The Tremiti islands can also be visited in winter, think fishing and kayaking
How to get to the Tremiti Islands
The islands are connected to the mainland all year round. Various Ferry services leave from Termoli in Molise, from Peschici, Rodi Garganico, Vieste and Bari in Puglia, and from Vasto in Abruzzo reaching the two main ports of the islands, San Domino and San Nicola.
To move between the two major islands, or to reach the other islets, you can count on a taxi boat service or you can rent a boat, dinghy or kayak.
It is not allowed to disembark and circulate the islands by motorcycle or car as everything can be easily reached on foot or by boat.
The Tremiti Islands: which are they & when to go
There are five Tremiti Islands, set in the waters of the lower Adriatic in front of the Gargano National Park. They are part of a protected marine area that preserves a still unspoilt sea. According to legend, they were created by the Homeric hero Diomedes. They offer breathtaking landscapes to recharge your batteries in the middle of winter.
The main islands of San Domino and San Nicola are inhabited, while Cretaccio, Capraia and Pianosa are deserted. They are all within easy reach of each other and can be visited in one trip, apart from Pianosa which is further away. To make the most of it, plan a stay of three or four days. Short on time? Enjoy the essentials with a day trip by boat between the various islands.
The best period for a tour of the Tremiti Islands is from October to March, when the summer tourist crowds give way to the slower pace of the islanders who live here all year round.
Here's what to see on the Tremiti Islands in winter.
San Domino, with notes of Dalla
The largest inhabited center of the Tremiti islands is in San Domino, where there are bars, restaurants and hotels. The singer-songwriter Lucio Dalla also had his home here: wandering through the narrow streets of the center you will hear verses of his songs here and there.
A few steps from the port is the only sandy beach, Cala Arena. But the heart of the island is the Aleppo pine forest that extends to the sea. Take the Strada della Pineta up to Punta del Diavolo where the remains of the old lighthouse are located: from there the panoramic views are amazing.
The cliffs are dotted with many caves. The most beautiful is the Grotta del Bue Marino, 70 meters deep and colored blue by the light that is reflected inside. Book a boat tour at the port to also discover the Grotta delle Viole, the Grotta del Coccodrillo and the Elephant rock.
San Nicola, open sea views
The historic center of San Nicola is guarded by the Sanctuary of Santa Maria a Mare, an imposing Benedictine abbey which dominates the island. It is said to have been founded by a hermit in 312 AD, then in the 11th century the Benedictines arrived.
It is surrounded by the Badiali Castle built by Charles of Anjou to protect the sanctuary. Walk to the cemetery on the opposite tip of the island for unparalleled views.
Cretaccio, Capraia and Pianosa, the trio of uninhabited wonders
Cretaccio is more a rock than an island and owes its name to the yellow clay of which it is composed. Capraia is also called Capperaia because many caper bushes grow there. It is uninhabited and disembarking to it is forbidden, but you can stop not far from the shore to see the submerged statue of Padre Pio.
Pianosa is the furthest island of the archipelago. It is part of the Integral Marine Reserve therefore it is not possible to sail, land or fish within 500 meters of the island. You can however dive accompanied by an authorized guide. It's worth it, the seabed there is spectacular.
A boat ride around the Tremiti Islands
A boat trip is the best way to enjoy the islands from the sea. You can leave from the port of San Domino by taxi boat or by renting a boat or dinghy, with or without a driver. You can go around all the islands stopping at the most beautiful points or entering the caves.
The most beautiful beaches of the Tremiti Islands
Just a stone's throw from the port of San Domino is Cala Arena, which can be reached on foot and is also suitable for children. However, the most beautiful beaches of the Tremiti Islands are reached by sea.
In San Domino stop at Cala Matano, Cala dello Spido, Cala dei Benedettini and Spiaggia dei Pagliai. Marinella beach is the only one on the island of San Nicola. In Capraia don’t miss Cala dei Turchi, Cala di Sorrentino and Cala Pietra del Fucile. In Cretaccio stop at Cala del Diavolo, preferably at sunset.
Diving in the Tremiti Islands
You don't need to be an expert to enjoy a dive on the Tremiti Islands, provided you are accompanied by an authorized guide. Just ask at the port of San Domino.
You will find that the sea around the islands is not only beautiful on the surface but also in its depths. Immerse yourself at Punta Secca to a depth of 42 meters and discover two rock arches populated by sponges and multicolored fish. Off Cala dei Benedettini there is the wreck of a Turkish Galley ship from 1566 to explore.
A kayak tour in the Tremiti Islands
Four of the five islands are close enough to be explored by paddling. Rent a kayak at the port of San Domino or San Nicola.
Start by circumnavigating San Nicola counterclockwise. Admire the sheer cliff face, Gargano in the distance and the abbey at the top of the island. Then head to Capraia, where the seagulls reign. Dedicate a whole day to San Domino starting from the eastern cliff towards the south so as not to miss a single cave. After passing the lighthouse, discover Cala delle Rondinelle and Cala degli Inglesi and continue towards Punta del Diamante to the north.
Fishing in the Tremiti Islands
Rent everything you need at the port of San Domino and indulge in some sport fishing from the top of the cliffs of San Domino.
The sea here is generous but, given that it is a protected marine area, some areas are forbidden, such as Capraia and Pianosa.
New Year's Eve on the Tremiti Islands
New Year's in the Tremiti Islands would be an unforgettable experience, in an intimate dimension shared with the inhabitants of the islands.
The arrival of the new year is awaited all together in the piazza di San Domino. Many hotels on the island organize special evenings with dinner and music.