The quenching of anthracene fluorescence by indole, 1,2-dimethylindole (DMI), tryptophan (Trp) and indole 3-acetic acid (IAA) in palmitoyloleoylphosphatidylcholine (POPC) lipid bilayers was investigated. A very efficient quenching of the anthracene fluorescence in the lipid membrane is observed. Stern-Volmer plots are linear for DMI but present a downward curvature for the other quenchers. This was interpreted as an indication of the presence of an inaccessible fraction of anthracene molecules. By a modified Stern-Volmer analysis the fraction accessible to the quenchers and the quenching constant were determined. The changes in the fluorescence emission spectrum of indole and DMI have been used to calculate the partition constants of these probes into the membranes, and bimolecular quenching rate constants were determined in terms of the local concentration of quencher in the lipid bilayer. The rate constants are lower than those in homogeneous solvents, which may be ascribed to a higher viscosity of the bilayer. No changes in the emission spectra of Trp and IAA are observed in the presence of vesicles, indicating that these probes locate preferentially in the aqueous phase, or in close proximity to the vesicular external interface in a medium resembling pure water. In these cases quenching rate constants were determined in terms of the analytical concentration. In the quenching by DMI a new, red shifted, emission band appears; it is similar to that observed in non-polar solvents and it is ascribable to an exciplex emission. The exciplex band is absent in the quenching by IAA and Trp and only very weakly present when the quencher is indole. From the position of the maximum of the exciplex emission, a relatively high local polarity could be estimated for the region of the bilayer where the quenching reaction takes place.