Passing the Gulf of Palermo, continuing along the coast in an easterly direction, one encounters the hospitable and well-sheltered Gulf of Cefalù, where there is no shortage of sheltering points and landings that protect against westerly winds. Sailing on their clear and calm waters throughout the summer season does not create any particular problems.
The last part of the coastline, the one from Cefalù to Milazzo, is mostly flat and sandy. Doubled over, however, Capo d’Orlando begins an undulating terrain again, characterized by headlands and higher cliffs.
We are in the Gulf of Patti, the last wide inlet before the barren stretch of coastline that ends with the Straits. The mistral always blows hard here, and care must be taken with the large Rasocolmo shoal, which can create more than one problem for the boat in a storm or bad weather.
Ports and marinas in northern Sicily from Palermo to Milazzo
13. PORTICELLO SANTA FLAVIA
(300 places) 38°05′ 05N – 13°32′ 60E
In the picturesque fishing village of the same name located one mile S of Cape Saffron, this port crammed with fishing boats is reached. Approach: the 223-meter-high rocky outcrop of Cape Saffron is an excellent landmark. Also conspicuous is a castle just to the S of the village. Dangers: one mile E of the harbor is the treacherous Formica rock.
Mooring: enter the harbor keeping to the center of the channel and watch out for fishing boats. Place is more easily found at Pier S or ask a fishing boat to come alongside. Everywhere the ridge is excellent.
Maximum boat length: 15 meters. Depth: 1.5-4.5 meters.
VHF: channel 16. Services: fuel at the dock but water in the village. Available: technical assistance, engine repair, slipway and slipway. On the ground: stores, bank and restaurants.
14. SAN NICOLA L’ARENA
(400 seats + 50 for transit) 38°01′ 05N – 13°37′ 20E
Nice tourist marina with private management and top-notch services, located 8 miles SE of Porticello. Approach: a medieval round-towered castle is conspicuous at the root of the breakwater pier. Access is convenient to the center of the canal.
Mooring: follow staff directions. The ridge is good everywhere, but the harbor is always very crowded during the summer period. Max boat length: 20 meters. Depth: 1-5 meters.
VHF: channels 06 and 14. Facilities: private management of the marina guarantees water and electricity at each berth. Toilets and showers. Fuel at the dock. Available: 70-ton crane and all kinds of repairs. Ashore: stores, market, restaurants and bars.
15. IMERESE TERMS
(175 seats + 30 for transit) 37°59′ 00N – 13°43′ 55E
Artificial harbor consisting of a breakwater and a breakwater that provides good shelter in case of need, midway between Palermo and Cefalù. Approach: conspicuous the large oil terminal at ESE, whose red and white smokestacks are visible from the open sea. Also conspicuous is the hill set just W of the harbor. As you approach, you immediately recognize the breakwater. Dangers: watch out for pylons located on the inner side of the east pier.
Mooring: head to the S side of the dock where indicated by staff. Good ridge but open to SE winds. Max boat length: 20 meters. Depth: 3-5 meters.
VHF: channels 16 and 14. Services: water and fuel at the dock. Available: motor and electrical repairs. On the ground: in the center of Termini Imerese, a few minutes’ walk away, there are stores, bank, post office, first aid, restaurants and bars.
16. CEPHALUS (PRESIDIANA)
(250 seats + 40 for transit) 38°02′ 10N – 14°02′ 20E
It is the New Port of the beautiful Sicilian town and is positioned immediately E of the town center. Approach: conspicuous the white lighthouse tower and the nearly 300-meter-high rock of Cape Cefalù. Dangers: near the head of the breakwater are submerged boulders; best to keep a safe distance.
Mooring: tip mooring along the central cove of the harbor, which is the area reserved for transit. The ridge is good but with strong NE winds a swell comes in and disturbs some moorings. Max boat length: 18 meters. Depth: 1.5-5 meters.
VHF: channel 16. Services: water, electricity and fuel at the dock. Available: crane up to 30 tons, slipway and slipway. Ashore: in the center of Cefalù, about a 20-minute walk from the new harbor, there are stores, market, bank, post office, as well as typical clubs and restaurants.
17. CAPO D’ORLANDO.
(553 places) 38°09′ 50N – 14°45′ 85E
Strategic marina due to its proximity to the Aeolian Islands and full of services and amenities. Opened in 2017, it is protected by a massive breakwater. The approach: conspicuous the lighthouse positioned on the Capo d’Orlando promontory and the cluster of houses in the village of the same name positioned on the O side. The Marina is open and manned 24/24 with mooring service and assistance reachable, always, via VHF.
Mooring: where indicated by port staff or where there are temporarily vacant permanent berths. Max boat length: 43 meters. Depth: 0.5-5 meters. (6.5mt forebay).
VHF: channel 9. Facilities: water and electricity near the moorings, fuel at the dock. Yard with 110 t travel lift. Available: mechanical and electrical repairs. In the harbor: Wi-Fi market, stores, restaurants, bars, car rental, courtesy bikes and charters. In the village, within walking distance, Post Office and bank.
18. MARINA OF PORTOROOSA
(600 seats + 70 for transit) 38°07′ 70N – 15°06′ 80E
Large marina built at the foot of a modern residential village positioned about 10 miles SO of Capo Milazzo and in close proximity to Tindari. Approach: conspicuous a large four-story building with arches positioned O of the forebay. Contact the port management before entering. Dangers: with strong NE winds beware of the wave forming at the entrance. The sandy bottom can also create problems for boats with a draft greater than 2.5 meters.
Mooring: go where indicated by marina staff. Those in transit usually stop in the forebay. Maximum boat length: 35 meters. Depth: 2-5 meters.
VHF: channels 16 and 09. Facilities: water and electricity at all berths. Fuel at the dock. Available: toilets, showers and laundry facilities. Motor and electrical repairs. Ashore: nautical vendors and market.
19. MILAZZO (NEPTUNE MARINA)
(140 seats) 38°12′ 90N – 15°14′ 95E
A marina complete with services for boaters, it is the best place to stop before moving from the Tyrrhenian to the Ionian or before heading to the nearby Aeolian Islands. Approach: also conspicuous at a distance are both the refinery smokestacks located two miles SE of the harbor and the citadel located on the peninsula one mile N of the marina. Dangers: pay close attention to the constant ferry and hydrofoil traffic, to and from the Aeolian Islands.
Mooring: where indicated by staff, especially in the NO part of the bay. Moorings are made with floating docks, and the entire body of water is protected by a floating concrete seawall. The ridge is always good except with strong sirocco. Maximum boat length: 35 meters. Depth: 6-8 meters.
VHF: channels 09 and 12. Services: provided by the Marina del Nettuno Sailing Club; provide water and electricity (220 V) near each berth. Available: toilets and showers, fuel at the dock, mechanical and motor repairs, cranes and travel lifts, appropriate technical assistance, and nautical supplies. Ashore: it is a twenty-minute walk to the center of Milazzo, where you can find stores, supermarkets, banks, post office, Internet point, bars, restaurants, and first aid.
Don’t miss the other installments of Boat Holidays:
- Boating vacations, the best places to sail in northern Sicily
- Ports and marinas between San Vito and Castellammare
- Ports and marinas between Castellammare and the ruins of Tindari
- Bays and landings from the coves of Palermo to Cape Milazzo
- Sights ashore: walking through the island’s history