Picture your perfect sailing holiday and we wouldn’t be surprised if your mind went straight to the Mediterranean. For so many people, Mediterranean sailing holidays are the archetypal and iconic sailing break – and for good reason too. Because as well as the stunning scenery and vast array of cultures and cuisines on offer, it’s also a technically challenging destination for sailors.
With all that in mind, we’ve decided to pick out our top 5 Mediterranean sailing holidays and share them with you. It was a tough job but someone had to do it.
Not quite the undiscovered gem it once was, Croatia is nevertheless blessed with one of the most majestic coastlines in Europe. With over a thousand islands to explore and navigate, the Dalmatian coast is also home to not one, not two, but three UNESCO World Heritage Sites.
There is the 3,000-year-old Zadar, the truly unique Diocietian Palace in Split and the picture perfect walled port of Dubrovnik. It’s not all sight seeing though, as with some strong Adriatic winds to contend with, this is a Mediterranean sailing adventure that’s got the lot.
It’s not surprising that sailing the Greek islands is near the top of many people’s bucket lists. This ancient and incredibly beautiful place simply has to be seen to be believed. What could be better than casting off from a traditional Ionian fishing village, discovering hidden coves and beaches, and exploring an area rich in mythology, mystery and magic?
Set off from Corfu and work your way towards the islands of Paxos, Lefkas and Meganissi. Drop anchor and enjoy some exquisite fresh seafood on North Epirus. Head further south to the larger but still spectacular islands of Kephallonia and Zakinthos. Or maybe you’d rather head out from Athens towards the stunning Cyclades Islands, including Naxos and Paros, found roughly half way between Greece and Turkey.
Turkey may be a huge landmass but it’s also surrounded by four seas and has a strong maritime tradition. With more than 7,000 kilometres of coastline to explore and famously ideal sailing conditions, Mediterranean sailing holidays don’t come much better than this. Prepare yourself for a unique blend of Eastern and Western cultures.
Depart from the tourist resort of Bodrum and leave the crowds behind as you set sail for the stunning Dodecanese. Located just off the Mediterranean coast of Turkey, these beautiful Greek islands lie at the southern end of the Aegean Sea, and make for some remarkable sailing. For a different sailing experience, set sail along the northern coast of Turkey on the Black Sea, stopping along the way in the historically rich settlements that dot the coast.
Tucked away in a little southern corner of Spain is a little slice of home. It might not be on the mainland but Gibraltar is steeped in the incredible maritime history of the British Isles. It has been an essential strategic seaport and centre of sea faring life for centuries. What better place to learn to sail in familiar (and yet strangely unfamiliar) surroundings? Explore the sensational coastline of Andalusia and imagine what it was like when the waters were filled with galleons heading for the New World.
Italy just had to be in the top 5 Mediterranean sailing holidays. Given that Columbus himself hailed from Genoa, and the country exists almost entirely in the heart of the Mediterranean, it’s safe to say there are some exquisite sailing adventures to be had. Sail along the Tuscan and Ligurian Coast, explore the legendary Cotê d’Azure, take in Naples or hop over to explore Sardinia or Sicily.
With challenges for both experienced sailors and first-timers, a sailing holiday on the Med can provide everything you need for a good holiday. It’s not quite the calm and placid blue water that many of us have experienced from the beach. In places it’s three miles deep and there are some fairly naughty winds coming off the coastlines. Perfect for making the very most of any sailing experience. We hope you enjoyed our top 5 Mediterranean sailing holidays. We know we did.