10 of the best sailing holidays in Europe | Sailing holidays
Yachting, Amalfi Coast
Novice sailors can explore the Amalfi Coast on this four-day yacht trip from Amalfi to Procida via Capri. There are swimming and snorkeling opportunities, including a dip next to Capri’s Blue Grotto, as well as time ashore to explore. Living conditions are quite cramped – eight people share four small cabins and two bathrooms – but much more time is spent on deck or outside. No sailing experience is necessary, but there will be a chance to participate, especially when entering or leaving the port. The trip is suitable for ages 15 and up. intrepid journey also offers a one-week version, with additional nights in Ischia and Sorrento and a visit to Pompeii.
Four daysincluding a selection of meals and activities, from £737, intrepidtravel.com
Day Trips, Cornwall
Those unsure if sailing is for them can dip a toe in the water on a day trip aboard the Bristol Channel’s largest pilot cutter, departing from Charlestown Harbor in Cornwall, which was featured in the television series Poldark. A morning sail on Mascotte starts from £60 pp (classic-sailing.com). And if you like the idea of a boat but not the sailing itself, the refurbished fishing boat Pen Glas has overnight bunk beds from £25,
Seafood Festival, Scotland
Originally a fishing trawler working in the North Sea, Danish gaff cutter Eda Frandsen divides her time between the west coast of Scotland, exploring quiet anchorages around the Western Isles, and Cornish waters. At 18 meters long, she takes up to eight guests. Local, sustainable food is a highlight, so expect wild crab, langoustine, mackerel and scallops as you explore the waters of St Kilda, the Small Isles, the Inner Hebrides or Skye.
A three night trip on Eda Frandsen costs £550, six nights from £1,100, eda-frandsen.co.uk
Food Tour, Croatia
Sail Croatia has launched a new island-hopping gastronomic itinerary, sailing on six- to 10-person yachts and mooring at restaurants for dinner. The trip begins and ends in Split and calls at three ports in Hvar, as well as Vis, Pakleni Islands and Makarska on the mainland. Suggested locations range from traditional Dalmatian konobas and from family fish restaurants to modern waterside restaurants. A star is Horaa restaurant at an organic farm and winery on the island of Hvar, which offers olive oil, cheese and wine tastings, and specializes in lamb peka, cooked over open fire. The skipper makes reservations and can customize your itinerary.
Seven days including transfers excluding restaurant bills from £332, sailing-croatia.com
Smart Navigation, British Coast
Sail Britain’s aim is not just to provide a memorable sailing experience, but to inspire positive change for the oceans. Voyages aboard the 12-metre offshore cruiser Merlin are a mix of sailing and education, with titles including ‘creative leadership’, ‘ocean optimism’ and ‘wild food and sailing’. A qualified skipper is joined by a specialist in conservation, art, marine biology or wild food, among other disciplines, for a week-long voyage around parts of the UK coast.
The seven days Our Living Ocean ttear, navigate between Mallaig and Oban in September, is £750, sailbritain.org
Soft sailing, Greece
If you love warm weather, a trip on the 15-meter Zorba might be the answer: a Greek sailing vacation away from the crowds. With five private cabins on this modern yacht, this vacation is all about relaxation, island hopping, swimming and snorkeling as much as sailing.
A eightday trip around Saronic Islands in Greece of £895, venturesailholidays.com
Island Adventure, Spain
This week-long sailing trip, starting and ending in Tenerife, is an opportunity to visit two lesser-known Canary Islands: La Gomera and La Palma. Passengers can hike La Gomera, explore its capital, San Sebastián, lounge on the beach and swim from the boat. There is a free day in La Palma, which can be spent in the capital, Santa Cruz, or visiting the island. The 17 meter yacht has five twin/double cabins, three bathrooms, deck space for sleeping under the stars, an outside shower and a bathing platform. The minimum age is 16 and no experience is required.
Seven days from £949, gaventures.com
Swimming and diving, Turkey
This eight-day trip on a traditional schooner sails the Gulf of Gokova, with its secluded bays backed by vast forests and plenty of opportunities to swim and snorkel in the sparkling Aegean Sea. The round trip from Bodrum visits Sedir Island, also known as Cleopatra Island, the secret meeting place of the Egyptian Queen and Mark Anthony, and Oren, which has Roman ruins and Byzantine churches. Guests stay in en-suite cabins and all meals are included, as are paddleboard and fishing gear.
Eight days from £875 pp, responsibletravel.com
Flotilla sailing, Greece
This flotilla holiday is ideal for beginners who want to sail on their own yacht: a group of 10-12 boats are guided by a lead yacht with a skipper, engineer and host. The Ionian Islands are ideal for first-timers, especially Paxos and the southern archipelago. A week-long stay begins in Lefkas, stopping at Kefalonia, Ithaca, Kalamos, Kastos and Meganisi. For two weeks, the flotilla sails from Corfu to Kefalonia. Most sailing days are only 12-15 miles, with some longer days, and there are swim stops along the way. Social events with the other boats, such as picnics and drinks, are also a highlight.
One week, including flights, of £575; two weeks of £655, sailvacances.com
whale watching, Portugal
A 1930s cod fishing tall ship is now a spacious vacation vessel for the Azores Islands. This trip starts and ends in Terceira, dropping anchor in quiet spots around the central islands and watching whales in the São Jorge Channel. Stops include Graciosa, the northernmost island, which has a 40-meter-high volcanic cave and sulphurous lake, and Faial’s capital, Horta, a bustling meeting place for sailors. Passengers can join a night shift and scale the rig, or simply enjoy the kayaks, paddleboards, and dive ribs. There are 16 double cabins and meals on board are included.
Eight days from £1,050, sailwiz.com
Wyl Menmuir is the author of The draw of the sea (Aurum, £16.99), winner of the Roger Deakin Prize for Nature Writing