HighSails uses cookies to make the site simpler.Find out more about cookies

The Ultimate Furnari Sailing Guide - Explore Sicily

TrustPilot Logo

COVID 19: You can change your booking on most of our boats if your travel plans are affected by coronavirus.
See here for more details

Let us help you plan the perfect sailing trip

Provide your travel details, receive free offer and enjoy your holiday!

An introduction to Furnari sailing holidays

As you approach the small inland town of Furnari, perched upon a beautiful Sicilian hilltop, you will be amazed by the beautiful vistas emerging everywhere around you. Make your way to the nearby village of Tonnarella, where you will find the largest marina in Sicily, Portorosa, and set sail along the stunning Sicilian coast.

Founded in the 14th century, Furnari sits near the northeast coast of Sicily, 55 kilometres west of Messina and 180 kilometres east of Palermo. The town overlooks the valley north towards the Tyrrhenian Sea and offers stunning views of the mountains to the south. You will be absorbed by the slow pace of everyday life and relaxed atmosphere, typical of the small Sicilian village. 

Strolling down the narrow streets, the occasional tavern or restaurant you will happen upon is the ideal stop to sample the rich Sicilian culinary selection. This part of the island is lined by citrus groves sprawling towards the coast with vineyards covering the foothills to the south, adding intoxicating smells and visuals to the surrounding area.    

Why should you choose Furnari for your sailing holiday?

Hills near Furnari

If you are looking for a quiet oasis close to the coast but not directly on it, Furnari is the ideal choice! The coast near Furnari offers long stretches of stunning, hidden beaches lined with golden sand.

Not far from Furnari, you'll find several Natural Parks, archaeological landmarks like the Tindari Greek Theatre (remnants of an ancient Greek colony), while the highest active volcano in Europe, Etna, is only a couple of hours away.

Combine all those natural attractions with delicious food, perfect weather and warm hospitality of the locals, and you have yourselves an ideal summer destination!

For all your sailing needs, the large Portorosa Marina, located nearby in the village of Tonnarella, offers plenty of berths, amenities and services.

Starting your sailing vacation in Furnari will enable you to explore the northern coast of Sicily, visit the historical city of Messina or sail your way north towards the spectacular Aeolian Islands.

What weather conditions to expect in Furnari

Sunset in the hills of Sicily

In Furnari, you can enjoy a warm Mediterranean climate, similar to the rest of Sicily. Summers here are hot and dry, with temperatures regularly exceeding 30 °C. Winters are mild with more precipitation, but there are still more than 200 dry days each year. Visiting during the spring or autumn is best reserved for those looking to avoid the crowds and the blistering heat with temperatures sitting around 20°C and still offering plenty of sunshine. If you are looking to enjoy water activities, July offers the highest sea temperature at around 27 °C. 

Best time to sail in Furnari

The warm Mediterranean climate ensures that sailing in Furnari and Sicily, in general, is possible for the majority of the year, except for winter. Those looking to enjoy water activities like swimming or snorkelling on their sailing vacation should visit during the summer when the water is warm. The sun is shining brightly, and the air temperature is well above 30°C. The prevailing northwestern winds on the coast are also ideal for sailing during the summer, with wind strength around 20 to 25 knots from June to August.

Parts of Furnari

Beautiful hills of Sicily

The town of Furnari is a municipality in the Metropolitan City of Messina, located about 54 kilometres west of Messina. The town itself is located on a hilltop, surrounded by valleys and mountains. The municipality consists of several areas like Furnari, Tonnarella, Saiatine, Firriato, San Filippo, Condurso.

Furnari - the seat of the municipality, a charming hilltop settlement

Tonnarella - home of the largest and one of the most modern marinas in Sicily, the Portorosa marina, as well as several tourist resorts and hotels

Saiatine - another coastal section of the municipality, full of hotels, villas and restaurants

Firriato - primarily residential area

San Filippo - the industrial zone of the Furnari municipality

Condurso - the agricultural part of the municipality, full of vineyards and citrus groves

Marinas around Furnari

The sunset on the coast of Sicly

Marina di Portorosa - is a large and modern marina located on the northern coast of Sicily, in the Gulf of Patti, between Capo Tindari and Capo Milazzo. The marina is protected by two large breakwaters, offering ample protection from all types of wind. Here you will find 650 available berths alongside a 4000 m long dock. The marina is open year-round and offers extensive amenities, including power and water supply at every berth, fueling station, Wi-Fi, 24-hour security surveillance and many more.

Milazzo Marina - is also known as Marina del Nettuno Milazzo, and it is located in the province of Messina, in the town of Milazzo. The marina is located east of Portorosa Marina and offers 140 berths for vessels up to 40 m in length with a maximum draught of 8 m. Amenities found in this marina include water connection, Wi-Fi, fueling station and security surveillance.

Poseidon Marina - is located 1 km away from the town of Milazzo, on the northern coast of the island of Sicily. The marina houses 160 berths for vessels up to 35 m in length. The marina is home to several charter companies and the starting point for sailing the Aeolian Islands, located north of Sicily.

Capo d'Orlando Marina - is due west from Furnari, situated in the small coastal town of Capo d'Orlando. Here you will find a large, modern marina offering a total of 553 berths for vessels up to 40 m in length. It is another charter base for sailing the Aeolian Islands, offering extensive amenities including power and water connections at each berth, a repair shipyard, a fueling station and even a shopping centre full of boutiques and souvenir shops. 

Best spots to cast an anchor around Furnari

Daybreak over the sea near Capo d'Orlando

Due to fair weather conditions and mostly calm seas, the northern coast of Sicily around Furnari is filled with spots you can safely cast your anchor and have good holding.

Sail north, west or east from Tonnarella, and you will find plenty of places where you can safely spend a couple of hours or even a night. 


Capo d'Orlando - The area around Capo d'Orlando offers several good spots for anchoring and is well-positioned for a sailing trip towards the Aeolian Isles. It also offers a large and modern marina - Capo d'Orlando Marina with plenty of amenities and space.


Milazzo - Is a medium-sized town due east of Furnari with a ferry port and a marina with two sets of pontoons for leisure crafts. You will also find moorings off some beaches, as well as several good, fair-weather anchorages. 


Aeolian islands - Despite the large crowds in the peak tourist season, the Aeolian islands are a must-visit. The incredible volcanic landscape of the islands attracts plenty of sailing enthusiasts. This can make it somewhat challenging to find available mooring. Anchoring may prove tricky as the winds are a bit more unpredictable here. Additional pontoons are added each year, but those can get quite pricey.

How much will a charter in Furnari cost you?

The weekly cost of chartering a boat in Furnari is similar to the charter prices in the rest of Italy. Several critical factors, like the boat type, time of year, and additional services, influence the final price of your sailing trip. As a rule, chartering a boat during the peak tourist season in the middle of summer is far more expensive than chartering one in the middle of spring or autumn. Additionally, each boat type has a different price, with sailboats on average cheaper to charter than catamarans and motorboats. Ultimately, hiring a skipper and any additional crew can further increase the final price of your trip. 

The starting price for chartering a sailboat for up to six people in Furnari at the beginning of June is around €2,000 per week. As you approach the peak of the tourist season, the price can increase significantly. Starting prices for catamarans at the same time of year is around €5,500 per week, but they can house as many as 8 to 10 people. 

Hiring a local skipper will cost you around €150 to €200 per day, making sure you can relax on your vacation and visit the best spots and enjoy the Sicilian coast in its fullness.

How to reach Furnari

The fastest way to reach Sicily is by plane

Known as a tourist municipality in the province of Messina, including the popular tourist resort and marina Portorosa, the municipality of Furnari is located just south of the Aeolian Islands and adjacent to the Gulf of Milazzo to the east and Tindari to the west.

By plane

The fastest way to reach the municipality of Furnari is by flying to either the "Falcone Borsellino" airport in Palermo 160 km away or to the "Vincenzo Bellini" airport about 200 km away in Catania Fontanarossa. Both of these are international airports that have plenty of incoming cheap flights. Additionally, there are several internal flights from the rest of Italy.

By car

The municipality of Furnari is just 60 km from the centre of Messina and over 160 km from Palermo. Either direction you're driving from, the approach is the same: take the A20 motorway and exit at Falcone. From there, it is a pretty direct drive on the SS113 state road. 

By ship or ferry

Your options are similar whether you arrive by ferry or by plane. There are several direct lines from continental Italy to the cities of Messina and Palermo. Those heading directly to Furnari, the port of Portorosa is only 4,5 km away and is accessible to all types of pleasure craft. Portorosa port also offers daily connections to the Aeolian archipelago.

Diverse Furnari itinerary options

The town of Furnari and its large Portorosa Marina is the ideal starting place to explore the beautiful northern coast of Sicily. Whether you sail north towards the Aeolian islands, east towards the Italian mainland and the city of Messina, or west towards the magical coastal town of Cefalu, you will be rewarded with stunning vistas, magical beaches and impressive cultural and historical attractions. 

Option 1 - Aeolian islands

Stunning Vulcano island in the Aeolian archipelago
  • Total sail distance: 100 NM
  • Things to see and do: Sail north from Furnari towards the breathtaking Aeolian archipelago, an increasingly popular cluster of volcanic islands. You will find two active volcanoes - Stromboli and Vulcano and other volcanic activities mainly manifested as steaming fumaroles and thermal waters.
  • This route is perfect for: The unique nature of this archipelago will make a perfect sailing destination for just about anybody. Whether you are sailing with your family, a group of friends or as a couple, the magnificent volcanic activity, beautiful landscape and historic waterfront villages will impress all the same. 
  • Best time of year for sailing: If you wish to enjoy the water-based activities and beaches, summer is a perfect time. However, be prepared to cope with the crowds, as the Aeolian islands have been increasing in popularity lately. Alternatively, visiting in late spring or early autumn will make sure you avoid those crowds.  

Day 1: Tonnarella (Portorosa marina)

Start your sailing vacation by discovering this charming tourist resort and its large marina. You can explore the beautiful sandy beaches here and relax in one of the many beach bars and restaurants.

Day 2: Vulcano

As you approach this magical island, you will immediately realize how the island got its name. The island is crowned by steaming peaks and offers a harsh, barren landscape highlighted by the black sand beaches. Be sure to visit Fossa di Vulcano, a fascinating dormant crater encrusted with dazzling red and yellow crystals. One of the main features the island of Vulcano is known for is the therapeutic qualities of the mud and the natural hot springs. Additionally, if you want to know more about the island, you should visit the volcano museum. If you are looking for an anchoring spot, go to Porto di Ponente which offers good protection from eastern winds.

Day 3: Lipari

Continue your sailing journey north towards Lipari, the most populated island in the Aeolian archipelago. You will find almost half of the island population concentrated on the eastern coast, in Lipari town. There are plenty of vineyards on Lipari, producing some quality wines, so make sure to have a taste. If you wish to learn more about the whole Aeolian archipelago, The Aeolian Museum in Lipari Town houses artefacts from the islands throughout the ages. 

Day 4: Salina

The island of Salina is located just northwest of Lipari and has three of the highest peaks in the area. Known for its lush vegetation, Salina is an ideal destination for a hiking trip which will reward you by offering stunning views of the surrounding area. If you are looking for a place to dock, head towards Santa Marina Salina on the eastern coast, where you will find a marina and several seafood restaurants and waterfront cafes.  

The lighthouse on the island of Salina

Day 5: Panarea

The island of Panarea is the smallest of the Aeolian islands and, due to its more remote location, is somewhat less crowded than the rest of the Aeolian archipelago. Here you will be dazzled by the combination of volcanic cliffs and emerald sea. Be sure to visit Cala Junco, one of the most visually appealing beaches in the whole Mediterranean due to the red colour of the surrounding rocks. Diving and snorkelling enthusiasts will love the underwater scenery here, including a sunken English merchant ship from the 1900s. 

Day 6: Filicudi

Filicudi is yet another Aeolian island that offers stunning natural surroundings, perfect for a hiking trip. Exploring the island using its network of hiking trails is the number one attraction. Swing by the western shore of the island and visit the stunning Grotta del Bue Marino, a massive sea cave. Capo Graziano, on the island's eastern coast, is the main port and houses the remains of a prehistoric village dating back almost 2,000 years. 

Day 7: Tonnarella (Portorosa marina)

As you finish your tour of the Aeolian islands, slowly make your way south back towards the Portorosa marina in Furnari. Depending on the time left on your itinerary, make a stop at the nearby Tindari archaeological site.

Option 2 - The northern coast of Sicily

Aerial view of Cefalu
  • Total sail distance: 120 NM
  • Things to see and do: Sail the northern coast of Sicily, visiting some of the most beautiful and famous spots around Furnari. Stunning beaches, charming coastal towns and impressive cultural landmarks all await you on this journey. 
  • This route is perfect for: Families with small children will appreciate the shallow and warm sea along with the readily accessible sandy beaches. Groups of friends and true sailing enthusiasts can enjoy exploring the magnificent Sicilian coast.   
  • Best time of year for sailing: Summer is best for those looking to enjoy the beaches and the sea. If you are not a fan of high temperatures and intense sun, the best time to visit is in spring or early autumn. 

Day 1: Tonnarella (Portorosa marina)

This modern and well-developed marine resort is ideal for getting your bearings and starting your journey on the Sicilian coast. Set sail east towards Milazzo and soak in the sights on your way.

Day 2: Milazzo

As you make your way along the coast east, you will stumble upon the town of Milazzo, a medium-sized town dominated by the 13th-century castle and several centuries-old churches. Past the beautiful Capo Milazzo, you will find a bustling city with a busy port and plenty of waterfront restaurants and cafes. 

Day 3: Tindari

Leave Milazzo and turn back west, head past Tonnarella and stop at Tindari, a town of Greek origin on the northern coast of Sicily. Tindari is best known for its church, the Tindari Sanctuary, and the ancient city's archaeological site. From here you can soak up the beautiful vistas of the Aeolian Islands. The ancient town itself sits on the top of a cliff overlooking the sea with a long sandbank below. This beautiful stretch of sand is a popular summer destination, offering a perfect spot to spend the day basking in the sun and enjoying the charms of summer. 

Day 4: Patti

A short sail away from Tindari, you will find the town of Patti, a well-known regional art centre with a historical centre. Characterized by the narrow streets, stairways and squares, this is the perfect place to spend the day sightseeing and soaking up the local history and culture. Here you will be met by stunning medieval architecture, most evident in the Old Town. The main attractions include the Patti cathedral, built in the 12th century, and the Patti museum, located inside the Bishop's Palace. 

Beautiful views near Patti

Day 5: Capo d'Orlando

Contrasting Patti's cultural and historical hub, the small seaside resort of Capo d'Orlando is a perfect stop for those looking to unwind on a beautiful sandy beach in the middle of town. The 2 km beach is the principal attraction in the town, lined with small hotels, restaurants and cafes. At the northern end of the beach, you will find a lighthouse perched upon the cliffs at the point of Capo d'Orlando. As you make your way towards the town centre, you will happen upon many shops and restaurants, landmarks of a natural tourist resort.  

Day 6: Cefalu

As you arrive at the town of Cefalu, the first thing you will notice is the position of the town itself, perched between the sea and a large cliff. Originally it was a small fishing village that has exploded into a vibrant tourist resort. Adjacent to the harbour, you will find a charming and trendy sandy beach, beautifully contrasted by the tall medieval houses. Cefalu is known for its heritage and many churches, none more famous than the 12th century Cefalu Cathedral. On the other hand, the newer part of town is filled with tourist attractions and quality restaurants, making Cefalu the perfect place to sample famous Sicilian cuisine.

Day 7: Tonnarella (Portorosa marina)

Set sail from Cefalu back east towards Tonnarella, making a stop or two along the way to take one last dip in the warm Sicilian sea. An excellent place to stop is the Marinello beach - a beautiful nature-created lagoon of white sand and gravel near the Tindari sanctuary. 

Let us help you plan the perfect sailing trip

Provide your travel details, receive free offer and enjoy your holiday!