Written by Missy Johnston
Streets of Panarea
Tucked away south of the Italian Sorrento Peninsula, in the Tyrrhean Sea, Panarea beckons as the chic jewel of the Aeolian Islands. Like Ibiza in the Balearic Islands, and Mykonos in the Cycladic Islands, Panarea draws an international crowd to this tiny island with fewer than 300 year-around residents. This island is, as described by W Magazine: “the epicenter of the chicest summer scene in the Mediterranean.” Enjoy a yacht charter itinerary through the Aeolian Islands that includes Panarea, and discover the secret chic of this little island.
The smallest of the Aeolian Islands, this little spot of land only encompasses 1.34 square miles.
In 2000, all of the Aeolian Islands, were declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. UNESCO has very strict regulations in order to assure that which is so special about these islands remains unchanged. Today Panarea is very difficult to get to, unless via private charter yacht. Those who want to get away from it all do manage to get there, from Royalty to famous names to the quietly wealthy, for relaxation away from prying eyes. UNESCO regulations ensure that this island will remain in the mode of yesteryear.
There are no roads on the island and no street lights. Those in search of night life rely on their own two feet and a torch or lantern. What night life there is consists of impromptu dinners at neighbor’s houses. The chic dinner location at around 10:00pm is The Bridge Sushi Bar. And after it is off to the Raya Hotel for the nightly dance party on the terrace with a view of the constant eruptions of the volcano on nearby Stromboli Island. Certainly a very unique, one of a kind, night club light show.
A view of Stromboli from mainland Italy
There are several enticing shops where the custom-made flat sandals, a signature of Panarea Island, with colored straps that wrap up the legs, can be purchased. And the Raya Hotel has a boutique filled with Batik clothing from Bali, which has become a signature clothing style on of this island.
Overall it is the beauty of the island and the rustic lifestyle that is the draw, where one can socialize without a thought to having the right handbag or hairstyle, while trekking on footpaths around the island. These calming activities create a feeling of relaxation hard to find elsewhere. Getting to Panarea is hard to do, except on a private yacht charter.