Pelagie Islands

Location of the Pelagie Islands

The Pelagie Islands are an archipelago in the province of Agrigento on Sicily, Italy.

Understand

The Pelagie Islands are a protected area within the boundaries of the province of Agrigento (Italian:Area Marina Protetta Isola Pelagie). The total area covers 4,136 hectares and consists of three islands: Lampedusa, Linosa and Lampione and are geographically closer to Africa than to Italy. Lampedusa is the biggest of the three island with a population of 6000, Linosa counts only 400 and the island of Lampione is uninhabited. The highest point of the three islands is in Linosa that has volcanic origins and is Monte Vulcano 186m (over sea level).

History

The name of Pelagie archipelago (in Greek 'Pelaghiè', or 'Islands of the high seas'), betrays the origins of a Greek Mediterranean island. Phoenicians, Saracens, Romans and Greeks all probability used the island as a landing place for Mediterranean crossings since the beginning of civilization. There are only echoes of this history as only very few historical testimonies are left. The name of the island Lampedusa has uncertain origins. Probably it derives from the effect that flashes of frequent thunderstorms in the Mediterranean had, that lit the island and made it visible far away for the sailors wandering on the sea.

Flora and fauna

Due to their geographical position in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea the Pelagie Islands are a place where flora and fauna of the warmer eastern waters and the western waters, influenced of the Atlantic currents, meet. The maquis (typical Mediterranean vegetation) has disappeared. Nowadays, the most common form of the steppe vegetation is undergrowth with daffodil (Asteraceae) and squill (Scilla). The vegetation on the coast is characterized by vast fields sea lavender (Limonium lopadusanum). A jewel is the Caralluma europaea, a North African plant that looks like a cactus and in Europe only occurs on Lampedusa and in the south of Spain. The North African cornflower (Centaurea acaulis) thrives on Lampedusa. The fauna of Lampedusa is clearly influenced by North Africa. So there is the whip snake (Coluber) and the lizard Psammodromus algrius on Conigli. On the rocks nest the Eleonora's falcon (Falco eleonorae), the Barbary falcon (Falco pelegrinoides), the rare crested cormorant (Phalacrocorax aristotelis) and the yellow-legged gull (Larus michahellis). There are a great variety of insects such as the Pamphagus ortolaniae, a large grasshopper without wings, and the beetle Julodis onopordi. On the beach of Conigli the sea turtle Caretta Caretta lays her eggs in early summer. Unfortunately, tourism is a serious threat to the survival of this animal.

Climate

 Climate Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
 
Daily highs (°C) 16 15 17 18 22 26 28 30 28 25 21 17
Nightly lows (°C) 13 12 13 15 18 21 24 25 24 21 17 14
Precipitation (mm) 6 3 4 2 1 1 0 0 3 4 4 5

Pelagie Islands Weather Averages

Rain in Pelagie Islands … that’s an event. From April to October you can be pretty sure to have days of glorious sunshine. Temperatures of 35°C are normal in this season. From November to March the weather may be cloudy, and temperatures ranging from 10°C to 22°C as in all the islands of the Mediterranean, but the nights can be surprisingly cold. There is almost always wind on the islands.

Get in

By boat

Daily overnight ferries run from Porto Empedocle in Sicily, and during the summer there is a hydrofoil service run by Siremar.

By plane

The airport is on the island of Lampedusa and has direct flights with Palermo.

See

A jellyfish in the clear blue sea at Cala Tabaccara, Lampedusa

Lampedusa

Lampedusa is rocky and flat and has an area of ​​21 km², a circumference of 33.3 km and reaches a maximum height (133m) in Albero del Sole where you can see the islet Lampione. On a protected bay is Lampedusa, the capital of the Pelagie Islands with about 6000 inhabitants. The many boats in the harbor indicates the fact that fishing is the main source of income. Further along the coves are mainly small towns like Cala Greca, Cala Galera and Cala Pulcino. On the south side is the small island Coniglio where you can wade towards through the crystal clear water. Here is spiaggia Coniglio, the best beach on the island. It can be quite busy in summer. You can rent beach chairs and umbrellas. From Lampedusa harbor you can make boat trips. From 10am you can leave for about a seven hours trip sailing to various caves and coves. The tour passes Tabacarra bay where the water is turquoise. On the north side are high cliffs and deep caves.

Linosa

Linosa is a small volcanic island of just over 5 km². It consists of black rocks, formed by basalt, with a small village built on. The village consists of a number of pastel houses around the harbor. There are three craters on the quadrangular shaped island: Mt. Rosso, Mt. Nero, and Mt. Vulcan with a height of 195 meters. On Linosa is very little to do. Here people come for their rest or to dive. From the harbor boat trips are offered. You will sail to Fili. These are large rocks in the sea where a natural pool is created. After Fili you will pass all sorts of breathtaking cliffs and rocks. Later you'll pass another beach, called Cala Pozzolana. This beach is walled by steep cliffs of different colors.

Lampione

Lampione is a small uninhabited island with steep cliffs. On the island is a lighthouse. Lampione is a protected nature reserve. Especially the underwater flora and fauna are spectacular. It is a paradise for divers. On Lampedusa you can book a dive tour to the island. The Lampione waters are a habitat for many sharks. Even the great white shark can be found here.

Buy

Eat

In Lampedusa all the restaurants and pizzerias are at a good level of quality, but in recent years the prices have leveled the rest of Italy. Fish is always fresh and very tasty. Some pizzerias do not prepare other dishes besides pizza, so ask if you want a good meal.

Drink

Regaleali is one of the Sicilian most famous white wines and is recommended with fish dishes. Even Donna Fugata can be a good choice. The price for a quality white wine is around €12-€15 in a restaurant and €7-€10 in supermarkets and shops.

Sleep

Go next

Take a tour on Sicily

This article is issued from Wikivoyage - version of the Saturday, May 17, 2014. The text is available under the Creative Commons Attribution/Share Alike but additional terms may apply for the media files.