The countdown is on to start planning your next summer sailing getaway! When it comes to choosing a location to explore by sea, the options are endless. So we’ve narrowed down your search to 11 classic and less-travelled spots to inspire your inner traveller…1. Ionian Islands, Greece
Island hopping is many sailors’ dream, and the stunning Ionian islands are an excellent place to spend your summer getaway. Set sail from Corfu or Lefkada and then travel through the turquoise Mediterranean sea, stopping off at the larger and smaller islands along the way. Make the most of your break from the real world as you explore harbours filled with multicoloured fishing boats, white-washed villages, beautiful beaches, rugged mountains and traditional tavernas.
2. Azores, Portugal
The Azores are a breathtaking group of tiny Portuguese-owned islands in the Atlantic Ocean. The volcanic islands are famous for their beautiful green scenery and unique rocky landscapes. Horta is a perfect starting point to set sail from. Their remote location means the Azores are relatively untouched by the tourist masses, making it a peaceful spot to sometimes see whales or dolphins as you travel.
3. Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Croatia is one of the most popular travel destinations at the moment, and it isn’t hard to see why – it offers beautiful beaches and a tranquil way of life. There are over 1100 islands along the breathtaking Adriatic coast, and the best way to explore them is by boat. Set sail from the historic cities of Split or Dubrovnik and don’t forget to include the fun island of Hvar, gorgeous Vis island, and the more remote islands of Kornati or Elafiti. The Dalmatian coast will provide the perfect backdrop of traditional fishing villages, beautiful sun-soaked beaches, and hidden coves for your journey.
4. Sporades Islands, Greece
This less known, but still breathtaking, Greek sailing route will take you through the less crowded Sporades islands to the East of mainland Greece. There are eleven islands in total and depending on how much time you have, you can see them all if you set sail from the islands of Volos or Skiathos. This part of Europe has been called the Emerald of the Aegean, and with good reason. Whilst sailing here you will get stunning views of lush, green landscapes, unspoiled turquoise waters, and a more traditional way of life. Must-sees on this route are the idyllic island of Skopelos, the party island Skiathos, and the Marine Park of Alonissos which is filled with secret coves.
5. French Riviera, France
It is widely believed that the South of France is one of the most beautiful sailing destinations in Europe, if not the world. Start at celebrity hangout Saint-Tropez and make your way along the famous coastline stopping off at Cannes, Nice, and Monaco. If you want to fit in with the regular Riviera crowd, be sure to pack your finest clothes and charter an obscenely lavish yacht.
6. Amalfi Coast, Italy
To see one of the most uniquely beautiful coastlines in Europe, set sail from Naples and float down towards Amalfi and the exclusive island of Capri. The Amalfi Coast experience is filled with sunny beaches, beautiful towns, mountains of food and wine! Make sure you stop at the famous Blue Grotto, the volcanic island of Ischia, and the photogenic little coastal town of Positano.
7. The Blue Coast, Turkey
Turkey may not be the first destination that springs to mind when you think sailing, but it offers some of the most serene views and countless snorkelling spots. Set sail from the cosmopolitan beach resort Bodrum on the Turkish Blue Coast, and make your way to the sun-kissed Greek Dodecanese islands. This part of Europe is known for its ancient amphitheatres, rocky coastline, and sunken villages. Other must-see unspoilt islands include Aspronisia, Tiganakia, and Marathi.
8. Devon & Dorset Coast, UK
This part of the UK matches many of its European rivals in beauty. The route includes over 95 miles of uniquely shaped coastline that stretches all the way from East Devon to Dorset. Otherwise known as the Jurassic Coast, some rock formations that you will see here are 185 million years old, making it England’s first natural World Heritage Site. Depart from Dartmouth or the Solent and stop off at all the local beauty spots – Durdle Door, Lulworth cove and plenty more historic coastal villages.
9. Balearic Islands, Spain
The Balearics’ beauty has made it a world-famous sailing spot, but you can avoid the crowds if you know how, and it is definitely still worth a visit. This sunny group of Spanish islands include Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca, and Formentera – all major holidaying spots known for their sun-kissed beaches and sparkling blue waters. Escape the busy route by taking a few stops to the pretty, more unspoilt towns of Deia in Mallorca and the lesser-known Ibizan bay of Cala Llentrisca.
10. Corsica, France
With over 200 beaches and lovely weather, Corsica is the West Mediterranean’s best-kept secret. The tourist boom is yet to hit this part of Europe, so expect a more traditional way of life and plenty of relaxing peace and quiet. The unique coastline is dotted with unspoilt beaches, hidden coves, and secluded bays that provide perfect scenery to view from the deck of your yacht. A trip to Corsica is incomplete without some time spent at Bonifacio, a restaurant-lined harbour that brings the culture of a coastal French town to the stunning sea views.
11. Norwegan Fjords, Norway
The World Heritage-listed fjords offer you some of the most jaw-dropping scenery in Europe. They were formed by ice-age glaciers and today they are a unique sight full of tranquil blue waters, lush green shores, and majestic granite peaks. Explore idyllic villages, isolated farms, and stunning waterfalls on your journey through the mystical, dark waters.