The spell-binding islands of Lampedusa and Linosa are part of the Pelagian Islands, a small archipelago situated south of Sicily. In fact, this island group is renowned for its close proximity to Africa and despite its Italian heritage, the North African influence can be seen and felt in the architecture, cuisine and the very atmosphere. This combination of cultures has created a pair of exotic and enticing destinations, floating serenely in the heavenly blue of the Mediterranean Sea.
These two islands offer a a tranquil holiday of pure isolation out of season, but during the summer season of May through to September, an influx of visitors make the journey to the islands for the shimmering, pure white shores; vivid jewel-toned seas and scorching temperatures. However, it is only during the heights of the season in July and August that these islands get crowded – visit outside these times if you really want to experience a quieter version of paradise.
Just 3 kilometres wide and 12 kilometres long,
Lampedusa may be small in size but it more than makes up for its stature in charm. The natural beauty of this island is famous throughout Sicily and Italy alike – the soft, white sands and azure waters would not look out of place in the Caribbean. Swimming, sunbathing and exploring gentle nature trails are the key activities on beautiful Lampedusa.
There are a variety of glorious beaches, ranging from the famous, touristy beaches to hidden coves, known only by locals. Hiring a scooter makes for an excellent way to explore the island on your own timetable and discover secret beaches on your own. Most of the bays offer great swimming with gentle waves, suitable for snorkelling and families with young children.
Alternatively, organise a trip to the nearby I’Isolotto dei Conigli, the famous ‘Island of the Rabbits’. Although only a few of these furry creatures reside there now, this stunning island is notorious for its mesmerising beaches – ideal for a day trip and a picnic lunch. Visit during the week to enjoy the island enveloped in solitude.
Diving in the sea surrounding Lampedusa is an experience not to be missed. The crystalline waters are rich in a variety of marine life and there are dive shops on the island where you can rent equipment or hire instructors. Look out for the caretta turtles that visit the area to lay their eggs in a protected bay.
In terms of cuisine, foodies will find themselves in seafood heaven on Lampedusa’s shores. The island often plays host to Italy’s largest fishing fleet, based at Mazzara del Vallo on the Sicilian mainland. In fact, the island has a long history with denizens of the sea – Lampedusa was once a notorious pirate haunt. As with any of the islands in this region, the seafood is exquisite and super fresh. Enjoy spicy stews, succulent fish and a variety of Sicilian specialities which pull together influences from North Africa, Greece and Spain, thanks to the various invaders who have conquered Sicily over the years.
Tiny Linosa is only around 5 kilometres square, but this little island boasts unparalleled volcanic scenery and glittering unspoilt waters which makes it a tempting destination for a day trip. With only 200 permanent inhabitants residing in African-inspired, brightly coloured homes, this tranquil destination offers holiday-makers the chance to hike and dive to their heart’s content. With an intriguing landscape that includes three extinct volcanic cones and sweeping black sand beaches, Linosa is a destination rich in natural beauty and wonder.
Linosa’s reputation for excellent diving might even surpass Lampedusa. This is due to the sharp drops in depth that occur just a short distance from the shore. Although there is a large variety of marine life to be seen around Linosa, many visitors come for the endangered caretta turtles that lay their eggs at the black sand beach of Gaia Pozzolana di Ponente. As well as the aquatic action afforded by Linosa’s waters, the island itself is home to a rich range of wildlife from scuttling lizards to singing sea birds.
Sailing along the turquoise waters that encircle Linosa is an experience not to be missed. Offering captivating views of Linosa’s unique coastline and the sublime waters that lap the rocky coves and beaches, a sailing excursion is the best way to see sights such as the Grotta del Greco (the Greek Cave) and the charming turtle beaches on the south coast. One of the highlights is a small, emerald lagoon, situated near the lighthouse on the Punt Beppe Tuccio promontory.
Our self-catered villas offer an experience that blends all the comfort of home with the excitement of a Sicilian adventure. Operating on your own schedule, relaxing in your own space and enjoying amenities such as private pools and expert assistance from our team at Sicily4U, basing your holiday in one of our properties will give you access to all the treasures of Sicily. Explore our collections and individual locations or contact us for further information.
Visitors to Lampedusa and Linosa arrive by air or by sea. Flights run to Lampedusa from Palermo and Catania on Sicily or from Milan, Rome and Naples on mainland Italy. Alternatively, travellers can take the overnight ferry that leaves from Agrigento or Porto Empedocle on Sicily’s south coast.