The breathtaking Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands in the western Indian Ocean, off the east coast of Africa, boasts some of the most brilliant flora and fauna on earth, just 4 degrees south of the equator. The outer islands are low-laying, mostly coral atolls and sailing is done mainly within the inner islands, all close together which make for easy island hopping. The Seychelles Islands can best be described as paradise on earth with towering granite rocks, swaying palm trees and turquoise inlets that are framed with sparkling white sand beaches. Mahe is the largest island and since it is surrounded by other islands, its beaches are relatively calm and safe. Mahe is a mountainous island with peaks approaching 1000 meters and tropical forests that are laced with hiking trails. The gorgeous tropical scenery, white beaches and shimmering aquamarine waters make Seychelles a perfect sailing holiday destination.
3. The Greek Islands
Sailing is really the best way to experience these breathtaking islands, setting your own island-hopping itinerary, finding secluded spots or dining on Greek cuisine. Greece has 6,000 islands scattered in the Aegean and Ionian Seas, of which only 227 are inhabited. The Greek Islands are home to some of the greatest sunsets on earth and with more than 300 days of sunshine a year making this one of the best places on earth to charter a yacht. Each of these islands has their own unique character making every port visit unique. The continuous sunshine, traditional whitewashed villages, ancient archeology, stunning natural landscapes and rich culture draws sailors from all over the world.
Called the ‘new Greece’, the ‘new Riviera’ and the ‘new Tuscany’, Croatia has become an increasingly must-go destination for all types of travelers, but there is really no better way to experience it than sailing the Adriatic, where the sun is almost always shining. Croatia has reshaped its infrastructure during the past decade to make it a popular destination for anyone seeking terrific cruising, historic settings and remote beaches. Croatia is one of the Mediterranean’s hidden gems, with 1,185 islands and 1778km of coastline, it is truly a sailor’s paradise. The Dalmatian Islands are wild, rugged and mostly uninhabited and offer some of the best sailing in the area. The rolling coastline is speckled with pristine beaches, lush green slopes and ancient villages steeped in history.
5. French Polynesia
Roughly halfway between Australia and California, French Polynesia’s 118 islands are scattered over an expanse of the Pacific Ocean stretching more than 2000 sq km. French Polynesia is made up of five main groups of islands, including Tahiti, a landscape of jagged volcanic peaks dotted with lush vegetation and spectacular waterfalls. The islands offer an alluring mix of beautiful lagoons, traditional culture and exotic marine life, with lots to explore on land as well as at sea. The wide lagoons around Raiatea, Tahaa and Bora Bora offer plenty of protected flat-water sailing, and outside the reefs, the long Pacific swells will give you a taste of ocean sailing at its best.
6. The French Riviera, France
You’d be hard-pressed to find a more romantic spot to sail than the French Riviera. The Mediterranean coastline of the southeast corner of France offers more contrasts than probably anywhere else in the world and there’s no disputing the sheer glitz and glamour of the French Riviera. Monaco is the world’s second-smallest country (after the Vatican) squeezed into 1.95 sq km. The French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, is the world’s most fabled places to charter a yacht full of breathtaking beaches and stunning scenery. Some of the largest, newest and most impressive superyachts from around the world gather here, with cruising itineraries that can include St. Tropez, Cannes, Nice and Antibes. This is the heart of the world’s superyacht culture, with vibrant nightlife and exceptional cuisine and special events including the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix. The French Riviera manages to combine both the historical architecture, unspoilt islands, small marinas, rugged landscapes and white sandy beaches with the large cosmopolitan resorts of Nice, Cannes and Monte Carlo.
7. The Amalfi Coast, Italy
From Naples to Positano and the storied island of Capri, the Amalfi Coast of Italy is a storied region filled with picturesque harbors and historic sites. This is a more remote section of Italy, far from the tourists of Rome and the packed marinas along the Riviera, a place where charter guests can cruise in comfort and with a good deal of privacy. This region also offers some fantastic Southern Italian cuisine, with Michelin-rated restaurants within short distance of some beautiful anchorages. Dine aboard or ashore, for lunch and dinner alike, and you will not be disappointed. While the french may have their Riviera, it’s nothing compared to the endless beauty of Italy’s coastline. Often overlooked because of it’s proximity to the likes of Monaco, Italy’s coastline is no less beautiful and is arguably less spoilt by the progress of building developments. But for the ultimate sailing trip in Italy I recommend starting at the Amalfi coast and working your way around to Naples and over to the islands of Procida and Capri. The sparkling seas here and beautiful italian coastline are the perfect vista to compliment a highly cultural region. You’ll see ancient ruins, clean sandy beaches, picturesque villages, and some of the best seafood you’re ever likely to eat.
8. Minorca, Spain
Though it may be the smaller and lesser known of the Balearic Islands, Minorca is scattered with more spectacular beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza combined. The rolling landscape of Minorca offers charming villages with traditional, colourful houses and cobblestone streets, beaches with secluded coves along with a climate ideal for sailing, making it a true sailing paradise. Recent changes in Spain’s tax laws mean the charter scene has changed as owners of brand-new superyachts can now offer their yachts for charter without having to pay taxes that used to make the practice prohibitive.
9. Turkey’s Southern Coast
The southwest coast of Turkey has long been a popular destination for yacht charters, with itineraries running from Bodrum up to Fethiye. Sailing in Turkey is amongst the best in the world due to the steady winds, crystal clear blue waters and the abundance of beautiful beaches, secluded anchorages, coves, inlets and marinas. Throughout its history, Turkey has been a crossroads of religions, where East meets West with a mixture of cultures and cuisines. Turkey has over 8,300 kilometers of mountainous coastline with small fishing villages and historic sites. The charter yacht of choice here is the Gulet, a local style of motorsailer. The quality of Gulets has improved tremendously and many are as luxurious as motor yachts. They use sail and wind power and offer the best of both worlds and is one of the most enjoyable charter vacations you can enjoy with family and friends.