From the rustic chic of Sardinia to the glamour of the Côte d’Azur, this intriguing part of the world makes for an unforgettable cruising destination. Beneath the obvious beauty of the region lies bustling cities and hidden villages enriched with spirit and dripping in luxurious offerings.
Tracing a golden trail from the Strait of Gibraltar to the southern reaches of Sicily, the West Mediterranean casts its spell over a number of island paradises in its midst. Unbelievably rich in culture, art and history, the West Mediterranean is bursting at the seams with yachting oases.
Also known as the French Riviera, this strip of coastline is home to some of the world’s most spectacular destinations: Cannes, St.Tropez, Monaco and many more. Over the centuries, numerous artists have called the Côte d’Azur home: Picasso, Renoir, Matisse and Chagall. Its rocky hillsides are capped with medieval stone villages, all of them virtually untouched. Nestled between the majestic Alps and the deep blue of the Mediterranean, hillside villas combine with sun-soaked beaches to create a breath-taking fusion of ancient history and modern elegance. The Côte d’Azur is notorious for its glittering façade, and though much of this glorious coastline is indeed taken up by sprawling villas and hedonist pursuits, the depth of tradition and culture indigenous to this region is immense and humbling. With almost 10,000 berths capable of accommodating yachts 40m+, the Côte d’Azur is equipped and eager to harbour yachts of every size. All practicality aside, the corporeal delights available on the French Riviera are second to none and utterly unique.
Nestled on the western side of the luminous Mediterranean, Corsica is ablaze with year-round sunshine, opulent silver-sand beaches and spectacular mountain scenery. A rugged mountain range spans almost two thirds of this majestic island, creating a backdrop of sheer natural beauty that is breathtaking to behold. Described by Balzac as ‘a French island basking in the Italian sun”, the vibrant allure of both French and Italian culture resonate throughout the island. The major areas of interest on Corsica are Ajaccio and the west coast, the peninsula of Cap Corse to the north, and the southern tip known as L’Extreme Sud. Each offers rare opportunities for the discerning traveller, from sporting events to cultural festivals, all in a relaxed and relaxing atmosphere.
Sitting off Italy’s celebrated west coast, the sublime island of Sardinia is a complex patchwork of Franco-Italian culture. With a pearly coastline perfect for soaking up the sultry Mediterranean sun and crystalline water of the deepest blue where every inch of healthy reef is infused with the dream-like beauty of thriving coral beds and diverse marine life. Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean: approximately 250 kilometres from north to south and 110 kilometres from east to west, the stunning landscape is incredibly varied, from white sandy beaches along the coast to mountainous terrain at the island’s centre.
Once the inspiration for some of Italy’s greatest artists,the landscape of the Riviera is itself a vision to behold, its sheltered beaches and soaring cliffs offering lucky travelers scenes of astounding natural beauty. Acting as a gateway to some of the country’s most unforgettable terrain, the Italian Riviera offers visitors an exhaustive array of exceptional coastal walking paths, winding past chic fishing villages and following tumbling cliffs down to the sea. A seductive mix of Mediterranean culture, traditional charm, and modern luxury makes cruising the Italian Riviera one of the greatest adventures in Italy.
Sicily and Aeolian Islands
“To have seen Italy without having seen Sicily is to not have seen Italy at all, for Sicily is the key to everything.” These are the words of the philosopher Goethe, which epitomize the feeling of those who know the true Sicily. Too often this idiosyncratic island is glossed over when it comes to travel plans, due to fears of violence or crime. The Sicily of today plays host to a multitude of gorgeous and ancient landscapes, coupled with a stable economy and inhabited by a gregarious and joyful people.
Once a secret Mediterranean escape for enlightened island-lovers, the seven volcanic gems that form the major Aeolian Islands are finding it difficult to keep their captivating beauty a secret. Alluring thermal resorts, water sports and glowing beaches make these small paradises yachtsmens’ havens. The unique beauty and character of each individual island has seen the entire chain listed on the UNESCO’s World Heritage list since 2000. Cruising the waters in this unspoilt part of the world affords limitless opportunities to discover and explore this remarkable chain of islands in your own time. Each has something different to offer, and whatever you desire from your holiday, the Aeolian Islands will proudly and undeniably provide. The floating gems of Lipari, Vulcano, Salina, Panarea, Stromboli, Alicudi and Filicudi lie north off the coast of Sicily, stretching between the looming presence of Mt Etna and the frightening beauty of Vesuvius above Naples.
Composed of 4 main islands and numerous islets, the Balearic Islands are the ultimate haven of Mediterranean tranquility. Bolstered by a halcyon climate, this breath-taking archipelago is home to a multitude of pearl-white beaches, waters of a luminous azure, and genial inhabitants. Enjoying excellent weather with more than 300 days of sunshine annually, it is easy to see why so many travellers have been loath to leave at the end of their vacations and have made the Balearic Islands their permanent home. Each of the main islands, and diminutive islets, have a personality all their own, as well as unique cultural attractions and landscapes. The Balearic Islands offers so much more than just sun, sea and sand: this is the ultimate Spanish island destination.