Sailing holidays in the Mediterranean provide a wonderful opportunity to explore the region's many diverse cultures and unique natural charms. The Mediterranean is an exceptionally rich sailing ground, offering a perfect blend of relaxation and adventure to anyone looking to embark on a memorable cruising holiday.
The major European sailing destinations – Greece, Croatia, Italy, France, Spain and Turkey – all present a wealth of breathtaking landscapes with spectacular beaches and secret bays, rich local traditions and customs, fascinating ancient ruins, monumental old buildings, and superb cuisine.
The Western Mediterranean, stretching from Gibraltar across the French Riviera to Italy's west coast, is one of the world's best destinations for luxury sailing holidays. The region is home to some of Europe's most magnificent cities and world-famous cosmopolitan resorts, with top sailing destinations including the major ports at Valencia, Barcelona, Marseille and Genoa and the scenic anchorages in Saint-Tropez and Capri.
The islands in the region are particularly popular for boating holidays. The Balearic Islands – Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca – are Europe's little corner of sunshine and bustling resorts, beach clubs and island hideaways, inviting visitors to spend long afternoons soaking in the sun next to sparkling blue waters. Sailing itineraries along the coast of Spain, from the Costa de Sol to the vibrant city of Barcelona, offer stunning views of colourful reefs, yachting hotspots and sunlit beaches ideal for swimming, diving and water sports.
Sicily, Sardinia and Corsica offer a more traditional kind of charm, with countless historic sights, sleepy villages and charming cafes, but remain an exclusive summer haven for prosperous visitors looking to relax on the islands' beautiful beaches while taking in the sights and sounds of the luxuriant Mediterranean landscape.
The Côte d'Azur and the Amalfi Coast both charm with their rugged scenery, quiet glamour, easygoing towns and villages, and some of the world's finest cuisine. Both areas are among Europe's main yachting hubs, drawing superyachts and sailboats from all over the world to their romantic ports and anchorages. Itineraries from Saint-Tropez to Portofino encompass one of the most dazzling scenic stretches of coastline arching from the French to the Italian Riviera. For an Italian island hopping holiday, the route from Naples to the Aeolian Islands offers a truly rewarding experience, combining private island getaways and the chic of Capri with the riveting beauty of volcanic landscapes and alluring beaches of the UNESCO-protected Aeolian archipelago.
The Eastern Mediterranean has a special appeal for those looking for rustic charm, endless blue waters, authentic culture and a wealth of remnants of the past several millennia to explore. The Adriatic Sea allows access to Croatia's coastline, home to some of Europe's most dramatic shores, with soaring mountains, olive and lavender-covered hills, deep gorges and stunning bays emerging out of the arresting blue waters. With the historic cities of Dubrovnik, Split and Zadar, the striking landscapes of the Kornati archipelago and more than a thousand other mostly uninhabited islands, Croatia has become one of the world's top sailing destinations in recent decades.
Yachting in Greece still offers a singular experience of discovering some of Europe's most remarkable and unworldly vistas. The myriad islands scattered across the Ionian and Aegean Seas lend insight into the region's captivating history and mythology and provide an opportunity for sailors to discover a new spectacular port of call every day. A 10-day sailing itinerary through the Cyclades and the Saronic Gulf reveals one of the most beautiful sailing grounds in the Mediterranean, from cosmopolitan hotspots such as Mykonos and Santorini to secret hideaways on any of the nearby 220 islands.
Turkey's spectacular Turquoise Coast remains one of the most popular sailing regions in Europe. With an immense cultural heritage and more than 7,000 km of coastline, the country offers an array of unforgettable experiences and places to discover. Refreshingly underdeveloped compared to other world-famous sailing areas, Turkey is ideal for those who want to get away from urban life and large bustling resorts and enjoy a tranquil holiday taking in the sights of the country's dazzling bays and hidden coves, exploring its overgrown villages and beach-front cafes, and swimming in the clear, warm waters.
A sailing itinerary from Bodrum to Knidos takes sailors through the beautiful Gulf of Gokova, Orak Island, known for its fascinating sea life, the scenic village of Cokertme, and the excavations of the ancient Greek city of Knidos. For a longer sailing holiday, the route from Bodrum to Göcek reveals even more treasures of the Turquoise Coast, including the Dalyan Iztuzu Beach (Turtle Beach), the nesting beach of the loggerhead turtle, Gemiler Island with impressive Lycian ruins and Byzantine church, and the “Ghost Village” of Kayaköy, an abandoned Greek village that today serves as a historical monument. A tour of the Lycian Coast, from Göcek to Myra, provides access to many Lycian ruins, including the ancient city of Xanthos, the sunken city of Simena in the Kekova region and many stunning natural sights.
The possibilities offered by Mediterranean yacht charter holidays are virtually limitless. Beautiful seas, ancient landmarks and colourful local traditions make the constant favourites exciting, inspiring and memorable time and again, while undiscovered destinations always lurk the horizon, waiting to welcome more adventurous travellers.