There are frequent car ferries and much quicker hydrofoils from Milazzo and Messina on Sicily , and from Reggio di Calabria on the mainland, to and between the islands. Most call first at Lipari, and then proceed to the other islands. Ferries are frequent in summer, with fewer during spring, autumn and winter and a reduced service year-round on Sundays. For timetables see SIREMAR ,Ustica Lines and NGI It is important to check the timetables in advance, and to allow plenty of time for connections, as boats can be early or late.
A few car ferries a week also continue on to Naples (see SNAV) and during the summer hydrofoils run to and from Naples, Cefalù, Palermo and Messina.
The Aeolian Islands are quite remote, which is part of their appeal. No air travel is available to the archipelago, except for the very expensive helicopter service which runs during high season from the Catania airport. For more information see Air Panarea. Most international travellers, then, will arrive at the airport of either Palermo or Catania airport in Sicily, or Reggio di Calabria, across the straits of Messina on the mainland.
Although the Reggio airport is relatively near the port, boats from Reggio are infrequent. Likewise, only a few ferries per day run from Palermo during high season, and the airport is far from the city. These ports are best used by the traveller who is already in Italy, as is Naples, a much longer boat trip that is convenient for travelers arriving by plane or train in Naples from points north. For the traveller arriving directly from abroad, numerous budget airlines have routes from around Europe to Catania. From there, one can take the train, or an express bus, to Messina, connecting to a boat; or, at Messina, one can connect to a second train or bus to Milazzo, which has by far the most boat departures. Although it is convenient to change trains in Messina, the Milazzo train station is a few miles from the port. On the other hand,