With secluded islands and miles of beautiful beaches to explore, Europe is the perfect holiday destination, but rather than sticking to the traditional beach holiday gazing out to sea, have you ever considered setting sail and peering back at the beach as you drift past on a luxury yacht? Sailing holidays in Europe have grown in popularity in the last few years, with many travellers looking for the opportunity to take advantage of the warm climates and reasonably short travel distances to experience a different type of holiday.
When asked why Europe is so great for sailing, Kate Reeves from luxury sailing specialists Essential Sailing explained “Europe is one of the most versatile places in the world for sailing. The Mediterranean in particular holds something for everyone. It is home to beautiful anchorages such as the Iles de Lerins in Cannes, the quieter more private bays around the Dalmatian Coast in Croatia and the stunning Italian islands. Whether it’s calm coastal sailing or high wind adventures you require, there’s no need to travel far as both are readily available. Stunning scenery, fascinating history, buzzing ancient ports, all add up to make the Mediterranean one of the most vibrant and exciting places to sail in the world.”
The French Riviera – France
The South of France has so much to offer as a sailing destination, glamour, refined foods and wines, a stunning coastline and pleasing temperatures all work together to create a recipe for a holiday to remember. A trip in the Riviera can take in the beauty of well-known destinations like Cannes, Nice, Monaco and St Tropez whilst also indulging in secluded inlets, empty beaches and unspoilt islands.
Although itineraries are flexible on what you’d like to see and do, a typical 7 day itinerary may travel south from Monaco taking in St Jean Cap Ferrat, the Isles de Lerins, Cannes, St Tropez and the Bay of Agay along the way.
The choice of yachts available from companies range from smaller two berth options to larger ten berth yachts, but if the idea of captaining a yacht and sailing the seas unsupervised leaves you a little unsettled, it’s possible to hire a skipper to take control of the sailing but still leave you the opportunity to get hands-on and assist in the sailing.
While most yachts offer on-board cooking facilities, with so many excellent dining experiences available along the coast, there’s ample opportunity to dock and indulge in some French cuisine.
Amalfi Coast – Italy
Situated to the West of Italy, the Amalfi coast provides the starting point for sailing from the cities of Naples and Salerno but also historical highlights such as Pompeii and the volcanic island of Ischia. It’s possible to embark on a 7 day return cruise from Salerno that visits Amalfi, the islands of Capri, Ischia and Procida and the town of Sorrento overlooking the Bay of Naples.
Whilst stopping at Amalfi, former home to Flavio Gioia the inventor of the compass, why not visit the Cathedral that dates back to the 11th Century before indulging in a spot of locally produced limoncello whilst watching the sun set over the amazing coastline.
Sailing here is the perfect opportunity to relax, take in the stunning views and turquoise waters of the Amalfi coast, or closer to shore, drop anchor and jump in for a spot of snorkelling.
Dalmatia coast – Croatia
The Nostra Vita is one of many luxury yachts available for hire via across the stunning Croatian coast. Built in 2006, the 33 metre long Nostra has room to accommodate up to 10 guests across five air-conditioned cabins. The yacht offers an ideal way to explore the Dalmatia coast and its many islands, making stops along the way for a spot of snorkelling, Jet Skiing or simply relaxing and taking in the views from the huge dining table up on deck.
With over 1,000 different islands to explore along the coast, there’s plenty to discover, but a typical one week itinerary may begin at the Croatia’s second largest city, Split and end further down the coast in the walled city of Dubrovnik.