Chartering a luxury yacht affords the opportunity to explore exciting destinations amidst luxury, comfort and privacy. With professional crew on hand you’ll have the freedom to relax, enjoy, and unwind in style – aboard your own yacht you really can take each day as it comes! But the question is, where is the Med to go? In this article we’ll show you the five most popular destinations to charter a luxury yacht…whether you want to snorkel, beach comb, shop, or simply sunbathe on deck; here you can find the Mediterranean’s most beautiful waters to cruise.
Costa Smeralda, Sardinia, and Corsica
The north east coast of Sardinia is unquestionably beautiful. Chosen by the Aga Khan for its picturesque white sandy beaches, sheltered rocky bays, and crystal clear turquoise waters; the Costa Smeralda today remains an exclusive haven for super yachts, the rich, and the famous. Access to this coast is relatively easy, with Olbia airport within 30 minutes of Porto Rotondo or Porto Cervo. From here you can board your yacht, and set sail to explore the beautiful and unspoilt Magdalenas islands for a chill out day at anchor; or cruise across to Baja Sardinia for a lively day at the beach clubs. A trip across to Corsica and the town of Bonifacio is definitely worth the often turbulent crossing – the beautiful old town will reward you with its breath-taking views and Genoese architecture.
South of France
The Côte d’Azur really is the land of sunshine and dreamy summer afternoons, chic resorts, deep blue azure waters, and hidden bays; all basking under the benevolent Mediterranean sun. This is about seeing, and being seen (especially if you have chartered your own private yacht….) A yachting “must-see” is the old port of St. Tropez, a picturesque ancient fishing harbour, now surrounded by chic wine bars and fine dining restaurants. After dark, spray the Cristal around the legenday Les Caves du Roy; during the day take your yacht round the headland to Pampelonne beach, a fantastic spot for indulging in water sports with its turquoise waters, and at lunch time you can take the tender ashore for lunch at the famous Club 55. No visit to the south of France would be complete without a visit to Cannes. Enjoy the ritz ‘n glitz of the Cannes Croisette (famous for the Cannes film festival) or anchor between îles de Lérins to get away from it all, dreaming to the rhythmic chirp of the cicadas…
Croatia and Venice
One of the most dramatic coastlines in the Med, Croatia boasts deep gorges, soaring mountains, cascading waterfalls, and fields of lavender dotted with ancient olive trees. With over a thousand uninhabited islands surrounded by crystal clear waters, Croatia is the perfect coast to explore by private yacht. Due to strict customs regulations, Venice is the normal port of departure for yachts; but as “the most beautiful city on earth” there can be no better place to start from! Heading east you will soon land upon the Brijuni islands, a treasured national park known for its natural floral beauty and historical monuments. On to the Dalmatian coast and the ancient town of Zadar, which date back to 9th century BC! Explore the streets of this walled peninsula and visit the perfectly preserved Gothic monuments. Just off the coast of Zadar is the Kornati archipelago, over 130 islands of exceptional beauty, countless number of caves and coves, and stunning reefs and steep pinnacles.
Greece Cyclades Islands
Greece’s Ionian and Aegean Seas are the gateway to a sailors paradise….many thousands of enchanting and ancient Cyclades islands means that on a private yacht you can discover a new port of call each day. Athens is the easiest place to start, the airport is close to the marinas and there are plenty of facilities, shops and restaurants to get your cruise off to a great start. Set sail for Tinos, a mountainous rugged island, and on to Mykonos, a bright and breezy land with fine sandy beaches by day, alive with nightclubs & bars by night. Ios is next on the itinerary; claimed to be the birth place of homer, but today is very popular with nude sun-lovers, and the streets boast a maze of bars and boutiques. Due south lies Santorini, the giant volcano with a four mile wide crater. The famous white domed houses of the town extend along the sheer cliff tops and present a remarkable sight. Bar-hoppers and gourmets will love its lively taverns and outstanding restaurants, where just-landed fish is always on the menu. And with the oldest vineyards in Europe, Santorini wine flows like water!
Winding coastlines, sheer cliffs riddled with secret beaches and hidden caves, the Amalfi coast will leave your mouth open and your film exposed! Just south of Naples, the Amalfi coast is one of the most beautiful in the world – it’s no wonder it is one of the most popular destinations to charter a luxury yacht. Naples is the obvious starting point, the international airport is only a short transfer to numerous marinas. The first short hop is to Ponza, one of the largest islands of the Amalfi coast, with blue waters and a striking hilly landscape, the island is loved by regular visitors who attempt to keep its charms a secret. Even larger than Ponza, the island of Ischia is considered to be even more beautiful than Capri. There are several towns along the coast, with plenty of excellent restaurants. Previously colonised in turn by the Greeks, Syrausansa, Romans, Saracens, Turks, and Aragonese; it is packed full of history! A short cruise on to Capri, well known as the centre for luxury yachting and the rich and famous…the main harbour is the place to be seen in the summer, but there is also a great deal to explore inland.
Daniel Barber is Director of AquaCruise Yacht Charter