to Monte delle Felici, last October with Country Walkers–the views are stunning at the top, and along the way you walk through vineyards, fields of wildflowers, and cactus. On another trip I indulged in the luxurious Signum Spa, with its gorgeous infinity pool and stayed in a quaint B&B, La Locana Del Postino, in the remote village of Pollara, where Il Postino was filmed.
I’m grateful to have met Marco, a Salina naitve, from the wonderful team who runs Salina Boat Relax, to give me insider’s advice for this island. Marco’s Golden Day naturally begins with a boat ride…
“To really get to know the island, all its hidden bays and grottoes, you must go around it by boat. Most tourists just see Pollara, but there are many other amazing coves and rock formations that we’ll show you along the way. We only take small groups (average size 20), so this is also great for single travelers, as people get to meet other visitors during our excursion. We’ll stop for a swim and serve a simple lunch along the way–an antipasto of fresh fish, Sicilian caponata, pasta with seafood sauce, and whatever fruit is in season.
We’ll end the boat ride in the village of Lingua, where you must stop at Da Alfredo (Piazza Marina Garibaldi), that’s famous for granita–delicious flavored ices . Or you could have a Pane Cunzatu–typical Sicilian sandwich, filled with eggplant, tomato, olive, and anchovies–at Gambero (Via Marina Garibaldi 3, 090 984 3049), which is also a wonderful restaurant for dinner in Lingua.
Then have a rest at your hotel. La Salina Borgo di Mare in Lingua is our favorite. It’s the only one on the rock beach, next to the salt lake and the lighthouse.
At sunset, it’s beautiful to go to Pollara. This can be done by boat, or you can drive (about 10km from Lingua), or you may want to rent a scooter–Bongiorno in Santa Marina is the best place to rent them.
For an apertivo, go to Santa Marina, where the Hotel Mercanti di Mare has a sea view terrace where many gather to taste local wines. You can then move on to dinner at Porto Bello (Via Bianchi, 090 984 3125), which is the most popular spot, right at the port–it serves amazing raw seafood and great pasta specialties. Further up the hill is the more tranquil Da Franco (Via Belvedere 8, 090 984 3287) or Mamma Santina, both are romantic places with spectacular views and great home cooking. Besides delicious fish, Mamma Santina serves a dish called 16 Erbe–it’s DIVINO!
For dinner in Lingua, we love Il Delfino (Via Marina Garibaldi 5, 090 984 3024). The Pasta al Delfino (with pesto, capers, pine nuts and pistachio) and Calamaretti alla Malvasia are excellent!
Salina is a very quiet island, but for nighttime fun and dancing, there is the bar, Layla–right below the Porto Bello restaurant in Santa Marina, where you can join in on the fun from 11 pm to early morning. OR for beautiful views, go to the disco/bar at
Salina Boat Relax also offers excursions to see Stromboli, or day or night fishing.
Grazie Marco! I can’t wait to return!