Cheapest way to get to, stay and explore Salina

Salina, Italy is a charming and beautiful island located in the Aeolian archipelago, off the coast of Sicily. While Salina can be a luxurious destination, there are plenty of ways to enjoy Salina on a budget. Here are some tips for getting to Salina, staying there, and doing activities for free or cheap.

Getting to Salina

If you flew to Catania the most affordable* way to get to Salina is taking the express bus from Giunta Bus (~15€, can be booked online, 3-6 times per day) right at the airport to Milazzo port. Right in sight from the bus stop take the ferry / hydrofoil from Liberty Lines from Milazzo (22-26€, book tickets in advance, ~every hour until 20.00) to Santa Marina Salina (~1,5 hours)

Save on accommodation

Salina can be very expensive but there are also several affordable accommodation options, guesthouses and apartments. Consider staying in a guesthouse or apartment to save money on meals, as you can cook your own food.

Other tipps:

  • Consider not going in high season as the prices are limitless and the cheap alternatives are likely no longer available.
  • The usual places like booking, airbnb and the like can help you with finding something, also try to google the village + “room” to find some local offerings that might be cheaper.
  • Currently there is no camping area open on the island and parts of the island are a protected natural preserve, so camping isn’t an option either.
  • One other option is to not stay the night in Salina but rather look for a place to stay on Lipari or even Milazzo which have more rooms and therefor higher chance you still can catch a cheap room. Keep in mind this will not really make sense if you have to pay for the ferry each day.

Getting around on Salina on a budget

Depending on what you are planning to do some cash for the bus might be enough – public transport is quite affordable and brings you to all the interesting places. If you are short on time renting a scooter could be helpful.

Choosing a cheaper season

The high season on Salina is July to August, making accommendation, transport and the like more expensive. If you go April / May or September / October the weather is still great and you are not competing with other tourists.

Free or cheap activities to do on Salina

Salina offers plenty of free or cheap activities that allow you to enjoy the island’s natural beauty and local culture. Here are some ideas:

  • Hiking: Salina has several hiking trails that offer breathtaking views of the sea and the neighboring islands. The trails are free and accessible year-round. There are great places to enjoy the sunset as well, just bring your own food!
  • Beaches: Salina has several beautiful beaches that are free to access, including Rinella Beach, Lingua Beach, and Pollara Beach. Some are great for snorkeling, some are great for a refreshing dip.
  • Photography: Salina makes a great place for beautiful pictures picturesque landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and charming villages as well as vulcanic rocks and cliffs – even with simply a phone camera you can go and scout for great locations for pictures
  • Festivals and events: Salina hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, including the Festa di San Lorenzo and the Festa di Santa Marina. These events are free to attend and offer a chance to experience the island’s vibrant culture.
  • Mini boat trip: While a lot of different trips by boat are offered that take the whole day (and therefor are more expensive) you might get a similar experience with a small island tour around Salina itself (usually leaving in both Santa Marina and Malfa). This kind of tour usually takes about 3h, its cheaper, you get great pictures, infos about Salina and can jump into water where you are not even able to get to from the island itself.
  • Local markets: Salina has several local markets where you can buy fresh produce and local products, such as Malvasia wine and capers. Its also worth to check out if producers offer pick up – you can save a lot.
  • Eating out: If you have been to italy you know you can have an aperitivo in the evening – meaning you normally get a drink (like Aperol Spritz) + some snacks (anything from chips & nuts to pizza & panina). Depending on the place both together might be enough for a hot summer not and will have an affordable price.
  • Supermarket: Pick up food in supermarkets and bakeries instead of eating out. There are smaller supermarkets in Lingua, Santa Marina Salina, Malfa and Leni where you can pick up all you need. They also offer fresh produce, local food and souvenirs that are a bit cheaper as in the souvenir shops. In Malfa (next to Malfa Banca you can find fresh fruits, veggies and cheese, in St Marina there are several ones, one beeing in the main pedestrian zone. St Marina, Malfa and Leni also have very good bakeries that not only offer bread but als pizza, focaccia or other snacks. The prices overall might be a little higher than in Italy. Also be aware you likely need to buy drinking water if you don’t bring a water filter.


Overall, Salina can be enjoyed on a budget by taking advantage of affordable transportation, accommodation, and free or cheap activities. By planning ahead and being resourceful, you can experience the beauty and charm of this Italian island without breaking the bank.

*Although its cheaper (~20€ one way) to take Siremar or NGI ferry to get to Salina you loose a lot of time (it takes at least 3,5h instead of only under 2h) you are also not very flexible as they are not going as often as the hydrofoils / aliscafo. It might be worth catching the night time NGI ferry – it leaves once a week and saves you a place to stay over night if you can sleep in normal seats.

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