Photo of Panarea

About Panarea

The smallest and trendiest of the Aeolian Islands, Panarea has gained a cult status amongst Milanese fashionistas like Armani, European royalty like Prince Laurent of Belgium, Russian oligarchs like Abramovic and American celebrities like Beyonce and Jay Z, who descend upon the island in the summer seeking its laid-back tranquility, azure waters, pretty pebbled beaches and magical isolation. Ideal for a romantic break or a writer's retreat, our collection of the best places to stay in Panarea will ensure a luxurious and relaxing stay.

Panarea's landscape is made up of rolling green hills, terraced farmland and volcanic formations. Only 2.5 by 1.8km, it only has 300 full-time residents and one principal settlement, San Pietro, and is totally car-free - meaning that to get around the island you either walk, hire a boat or a golf cart. A tangled web of whitewashed houses, San Pietro has some wonderful restaurants serving simple and hearty local fare. During the summer months, particularly between July and August, the normally calm streets are filled with the roaring and raving sounds of partying from the open-air disco at Hotel Raya that overlooks the sea, which has been attended by the likes of Uma Thurman and Kate Moss in past days.

Its beaches are quite simply beautiful. On the southernmost point is Cala Junco, whose waters are clear-as-glass while to the east lies Punta Milazzese, sitting beside the remnants of a Bronze Age settlement. In the north is Cala de Zimmari - the island's only sandy beach - and to the east of that is the Spiaggia della Calcara, a pure and magical place, with boiling underwater springs and beautiful views. The waters surrounding the island are ideal for scuba-diving and snorkelling: just off the coastline is the shipwreck of an English merchantman The Lanishman, sunk in 1900, a home to starfish and groupers, whose outlines is visible from the island. Panarea's tallest peak, the Punta del Carvo, stands at 421m high and boasts supremely gorgeous panoramic views of the island, surrounding sea and archipelago.

What not to miss

  • Scuba-diving: swim amongst starfish as you explore the submerged shipwreck of the Lanishman, an English merchantman sunk off the coast.
  • Beaches: the picturesque pebbled beaches are stunning, like the Cala Junco or the Punta Milazzese. For a sandy beach, check out the Cala de Zimmari. If you want hot springs, go to the Spiaggia della Calcara.
  • Antiquity: the Bronze Age settlement beside the Punta Milazzzese is a wonderful sight to behold - a small series of ringlet houses surrounded by a wall.
  • Festivals: if you're lucky enough to be on the island on June 28th, then be ready to soak in Panarea's cultural fabric. The Festival of San Pietro celebrates Saint Peter, and it is a night of music, dancing, good food and fine wine, followed by a seaborne procession of the statue of Saint Peter.

Due to Panarea's small size and undeniable charms it can get very booked up, especially during the summer months, so in order to snag a room at one of the best places to stay in Panarea we recommend you plan your trip well in advance.

The best places to stay in Panarea

For Luxury living

  • Hotel Raya: a sophisticated hotel with 27 rooms ensuring total relaxation, while also offering sailing and diving. There is a rooftop gourmet restaurant and their infamous nightclub, attended by celebrities, royalty and oligarchs.
  • Quartara Resort Hotel: a luxurious and tranquil boutique hotel with 14 rooms overlooking the sea. It has a spoiling spa and a wonderful restaurant.

For Sea Views

  • Hotel Cincotta: a cliffside hotel with its own private stairwell to the beach. Simple whitewashed walls and airy terraces conceal a salt-water pool and jacuzzi both offering breathtaking views.

For an apartment or villa

  • For self-catering options, our partner has a wide range of villas and apartments.

Travel information

  • The best time to go is during the summer months because between November and April most places are closed. Between May and October, the temperature lies between 17 and 30 degrees.
  • Fly to Catania and take a train to Milazzo, where you can catch a hydrofoil to Panarea.

Still not sure?

Best Hotels in Panarea

  • Hotel Cincotta Panarea (ME) 29 rooms from £78

    Beach Life  -  With beautiful terraces overlooking the sea and a short walk from the port and beaches, an ideal Mediterranean seaside retreat
    Great walks  -  Walk over the Isthmus, past some pretty ruins, to beautiful secluded swimming spots
    Swimming Pool  -  Outdoor pool
    Back to Nature
    Recommended by  -  Great Small Hotels

    A cliffside hotel with its own private staircase to the beach. Simple whitewashed walls and airy terraces conceal a salt-water pool and jacuzzi both offering breathtaking views. Interiors are unfussy yet smart, echoing classic seaside simplicity, and the top quality cuisine is a real draw. See More

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  • Hotel Raya Panarea 27 rooms from £156

    Views  -  Great views from hotel
    Total relaxation
    Recommended by  -  CN Traveller

    A very sophisticated island hotel meant for total relaxation, though there's sailing, diving and a nightclub. Chic rooms, suites, and a private villa all in white with attractive fabrics and private terraces. Spectacular views from the roof top restaurant. Romance on a peninsula. See More

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  • Quartara Resort Hotel Isole Eolie (ME), Panarea 14 rooms from £208

    Total relaxation  -  A luxurious and tranquil property on the small and picturesque Panarea Island, ideal for simply unwinding.
    Diving  -  Discover the flora and fauna of the ocean on a diving excursion.
    Sailing  -  Can be booked nearby.
    Views  -  Great views from hotel

    A small boutique hotel set on the small and beautiful island of Panarea. Chic rooms feature white on white style juxtaposed by elegant dark wood furniture and blue tiling. A large terrace is ideal for soaking in the spectacular views and there's a quaint Sicilian restaurant and a spa too. See More

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