Explore the glamour of Sicily, Sardinia or the Amalfi Coast on a luxurious charter yacht holiday
Live la dolce vita on a luxury yacht charter holiday in and around Italy. Brimming with dramatic rocky coastlines, colourful hillside houses, soft sandy beaches and dazzling clear waters, this area enjoys reliable steady winds in the summer months making it a sailing haven for beginners and experts alike. Expect world-class cuisine, impressive nature, volcanic islands, remote inlets, beaches of every colour, bustling harbours packed with superyachts, boutique shopping and some of the world’s finest dining.
Whatever type of sailor you are, the winds around Italy’s coastline are not a worry. The prevailing wind in western Italy is the Mistral which blows down from France bringing a refreshing breeze in the hot summer months of a maximum 20-25 knots. Occasionally, heatwaves are blown in by the Sirocco from Africa, but the good news is that water temperatures remain an easily-swimmable 24 degrees in the height of summer: warm enough to be inviting yet cool enough to refresh you during a heatwave. In April, May and October when the crowds are thinner but sailing conditions are still excellent, the sea temperature only drops a little, to around 20 degrees, making it a great time for a yacht charter holiday if you prefer a spot of peace and quiet.
It’s easy to see why the island of Sardinia is an Italian yacht charter hotspot, offering calm seas, large turquoise bays, white sandy beaches and top notch restaurants. Explore the Costa Smeralda from either Portisco or Cannigione, both easily accessible from Olbia airport in the north of the island. Portsico is a high-end destination with fabulous boutiques, Michelin-starred restaurants and the billionaire’s yacht haven Porto Cervo. Whether you start your journey here or stop for a night, mooring up in the well-equipped marina, be sure to tuck into perfectly cooked langoustines and other immaculate seafood washed down with local wine, or choose a traditional pizza or pasta dish for a meal to remember.
Set sail out along the coast and you’ll find beautiful coves for lazy days at anchor, soft sandy beaches and eye-catching rock formations that turn pink at sunset. The hidden natural inlets along the rocky coastline can also provide a wonderfully peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle of town.
North of Portisco around the headland you will find Cannigione, another ultra-glamorous resort with a bustling marina and pretty beaches. Whether you’re chartering a yacht yourself for a sunny Sardinian sailing experience, or have opted for a crewed vessel, be sure to include the Maddalena archipelago on your itinerary. Here, you’ll need snorkelling or scuba diving equipment to explore the impossibly clear underwater world, before relaxing on deck or venturing onto one of the wild islands. Spiaggia Rosa is a fascinating sight, with sand that looks pink from the coral fragments in the sand.
In the south of the island, Cagliari is another popular starting point for a water-based adventure. The luxurious Marina of Cagliari is situated in the main harbour with plenty of amenities and is close to the airport as well as the vibrant squares, mouth-watering pizzerias and eclectic shops of the main town. Sail your charter yacht east for the lively nightlife of Villasimius, impressive beaches of Costa Rei and the natural parks of Arbatax. Here you’ll find quieter beaches with white sand, red rocks and smaller coves ideal for nature lovers. And why not escape the crowds with a day trip to the glorious turquoise bays and historic lighthouse of Isola Dei Cavoli? Wherever you take your charter yacht in Sardinia, you’re guaranteed to find natural beauty, calm waters and highly impressive restaurants.
Charter a yacht in Sicily for a mixture of chic ports and quiet villages, bathe in natural hot springs and snorkel or scuba dive in warm volcanic waters. Beginning from the harbour town of Furnari, board your charter yacht in the large Portorosa Marina which offers many well protected berths, shops, eateries and more. You may want to explore the citrus groves and vineyards of this farming area, which is home to Mount Etna, before setting sail out into the glistening waters of the Gulf of Milazzo. With the impressive Etna constantly in the distance, harness the steady easterly winds past small islands, dropping anchor to enjoy white sand beaches and fishing villages offering authentic pizzerias along the way.
Back on Sicilian mainland, the friendly Poseidon Marina or larger, well-equipped Capo d’Orlando Marina are ideal jumping off points for the Aeolian Islands. These fascinating volcanic islands will give you a sailing experience like no other. Once stocked up in Capo d’Orlando, aim for Stromboli to explore black sand beaches and spend a night beside a live volcano. This island doesn’t have a marina or facilities, but you can find good buoy anchorages on the west side of the harbour, from where you can watch the luminous red lava seep down the volcano at night. Hop over to Vulcano island to enjoy a natural mud bath said to rejuvenate your skin, and snorkel, dive or swim in the crystal clear waters off any of these magical islands.
For the alternative side of Sicily, head north to Palermo where influences from Africa can be found in the architecture, art and cuisine. Stroll the old town to see intricate fountains and lively stone squares then head to one of the two main marinas to board your luxury charter yacht. The contemporary Marina Galizzi offers wifi and many eclectic shops, and Sitimar Marina Palermo sits on the edge of the atmospheric old town, where you can find the basic essentials you’ll need for your island-hopping adventure.
Avoid the chaos of Italy’s famously narrow winding roads and serenely glide from glamorous restaurants to stunning beaches as you sail the Amalfi Coast. A luxury yacht really is the only way to travel in style around here. Why not charter a crewed boat for a more relaxed trip complete with insider tips on the best tables and parties around? Board your vessel in the modern Marina D'Arechi in Salerno, just 25 minutes from Salerno airport, and set sail north along the world-famous coastline towards the sun-kissed Gulf of Naples.
Each day will be totally different here as you spot colourful cliffside houses and beautiful shores while indulging in excellent food and world-class shopping at each stop. Rub shoulders with celebrity holidaymakers on exclusive Capri or explore the famous sea grottoes and white sand beaches which make this island so popular. Just be sure to book in advance at the highly popular Marina Grande if you're travelling in high season. Neighbouring island Ischia offers well equipped harbours in the north, which means sailing past the historic Aragonese castle on the east coast to reach thermal spas and natural springs.
The steady summer winds tend to be lighter here than in the rest of the Mediterranean so it's a good choice for novices or those looking for a relaxing potter by day. In most cases you will be able to see your destination in the distance once you leave the harbour, making navigation also a breeze. For those looking for an adrenalin-packed adventure with reefed sails and strong winds, you may need to look elsewhere. Here, sailing a charter yacht is all about admiring the beauty and discovering volcanoes, picturesque beaches, excellent cuisine and decadent living. Plus, the weather tends to stay warm throughout October, extending the sailing season for those looking for a quieter, but equally elegant, experience.