Lampedusa is the larger of the two and the more well-known. It has a thriving tourist season that sees its population swell from around 4,000 to over 10,000 in the summer months. Those choosing the island as a holiday destination do so for two reasons: the lovely white sandy beaches and the cobalt blue sea.
Much nearer Africa than Italy (Lampedusa lies just 113km off the Tunisian coast and over 200 from Sicily), Lampedusa is also geologically African and is connected to the mother continent by an undersea shelf (the depth of the sea separating Lampedusa from Africa is rarely more than 110m).
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.
Linosa is a volcanic creation whose origins are clear from its three craters, Monte Vulcano (195m), Monte Rosso (186m) and Monte Nero (107m), its black cliffs and its lava sand beach of Gaia Pozzolana. The hospitality of the locals is not confined to tourists, however, and the two islands receive annual visits from some very special guests: loggerhead sea turtles.
Spiaggia dei Conigli
Few beaches in the world enjoy such legendary status as this long stretch of pristine white sand lapped by turquoise waters, with pretty views out to a verdant offshore island. It's managed to retain its beauty thanks in large part to its protected status as the centrepiece of the Riserva Naturale Isola di Lampedusa. The beach is accessible only by boat or on foot via a 15-minute trail off the main road (look for the sign of the lounging rabbit).
Reachable only by boat, the limpid electric-blue waters of this cove off Lampedusa's south shore are one of the island's most awe-inspiring sights.
Secluded up near Lampedusa's northeast corner, this rocky cove is one of the island's most tranquil getaways, with crystal-clear waters and excellent snorkelling.
For Lampedusa's best sunset, head to this viewpoint near the island's northwestern corner, where you can gaze towards Tunisia as the sun drops directly into an unbroken expanse of sea.
Just across the bay from downtown Lampedusa, Cala Guitgia is surprisingly beautiful for an in-town beach, with fine white sand and calm, clear waters that are perfect for families with children.
Reachable only by sea or by a 15-minute walking trail, this secluded cove at the mouth of a small canyon is one of the island's most tranquil hideaways.
Crystal-clear turquoise waters lap this long, narrow cove west of town; the small sandy beach at the far end is a perennial draw for swimmers and sunbathers.
A short distance west of Lampedusa town, this deep cove shelters a sandy beach that gets packed with holidaymakers, loungers and umbrellas in high season.