From the stylish and sunny coves of the Balearic Islands, to the family-friendly flotillas in the Greek Ionian, there’s something different to suit every taste and level of experience – from keen sailors to those who are new to the water.
We’ve included some popular destinations such as Croatia, as well as some lesser known gems, like the Aeolian Islands. To inspire your travels for this year and into the new decade, read on.
A bareboat charter in Mallorca is sure to be a holiday to remember. Starting at the base in stylish Palma, sail anticlockwise and explore gems on the southern coastline such as Colonia Sant Jordi, Portopetro, Porto Colom and Cala D’Or.
These towns have mostly maintained the charm of traditional Mallorcan fishing villages but offer restaurants and shops to venture to onshore.
There are so many sights to see that we would recommend spending two weeks chartering a catamaran in Mallorca. Flights to Palma are good value as lots of low cost operators fly there.
When is the best time to sail in Mallorca?
Late May and June are great times to sail in the Balearics. The temperature is hot but not unbearable, and the summer crowds have not yet descended. September or early October are also good choices as the water remains warm.
Sailing conditions are generally stable in these months. South east winds dominate on Formentera and Ibiza, but Mallorca and Menorca experience north-westerlies and south-easterlies on the west coasts. Be aware of the north-westerly tramontana wind, as well as the north-easterly mistral. Afternoon sea breezes can make things lively in the inlets.
The stunning sight of the blue domed church in Oia, Santorini is what most people think of when you mention the Cyclades. But there is so much more to see in this region of over 200 islands – making it perfect for a bareboat charter.
Sail south west from Lavrion to discover verdant Kea, which is a favourite weekend getaway for Greek mainlanders. Then venture further on to picturesque Kithnos, Serifos for quiet beaches and Syros for interesting architecture in its capital, Ermoupoli.
If you like somewhere lively with a vibrant buzz and nightlife, Mykonos is a worthwhile addition to your itinerary, along with Paros and Naxos.
In the Cyclades you’ll enjoy a Mediterranean climate from spring to autumn, between April to October, with temperatures around 27ºC in the summer. The ideal time to avoid crowds is June or September. Mid-summer, you can expect long evenings, spectacular sunsets and calm seas.
The meltemi wind can blow from the north in the summer months, so we tend to recommend the Cyclades for more experienced sailors as the winds are a little stronger.
Off the coast of northern Sicily is the volcanic archipelago of the Aeolian Islands. Home to two active volcanoes – Stromboli and Vulcano – this group of seven islands is a geological marvel. On a boat you have freedom to gaze at the spectacular landscapes, see dolphins and step foot on the black sand beaches.
If you’re looking for a yacht charter with lots to see and do, these UNESCO-protected islands are ideal. Hike to the top of Stromboli and see the sun set over the sea, or taste wine in the vineyards of Salina.
You can’t mention Italy without thinking of food. Try snacking on arancini and canoli and lots of other local produce including goats cheese or Malvasia wine.
When is the best time to sail in the Aeolian Islands?
For a quieter time, try to avoid the high season if possible and go in May to early July or September to October.
Sailing conditions are fair – the normal summer winds are from the north-west, averaging force 4. Stronger mistral winds can blow in August.
Experience a melange of cultures on a bareboat charter in Corsica, an island which has been a part of France for 200 years.
Its intriguing history is a mix of Italian and French and the locals are fiercely proud of their Corsican culture. This makes for a tasty blend of both Italian and Provencal cuisine.
The west-coast is where you would start a charter – at either Propriano or the capital, Ajaccio, where you will find the ancestral home of Napoleon Bonaparte.
The landscape is diverse and offers many opportunities for sightseeing from your yacht, swimming and hiking. Dive into the azure water at the Réserve Naturelle de Scandola and take a stroll around the medieval citadel at Bonifacio.
When is the best time to sail in Corsica?
September is lovely for sailing in Corsica. The sea is warm – above 20°C – and there are thermal breezes in the afternoon. Winds are generally stronger in the gulfs and capes of the islands and anchorages are calm during the night.
The prevailing persistent winds in this area of the Mediterranean are from a north west and south east direction.
One of the most popular destinations for sailing in Greece is the sunny Ionian Islands. It’s not hard to see why; expect pristine white sandy beaches, maya blue waters, delicious food and outstanding weather conditions perfect for novices.
Ports and towns are very busy with flotillas in July and August, so for a more relaxed holiday outside of the school holidays, try May, June or September. The deep Ionian Sea is much warmer at the end of summer and temperatures are still good, with highs of 28°C.
Expect light morning winds and stronger northerly afternoon winds. The wind can be brisk in some ports which are not sheltered.
Kornati National Park is an unspoilt nautical paradise and an archipelago of 89 islands which lies 12nmi from the city of Zadar in Croatia.
The barren, white-rock islands are dotted with olive trees and separated by navy blue waters. You can stop and take a swim in numerous small coves, bays and beaches and take in the flora and fauna. Hundreds of species of butterflies, birds and bats can be found on the islets and islands.
You’ll need a ticket to sail through the Kornatis, which you can buy in advance online. Bring your goggles and flippers – snorkeling is a must here, where there is around 2600 hours of sunshine every year.
The jagged but beautiful coastline of Costa Smeralda is a great example of the views that Sardinia has to offer on a yacht charter. A favourite of the rich and famous, there are many glitzy resorts and plenty of superyachts to stare at come summertime.
South of Olbia is Tavolara– a magnificent limestone and granite massif jutting out of the sea, which is also the world’ssmallest inhabited kingdom. Venture ashore and eat fresh seafood pasta at Ristorante da Tonino Re di Tavolara restaurant – the only one on the island.
San Pietro island on Sardinia’s south west tip is a favourite of Italian tourists, for its charming townCarloforteand the westernmost lighthouse in Italy. Its location makes for some stunning sunsets.
When is the best time to sail in Sardinia?
The shoulder seasons of June and September should provide relaxed sailing conditions, yet still be warm and enjoyable.
Brisk north west afternoon breezes blow on the west of Sardinia, while winds up to force 6 can blow on the south east coast.
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