The Mediterranean is the birthplace of the luxury yachting industry, and chartering a yacht around its crystal clear shores and stunning archipelagos is one of the great pleasures of a life well-lived.
Whether you’re floating down the glamorous French Riviera, dining in the cliff-top restaurants of Capri, or delving into ancient myth in the timeless Greek Islands, a Mediterranean yacht charter will offer a bewitching blend of breathtaking scenery, stunning gastronomy, and vibrant culture under the Mediterranean sun.
The Mediterranean is extremely well equipped for yacht charter with an abundance of luxury superyacht marinas, a highly developed yachting infrastructure, and an astonishing array of fantastic cruising grounds.
Whether you choose to charter in the Western Mediterranean or Eastern Mediterranean there are many hundreds of spectacular itineraries to choose between, so we’ve compiled a list of the major destinations to help you decide where you’d like to explore on a yacht this summer.
The French Riviera
Perhaps the most glittering yachting playground in all the world, a French Riviera yacht charter takes you to the dazzling spiritual home of superyachts. Whether visiting the glamorous casinos of Monaco, strolling along the palm-lined boulevard in Nice, enjoying lunch at the infamous Hotel du Cap Eden Roc in Antibes, partying under the stars in red-carpet Cannes, or relaxing in a sophisticated beach club in Saint Tropez, the French Riviera is perhaps the ultimate yacht charter destination. Yet it is not all glamour and buzz on the sparkling Cote d’Azur. The beautiful islands off Cannes and St Tropez will show you a sleepy, timeless side to this part of the Mediterranean, while just inland you will discover flowery medieval villages perched under the shadow of the Alps. A French Riviera yacht charter combines superb natural beauty with fine dining, nightlife and a celebrity atmosphere- delivering just the right mix of sunshine and sparkle.
A Balearic Islands yacht charter in Spain remains an enduringly popular yacht charter destination – and little wonder, for these sun-drenched islands have a dazzling and diverse personality. Visit the soaring gothic cathedral and palm-lined Paseo of Palma, or dance the night away in glamorous Ibiza. Set your course for the blinding white sand beaches of Formentara, explore the rugged mountains of Majorca, or wander the peaceful nature reserve of Cabrera. And don’t forget the architecture, museums and dining of Barcelona- the gateway city to the Balearics and a rising charter destination in its own right.
Italy, meanwhile, delivers an almost unbelievable range of yacht charter destinations. Just over the border from France, an Italian Riviera yacht charter offers the enchanting beauty of the Cinque Terre – those five colorful ancient villages strung along the steep Ligurian cliffs, finally coming one of the prettiest harbors on earth, Portofino.
The Amalfi Coast
Further south, an Amalfi Coast yacht charter is a spectacular journey along one of the most breathtaking coastlines on the planet. As you float between the famous blue grotto of Capri, the hot springs of Ischia, and the boutiques of Positano, you will be entranced by the scenery, where vast villas cling to the cliffs above the cobalt blue Mediterranean among an explosion of pink bougainvillea.
Sardinia and Corsica
As you venture off the tip of Italy’s boot, you will discover the Emerald Coast of Sardinia. Each summer, thousands of yachts converge on this gorgeous island, drawn by the crystal clear waters and sugar white sands. The fashionable boutiques, exclusive nightlife and gastronomic dining scene of Porto Cervo and Porto Rotundo have ensured this glorious island remains a hotter-than-hot superyacht destination, while the tranquil islands, marine parks, and sleepy fishing villages offer a more relaxed version of this mountainous isle. Sardinia is also perfectly located to combine your charter itinerary with a visit to French Corsica, where you can visit the glorious port of Bonifacio hidden in an inlet among the cliffs, explore the citadel and fine restaurants of Calvi, or relax on the magnificent beaches near Porto Vecchio.
Sicily and the Aeolian Islands
Sicily and the Aeolian Islands are yet another unforgettable Mediterranean yacht charter destinations, where you can cruise the breathtaking coastline of Sicily, enjoy the rustic village life and delicious food, and watch in awe as Stromboli volcano shoots lava into the night sky in the Aeolian Islands.
Deeper south in the Mediterranean you’ll discover Malta – a small and beautiful archipelago which is on the rise as a top new charter destination. The only wonder must be why it took so long to land on the yachting map- for this country offers medieval fortresses, awe-inspiring coastlines, crystal clear seas, and brilliant diving – not to mention more days of sunshine and pleasant sea temperatures than anywhere else in the Western Mediterranean. Malta is undergoing a glamorous revolution – while still retaining its fascinating local history and culture.
Perhaps your perfect yacht charter is in the eastern Mediterranean, drifting between islands on a Greece yacht charter under blue timeless skies and past crumbling temples, swimming in emerald water lapping against cliffs and sandy beaches. There are more than 2000 islands in Greece, over many archipelagos, so we’ve described the most popular yacht charter destinations below including the Greek Islands, Medieval Greece, the Ionian Islands, the Aegean Islands, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and the Saronic Islands.
Perhaps you’ll choose the Cyclades for your Mediterranean yacht charter – taking in the windmills and glamorous nightlife of Mykonos, or the sheer glory of a Santorini sunset, from high up on the cliffs among the fine boutiques and and spa hotels. A Cyclades yacht charter is a beguiling mix of the ultra-luxurious, staggering natural beauty, and rustic donkey paths and tavernas.
Those who want to see the famous Shipwreck Beach on Kyrathis will charter in the green and rugged Ionian Islands, where you can relax on some of Greece’s most stunning beaches, glory in the Byzantine and Venetian architecture of Corfu, or wander Homer’s mythical birthplace on Ithaca.
Greece’s Dodecanese Islands and the Aegean Archipelago
For those seeking a quieter escape, the Dodecanese and the Aegean archipelagos really deliver, with crystal clear seas, quiet beaches and deep forested mountains, while the Northern Sporades are often busy, with a lively atmosphere and superb beaches.
Often combined with a Croatia charter, this tiny country of towering green mountains and silent deep fjords is utterly breathtaking. Enjoying a meteoric rise to yachting prominence due to the development of the luxurious Porto Montonegro complex, a Montenegro yacht charter offers dramatic Adriatic coastline views with a dense forest, pretty coves, Venetian palaces and mountain monasteries- as well as some very fine dining and shopping.
Croatia yacht charters became popular during the mid 2000’s, and the fascination with this Adriatic beauty is showing no signs whatsoever of abating. With over two thousand islands in the Dalmatian archipelago, a happy lifetime could be spent exploring Croatia’s exquisite coastline- whether lounging at a trendy beach club in Hvar, floating through the Blue Grotto in Vis, or exploring mighty medieval palaces in Dubrovnik and Split. Croatia has a thriving dining and bar scene, as well as a rich local culture that you can feel as you walk through the bustling markets and fragrant orange groves.
When to charter a yacht in the Mediterranean?
The peak yacht charter season is July and August, with charter and berthing fees generally rising during this high-demand period. The advantages of chartering during the high season are the exciting atmosphere, the fantastic schedule of mid-summer events, a slim chance of rain, and the guarantee that all restaurants and points of interest will be open.
For those wishing to avoid peak charter rates and possible crowds, the shoulder months of June and September are generally exceedingly pleasant, with September normally providing the warmer air and sea temperatures. April and October are much more variable, although many yacht charters are booked during these months- particularly when Easter falls in April. Late season charterers might be advised to enjoy the warmer climes and waters of Turkey or Malta.
Certain areas of the Mediterranean are often subject to strong winds at different times of year, such as the Meltemi winds in the Aegean Sea. For more information on local weather conditions, contact us for a chat.
Mediterranean Yacht Charter
You might also wish to charter a yacht to enjoy the electric atmosphere of some of the great events on the Mediterranean yachting calendar – whether that’s the Monaco Grand Prix, the Cannes Film Festival, the Baroque Music Festival in Croatia, or the Lora Piano superyacht regatta in Sardinia. See our event listings here.
A Lifetime of Memories
As you’re cruising between the whitewash-and-windmill villages of Greece, watching volcanic lava meet the sea in Italy, eating in Michelin-star restaurants in Monaco, or floating through quiet fjords in Montenegro, your Mediterranean yacht charter will create memories that you will treasure forever.
For more information on booking your dream Mediterranean yacht charter, contact the yacht charter team at Worth Avenue Yachts.