Seven Best Under-the-radar Destinations to Explore in the Med this Summer
As summer approaches, there’s nowhere better than the Mediterranean for messing about on the water.
We’re not the only ones who’ve realised this, however, and popular yachting destinations like Saint Tropez and Portofino can be impossibly busy during July and August. This summer, we’re leaving the crowds behind and seeking out the undiscovered beaches, secluded islands and quaint villages that remain well-kept secrets.
Filicudi, Aeolian Islands
The most laid back of the stunning Aeolian archipelago off the north-eastern coast of Sicily, Filicudi oozes barefoot, boho chic. The whole island is a wildlife conservation site, and unlike glamorous Panarea, it’s wild and a little unkempt. The coastline is equally rugged, with clear azure waters lapping at the rocky cliffs, revealing deep grottos and caves for snorkelling. In August, the lack of light pollution from the island makes for excellent stargazing, as the odd shooting star flies across the sky. Filicudi has two small ports if you want to stop for the night - Filicudi Porto and Pecorini a Mare – and a handful of charming restaurants and cocktail bars.
A change from the party scene on Hvar and other larger islands along the Dalmatian Coast, Lopud is known for its natural beauty and quiet pace of life. Just an hour by boat from Dubrovnik the island is known for its unique and beautifully restored 15th century monastery. Over the last 20 years, the monastery has been beautifully restored under the guidance of Francesca Thyssen-Bornemisza, amassing an impressive art collection which includes original Renaissance and Gothic pieces. From the top of the tower, you’ll experience majestic views over the neighbouring island of Šipan and the national park on Mljet. Another perk is Lopud’s car free policy: follow paths through the lush vegetation by foot or bicycle, discovering quiet sandy beaches and exceptional sunsets.
Ravello, Amalfi Coast
Far above the choc-a-bloc roads of Amalfi, the small town of Ravello is a haven of tranquillity on Italy’s immensely popular southern coastline. Here, you’ll find the same pastel-coloured, lemon groves and dolce vita magic, with a fraction of the people. You’re still spitting distance from the sea, but a day in Ravello gives a whole other perspective. Enjoy a wine tasting at award-winning family run vineyard Marisa Cuomo, a short drive from Ravello centre, or stop for coffee in the charming Piazza Centrale. Otherwise, treat yourself to a sunset sgroppino cocktail at Caruso, a Belmond Hotel offering unrivalled views over the glittering coastline.
If you’re seeking a couple of days of peaceful island life within a Greek itinerary, Hydra is the place for you. We’re talking whitewashed houses, unspoiled cerulean-blue sea and fresh seafood overlooking the harbour. The island is steeped in seafaring history, dating back to the writings of Herodotus in the 5th century B.C, and has been popular with free-thinking travellers since the 1960s. Thanks to the fact there’s no airport on the island, it’s still relatively quiet, even in peak season. Take note, though: Hydra is not one for those lusting after sandy beaches. Unlike many of its neighbours, this island instead has secluded pebbled coves, surrounded by cascading rock faces and rugged pine forests. Travelling by boat, it’s not hard to find a little bay that’s completely empty – your own personal slice of paradise for the day.
Menorca, Balearic islands
The least visited of the main Balearic Islands, Menorca is reserved for those in the know. It has a smattering of historic towns and cute fishing villages with traditional boathouses, but less of the party scene you might find elsewhere. Instead, you’ll find clean sandy beaches (especially in the south of the island) and an abundance of family-friendly activities: horse riding along the beach, hiking, kite-surfing and nature walks. The main town of Mahon is a well-developed natural harbour with two marinas, but to escape the crowds in the busy summer months head to Ciutadella, a stunning old town with picturesque squares and cafes filled with locals. For wilderness, sail or motor to the north coast to experience the wetlands and dunes of the S’Albufera Nature Reserve.
Porquerolles Island, Cote d’Azur
The next stop after Saint Tropez along the French Riviera is the island of Porquerolles, a little corner of paradise that has flown largely under the radar. A world away and yet only 15 miles from Saint Tropez by boat, you’ll discover unspoilt marine life, and stunning coastal paths which lead into vineyards and olive groves. In the north, superb beaches such as La courtade and Plage d’argent have fine golden sand and exceptionally clear water. Lunch can be enjoyed on the famous terrace of Mas du Langoustier, looking out onto the wild and majestic landscape beyond. Before you leave, enjoy a spot of culture at Villa Carmignac Art Foundation.
A stone’s throw from Formentera or Ibiza but without any of the amenities, this stunning yet largely untouched island doesn’t make it onto the itineraries of most yachting holidays. For those seeing a total oasis of natural beauty, however, the pristine beaches and secret coves are unrivalled along the Spanish coastline. The tiny island is privately owned, but publicly accessible, meaning no huge resorts, golf clubs or chains. Instead, it’s got a light house, a chapel, two dwellings and plenty of untouched coastline.
Contact us now to plan your perfect summer charter
1st July 2022 |