Choose the Med this summer
A Mediterranean charter is about diving into azure seas and strolling along soft sandy shores, but it’s also about dressing up for an evening of the finest dining and nightlife or experiencing ancient wonders.
There’s a reason the Mediterranean is king of summer cruising destinations. With the fashionable hotspots of the French Riviera, the heritage-rich coastlines of Italy and Greece, and the old-world charm of Croatia, there’s simply so much to choose from.
Moor up to explore iconic monuments such as the Acropolis, or to ponder the Renaissance relics of Florence and Rome.
Wander down narrow lanes, which open onto historic cobblestone plazas, eat fresh seafood on terracotta terraces as the waves lap the shore below, or join the jet set at the best parties.
On the water, glide across beautiful cobalt-blue seas past centuries-old whitewashed villages, where hillsides are rich with vines and olive trees, and the scent of citrus hangs in the air.
On days when you don’t want to see another soul, drop anchor in secret bays, accessible only by yacht, and swim to deserted beaches for some uninterrupted alone time.
Queen of the Balearics, the party isle of Ibiza is unrivalled when it comes to nightlife, with world-class DJs playing the likes of Ushuaïa and Amnesia throughout the White Isle’s legendary summer season, and those in the know warming up for the night at either chic beach club Blue Marlin or understated garden bar Aura.
But with much of Ibiza now declared a World Heritage Site, people are finally discovering its natural assets too, such as the Parc Natural de Ses Salines on the southeast of the isle, where pretty-in-pink flamingoes can often be seen in the shallow lagoons.
And with the opening of Sovren Ibiza, a new superyacht marina also on the southeast of the isle, it’s never been more accessible.
There have been a few pretenders (step forward Monaco and Cannes) but its seems St Tropez’s reign at the chicest coastal town on the Côte d’ Azur for beautiful young things is unstoppable. A far cry from the modest medieval charms of Grimauld, perched high in the hills a few miles away, St Tropez is anything but understated, indeed it’s very much a place to be seen.
It hasn’t always been this way, way back in the 18th century it was a quiet port, favoured by impoverished artists who gradually shone a spotlight on the town: if you want to peer into its past, pop in for a drink at the historic Le Café for a humble departure from your salubrious surroundings.
Afterwards, head to Les Caves du Roy to strut your stuff with VIPs in one of France’s most prestigious and decadent venues.
This perfectly turned out signora of the Italian Riviera is an effortless cruising destination that offers a delicious slice of La Dolce Vita. Who could ever tire of the pretty scene as pastel-hued buildings cluster round a semi-circular bay flanked by pines and olive groves, in this small but refined town?
With the yacht safely docked in Portofino harbour, climb up to the plaza of Chiesa di San Giorgio for views of the town’s famous piazetta, or go for a romantic lobster and Champagne dinner on the candlelit terrace of Splendido, a hotel that Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton just couldn’t get enough of, for a taste of how the Hollywood elite like to holiday.
There is a rustic allure to Sardinia that’s hard to ignore.
Sure the well charted Costa Smeralda has white sands and crystalline waters a plenty, not to mention chic beachside bars such as the hard-to-beat Phi Beach and plush resorts such as Hotel Cala di Volpe, but there’s also a wild beauty about the place that is deeply seductive.
Amid its lush interior there are hundreds of ancient tombs and towers to discover, crumbs of clues into its past for inquisitive visitors, while unusual wildlife, such as blue-eyed albino donkeys and wild horses roam freely.
If you’re cruising in Sardinia you’d also be wise to pop over to the virtually unknown isle of Cavallo, known as the ‘New Mustique,’ but hide your bling, it would be considered too crass here, though it’s not unknown to see some rather famous faces attempting to go incognito and the smattering of resorts offer a low-key five-star service.
There are few places as culturally diverse as Greece’s Ionian isles of Paxos, Corfu, Zante and Kefalonia, where ancient mythology entwines with picturesque beaches framed with bright orchids and coastlines sprinkled with sleepy fishing villages.
The postcard perfection of whitewashed buildings that perch over vibrant blue seas is surely one of the most enduring images of the Greek isles and cruising here is a dream as you can expect calm waters and safe swimming in no end of quiet anchorages, meaning you can make good use of all the water toys in the garage.
Swim with giant sea turtles near Zante, visit the beautiful Kefalonia beach made famous in the film Captain Corelli’s Mandolin, or go on your own odyssey to Homer’s Ithaca.
Thanks to a brand-new eco-conscious resort that aims to encourage travelers to switch off and reconnect with their surroundings, as well as a swanky marina that can accommodate superyachts, Turkey is poised for a new influx of travelers.
With pine-trees framing golden sandy beaches, no end of secret bays and traditional gulets puttering along giving a sense of nostalgia, plus a new Six Senses resort with hammams and aquatic therapies opening in April 2019 (within the eco resort), we predict that soon the superyacht crowd will be making their way back to Turkey’s unspoiled Aegean coastline.
Plus, it’s within easy cruising distance of two of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, the Mausoleum at Halicarnassus and the Temple of Artemis.
16th December 2019 |