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Ferries to Ustica Island

The tiny island of Ustica is the peak of an ancient, submerged volcano in the Tyrrhenian Sea, situated 52km north of Palermo.

Known by locals as ‘The Black Pearl’, its hilly landscape consists mainly of black rock formations and the odd speckle of spring flowers or cacti.

Ustica is also famously known for its use as an island prison until the 1950s, where Mussolini sent many political opponents during his rule. There is a fascinating museum documenting everything about the penitentiary which is well worth visiting.

It boasts excellent scenery for long walks, with the best route taking you up to the island’s fort. Built by the Bourbon kings in the ancient Roman era, this historic landmark stands at 157 metres and offers fantastic views over the island.

The coastline itself features a number of spectacular grottoes and, as a marine reserve, perfectly clear water. Some visitors come especially for the superb diving opportunities, with the waters teeming with shipwrecks, Roman artefacts and colourful marine life.

If you’re looking for a relaxing evening after a long day of hiking, then the main town provides the perfect setting. The large, picturesque piazza boasts charming restaurants and bars overlooking the sea. There are also a number small food stores selling everything you need for a perfect picnic on the beach.

There is a fast crossing from Trapani, Sicily and a slightly longer crossing from the Port of Napoli on Italy’s west coast. Both journeys are operated by Ustica Lines, providing one sailing every week.

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Ustica Island reviews

  • "Comfortable, clean and punctual"

    The ferry was comfortable, clean and punctual. I marked down the catering because, as far as I remember, there wasn't any

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  • "Fast ferry, but be sure to get out at your stop in time!"

    The ferry was good, fast, punctual enough, spacious and comfortable. But we (and couple others) had "funny" problem. We went to lower deck and when our stop came they announced it adding "stay in your seats", so we stayed. After very short stop (no people were getting out around us) ferry went on to the next stop. Thank God that it was very near and it was the last stop, so we could come back with the same ferry rather fast.

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  • "Plain Sailing"

    A utilitarian ferry service completely at odds with the glamour and drama of the islands it serves. If, like me, you were anticipating the time on board being a joyous and memorable part of your holiday then you're in for a disappointment. These are working ferries providing a service to locals and we tourists are just tagging along. Think Staten Island and you'll be close to the mark. But they're frequent, pretty reliable, and they get the job done with the minimum of fuss. And all the Aeolians are so beautiful you'll have completely forgotten about the ferry within moments of landing. So, the opposite of the memorable experience I was anticipating, but just as useful for all that. So get your tickets bought and see the beautiful, dreamy, wafty, Aeolians. And buy your tickets at the quayside. There's no shortage of spaces and they're much cheaper than online.

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  • "Getting to stromboli"

    The trip across was relaxing had to change at lipari another beautiful island. The trip back.was fine. There is no shop on the boat where you can buy water so take your own

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Routes and Ports in Ustica Island