Have you ever wanted to know what it’s like to charter a yacht in different sailing destinations around the world? We have… So, we put a call out to international travel bloggers to ask them to fill us in. What is it like to charter a yacht in a place like Greece, Hawaii or even Mumbai? And what makes these places to special?
We’ve got to say, after reading some of these contributions, the sailing destination bucket lists are growing around our office!
Please enjoy these interesting stories and helpful tips from people who live and travel all over the world.
Croatia has nearly 2,000 kilometres of coastline and over 1200 islands, so it’s no surprise that it is one of the best places in the world to charter a yacht.
Going sailing on the Adriatic Sea is a lifetime experience. You will witness beautiful sunsets, stunning scenery, hidden caves, unspoilt beaches and cute medieval seaside towns.
Croatia is also a paradise for seafood lovers. Dalmatian cuisine is a typical Mediterranean style with a lot of fish, green veggies and olive oil.
Some of the best places to charter a yacht from are Dubrovnik, Split and Sibenik. There are many companies to choose from, some also offer a skipper if you have no experience.
We went on a sailing trip from Split. The town is a great base to explore the nearby islands. One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the famous "Golden Horn". We spent a lovely afternoon swimming on its beach.
Finding a hidden bay on the island of Solta was also an amazing experience. We spent hours’ cliff jumping, snorkelling and swimming with no one else around.
For me, the best thing about chartering a private boat is that you decide where you want to go and for how long. You can find a secret spot with not many people around and enjoy paradise all to yourself.
Contributed by Eniko Krix from The Travel Hacker Girl
Australia’s Whitsunday Islands are a pristine tropical paradise and the best way to see them is from your own private yacht charter. You can take out a sailing yacht, catamaran or motor cruiser and the best thing is, in the Whitsundays, you don't need a licence or any sailing qualifications.
There are 74 islands to explore and many secluded beaches and anchorages where you can pull up at have a special place all to yourself. Hiking, kayaking, snorkelling and of course sailing are all activities to be enjoyed in the Whitsundays.
The islands are mostly national parks, although there are some luxury resorts scattered throughout. Bareboat charterers can use the facilities at resorts such as Hamilton Island, but mostly, a yacht charter in the Whitsundays is about experiencing nature at its best.
The islands are surrounded by corals from fringing reefs, which are the outer part of the Great Barrier Reef. What makes this area such an amazing sailing destination is the weather and wind conditions. Thanks to the Reef, large ocean swells are blocked, creating calm waters.
The best time of year to go is in the whale season. From June to September Humpback whales migrate to have their babies in the protected waters of the Whitsunday Islands. If you plan your charter at this time, you will be able to whale watch from your private deck for as long as you like. It’s hard to imagine a more amazing experience!
Contributed by Emily Brett from Websites From A Van
The Mediterranean is known for its iconic blue waters and extensive coastline. This makes Greece the perfect destination to go island-hopping and sailing.
A tourist hub in its league, the Greek islands cater specifically to the needs of tourists. Locals are welcoming, the food is top-notch, and the sunsets are spectacular. Yachts can be chartered out of Athens directly, or from other major islands such as Mykonos. Charter options operate daily, or for extended trips lasting up to a week or two.
The larger islands such as Mykonos and Santorini offer a cultural escape with a rich history and architectural wonder.
The Argo-Saronic cluster, comprised of four islands, makes for a top getaway destination by yacht. Poros is postcard-perfect, and Hydra is revered for its extravagant mansions and quaint cafes.
Crete has several docking options and hidden beaches in between its traditional white-washed houses. Visit its Minoan historical sites and summit its snow-capped mountains. Alternatively, travel north of Athens to the popular Sporades cluster and pay a visit to Skopelos, the filming location of Mamma Mia.
Sail to Santorini and explore its hot springs and yposkapa-styled houses, preserving its history with houses built directly into volcanic rock. The Cyclades, meaning circle, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and dates back to the Bronze Age and features historical statues, phallic monuments resembling Dionysus, and the once-opulent lake where Apollo is believed to have been born.
The Greek Islands have a lot to offer and make for a neat sailing destination.
Contributed by Chrysoula Manika from Travel Passionate
Sardinia is a fantastic destination for sailing and yacht charters. This Italian island at the very heart of the Mediterranean is blessed with beaches of any kind - long and sandy; smaller rocky or pebbly coves, each of them with beautiful, clean transparent waters and a wealth of marine life.
But there's more. Sardinia has incredible landscapes. Though its mountains are hardly the highest peak in Europe, they are an excellent place for hiking and climbing. The island is home to the deepest canyon in Europe, called Su Gorropu.
You will also find beautiful towns and villages to visit. Alghero and Bosa, on the north-western coast, are two gems. The first one is popular with Italian and international tourists; the latter has yet to be properly discovered and will give you more of local experience.
Many cities in Sardinia serve as ports where you can charter from. Porto Cervo in the North East of the island is the closest access point to the famous Costa Smeralda (Emerald Coast), but preference should be given to Cagliari as a departure and docking place. Not only is this a much cheaper port, but the capital of Sardinia is a fantastic city, with plenty of things to see and do and which has retained all of its local character, its laid-back atmosphere and charm.
If you plan to sail around the island, don't omit to go to Asinara. This small island off the north coast of Sardinia is regularly swept by strong winds. Home to two maximum-security prisons and uninhabited for more than 150 years since it became a penal and leper colony, Asinara has been beautifully preserved. There you will get to admire its unique wildlife - especially the albino donkeys - and enjoy a blissfully quiet atmosphere.
Contributed by Claudia Tavani from My Adventures Across the World
With over 14,500 islands Indonesia has a lot to offer for sailing buffs and those that love to cruise the islands.
A popular place to sail, explore and enjoy the islands is from the Komodo National park. The typical starting point in the port of Flores, a natural harbour which hosts various day trips and sailing excursions around the thousands of surrounding islands.
You will find a sailing charter to suit how you want to see the islands, whether that be for a day trip or a week. There are many things to enjoy on your charter, from island hopping, diving or visiting the stunning and scary Komodo dragons.
Be sure to visit the Komodo island with the pink sandy beach. The striking colour is made from the beautiful surrounding corals which dissolve and mix with white sand to create this pinky coloured beach that stands out.
There are also several islands with gorgeous hiking trails and spectacular views of the surrounding coastal waters and islands.
Just visit some of the booking agencies around Flores to see what is available, you can even bargain for a spectacular deal and sailing experience.
Contributed by Noel Morata from Travel Photo Discovery
Saint Lucia is one of the most beautiful Caribbean islands. Most of the island is covered with tropical forests and banana plantations that create a truly Caribbean landscape. Beautiful beaches, crystal clear water, tropical vegetation, as well as historical wealth make Saint Lucia the perfect place to spend the longed-for vacation.
There are many ports in St Lucia where you can charter a yacht: Castries, Marigot Bay, Soufriere, Rodney Bay, and Vieux Fort
A good place to start a cruise is Rodney Bay, a large bay in the western part of the island, ended with a small isthmus that leads to the open sea. The bay's waters are calm, and there are many moorings in the marina.
Marigot Bay in the southwestern part of the island is another popular destination for yacht charters. The bay is smaller than Rodney and has the shape of a longitudinal isthmus rather than a bay.
If St Lucia is not your starting point, you should know that any yacht stopping at St. Lucia is obliged to carry out passport and customs clearance immediately after entering the port. During check-in, the skipper must show official yacht documents (copies are not accepted), crew list (name and surname, passport number, date and place of birth, nationality) along with passports. Cruise participants may not disembark during check-in.
Are you ready for cruise-holiday in the Caribbean?
Contributed by Derek from Derek and Gosia
The US Virgin Islands is a world-class destination for chartering a yacht. The two best-positioned islands to do this from are St. John or St. Thomas, which are only about six miles apart. The main port towns for yacht rentals are Cruz Bay on St. John and Red Hook on St. Thomas.
Once you’re on the water, there is so much to see and do, with the most scenic and untouched beauty in and around Virgin Islands National Park on St. John. A sail around St. John offers beautiful views and access to hard to reach spots, such as the little bays of Hurricane Hole or the Lime Out floating taco bar in Hansen Bay.
Start the day with a visit to the North Shore for gorgeous white sand beaches with bright turquoise waters. If you love snorkelling, there are plentiful opportunities for this at every beach. Many visitors opt for pristine Trunk Bay’s snorkel equipment rentals, where you can explore around Trunk Cay just a few yards off the beach.
If water sports are more your thing, rent a stand-up paddleboard or kayak at Maho Bay to see some sea turtles. Afterwards, have your charter take you to the Lime Out at Hansen Bay for lunch, where you can sit on a raft and enjoy some delicious tacos.
Finish your beautiful day of sailing along St. John’s south shore for romantic views of the rocky coast, before making your way to Cruz Bay for a drink at The Beach Bar for sunset.
Contributed by Theresa McKinney From Fueled By Wanderlust
Mumbai, one of the best travel destinations in India, is often high on someone’s bucket-list as a quick stop-over. However, not many people give this city a chance to experience it, to slow-walk the busy book lanes, or see the rustic and rising coffee-shops or savour the long walk at Mumbai's Marine drive, or even better to take a sailboat out and sail into the sunset.
After 3 months backpacking in the Indian Himalayas, Mumbai was my last stop to catch-up on some much-needed laundry chores, cafe breaks, and slowing down. I wanted a chance to savour this cultural city and also sail and explore Mumbai by sea.
After an afternoon stroll with a friend, who was a member of the Royal Yacht Club, we tried our hands at sailing. The starting point was at the entrance of the Taj Mahal hotel, and before we knew it, we were off on a charter boat, spending the next 90 minutes navigating the sea and seeing Mumbai from a new dimension.
It was a delight to escape the hustle and bustle of Mumbai and discover a harbour dotted with lighthouses and naval ships with the iconic Taj in the background. The thrill of steering the boat and fighting it against the waves was an adventurous and fun moment to experience in Mumbai.
It was a fitting end to find my sense of calm and clarity in Mumbai’s waters with a Mumbaikar. The sound of waves breaking is probably one of the reasons where you can spend your time in Mumbai away from the usually crowded streets.
Contributed by Pashmina from The Gone Goat
Photo Credit Dive.in
Did you know there’s a rumour that no one knows the exact number of islands in the Bahamas? Some say there's around 2,400 of them scattered over 590-miles, but I’m not sure it’s true.
Considering the number of islands and their proximity to Florida, it’s no surprise that the Bahamas is one of the most popular places to charter a yacht in the world. The weather is like summer year-round and there are countless opportunities to find private escapes off the beaten path. You will be able to explore sheltered harbours and untouched islands in easy to challenging sailing conditions depending on your experience.
This cluster of Caribbean islands really is the ideal location for a bareboat holiday.
Many islands found around the Bahamans are protected havens for marine life. If you’re lucky you can look into the clear waters and see fish, sharks, and rays right from the deck of your boat. But if you really want to immerse yourself in the oceans of the Bahamas, consider going scuba diving.
There are many amazing dives dotted around the Bahamas and they attract diving tourists from all over the world. The most famous site is perhaps Walkers Clay, where you can feed and dive with up to 100 reef sharks.
If you want to experience the ultimate holiday, combine diving with living on your own private yacht in the Bahamas. It doesn’t get much better than that!
Sailing in San Francisco Bay is one of the best things to do in the world. There’s something magical about the Blue Pacific Ocean as a backdrop for the magnificent reds of the Golden Gate Bridge juxtaposed with the beautifully modern Bay Bridge.
There are numerous places to sail in the San Francisco Bay Area such as in San Francisco city, Sausalito, Half Moon Bay, Monterey and Santa Cruz.
One of the most popular places to start sailing is from Pier 39, the vibrant and touristy pier of San Francisco. There are so many sailing options that you'll find one that meets your preferences.
I loved sailing in the bay with Adventure Cat in a group. One can also do private charters, dinner cruises, kayaking etc. the choices are endless and the vendors are many.
The sunset sailing of Adventure Cat in summer leaves around 6 pm from Pier 39. The boat starts nice and easy in the calm waters of the sheltered bay with many seals and sea lions to watch. That's when the captain shares fun stories and everyone mingles with snacks and drinks provided by the crew.
As the boat continues, the fun begins. The boat picks up speed and goes over waves with everyone enjoying the waves and the views of San Francisco’s skyline.
There are many beautiful sights when sailing in San Francisco Bay - the Treasure Island, Alcatraz, Oakland skyline, Golden Gate Bridge, Bay Bridge, other sailboats, San Francisco's skyline, and the occasional wildlife.
If you can sail until sunset so you can experience the golden light bouncing off the glass towers in the cities. It’s a perfect way to end a day trip to San Francisco.
There’s so much to see in the bay that the cruise feels too short.
Contributed by Jyoti Baid from Story at Every Corner
Nestled on the northwestern African coast, the Atlantic archipelago the Canary Islands are the epitome of ethereal landscapes. Soaring volcanoes for the backdrop, black lava stone architecture, dense forests, tropical climate, beaches, and dunes among other things make the Spanish group of islands a sought-after holiday destination.
The Canary Islands are made up of 8 main islands, Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa. And it only takes a day’s sail from one island to the other which makes them a perfect sailing holiday destination. Among the eight islands, Las Palmas is the most popular port with good facilities for sailors. The other ports include Pasito Blanco, Puerto Rico and Puerto Mogan, and the fishing harbour at Arguineguin.
The volcanic islands are popular as much with hikers as with sailors. The most popular activities to do on the islands is to hike through the Tenerifer Teide mountains with their abounding volcanic peaks making you feel as if you're on another planet.
If you are interested in seeing the second largest carnival in the world, time your yacht charter with the carnival in St Cruz, the capital of Tenerife which is the largest island of the Canary Islands.
Contribution by Mamta Naidu from mamtanaidu.com
The British Virgin Islands, made up of over 60 beautiful bougainvillea-strewn islands and islets, is well known as one of the premier sailing destinations in the world. It’s well-served by an airport on the island of Tortola and charters are most often picked up from here, too. (49)
With its azure blue seas, steady trade winds, white sandy beaches and sheltered harbours, the British Virgin Islands are a yachtie’s paradise.
Visit The Baths at Virgin Gorda. Giant granite boulders providing pools and grottos on a powdery sand beach. A geological wonder, which is as pretty as it is dramatic.
Snorkel or dive at The Indians, a group of islands generally considered to be the best place to swim with the resident hawksbill turtles. Or explore the shipwreck of the RMS Rhone, which sank in 1867.
A short hike from your mooring on Jost Van Dyke on an easily navigated trail will lead you to The Bubbly Pool, or Nature’s Jacuzzi as it's known here!
After an invigorating dip, make your way back and stop off at Foxy’s Bar. After all, a visit to the British Virgin Islands wouldn’t be complete without sampling the local speciality - a Painkiller Cocktail!
Contributed by Nicky Mackenzie from AboveUsOnlySkies
Hawaii has long been a popular destination for those seeking the perfect tropical escape, but to experience all that Hawaii has to offer to do it by boat.
Far removed from any continent by 2,000 miles, the Hawaiian Islands are an idyllic destination for yacht charters. A private charter is a perfect opportunity to hop from one island to the next experiencing heavenly beaches, tumbling waterfalls and quaint small towns.
Hawaii yacht charter holidays are perfect for both adventurous families, groups of friends or couples looking for a romantic getaway.
The amazing thing about sailing around Hawaii is there is something for everyone. If you’re a food and shopping lover you’ll love places such as “The Big Island” and Maui. However, if you’re more of a nature lover, you’ll be able to enjoy unspoiled coastlines and untamed wilderness in places like Molokai and Oahu. Or why not mix it up and do both!
There are endless activities to engage in, including learning to surf, snorkelling, kayak, whale watching, hiking to see volcanoes and soaking up the sun under a palm tree.
And at the end of an amazing day full of adventure, culture and sun, you can retreat to your floating hotel knowing that tomorrow, you can sail off to another island and do it all again.
Contributed from Kelly Forster from Out of Office
If you would like to charter a yacht in Australia's Whitsunday Islands