There is little to compare to the freedom of chartering your own yacht or power catamaran and sailing around sunny climes in turquoise waters. Chartering your own boat allows you to encounter different countries, cultures and food in one holiday without the hassle of airport check-ins and on your own terms. Itching to get away from it all? Here is our list of the best places to sail away, sail away, sail away.
The Greek islands are synonymous with sailing and island hopping has been a favourite choice for tourists visiting the region and with oodles of tiny islands, enclaves and bays to explore with thousands of years of history and culture at every dock, it is easy to see why. Mykonos and Santorini are the most famous with their white-washed houses, hints of azure blue and windmills. However, no matter where you anchor for the night, you are bound to encounter the famous Greek hospitality and better still – the famous Greek cuisine!
There are plenty of reputable companies to rent your yacht from with options from crewed to uncrewed, varying in size and number of berths; aBoatTime specialise in European yacht hire. The best time to charter in the Mediterranean is between April and September.
Likewise, Croatia, set in the Adriatic, is also a sailors paradise, with over 1000 islands and spectacular coastline to explore. By sailing along the south coast you will encounter the ancient Greek port of Trogir and the beautiful city of Split while the Dalmatian Coast boasts the barren and isolated Kornati archipelago and other islands with centuries of history, such as Korcula, Hvar or Brac. Though the Golden Horn is widely considered to be the most beautiful in Croatia, for those that prefer something a little more quiet without rows of tourist parasols to spoil the view there are plenty of other hidden stretches and coves to enjoy the tranquillity of your Pannonian surroundings. Croatia has a dedicated charter industry that will cater to all your needs right through April until October.
On the other hand, Turkey in south-east Europe also proves to be a stunning sailing destination which is divided into a number of different geographical regions, all offering something different. Thrace and the borderlands along the Sea of Marmara, the Aegean and Mediterranean region, the Black sea and more coupled with this is the hotbed of culture that exists in Turkey so that when the hankering for dry land arises, there is plenty to do. For those who prefer to remain close to the coast there are a multitude of coves, inlets, bays, beaches and marinas. Given the richness of the coastal surroundings there are a number of companies which offer cruises in the region, they all make for an unbeatable holiday combining history, relaxation and cuisine among secluded anchorages.
When you think about chartering a yacht, the dreamers among us automatically think about island hopping around the stunning Caribbean and with it’s many tropical islands, sandy beaches and unrivalled marine life perfect for diving, it’s no wonder. The beauty of the Caribbean is that no two islands are the same culturally but they are all known for their pristine clear, blue waves, hidden coves and overall serenity. The famous Caribbean welcome greets all visitors to each island with open arms and offers tourists the opportunity to discover the many charms and treasures hidden within it. Due to the equally famous hurricane season the best time to visit is between December and May to take full advantage of everything the islands have to offer, which includes various sailing packages, diving and water sports opportunities. Be sure to check out aBoatTime, who also offer Caribbean and British Virgin Islands boat hire.
Sailors have long been attracted to this part of the Med. Italy boasts some of Europe’s most spectacular stretches of coastline as well as some of the most panoramic views. Sailing along the Italian coast is like a voyage of discovery, one day you come ashore at a glamorous chic, hotspot while the next you arrive at a beautiful, quiet fishing village. Exploring the region of Palermo is very popular with its ten easily accessible beaches and stunning scenery although island hopping is also particularly popular. Nonetheless, whichever your choice there is something for everyone along the dramatic coastline from Tuscany to Amalfi. There are many options for sailing holidays ranging from motorboat rental to yachts, again the best time for cruising the Med is April to October.
Sailing along the French Riviera conjures up images of old-Hollywood, glamour and prestige however with the many unspoilt islands, rugged inlets and fine beaches that dot its coastline, the French Riviera is almost unrivalled in its appeal to sailors. Aside from the cosmopolitan cities of Monte Carlo, Nice and Cannes, there are also quieter, tranquil places to escape to like, Port Cros and Porquelles. Not only does the Riviera offer a plethora of cuisine and a smorgasbord of culture, it is also a gateway for other European cruising destinations like Portofino and Corsica. There is a certain je ne sais quoi about the Riviera, maybe it’s the class or the cuisine or maybe it’s the old spirits of times gone by that are symbiotic with places like Cannes, St. Tropez and Monaco. For a chance to immerse yourself in all the beauty and culture that the French Riviera has to offer, allez!
The Virgin Islands
Tortola as a yachting destination comes as no surprise, what with its sandy beaches, lush green mountains and astonishing beauty. However, the beauty of Tortola is only enhanced further by coral reefs, flood caves and stunning stone formations. All this combined makes it a perfect sailing destination. In fact, The British Virgin Islands on the whole, are one of the most classic charter vacation destinations, either for yachting or motorboating. It offers something for everyone; gentle sailing, calm seas, gorgeous snorkelling all surrounded by stunning beaches and serenity. It is a major hotspot for super yachts, crewed luxury yachts and catamarans all available for rental. All the great ports and attractions in this Caribbean paradise are easily navigable and like all Caribbean destinations avoid outside of the December to May season.
South East Asia
For something a bit different, embrace the great weather, friendly people and enticing culture of Asia. It offers everything charterer could want, all year round. Imagine the beauty of the world’s largest archipelago – Indonesia with its amazing volcanic scenery, marine life and diving adventures. Tahiti and Bora Bora are famed for the romance inspired by their beauty – honeymoon charter anyone? Fiji is renowned for its amazing marine life and diving and snorkelling opportunities along with the friendliest people in the world. To top it off, try Singapore, perfect for sailing trips, either by day or night. The night time sailing opportunities offer stunning views of the Singaporean city skyline. The charm of Asia is intertwined in the culture of all the countries in the region, including Thailand which, offers unforgettable chartering adventures which are the perfect way to relax, recharge the batteries and encounter a once-in-a-lifetime voyage.
Australia and New Zealand
Nothing screams water adventure more than Australia and New Zealand and no charter adventure could be more perfect and exhilarating than one down under. From the stunning coral reefs of Queensland to the historical ports of Tasmania to the Marlborough Sounds of New Zealand, a charter vacation in Australasia is guaranteed to offer something rare. Naturally, a stop by the Great Barrier Reef is an absolute must, to encounter some of the magnificent views and marine life followed by a trip to the Whitsundays where you can pick your dinner straight out of the sea. Fraser Island and Sydney Harbour are also must-stops while New Zealand’s islands offer a chance to bathe at hot water beaches, see glaciers and thermal spas. Australasia boasts some of the world’s best cuisine and wine, which means whether you charter bareboat, crewed, powerboat or luxury yacht, you are sure to enjoy it in style.
The Indian Ocean
People have been navigating the sea route of the Indian Ocean for centuries; the appeal of the spices and allure of the East have captured the hearts of travellers ever since. However, currently, the archipelagos of the Indian Ocean are renowned as some of the best chartering areas in the world. The Seychelles and Mauritius are charter-chart-toppers for their own splendid isolation – both offer gorgeous sparkling lagoons, outstanding coral reefs and white sandy beaches. The Seychelles is believed to be the original Garden of Eden and once you set foot on the powdery beaches you will understand exactly why. Sail further north to the Maldives which are the epitome of postcard perfection, and you will encounter sugary beaches, incandescent marine life and unforgettable scenery. There are thousands of tiny rocky outposts, small islands and secluded coves.
Now what are you waiting for? Get those sea legs ready and organise your charter in some of the most beautiful, aquatic environments in the world. Ahoy!