If you really want to get away from it all and take a look at what it’s like to live on an amazing island, you can’t go wrong with Lipari. It’s one of eight volcanic islands that form the breath-taking Aeolian group off the coast of Sicily, Italy. If you get the chance to spend at least a week there, you’ll never forget it.

The Aeolian Islands have formed over 260,000 years due to volcanic activity. To this day, Stromboli and Vulcano are still active.

Apart from enjoying the spoils of an island beach-life, you’ll also enjoy the isolation and natural wonders that Lipari has to offer. Lorna and I chose to stay at a place called La Zagara in Canneto, a small beach-town a few kilometers along the coast from the main port.

We did a bit of research on the internet before choosing the appropriate hotel. Sometimes this works out for the best, but other times leaves you wishing you’d seen the place first. In this case I’m glad we did some research and chose La Zagara before we even hopped on the island, because it is a gem of a place to stay. They gave us the very middle-top apartment, which had its own balcony and was extremely clean and modern for around $100 AU a night.

Breakfast was served complimentary every morning with croissants, cakes, milk, biscuits, coffee and orange juice.

As you can imagine, there’s pretty much no where else you’d rather wake up on your thirtieth birthday. And that’s exactly what Lorna did. Lucky for me, she let me share it with her, and it was an awesome day.

After the awesome breakfast on the outside terrace looking out at the volcanic island of Stromboli over the Mediterranean sea, we hopped on our scooter that we’d booked from the hotel. For $25 AU a day, you really can’t beat scootering around an island!

We saw all kinds of amazing things on the scooter and stopped at various places to have a swim, a coffee, some pizza and beers.

We even managed to find an old 5th century Roman bath, that was off the beaten track and not listed in any travel books!

One thing we didn’t do, that you should definitely do if you get the chance to visit Lipari, is take a boat-tour of Stromboli at night. It’s meant to be magic. And, sometimes, it sprays hot lava into the night sky! At least, I guess, it gives us something to look forward to when we go back one day.

I’m sure there are some other great apartments you can stay at on the Aeolian Islands, but I can’t recommend La Zagara enough. If you get sick of the private balcony connected to your room, you can always take the elevator to the rooftop terrace and enjoy a beer or wine on the deck-chairs as you stare out over the ocean and look at the volcanoes.

If you miss normal civilization, you can watch the plasma cable TV in your room or connect to the free wireless internet available in the downstairs lobby on leather couches and fluffy rugs.

Here’s a quick tip for you though. If you don’t mind spending the money to get to the island and stay at La Zagara, but don’t want to throw unnecessary money away, I’d recommend buying your food and beer from the local supermarket. We learned that it’s better to buy the basics (bread, milk, cereal, yoghurt, beer, wine) from there, and then just take it back to your room. You’ll save hundreds over a few days! Because as nice as the restaurant is that the hotel management will recommend you visit, it is also an absolute rip-off. We paid $120 AU there for two pieces of small fish and eight slices of thinly-grilled eggplant, one beer and one coke. It’s better to spend your money on a tour and a scooter than waste it on restaurant food, if you want to make it last. The supermarket is the key to staying longer. However, I’m pretty sure we were paying for the view…

Rob Kaay is an Australian author & musician.

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