With nearly 80 percent of the Earth covered in water, there are plenty of places to explore from the deck of a yacht. From the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, there are breathtaking places to visit around the circumference of our planet. Yachting in the Mediterranean dates back hundreds of years and many towns along this coastline have a rich history of piracy, explorers and riches. Today these areas combine a mix of natural beauty and history with the glamour of modern European luxury to offer a yachting destination that ranks far above all others. Many argue that it is the Mediterranean that is home to the world’s most uniquely spectacular ports of call that should not be missed by any keen yachtsman.
Nothing can quite beat gently floating up down, cocktail in hand and the sun setting behind you as a Formula 1 car whizzes by on the picturesque landscape. Monaco is the place of the ultimate yachting fantasy – the luxury, wealth and opulence epitomising the break from the mundane that a holiday is supposed to be. Situated in the most famous section of the French Riviera, or the Cote d’Azur, Monaco is well known for its glitz, glamour and celebrity appeal. But this area is also steeped in history and natural beauty.
Monaco is the ideal northern location to begin a yachting charter through the Italian Riviera, but with so much to do in this ancient medieval town an entire vacation can be spent without ever leaving the port. The principality is barely one square mile in total size with the port’s mooring sites close to the shore. Being so small and compact, everything in Monaco is within walking distance, allowing you to come ashore and explore at your leisure. From the Prince’s Palace to the Oceanographic Museum and Botanical Gardens, culture and history abounds in this city and the casinos, tax-free boutiques and elegant restaurants offer an unforgettable nightlife.
Besides its glamorous people, fabulous nightlife and cultural attractions, the port of Monaco has one attraction that is unparalleled by any other yachting location. For two days in late May, the winding streets of Monaco come alive with the roar of engines and the cheers of the crowds. This 78 lap race is a highlight in the Formula 1 calendar and attracts spectators from around the world. The city of Monaco comes alive at this time of year, with parties and festivals accompanying the event. Formula 1 supercars fly through the very streets where you would walk in a truly unique sight. What makes this event even more unique is the opportunity to watch it from the deck of a luxury yacht. Drinks flow and the atmosphere is electric as a community of yachts moor in the port to watch the race, partying well into the night.
Once a small sleepy fishing village, Portofino has now become a favourite port of call for yachtsmen and charters. This is a quintessential little Italian village that, despite being under French rule in the beginning of the 19th century, offers unique insight into Italian life. Originally named Portus Delphini after the abundance of dolphins that congregate in the bay, Portofino was a quiet and unknown fishing village until the 1950s. A triumph of word of mouth, a few people discovered its beauty and the news soon spread, turning the town into a playground for the rich and famous.
Situated in the bay within the Gulf of Tigullio, this port is filled with luxury yachts of every description. Each yacht is overlooked by tall pastel coloured buildings and cliffs that seemingly rise straight out of the sea and are decorated by trailing scarlet bougainvilleas. The sea itself is a rich sapphire colour and offers spectacular delights for both snorkelers and scuba divers. Red coral flourishes in these waters and a little further out, dolphins and whales relax in the surf.
On shore, the luxury of the yachts in the port is mimicked by the upmarket restaurants and shops. Louis Vuitton and Gucci are among the names you are most likely to see and quaint cafes and gelatarias line the harbour side piazza. Sitting back with a cocktail or an ice cream is a great way to spend an afternoon as the glamorous yachts sail by below. The cobble stone streets are ideal for exploration and the town is surrounded by silvery olive groves that add a pleasant aroma to the air. This naturally breathtaking environment includes a national park to the north, where you can follow the paths and trails through miles of beautiful Italian countryside.
The year was 1956 and Bridgette Bardot visited the tiny town of St Tropez to film a little movie called And God Created Woman. The rest, as they say, is history. In peak yachting season, from around April to October, the cobbled streets and patisseries are filled with celebrities and tourists and the port is lined with luxury yachts, literally lined up fender to fender.
Visiting this section of the Cote d’Azur at this time guarantees a glitzy time of beautiful people, good food and unforgettable nights. But it is when you come in the off-season that the real St Tropez shines. With a little more breathing space, it is easier to explore this spectacular stretch of coastline, from the famous Pampelonne Bay in the east which offers over three miles of unspoilt white sand to the quirky back streets filled with delis, boutique shops and cafes.
The Citadel, an ancient fortress, takes pride of place in St Tropez and lovingly protects the colourful fishing houses below. Nothing quite beats sitting on the deck of your yacht, watching the evening lights flicker off the pastel yellows, pinks and oranges of the houses of St Tropez. While in this port, don’t forget to buy a famous pair of Tropéziennes sandals or to sample a slice of Tarte Tropézienne, the cream and sponge cake that the area is renowned for.
Seeing All Three in One Unforgettable Holiday
Being able to visit even one of these famous ports of call in a lifetime is a privilege, but with a luxury yacht charter, such as the ones offered by brokers like Yachting Partners International, you can see all three. Such a yacht charter company helps you to plan the ideal yachting itinerary that suits your exact needs and interests. Planning a yachting holiday in this way allows you to peruse all the best ports that the Mediterranean has to offer, stopping at each for however long you wish to. A yacht charter company will also organise everything else for you, from the crew to the paperwork, leaving you free to explore Monaco, St Tropez and Portofino at your leisure.