Pantelleria's jagged coastline is much easier to explore by sea than by land, and taking a day to rent a boat, or better yet, hire a local boatman to take you on a small group tour, is a must while here. The 52km (32-mile) perimeter of the island makes the Pantelleria giro dell'isola tour a full-day affair, departing at 10am and returning at 5pm. Rates are usually around 30€ (50€ in Aug), which includes a spaghettata (lunch of pasta and other cucina pantesca specialties), served picnic-style on the boat. You'll stop for a swim at the iconic Arco dell'Elefante and on the south side of the island, under 300m-tall (984-ft.) rock walls in the sheltered waters of Balata dei Turchi.
Tours can be arranged informally and on-the-spot at Pantelleria harbor. Just arrive around 9:30am and see which captain or craft you like best. They basically all charge the same rates. Futura (tel. 0923/912324), skippered by a fisherman named Franco, is one of the more fun-oriented boats and serves fresh fish for lunch. If you opt to go it alone and rent your own boat, try La Tortuga (on Pantelleria harbor; tel. 333/6750836), from 40€ for a half-day rental. Because of the size of Pantelleria (bigger than most boat-rental islands of Italy) and the potentially strong currents and winds, it's best to limit your cove-hopping to the eastern side of the island.