Top 10 Mediterranean yacht charter destinations
Written by Sarah Rowland
Last updated: 13/07/2016
1. Balearic Islands
With new legislation in place for non-EU flagged commercial yachts to charter in the waters of the Balearic Islands, charter requests are picking up for the region, which offers a buzzing Spanish hub in the Balearic Sea. The four main islands of Ibiza, Formentera, Mallorca and Menorca have long been popular tourist destinations with shore-side holidaymakers, but with many other islands and islets to explore, plus pristine anchorages and rich sailing grounds accessible year-round, it’s worth setting aside a few weeks to explore the lesser-trodden path on board.
2. Croatia and Montenegro
With some 1,200 islands to discover, it’s no surprise that Croatia has become one of the Mediterranean’s favourite cruising, charter and tourism destinations in recent years. Despite the popularity of destinations like Dubrovnik, Split and Hvar with shore-side tourists, with so many coves and islets, and only around 50 of its islands inhabited, it always seems quiet and secluded from the deck of a superyacht leaving plenty of space for those seeking privacy and adventure on charter. Across its many islands, beautiful natural scenery is littered with remnants of a turbulent history, but with so much to see it often becomes difficult to stick to a charter itinerary. Many visit Montenegro on the same cruise, with its striking natural beauty, starting or ending at the Bay of Kotor.
3. Amalfi coast
At just 30-miles long, Italy’s Amalfi coast offers rich and concentrated yacht charter grounds, with dramatic coastlines, sparkling blue waters and tumbling hillside villages. You don’t have to sail far to pack in visits to the beautiful destinations of Positano, Cetara, Ravello, Sorrento and Amalfi itself, with Pompeii, The Bay of Naples and the island of Capri also just a nearby cruise away. You’ll discover historic ruins and designer fashions, as well as delicious Italian cuisine. The only problem is, such a picturesque cruising region cannot remain a well-kept secret and it can get very busy in the high season.
4. Sicily and the Aeolian Islands
Famous beaches, secluded anchorages and quaint fishing villages attract charters to Sicily, where nature, art and history combine. In the northwest, the capital Palmero offers historic squares, architecture and galleries with glimpses of jagged coastline and azure sea, while Cantania in the east provides extraordinary views of snow-capped Mount Etna. Just 35 miles north are the seven Aeolian Islands with their volcanic Mediterranean landscapes, cobalt-blue waters, bustling ports and secluded anchorages. Just a short sail from each other, island-hoppers will enjoy the hustle and bustle of the more populated islands of Lipari, Salina and Panarea, alongside the quieter settlements on Filicudi and Alicudi. Boasting two active volcanoes, Stromboli and Vulcano, charter guests can experience hot springs, volcanic mud baths and Stromboli’s natural fireworks on the more secluded islands.
The second largest island in the Western Mediterranean, Sardinia is well loved by the jet and yachting set, with Porto Cervo and the Costa Smeralda very popular with yachties and charter vessels of all types. It has some 1,100 miles of uniquely rugged Mediterranean coastline to be explored, and a range of charming harbours and medieval villages to call into – the fascinating result of its many cultural influences. Marina berthing is hard to come by in the high season, and more expensive than you might think, but there are plenty of natural havens to drop anchor in. It’s worth a trip to the nearby Maddalena Islands with their spectacular beaches and clear clean waters.
Not far from Sardinia, and often toured as part of the same cruise, the rustic French island of Corsica has some of the most impressive mountain scenery in the Med. With a French influence yet still impressively individual, there are options for marina berthing and offshore anchorages to really take in the scenery, which is wild and untamed - still untouched by man in places. The ports of Calvi and Bonifacio offer old town charm and romance, while Palombaggia and Lavezzi provide the beautiful beaches and indigenous nature. Located centrally between France and Italy, Corsica makes a great stopover or endpoint destination.
7. Ionian Islands
The Ionian Islands are a stretch of seven main Greek Islands and many smaller islets. Spanning some 50 miles north to south down the west coast of Greece, each island holds a different charm for charter guests. Corfu is the largest Ionian Island, but also one of the most touristic. Traditional culture is therefore better experienced on the island of Zante, and secluded charm at Smugglers Cove and The Blue Grotto in Zakynthos.
Malta is a lesser-visited destination on the yacht charter route, making it a perfect Mediterranean gem with a vast history. Just a short cruise from Sicily, the Mediterranean sun follows charters to Malta, where attractive harbours and prehistoric ruins sit alongside the picturesque coves and beaches that are pitted into the coastline. Gozo and Comino are the only other inhabited islands of a total of 21 to discover on the Maltese archipelago, offering up some of the most secluded anchorages and best watersports and dive sites. Here you will find rocky inlets, red sand beaches and crystal-clear waters.
9. The French Riviera, Cote d’Azur
As always, the French Riviera is still up there as one of the top yacht charter destinations for 2016, with the sophisticated Cote d’Azur home to the world-famous yachting hubs of Cannes, Nice, St Tropez, Antibes and Monaco. The place to see and be seen, it’s no surprise that the South of France offers up some of the best food, beaches and parties in the Mediterranean, providing great opportunities to charter, both in the thick of it or out at tranquil anchorages.
10. Turkey’s Turquoise Coast
Despite the recent worries of cruising safety that have plagued the Eastern Mediterranean throughout recent years, Turkey still offers up some of the most stunning cruising grounds for yacht charters. It provides more coastline than any other Mediterranean country to explore, and offers a unique cultural mix of Eastern and Western traditions. The southwest shore is well known for its fine beaches and stunning mountain scenery, known as the Turquoise Coast for the surrounding blue-green colours of its sea and horizon. Here, guests enjoy Fethiye’s busy marina, the bustling town of Marmaris and the protected lagoon at Ölüdeniz.
To plan your next yacht charter, search yacht charter brokers on Yachtingpages.com.