Linosa, a small oasis amid the sea


Linosa is a wonderful and still untouched island with a likewise untouched landscape and a turquoise sea. This place is also considered the best alternative to Lampedusa, by now made unattractive by the massive arrivals of refugees. In this post, I discussed just about the island of Linosa. In the following  paragraphs, you’ll discover where is it and how to get there.

Where is Linosa?

Linosa  is in Italy, in the North East of Lampedusa. The two islands belong to Sicily, because they  form  two municipalities of the city of Agrigento. Along with Lampedusa  and  Lampione, Linosa also forms one the most beautiful places of Sicily, namely the picturesque Pelagian Archipelago, in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, between  the coasts of Sicily and Tunisia. Linosa has a volcanic origin, is smaller than Lampedusa and is just 195 meters above the sea level.

Linosa house

This island has less than 450 inhabitants. Its landscape is quiet, unreal, uninhabited, sometimes it resembles a daydream and lets you to enjoy all of the natural landscape of Sicily. You must know that until a few years ago, Linosa didn’t have potable water and electricity and you couldn’t even use the TV. Nowadays, this small angle of Sicilian paradise is a perfect tourist destination to enjoy a relaxing and unforgettable vacation. The island stretches for only five kms, like an oasis amid the sea. That is, hence, an easy destination to explore and visit  in a few days.

History of the foundation of Linosa

The island of Linosa has had different names over the centuries.  Since the age of The Old Plinio, there was the name Aethusa that indicated a volcanic island in the strait of Sicily. Afterward, the name became Lenusa and then, Larniusa and finally Linosa. Due to the shortage of archeological diggings, the history of Linosa is still unknown. It is only known that the island has been dominated by several civilizations,  also by the Romans . Their  presence is proved by Roman  150 basins  dug into the lava surface. After the Romans, it was  the turn of the  Phoenicians, Arabs and Saracens. Since then, the island has remained uninhabited  and used like a port by the pirates of the Mediterranean sea. It was colonized only in  1839 by the Borbonic government.

At that time, Linosa was a desert and wild wood. To repopulate it, the reign of Sicily issued an announcement that invited  families to relocate to the island, giving them a land to grow and an income for fifthy years.  Those who joined to this invitation were a group of people coming from Ustica, Agrigento and Pantelleria.  Accompanied by  the frigate captain  Sansivente, they landed  in Linosa, by boat, on April, 25 1845. Hence, every year, this date, it is the day of the foundation of this marvelous place. 

What to do and see in Linosa

Linosa Faraglioni

Thanks to  the volcanic origin, the island of Linosa has high rocky cliffs  shaped by the wind and the waters, with a depth  of 1500 meters. They are suitable for trekking and to undertake exciting excursions. They resemble  mountains  overlooking the sea and taking wonderful and picturesque colours. These rocky cliffs are also called The Faraglioni of Linosa (see the image), the brightest symbol of the beauty of the island and one the main tourist attractions to see. Surrounded by these black cliffs and with a blue and crystal sea, Linosa has simultaneously a mesmerizing and disquieting look. From a side, there are extinct   volcanoes, with their dark landscape, and from another side, a glimmering sea. Surrounded by volcanoes and jagged cliffs, Linosa is also suitable for scuba diving . Rather, it is regarded as the true paradise  to dive into its wonderful waters.

Another thing you can do in Linosa is the one by visiting the small downtown, a very evocative and breathtaking  landscape, suspended in a scenery lost in time.

Linosa small harbour

There is an only road that leads to the downtown of Linosa. It is  forbidden to  cars and  you must walk it on foot or by bike.  That is the only  inhabited center of the island, featured by pastel colored buildings surrounded by pointed  doors and windows. The downtown is entirely gathered around a picturesque and little harbor (see the image).

From there, you can do excursions on foot, to hike the mountains,  or by boat. Linosa is still a quiet island with few inhabitants. In the past, the locals were devoted to farming , while nowadays  they earn a living with tourism. The ending door of Linosa is Vulcano Mount, a small extinct volcano. Inside, Linosa has still a wild and Mediterranean vegetation, such as the typical Sicilian prickly pear plants. You can admire the wild vegetation of Linosa in the so called Fossa del Cappellano (The hole of the chaplain), a secluded area of Linosa well sheltered from the winds.   

The fauna of Linosa is featured with an abundant number of Malta lizards and shearwaters. In  summer, at night, the shearwaters  allow you to listen to a poignant chant resembling a cry. 

If you love walking on foot, you can ride the paths leading to the top of the main mounts of Linosa: Monte Rosso, whose the crater is occupied   by crops, Monte Nero and Vulcano. 

Finally, in addition to the cliffs and mounts, you can also visit the wonderful bays of this island,

namely:  Cala Pozzolana di Levante, Cala Pozzolana di Ponente, Le piscine and La Secchitella.

Linosa turtle

Cala Pozzolana di Levante (East of Linosa) and  Cala Pozzolana di Ponente (West of Linosa) are not so accessible. You can reach them  by boat, to admire their rocky landscape and their black sand. They are free beaches not suitable for sunbathing, but are worthy to be visited for their impressive landscape, and the black sand. These are rocky and pebble beaches surrounded by the volcanic cliffs I mentioned above.  That is why their  surface is black! On these beaches, you can also see the famous Caretta Caretta Turtles (see the image above) that lay their eggs  in August. This species of turtles are also on the other beaches of the Pelagian Archipelago, such as Rabbit Beach in Lampedusa.  

Linosa Errera

An unmissable beach of Linosa is Le Piscine, namely a small natural pool dug into the volcanic rock and called Linosa Errera (see the image above). Here, you’ll see reefs surrounding  a rocky  natural  pool closed,  by the land side, with picturesque rocky walls smoothed by weathering  and sinuous waves. The landscape is enriched with caper bushes and an iridescent sea.

 Furthermore, if you love diving, I also suggest that you  visit  La Secchitella, one of the most beautiful beaches in Linosa with a spectacular sea depth. Over there, at 25 meters, is a wreck of a ship with archeological findings. 

Tour by boat  to Linosa

Linosa landscape

To make a tour by  boat to Linosa, you must ask the small port. The boat leaves the harbor with the rocky mounts behind. Then, you’ll arrive in the Faraglioni of Linosa  and in the beach Le Piscine (you can reach this by land, also). As soon as the boat overcame The Faraglioni, you’ll see the lighthouse. In this part, the coast is fairly jagged. To the end of the tour, you’ll arrive to Cala Pozzolana, the unique beach of Linosa surrounded by incredible colors: from sulfur  yellow to iron red. It is just there, that the ferries coming from Lampedusa are anchored.

How to get to Linosa

get to linosa

It does not  matter that you come from Europe or from overseas, the path to get  to the island Linosa from your Country is always the same. Indeed, Linosa is connected to Sicily from the boat of  Siremar. This boat leaves every day at 11 PM from the port of Porto Empedocle in Agrigento to arrive in Linosa at 6.30 AM of the following day.  A stop of the departures  is scheduled on Saturday and at 12 AM on Friday. The same boat goes to Lampedusa, with departure to Linosa at 10.45 AM  and arrive in the island at 12.45 PM.

If you are from Malta, the best way to reach Linosa is the one to take a flight from Malta to Catania airport and then to follow the above mentioned path.

For  information, you can call the ticket office of Porto Empedocle phone: + 39 0922.636683 – 0922.636685 or the one  of Linosa tel. + 39  0922.972062.

You can also use the ferry of Ustica lines from Sicily to Linosa and from Lampedusa and Linosa. 

Hence, if you come from overseas, you must land at Catania or Palermo airport, take a car and go to Porto Empedocle, in Agrigento. From there, you’ll take the ferry to go to Linosa.

To avoid to be blocked in Porto Empedocle, always check the weather of Linosa before leaving. 

If you visit the island in summer, you should find good weather, anyway.

Remember that during the summer, from June 1 to September 30, it is forbidden to land on the island with cars. If you have one, you must leave it in a parking in Porto Empedocle. Call this phone number for more information:  + 39  0922.637440.

I also know that the bridge connecting Agrigento to Porto Empedocle has been closed for collapsing risk. Hence,  it is better you visit Linosa through this path: Trapani – Pantelleria and Pantelleria –  Linosa.

For more information about this path, check these webites:

Linosa Hotel

Linosa hotel

If you enjoyed this travel guide to Linosa, you should also think to choose a hotel to stay. As said, Linosa is suitable for a short vacation, but if you come from afar,  you can also stay  several days.  In this small Sicilian isle, there aren’t many hotels, because the locals rent their apartments to tourists. Just think that, there is also an abandoned hotel, but if you want to avoid to sleep with mice, it is better to book an apartment. An interesting solution is Casa Blu, namely a typical house of Linosa, with pastel colours and picturesque windows (see the image).  The house is in Umberto street, just in the picturesque downtown of the island. Casa Blu has living room, bedroom, dining room with oven and a terrace. It is also outfitted with a wine bar. In the house, you must prepare dinner by yourself, but, if you want to have lunch at a local restaurant, I advise that you go to the small harbor, where is a pretty and comfortable restaurant.

There, during your vacation, you can eat the delicious lentils and capers of Linosa. All the recipes are absolutely organic, because grown just in this island.  

Photocredits in order of appearance:

Giulia Raciti – Flickr

Topo – Flickr

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