Europe is one of the most interesting and versatile destinations when it comes to sailing. No matter your sailing experience – whether you are a total beginner or a proud old sea-dog, there are areas in Europe where you can spend your time of your life. We are not talking about the undiscovered gems but the destinations that are already famous and where you are guaranteed to enjoy both sailing around and exploring on foot.
The Ionian islands, Greece
These legendary islands are where myths and history collide. The Ionian Islands are a huge playground for navigators. Composed of seven islands on the western side of Greece, they are quite far from what you might have in mind. Forget about the white rocks swept by the trade winds that you envisaged. The Ionian islands are fertile lands, green and sunbathed places surrounded by blue water. With predictable and steady winds from mid-May to September, the conditions are perfect. Finally, due to the proximity between the islands, your sailing route is completely stress-free and you can spot them by sight with almost no tide.
Balearic Island, Spain
We know what comes to your mind where you hear “Balearic Islands”: crystal clear water, a soft breeze and islands covered with deep green forest. And you are right, everyone’s most favourite Spanish islands are a heavenly destination and its looks like it’s tailor-made for yacht-lovers. It doesn’t matter if you are a family-person looking to spend a day or two on the water with your loved ones or a party animals looking for insane Balearic nightlife, as each island has that all worked out.
Being the largest archipelago in Europe, it has the benefit of being connected to international airports for more direct flights. It is then very convenient to land there, rent a boat in Mallorca and have the time of your life. The best time to go is between April and October where the sailing conditions are perfect. Summer being the peak.
The French Riviera, France
It is not a surprise that the French riviera made it on to this list. Famous for its luxury lifestyle and superyachts. The French Riviera has also less known hidden gems such as La Ciotat where you’ll be able to enjoy stunning landscapes and the nice sailing condition without breaking your bank account. Similar the Ionian Islands and Balearics Islands, the norms are warm water and clear blue skies. The temperature rarely drops below 20°C and the winds are quite light.
Azores islands, Portugal
Located on the western side of the African continent, this Portuguese archipelago is a must-do for everyone crossing the Atlantic. Even though thousands of boats stay over for a quick stop during the crossing, just a few actually take time to explore around the archipelago. Many ports with yachting facilities will make your days easier around these islands. Composed of 9 islands dominated by the mid-Atlantic high pressure bearing the same name, the Azores are a unique place that you never seen before. The landscapes have been shaped by the powerful rains and winds during winter giving its powerful allure. We would recommend you sail between may and august there, where the conditions are the nicest.
Dalmatian coast line, Croatia
Croatia and more particularly the Dalmatian coast line are reputed for the sailing area. With more than 350 km of littoral and numerous lovely islands such as Mljet or Hvar, the dalmatian region is the most famous region of the country. As a consequence, it is also the most frequented during the sailing season (from april to september). But don’t worry, over the hundreds of islands composing the area, only 50 of them have habitants. Meaning that if you want a sense of adventure and loneliness, you’d be able to find it easily.
To really discover them for all their beauty, the best way is by boat. A boat allows you to get away from the beaches with road access to the private areas of the islands and coastline that have not been urbanized and are the same way they were hundreds and even thousands of years ago. But if you don’t have a boat, don’t worry as there are always person to person boat rental services that you can use to find a boat for the day or even the week.