Nothing compares to the peace and quiet felt on the ocean; a sailing holiday offers all the pleasure of experiencing life out on the open water, while the wind gently guides you towards all sorts of exotic locations.
With so many sailing options available, both aspiring and experienced sailors have a wealth of different water-based adventures to choose from, and there are a huge range of incredible destinations that are easy to visit on a sailing holiday.
You can find excellent sailing options, from rentals, to easy-to-handle flotillas, and luxurious yacht charters at https://www.sailingholidays.com.
Wondering which country to visit though?
Here is a list of our favorite sailing destinations, naturally, with a heavy focus on the Mediterranean! After-all, the Mediterranean does offer some of the most stunning water routes on the planet!
Best Countries to Travel to for a Sailing Holiday
Greece is renowned as the sailing home of the Mediterranean; with 6,000 islands and islets scattered across the Aegean and Ionian Seas, sailing holidays are a popular way to experience Greece.
With so much coastline, natural beauty, and ancient history, it’s easy to see why Greece has built its impressive sailing reputation. Many islands are uninhabited, though the most popular have sizable cities, to explore as well.
Some exquisite islands to visit for sailing holidays in Greece include the Ionian Islands, the Cyclades, the Saronic Islands, Sporades Islands, and Dodecanese Islands.
When choosing a series of islands to hop between, you should research their specialty, and make sure it suits your interests and needs. The most common Greek islands are Santorini and Mykonos.
For new sailors, the Ionian Islands offer gentle winds and easy sailing. Major highlights include the islands’ emerald bays and historic towns (if you’re preparing for your first trip you find high-quality sailing equipment here).
For more experienced sailors, consider the Sporades Islands. You can navigate around the National Marine Park of Alonissos. Lucky sailors may be rewarded with a glimpse of a rare monk seal, dolphins or even migrating whales.
The Cyclades Islands’ stronger wind force offers a challenge for more avid sailors. This region is ideal for keen sailors or skippered charters. The Cyclades are also wonderful to visit because of their thrilling nightlife and bustling culture.
Croatia is Europe’s number one yacht charter destination, and while it’s seen a massive increase in popularity of late, its status as a sailor’s paradise has been well known for decades.
Gone are the days when a trip to Croatia involved Dubrovnik and nothing else, the country is home to over 1,185 islands, all with amazing beaches, historic ruins, and Game of Thrones style medieval scenery.
And of course, connecting them all is the dazzling sapphire water of the Adriatic Sea; so mesmerizing that it ‘sparkles with a jewel-like intensity’. Why would you not want to sail here?!
Only around 50 of Croatia’s thousand plus islands are populated, meaning there’s something for everyone, whether you’re sailing into Dubrovnik, or heading to an uninhabited island for a real Robinson Crusoe style adventure.
It’s common here to leave the sailing in the capable hands of a skipper, so you can enjoy the Dalmatian coast fully – this region stretches from Rab Island to the Bay of Kotor and has a fascinating heritage dating back millennia.
Pro tip: Croatia does require marina fees. The fees vary according to the type of boat and the area, but you can plan on paying up to 80 GBP per night.
Turkey is situated between Asian and Eastern Europe, and while destinations like Istanbul may be the most well known hotspots within the country, on the southwestern shore lies the Turquoise Coast – named for its vivid colors and hues.
The Turquoise Coast is home to numerous beaches and hidden coves that attract explorers of every type. Antalya, the largest Mediterranean coastal city in Turkey, was once viewed as just a gateway to get to the Turkish Riviera, but has since morphed into a flourishing international sea resort.
As with everything in Turkey, the country offers its own flavour of sailing in the form of home-grown gulets. These are traditional wooden yachts, which are usually around 20 to 30 metres in length, with 4 to 8 cabins that can be booked for private charter.
Beyond the beaches is an incredible landscape of canyons, waterfalls, and a classically beautiful city, with ancient Roman ruins, finely restored Ottoman houses, and a Roman-era harbour with clifftop views over the sea.
Malta is an island nation located in the south of Europe. This diminutive island is in the world’s top ten list of smallest sovereign countries.
Comprised of three islands, including Malta, Gozo and Comino, but don’t let the title of the ‘Smallest Country in EU’ confuse you. Although it may be small, Malta has a huge personality.
An oasis of sunshine, vibrant history and amazing natural landscapes, the seascapes here are among the most stunning in the Mediterranean, and the beaches radiate with golden sand. Both one-day yacht charters and multiple-week charters are available.
A highlight of a sailing holiday in Malta is the legendary Blue Lagoon. This is a popular bay filled with azure-coloured water that offers stunning views of the Maltese archipelago.
While in Valetta, be sure to check out the St. Johns Co-Cathedral, Lascaris War Rooms, and the stunning waterfront. It is hailed as one of the most concentrated historic areas in the world where you will find museums, palaces, and churches dating back to the 16th century.
While the Mediterranean is undoubtedly a hotspot for sailing, we can’t discount Indonesia! With over 18,000 islands offering unspoiled landscapes and authentic cultural encounters, Indonesia is a sailing dream if you’re in Asia.
Places like Komodo or Raja Ampat are best explored on a boat, allowing travelers to seek out the remotest islands and best scuba and snorkeling locations, without having to worry about tourist crowds.
The Raja Ampat Archipelago is a favorite among sailors; not just home to spectacular seascapes, a unique culture and the famous Bird of Paradise – it’s also an incredible diving destination, second to none in terms of biological diversity.
Image credit: bubusbubus (CC BY 2.0) via Flickr
British Virgin Islands
Jumping over to the Caribbean now, with four major islands and over 50 smaller (mostly uninhabited) islands, the British Virgin Islands are a treasure trove of places to sightsee, snorkel, and sail.
One of the most popular locations for a sailing holiday is Jost Van Dyke – the smallest of the BVI’s inhabited islands, and the most laid back, with plenty of chill holiday vibes.
Once on the island, you can take in beautiful hikes across uninhabited wilderness, or rent a jeep to go exploring. You can swim, snorkel, or learn about organic bush medicine from the locals.
Which country will you take in on your next sailing holiday?