08/23/2012 03:12 pm ET Updated Oct 23, 2012

Aeolian Islands Essentials

The seven Aeolian Islands off the coast of Sicily are one of those known-yet-not-overblown Mediterranean destinations. They're hard to get to, not very touristy, and gorgeous. Plan now: September and October are the best times to go.

AEOLIAN ISLANDS, Italy - My husband and I wanted to honeymoon on the Aeolian Islands, a volcanic archipelago off the coast of Sicily that juts out of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The chain is named for Aeolus, the keeper of the winds in Greek mythology who mischievously blew Odysseus back to the islands' craggy shores when he tried to return home.

We're well traveled, resourceful, capable people, but getting there had us mystified. Aggressive Googling only provided us with one ferry schedule in Italian, a language we don't speak. And the ferry schedule said it would be changing on September 15, the day we would be returning to Sicily, and didn't provide further information. To top it off, we were worried about the five hour journey, involving planes, trains, automobiles, and a long ferry from Palermo, which is where our trusty travel aid (Black Tomato) suggested we depart from after flying to Sicily from Los Angeles via stops in NYC and Rome. As Martin Creed, a British artist who has a house on the Aeolian island of Alicudi, put it: "From London, it's easier and quicker to get to Australia."

Read more on Fathom