Top 10 marinas to experience: The world’s best superyacht berths
Written by Simon Osborne
With a number of emerging marinas offering spectacular unexplored locations and world-class facilities to challenge for superyacht custom, research has emerged to show that a cruising destination is largely chosen for its heritage, history, status and privacy, meaning there are arguably only a handful of iconic superyacht destinations in which the world’s elite will constantly gather.
Whether you are a crew member looking for the destination that will offer the best experiences, a guest looking for the ultimate charter stop, or a captain looking to wow the owner when they are next on board, Yachting Pages has come up with a list of the top 10 most exclusive, luxurious and expensive superyacht marinas.
During your time at sea, make sure you tick as many of these off your list as you can – you won’t be disappointed!
1) Marina Grande, Capri, Italy
We start in Italy; Marina Grande on the island of Capri has been reported to be on average the most expensive marina in the world. With a real feel of unique exclusivity, berthing will need to be arranged many months in advance here, especially during peak season. With over 300 berths in total, the facility can accommodate superyachts of up to 60m LOA.
The marina is nestled among striking cliffs and colourful, quaint buildings, offering something truly unforgettable. Sitting below the town, the marina is surrounded by a selection of luxury hotels and restaurants that possess some of the most spectacular views in the world.
Unsurprisingly, the island has a special allure for the rich and famous with some of the world’s most luxurious yachts often congregating here for billionaires and celebrities to enjoy their vacations.
Highlights include, cruising past medieval villages and luxury villas overlooking the rocky coast; shopping in some of the world’s most luxurious boutiques; relaxing on one of Capri’s white sandy beaches; watching the sunset paint the sea and cliffs pink and gold; and, during the evening, enjoying one of the city’s many restaurants or exclusive nightclubs.
2) Marina di Porto Cervo, Sardinia, Italy
Possibly the subsequent most expensive marina in the world, second to Marina Grande in Capri, Marina di Porto Cervo is located on the northern tip of Sardinia on the famous Costa Smerelda. Offering up to 60 superyacht berths, daily berthing fees can exude over 2,500 euros during the high season. Among the most expensive periods for berthing are the Deluxe Fair in June and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Regatta in September.
During the summer, this is the place where the Italian jet set spend their vacations, sailing and enjoying the beautiful landscape and coves. The list of celebrities spotted in Porto Cervo is endless and includes the likes of Kate Moss to Denzel Washington. Famous for its lavish parties and nightlife, there’s even a “Billionaire Nightclub” for the select few that can afford it.
The surrounding area includes a mix of unspoiled natural beauty and modern luxurious facilities such as high-end boutiques, nightclubs, and of course, one of the world’s most famed marinas.
3) Marina di Portofino, Genova, Italy
With only 14 berths for superyachts, and an average berthing price of well over 2,000 euros, Marina di Portofino is one of the most, if not the most, discrete ports in the world. Again, due to the lack of berths, reservations will need to be made many months in advance, especially during peak season.
Originally a small fishing village situated in a protected bay of green waters, Portofino has become an ultimate playground for the super-rich, including royalty and movie stars. Only accessible by one road, the preferred route to Portofino tends to be boat, creating a secluded and highly exclusive vibe.
While all the time enjoying the charming yet beautiful views of the village and bay, Marina di Portofino truly offers the chance to mix with the elite in an isolated environment.
4) Ibiza Magna, Ibiza, Spain
With only a limited amount of superyacht berths, Ibiza Magna in the Balearic Islands has a certain feeling of both luxury and exclusivity. While certain marinas’ main allure may be their scenery, surroundings and views, there’s no doubt that the main draw of visiting Ibiza Magna is the atmosphere.
Renowned for being a magnet for the young, rich and glamorous, some of the most famous names in the world are frequently reported to visit the ‘White Isle’. The marina itself fits perfectly to the itineraries of this crowd, as it’s located just minutes away from the casinos, as well as the iconic nightclub, Pacha - a world-famous nightclub venue widely regarded as the home of electronic music.
There are berths for yachts up to 60 metres here, while larger vessels can drop anchor outside of the main harbour. The most popular (and expensive) time for visiting is in September when Ibiza plays host to the dance parties which signify the closing of the summer season.
5) Puerto Banús in Marbella, Spain
Having firmly established itself as a hallmark location for luxury yachts, Puerto Banús in Marbella is another must-visit location for owners, guests and crew alike. It was founded by Jose Banús who was a property developer. Built in 1970, and it has since become a playground for the wealthy.
With over 900 berths in total, and a total surface area of 150,000 square metres, there is a beach either side of the marina. Beware though; it may well cost over 2,400 euros per day to berth in the marina. As with all marinas on this list, its clientele includes some of the richest and most powerful people in the world, with reports indicating the King of Saudi Arabia visits regularly.
The actual marina is overlooked protectively by the Sierra de Marbella mountain range, and enclosed in an arena of numerous shops, restaurants and luxury homes.
6) Port de Saint Tropez, France
A jewel in the French Riviera, and one of the most famous ports around the world due to its heritage, Port de Saint Tropez offers over 700 berths for boats with an area covering 22 acres.
A favourite destination for celebrities, models, millionaires and superstars, the sophisticated St. Tropez has become the iconic place to be seen in since the 1950s. St. Tropez offers the luxury restaurants, shops and expensive clubs that the world’s elite are used to, while retaining a quaint charm and classic feel with narrow streets and architecture that gives it an unobtainable uniqueness.
Though the marina itself can only berth yachts up to 70m, larger vessels can frequently be seen further out at sea. With other highlights including the beaches along the Baie de Pampelonne, and the thriving nightlife, its unsurprising Port de St. Tropez has made it onto our list.
7) Port Hercule in Monaco
Monaco is probably THE most famous destination for its combination of luxury, wealth, superyachts and extravagance. It is filled with casinos, ultra-luxurious homes and hotels, incredible restaurants and of course a modern and all-encompassing marina - Port Hercule.
Highlights include the Monaco Grand Prix in May, where superyachts can berth to watch the action from on board, and the Monaco Yacht Show in September - the world’s most luxurious boat show. Though generally not the most expensive place to berth, during these times the mooring rates are nothing short of extortionate.
Surrounded by steeply rising hills, Monaco’s Port Hercule enjoys an impressive setting and provides opportune access to Monaco’s range of attractions. Experiencing the views of the marina and town at night, when the twinkling lights of boats and buildings combine to create a truly spectacular sight; it is a must for anyone involved in the yachting industry.
8) Yas Marina, Abu Dhabi
Situated on Yas Island, Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi has now firmly established itself as the premier Middle Eastern destination for superyachts. The 227-berth marina caters for superyachts up to 150m LOA and gives visitors access to pristine coastlines, uninhabited islands and the nearby cosmopolitan cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
An expansion development plan was launched in October 2013 to enhance and complement the growth of Yas Island as a leading tourist destination. This development has helped to transform the marina into a vibrant dining, lifestyle, fitness and entertainment centre, which features seven new restaurants with large terraces with panoramic views, a pedestrian promenade, plus charter operators, fitness facilities, a chandlery and more.
One of the major attractions of Yas Marina is the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, as well as a calendar of various other motorsport events and experiences.
The development of this luxury port includes a Ferrari theme park, a water park, and residential areas with houses, hotels and private beaches.
9) Yacht Haven Grande, St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands
One of, if not THE leading superyacht marina in the Caribbean, Yacht Haven Grande is situated alongside the magnificent Charlotte Amalie Harbour in St. Thomas. Offering 47 berths for yachts up to 200m and above, the marina offers a plethora of dedicated services to crew, owners and guests.
Its ideal location, set amongst a perfect tropical Caribbean setting and offering anything that you may need nearby. This is an island where you can keep busy, or just kick back under the palms with incredible snorkelling, sports fishing and beautiful beaches along emerald and sapphire seas.
With a shopping mall of over 780,000 square feet, highlights include a promenade with signature restaurants, bars and music, luxury accommodation, as well as 40 world renowned designer and ‘local flavour’ boutiques.
10) Port de Gustavia, Saint Barths
During high season, Port de Gustavia in Saint Barths is one of the most select marinas on earth, due to its exotic location and climate during the winter period. It offers fantastic berthing opportunities for superyachts due to the amazing atmosphere of the area, modern facilities and scenic landscapes. It is particularly popular during the winter season and Christmas and New Year, where the rich and famous flock to see in the year, under the fireworks and glorious surrounding Caribbean setting.
With only a small number of berths for large superyachts, it’s no surprise that it’s almost impossible to make a reservation during the high season.
Awaiting owners, guests and crew at St. Barths are numerous luxury boutiques, perfect white sand beaches and palm trees, some mind-blowing restaurants and a wild nightlife, all ensuring that Saint Barths remains one of the most popular marinas and destinations for superyachts.
Of course it’s hard to narrow it down to just 10 marinas, and there were many others that were close to making our cut. From experiencing the delights of Port des Cannes during the Cannes Film Festival or Boat Show, and the hilltop castle, pretty churches and striking towers in Port De Bonifacio, Corsica, to further afield where the marinas of Sydney and Miami prove popular with the glitterati of today.