Top 15 elite superyacht marinas worldwide
Written by Nathan Bees
Last updated: 03/04/2018
There are thousands of ports and marinas around the world, and most of them are very charming, worthwhile places to visit. However, there are a few in particular that are simply irresistible to the superyacht set, boasting iconic facilities that see the world’s glitterati return time and time again to revel in their splendour.
We feel these elite marinas deserve to be recognised, so we have compiled a list of our 15 favourite marinas in the world. During your time at sea, endeavour to tick off as many of these as you can. We promise you won’t be disappointed!
Marinas with Italian luxury
We start with Marina Grande on the island of Capri, which is reportedly the most expensive marina in the world. With a real feel of exclusivity, berthing will need to be arranged many months in advance, especially during peak season. There are over 300 berths in total and the facility can accommodate superyachts of up to 60 metres or 197 foot.
The marina is nestled among striking cliffs and colourful, quaint buildings, offering a truly unforgettable experience. Sitting below the town, the marina is surrounded by a selection of luxury hotels and restaurants that offer some of the most spectacular views in the world, and numerous medieval villages.
Unsurprisingly, the island has a special allure for the rich and famous, with some of the world’s most extravagant yachts often found congregated here.
Listed as the world’s second-most expensive marina, Marina di Porto Cervo is located on the northern tip of Sardinia on the famous Costa Smerelda. Here daily berthing fees can exceed 2,500 euros during the high season, which gives an insight into just how desirable the marina is. Among the most expensive periods for berthing are the Deluxe Fair in June and the Maxi Yacht Rolex Cup Regatta in September.
The facility has up to 60 superyacht berths for yachts up to 100-metres (328-feet) long, During the summer, this is where the Italian jet-set takes their holidays, sailing and enjoying the beautiful landscape and coves. The list of celebrities spotted in Porto Cervo is endless, with model Kate Moss and pop superstar Rihanna known to have visited in the past. Famous for its lavish parties and nightlife, there’s even a “Billionaire Nightclub” for the select few that can afford it.
The surrounding area features a mix of unspoiled natural beauty and modern luxurious facilities, such as high-end boutiques and clubs.
With only 14 berths for superyachts, and an average daily berthing price of well over 2,000 euros, Marina di Portofino is one of the most exclusive ports in the world. Again, due to a lack of berths, reservations will need to be made many months in advance, especially during peak season.
Originally a small fishing village set in a protected bay of green waters, Portofino has become an ultimate playground for the super-rich and famous, including the likes of Steven Spielberg, Coldplay frontman Chris Martin, and Rihanna (who must be working through our list).
Accessible by a single road—which is usually kept closed to keep the area secluded—the preferred mode of transport to Portofino tends to be boat giving Marina di Portofino a quiet and private feel.
Spanish style and Catalonian chic
With 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 to Ibiza Magna is the electric atmosphere.
Renowned for being a magnet for the young, rich and glamorous, some of the most famous faces in the world are frequently spotted on the ‘White Isle’. The marina itself fits perfectly with the itineraries of this crowd, as it’s located just minutes away from iconic nightclub, Pacha.
Ibiza Magna offers berths for yachts up to 60m (197ft), while larger vessels can drop anchor outside of the main harbour. The most popular (and expensive) time to visit is in September, when Ibiza plays host to the revered dance parties that bring the summer season to a close.
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. Designed and built by property developer Jose Banús in 1970, it’s since become a popular stomping ground for the wealthy.
There’re over 900 berths in total across an area of 150,000 square metres, and while that’s plentiful in comparison to the others already listed, it may well cost over 2,400 euros per day to berth here. Its clientele includes some of the richest and most powerful people in the world, with reports suggesting the King of Saudi Arabia visits regularly.
The marina is protected by the Sierra de Marbella mountain range, and is surrounded by numerous designer shops, bars, restaurants and luxury homes. If that wasn’t enough, the marina is flanked on both sides by lovely beaches that regularly attract famous faces.
Originally built for the 1992 Olympic games, the marina has since been transformed, recently upgrading to become a five-star, 148-berth facility for superyachts up to 190m (623ft).
Situated in the heart of Barcelona, with idyllic views of the city and out across the sea, OneOcean Port Vell has become a hugely popular destination with the world’s trendsetters. Yachts can berth a stone’s throw away from the city’s beautiful beaches and world-famous attractions, including the iconic Las Ramblas, the Gothic Quarter, Passeig de Gràcia and Camp Nou – the home of FC Barcelona.
As day turns into night the city’s thrilling nightlife comes to the fore. Fine-dining establishments showcase local gastronomic delights and modern fusions from renowned chefs, and the numerous bars and clubs offer up the perfect place to soak up Barcelona’s inimitable atmosphere; the perfect place to let your hair down.
As far as big-city marinas go, OneOcean Port Vell in Barcelona is as good as it gets.
Just 64 berths are available at the tranquil Port Tarraco in Tarragona, which gives this well-equipped marina a sense of individuality from other marinas in mainland Spain. It ties in with the intriguing nature of the city, known for its charming ancient architecture and culture.
Where Ibiza Magna is a growing magnet for young and rich, Port Tarraco attracts those wishing for a little more serenity – those who want to absorb local culture at their own pace. It isn’t a celebrity hotspot, so it retains a sense of calm that other marinas have lost as a result of their showbiz allure.
Beyond Tarragona, Port Tarraco has the added bonus of sitting just below Barcelona, and being within easy reach of both Madrid and Valencia. It means there are a number of places to explore within a commutable distance of the marina, so plenty of different interests and personalities can be catered for.
The unique selling point of Port Tarraco is that it is completely different to almost everywhere else.
A jewel in the French Riviera, and one of the most famous ports in the world due to its heritage, Port de Saint Tropez offers over 700 berths for boats with an area covering 22 acres.
St Tropez is the quintessential celebrity destination; it offers the luxury restaurants, shops and expensive clubs that the world’s elite demand, while retaining its own quaint charm. It has a classic feel, with narrow streets and architecture belying its standing as a playground for the rich and famous.
Though the marina itself can only berth yachts up to 70m (230ft), larger vessels can frequently be found farther out at sea. With other highlights including the beaches along the Baie de Pampelonne and the iconic nightlife the region is known for, it’s unsurprising Port de Saint Tropez features on our list.
Monaco is among the most famous destinations in the world given its combination of luxury, wealth and extravagance. Its marina, Port Hercules, is no different. An opulent extension of the Principality’s flamboyant image; it’s surrounded by casinos, luxurious homes, grand hotels and incredible restaurants.
Event highlights include the Monaco Grand Prix in May, where guests watch the action from on board, and the Monaco Yacht Show in September. Though generally not the most expensive place to berth, during these times the mooring rates are, for want of a better word, astronomical.
Surrounded by steeply rising hills, Monaco’s Port Hercules is situated in 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 bright lights of boats and buildings combine to create a truly spectacular sight, is an absolute must for anyone involved in the yachting industry.
Located on the French Riviera between the glamorous locations of Cannes and Monaco, Port Vauban is a suitably sophisticated destination in its own right. The International Yacht Club d’Antibes can accommodate 19 vessels from 70m to 170m (230ft to 558ft) and is equipped with all the modern amenities a yachtsman looks for in a high-end marina.
The result is many multi-million pound superyachts coming in to berth to sample the luxurious Riviera lifestyle, with “Billionaires Row” offering up some the most eye-catching superyachts currently on the water. The port is something of a focal point for the beautiful town, with multi-storey yachts dominating the skyline and providing a poetic contrast to the town’s ancient architecture.
Celebrated as one of the most popular destinations on France’s Mediterranean coast, it offers revealing, dream-inducing glimpses into the world of the rich and famous; a gateway to the celebrity world.
Marinas with eastern-Mediterranean mystique
Set in the picturesque UNESCO-protected Bay of Kotor in Montenegro, with its diverse landscape and extensive stretches of coastline and mountain peaks, Porto Montenegro is fast claiming a stake as one of Europe’s most attractive marinas.
After recent upgrades, the facility now offers the ability to berth some of the world’s largest superyachts, measuring up to 250-metres (820-feet) long. This has brought a wealthier and more prestigious clientele to the marina who are keen to sample the lavish lifestyle Montenegro can offer. Some have fallen in love with the area, so much so that they’ve purchased multi-million pound apartments within the facility’s five-star Regent Hotel so they are always guaranteed a luxurious place to stay ashore.
The marina is complemented by a retail and entertainment village, which offers luxury waterside residences, restaurants, bars, designer boutiques and more.
From its mountainous landscape, covered with canyons, wildlife reserves and glacial lakes, to its uninhabited islands, secret coves and historical sites, the small country of Montenegro is now one of the most fashionable places to visit in Europe.
This time set against the scenic background of a UNESCO-world heritage site, among historic waterfront buildings and a metropolitan backdrop, Grand Harbour Marina is a truly breath-taking place to berth. Located opposite Valletta, Malta, the marina has berths for superyachts up to 140m (459ft) alongside and perfectly encapsulates the unique charm and style of the country.
On the quayside one can enjoy numerous stylish restaurants and bars, as well as the world famous Casino di Venezia. Other notable attractions in the vicinity of the marina include one of the world’s oldest golf courses and various exhilarating water-sport opportunities, with the waters around Malta considered to be among the best in the Mediterranean. It is also worth noting that Valletta has been chosen as the 2018 European Capital of Culture, guaranteeing a range of exciting celebratory events should you visit during the course of the year.
The marina boasts an array of modern services and amenities, which have been refurbished to the luxury standards the yachting elite expect of a top-class marina. The transformation, alongside its lengthy list of things to do, has catapulted Grand Harbour into the stratosphere of must-visit Mediterranean marinas.
Situated on Yas Island, Yas Marina in Abu Dhabi has firmly established itself as the premier Middle-Eastern destination for super and megayachts. The 227-berth marina caters for yachts up to 150m (492ft) and gives visitors access to sumptuous coastlines, uninhabited islands and the nearby cosmopolitan cities of Abu Dhabi and Dubai.
An expansion development plan was revealed in October 2013 to enhance the growth of Yas Island as a leading tourist destination, and has helped to transform the marina into a vibrant dining, lifestyle, fitness and entertainment centre. It features, among other things, seven new restaurants with panoramic views, a pedestrian promenade, charter operators, wellbeing facilities, a chandlery and big events throughout the year.
The leading attraction of Yas Marina is the Yas Marina Circuit, home to the annual Formula 1 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix and numerous other motorsport events and experiences. For a sports enthusiast, or someone who appreciates majestic track vehicles as much as those on water, it’s a coliseum of unmissable entertainment and drama. This alone makes Yas Marina well worth the trip.
One of the leading superyacht marinas 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 (656ft+), the marina offers a plethora of dedicated services to crew, owners and guests.
Set amongst a tropical Caribbean setting, St Thomas offers visitors a tough choice: kicking back and relaxing under the palm trees, or frantically undertaking as many once in a lifetime activities as possible. It has incredible coral reef snorkelling and sports fishing opportunities, as well as the chance to go water skiing, Jet Skiing and horseback riding.
With a shopping mall of over 780,000 square feet, highlights include a promenade with signature restaurants, bars and music, luxury accommodation and 40 world-renowned designer boutiques. How can anyone possibly resist?
Unfortunately Yacht Haven Grande was a victim of the devastating hurricanes that hit parts of the USA in September 2017, but the marina is now welcoming superyachts and megayachts once again (as of mid-December).
During high season, Port de Gustavia in Saint Barts 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’s particularly popular at Christmas and New Year, where the rich and famous flock to see in the year under firework-lit skies, surrounded by Caribbean wildlife.
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 Barts are numerous luxury boutiques, perfect white-sand beaches and palm trees, delicious restaurants and a wild nightlife, all ensuring that Saint Barts is one of the most popular marinas and destinations for superyachts.
It was, of course, very difficult to restrict our list of the world’s top marinas to just 15, and there were a large number of others that were close to making the cut! From experiencing the delights of Port des Cannes during the Cannes Film Festival to the hilltop castle, pretty churches and striking towers surrounding Port De Bonifacio, Corsica, it’s fair to say we agonised over which berths were simply the best.
Visit these 15 and let us know your thoughts!