by Pete Green
In this blog, we review the top sailing destinations in the Mediterranean and look at what makes them special.
The Mediterranean is a huge place and it’s difficult to narrow it down to just three. If there are any we’ve missed that you feel should’ve been included, leave a comment underneath and we’ll be sure to include it next time!
In deciding which spots to pick, we’ve considered the favourite destinations of fellow sailors and yachtsmen. It is no surprise that all of the places on our list are very common destinations for our yacht deliveries. We regularly deliver yachts into, out of and across the Mediterranean, so we know a thing or two about the top sailing destinations in the Mediterranean.
Croatia is regarded as one of the top sailing destinations in the Mediterranean. It’s affordable, its waters are clear and calm, the winds are typically calmer in comparison to other sailing destinations, and it boasts roughly a thousand islands for you to explore.
With so much to explore, it’s usually possible to find a private spot to drop anchor even in the midst of Croatia’s busiest tourist season.
Croatia is also easy to visit. The town of Kastela, in the heart of the best sailing region, has an international airport with flights to and from all major European cities.
If you’re planning to charter a yacht in Croatia during its popular summer tourism season (June to August), you need to ensure that you book your charter months in advance. That includes hotel reservations etc.
Croatia’s cruising infrastructure is extremely well developed. For skippers not wishing to overnight at an anchorage, there are over 50 marinas ready to welcome you. Marina berths are in high demand during peak season, which is reflected in raised prices. But inexperienced crew might enjoy the security of a berth overnight.
In terms of weather and sea conditions, these are fairly manageable during Summer in particular. The odd thunderstorm will form, but apart from that, there are only occasionally strong currents and, in stark contrast to the UK, there are no major tidal differences.
Boasting an 8,333km coastline, there’s certainly plenty to explore in Turkey.
Sailing is said to be the best way to explore that coastline. With loads of coves and gulfs dotting the coastline, you’ll have plenty of natural sightseeing to enjoy while you explore ancient archaeological sites, beautiful beaches and fill up on local cuisine from the country’s delectable restaurants.
Turkey’s generally gentle, steady winds mean that sailors of all levels of skill will likely cope well and have a great experience. And when you need a break, it’s quick and easy to drop anchor in one of the seemingly infinite number of little coves that dot the shoreline.
If a natural anchorage overnight doesn’t seem like your thing, you can pick from loads of very good marinas with fantastic facilities. What’s more, the sailing legs between marinas are short, so you can focus on enjoying a short trip and a good swim rather than tackling long-distance sailing if that’s not your thing.
Thanks to its more southerly position, Turkey also has a longer sailing season than other locations in the Mediterranean. Its season stretches from April to November. We don’t, however, recommend sailing in Turkey during July and August as these are the country’s hottest months.
Similarly to Turkey, it is said that one of the best ways to see Greece is by sail. This is thanks to all of the secret coves and beaches that can only be accessed by boat.
The region is regarded as suitable for sailors of all skill levels, including both complete beginners and highly experienced sailors. For less experienced sailors, the Saronic Gulf, Ionian Islands, Sporades and Haldiki are the places to be. For veterans, the Cyclades and Southern Aegean sea are ideal choices to test your skills due to the much stronger wind speeds versus the aforementioned northern destinations.
If you’re the type of sailor who’d prefer to avoid long sea voyages during your visit to Greece, the best advice is to charter a boat in the area you wish to sail, rather than sailing to that area from the likes of Athens.
Greece’s sailing season begins at the end of April and ends at the beginning of October, while its peak tourist season is from the second week of July until early September, with August being the busiest – and most expensive – month of the year.
Visitors can expect lots of sunny weather to welcome them into Greece’s uniquely deep blue waters. The Summer period sees moderate winds.
A sailing holiday is similar to a caravan holiday. You’re living in a confined space with a group of people, with limited amenities and different expectations.
So, be fussy about the people you choose to go sailing with. Pick people with similar personalities and priorities to yours.
Once you’re ready to depart from your berth, make sure everyone on board understands the skipper’s expectations and the roles that each person will need to fulfil. For example, those with the physical agility to do so can be appointed to handle the business of throwing, tying up and generally managing the mooring lines.
Competent skippers should also ensure that all on board are given a basic safety briefing so that in the unlikely event of an emergency, everyone knows where the safety equipment is and what the correct procedures are.
And finally, manage expectations carefully. Have a group discussion in which everyone’s expectations and desires for the trip are raised. This should allow for route planning that accommodates everyone’s expectations as best as possible.
Most of all: Have fun visiting the top sailing destinations in the Mediterranean!