You need to sail these stunning Mediterranean islands on a yacht charter in 2020

You are really spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a location for a yacht charter in the Mediterranean in 2020.

7th Jan 2020

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.

Maria Soleil, Senior Marketing Executive

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.

Bareboat charter Mallorca
The beautiful inlets of Mallorca's south coast

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.

Bareboat charter Mallorca
Make a lunch stop with a view

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.

Cyclades Greece yacht charter
Oia, Santorini

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.

Cyclades Greece yacht charter
The rocky coast of Milos, in the Cyclades

It is no surprise that the Cyclades are among our top places to visit on a Greek island charter holiday.

When is the best time to sail in the Cyclades?

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.

Aeolian Islands Sicily yacht charters
View of Stromboli volcano in the Aeolian Islands

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.

Aeolian Islands Sicily yacht charters
View of Vulcano from Lipari

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.

Corsica yacht charters
Réserve Naturelle de Scandola

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.

Corsica yacht charters
Bonifacio, Corsica

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.

Best for: Families and flotillas

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.

Ionian yacht charters
Navagio Beach

This area of Greece has some of the best beaches in the country, such as the remarkable Navagio (or Shipwreck) Beach on Zakynthos, or Porto Katsiki on Lefkas.

It’s so easy to get to Corfu or Preveza to start your trip and island hop to places famous in mythical legends such as Homer’s Odyssey, like Ithaca and Kefalonia.

Ionian yacht charters
Fiskardo, Kefalonia: A sailors' favourite stop

These are just some of the top reasons to sail the Ionian Islands, we’re sure you don’t need any more to be convinced.

When is the best time to sail in the Ionian?

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.

Best for: Swimming and snorkelling

Kornati National Park is an unspoilt nautical paradise and an archipelago of 89 islands which lies 12nmi from the city of Zadar in Croatia.

Yacht charter Kornati Islands Croatia
The paradise of the Kornatis

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.

Yacht charter Kornati Islands Croatia
Spend time snorkelling and swimming

Take a yacht charter out of Zadar for your next holiday and see the best that the area has to offer.

When is the best time to sail the Kornati Islands?

September or early October is a good time to visit the Kornatis as they will be quieter and the sun will be less intense.

The occasional and slightly unpredictable bora wind can blow strong north easterlies down the Crotian mountain sides onto the coastline.

Best for: Glitz and glamour

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.

Sardinia yacht charters
Costa Smeralda, Sardinia

South of Olbia is Tavolara  – a magnificent limestone and granite massif jutting out of the sea, which is also the world’s smallest inhabited kingdom. Venture ashore and eat fresh seafood pasta at Ristorante da Tonino Re di Tavolara restaurant – the only one on the island.

Sardinia yacht charters

San Pietro island on Sardinia’s south west tip is a favourite of Italian tourists, for its charming town Carloforte and 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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