Looking for a green destination without noisy crowds and cars? There are a few islands in Italy that are off limits to cars. There you can bike, walk and enjoy clean air.
Leave your car behind, hope on a ferry and head to this charming island that is part of the Aeolian volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea north of Sicily. With a total area of only five square kilometres, the island can be discovered on foot. There is one unpaved wide road that goes through the only village on the island to the beach, Alicudi Porto. Mules are the preferred means of transport for one hundred locals. Most beaches hidden in small bays can be reached only by boat.
The smallest of the Aeolian islands, Panarea (see featured photo above) is the favourite of many celebrities. With a population of just over 200, it has just a few hotels and rental homes. No cars are allowed on Panarea, so holiday-makers and local move around on electric golf buggies and a handful of scooters. Another thing that might appeal to the environmentally conscious is that there is no electric street lights. Go there off-season to enjoy the laid-back lifestyle, stargazing and the warm sea.
Monte Isola, Lago d’Iseo, Lombardy
Connected with the mainland by ferry, this island is an oasis of peace as it is closed to cars and only residents can move around on scooters. There is also a bus service which is unrushed just like the life on the island. Peaceful fishing villages can be reached by bike or on foot following many well-maintained trails.
I have written before about this magic uninhabited island, which is not easy to visit. The number of visitors is limited to 1000 a year and the waiting period is up to three years at the moment. The visit only lasts six hours but the views and thriving nature are unforgettable. No car has ever been on this island, only pirates, the National Park rangers and wild animals have walked on the island’s paths.
As Venice and some small islands in the Venetian Lagoon, Burano is car-free which adds to its irresistible charms. It can be easily explored on foot in an afternoon but the best thing to do is to stay here for a night or two to absorb the tranquil atmosphere and enjoy quiet evenings when day trippers leave the island.
Photos from Fickr by: Marco Petrotta, Thilo Hilberer, Josh Engroff, Juan Rubiano.