Lampedusa, the largest of the three Pelagic Islands (the others are Linosa and Lampione), lies about 200km south of Sicily, closer to Tunisia than Italy. Surrounded by stunning aquamarine waters, with its south shore protected as a marine reserve, it's a popular summer holiday destination whose year-round population of 6300 more than trebles in summertime. In winter transport connections are cut back and almost every hotel and restaurant shuts down.

The island's main tourist attraction are its beaches, which are strung along the 11km south coast. The most famous, and one of the Mediterranean's most beautiful, is Spiaggia dei Conigli (aka Rabbit Beach) at Isola dei Conigli, a dreamy secluded bay lapped by shallow, turquoise waters.

Lampedusa has also made headlines in recent years as Italy's main port of entry for refugees from Africa and the Middle East, with tens of thousands of migrants arriving mostly from Libya and Tunisia.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Lampedusa.