There are many beautiful places to explore when sailing but which should you choose for your first sailing holiday? You will want calm seas, easy sailing, and gorgeous scenery to get you used to sail for the first time. There are many destinations that come to mind from Italy to Greece, but it can be difficult to organize by yourself.
Sailing holidays are actually an easy holiday to take, even if you have never sailed before. There are options for a fully crewed yacht, flotilla holidays and yacht charter depending on your preference and experience. Tour operators can provide everything you need for an organized trip, so you don’t have to worry about organizing an itinerary. Just choose your holiday destination and the rest is done for you. Here are some of the best destinations you should try out on your first sailing holiday.
Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
There are so many beautiful places to explore in Dalmatia, and the islands are close enough together which means not too much time to sail in between. The main destinations here are the historic town of Dubrovnik on the coastline, the largest island in the area Brac, and other islands including Hvar and Korcula.
Dubrovnik is known for its orange tiled rooves and imposing old town walls which jut out towards the sea. You can explore the pedestrian-only cobbled streets of the old town, walk the city walls and even take the cable car to the nearby viewing point for excellent panoramic views. Both Brac and Hvar are popular for their beaches and enjoying the culture and charm of the small towns located there.
Mljet Island is also a great place to visit. Explore the unspoiled national park that covers half of the island and visit the charming coastal villages of Pomena, Polace, Sobra and Saplunara. A scenic place to explore and great for outdoor activities.
The Dalmatian coast is an amazing place to enjoy a sailing holiday in Croatia and the best time to visit is during the late summer months into September, when the weather is warm and the seas are calm.
Sicily and the Aeolian Islands
Starting from a base in Sicily, there are lots of small islands off the north coast to explore. Within a week you can visit at least five different destinations, all a short distance sailing in between them. Begin your sailing journey at one of the three ports of Palermo, Sant Agata or Portorosa, on the mainland. They are all lovely ports to explore, however, Palermo is popular due to its proximity to the airport.
Then move on to the rugged volcanic islands. Vulcano is an island where you can enjoy mud baths, hot springs and explore the beautiful landscape. Then you can sail on to Panarea, a pretty car-free island which is a lovely place to walk around and enjoy the scenery. Then sail up to the northernmost Aeolian Island, Stromboli which is still a live volcano.
Salina, Filicudi, and Alicudi should be next on your list. Filicudi is a charming little island which is only 9lm square so really easy to explore. The whitewashed village of Pecorini Mare is pretty and there is a little beach to relax on too. Alicudi is another tiny island known for its pink heather that covers the area. There are plenty of photo opportunities at all the beautiful places in Sicily and beyond.
Ionian Islands, Greece
This area is a large place to explore with plenty of popular tourist destinations A few stops you should consider here include Paxos and Anti-Paxos which offer secluded bays and pretty sandy beaches which are perfect for relaxing.
Then there is Corfu with perfect swimming in the crystal-clear waters and small coves and beaches to discover. Corfu town is an excellent place to enjoy the history here, with its Venetian fortress and winding medieval lanes, French-style architecture and the grand Palace of St. Michael and St. George.
The perfect sunset destination of Kalamos is a great place to visit to get away from it all. The main harbor has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere and you can visit the now abandoned village of Port Leone. There is also the island of Lefkas, known for its green landscapes and excellent water sports destination at the harbor village of Vasiliki.
Zakynthos is a well-known island, popular as a summer resort for holidaymakers. There are lots of great beaches such as Agios Nikolaos, Alykanas and Tsilivi with great swimming and water sports opportunities. The scenic Navagio beach, also known as shipwreck beach is also a great place to visit here.
From the capital Palma, with its rich popular shopping and nightlife is the best place to start. The rocky coastline surrounding this island gives you plenty of opportunities to stop and anchor in small villages and secluded beaches.
Stops to include on your itinerary include Santi with its Natural Park and the picturesque white sandy beach with waters perfect for swimming in. Then there’s Cala D’Or which is a large beach resort with five busy beaches and lots of shopping opportunities.
Colom and Porto Christo are smaller more remote places to explore. Colom is a small fishing port dotted with pastel-colored houses and a charming natural harbor. Porto Christo offers sandy beaches and two lovely natural cave complexes to explore.
There are so many different places to visit in Mallorca, from busy and lively holiday resorts to small local villages. The great thing about sailing here is you can pick and choose your destinations and stay in the places you like the most.
The Carian Coast, Turkey
Turkey might not be the first place you think of when considering a sailing holiday. But it is a lovely place to explore by boat. Bodrum is the main harbor to begin and is a great tourist destination to explore when you arrive.
From Bodrum make your way down the coast to Cokertme and on towards the ancient Carian city of Idyma to explore the history of the area. Then visit the nearby Kozlukuyu Mahallesi with its ruins and rock-cut chamber tombs.
Further down the coast is Sehir Adasi and Degrimen Buku, enjoy the gorgeous coastlines, beaches and plenty of places to drop anchor an relax. The snorkeling here is also great too. There are many different locations to choose from before returning to Bodrum including Yedi Adalari, Kormen, Mersincik and Cnidus all with their own benefits. Then if you have time do some more sightseeing in Bodrum.
Where will you go on your first sailing holiday?
As you can see you have so much choice when it comes to sailing holiday destinations and there are more to discover than the five listed above. However, these are some of the best places to try your first sailing holiday. The summer months in the Mediterranean are the best time for a sailing holiday, the weather is warm, the seas are calm and the perfect temperature for swimming and snorkeling. So, which destination will you choose for your first sailing holiday?