Holidays are an escape from the day-to-day. For some it is a chance to relax and unwind, for others it is an opportunity for adventure. From enjoying an island escape or exploring nature, to simply soaking up the sun, hiring a newly serviced boat gives you the freedom and flexibility to do anything you want to in a way that planes and trains simply can’t. This means your holiday is not limited to just one location, and you’re free to move from place to place without ever compromising on luxury.
But where to go? From the world’s great historical cities to areas of outstanding natural beauty, these incredible European destinations will help to fuel your wanderlust.
Located south of the French mainland in the Mediterranean Sea, Corsica is blissfully isolated, meaning that unlike many other idyllic locations, the traditional way of life has not yet been overrun by tourism.
The remarkable Corsican coastline offers untouched beaches and plenty of bays and coves to discover, which might be why this is the perfect location for an exploratory boating break.
At the southernmost tip of Corsica lies the harbour town of Bonifacio. With a sparkling marina, sweeping palm trees and incredible food, the area has a sophisticated Mediterranean atmosphere and makes for an ideal location to moor up and enjoy the bars and restaurants lining the resort.
Take time to explore the mainland, where the town of Ajaccio is essential to any visit. As well as being the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte and rich in Roman history, some of the island’s best views can be found walking in the hills and mountains that circle the island’s capital.
Dalmatian Islands, Croatia
It might not be one of the first locations holidaymakers may think of for their boating break, but Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is a paradise for those looking to spend their time exploring.
Located between Split and Dubrovnik, the Dalmatian Coast consists of over 1,000 mostly uninhabited islands of varying sizes. From untouched beaches and ancient cities, to cocktail bars and shopping, avid explorers really can find a little of everything here.
If you want to test your sailing skills, the nearby Kornati archipelago is the place to go. Here you can steer your boat through 89 islands, islets and reefs that make up this National Park. While nobody lives on the islands, you might notice small houses dotted around which are used during the agricultural season when locals from nearby Murter Island arrive to tend to the olives and vineyards.
One of the more well-known islands in the region is Hvar. With fresh water springs, pine forests, vineyards and lavender fields, this 68km long island’s natural beauty cannot be overstated and is one of the reasons that Hvar Town is a well-loved resort at the height of summer. In the north of the island, Stari Grad offers a more peaceful alternative where life is lived at as much slower pace and views are uninterrupted, with opportunities to moor up away from the hustle and bustle.
Amalfi coast, Italy
The stretch of Italian coastline known as the Amalfi Coast has been attracting artists, holiday makers and dreamers to its romantic shores for hundreds of years.
The perfect shores, colourful architecture and iconic villas stacked along the hills have helped to secure this region the status of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Combine this with a rich culture, some of Europe’s finest cuisine and the Mediterranean climate, and it’s no wonder that the Amalfi Coast remains such a famous and popular holiday location.
While the views you would experience from driving along the coast are stunning, seeing panoramas from out on the open waters, and from a different perspective each day, is remarkable. By boat, you have the freedom to explore the many calm coves along the coast, swim in the ocean and soak up the sun before coming ashore to discover the famous foods of the region.
On land, the picturesque towns and winding, narrow streets will charm as much as the volcanoes and sandy beaches, but the real treasure is the world-class cuisine. From rich coffee to classic stonebaked pizzas, the best Italy has to offer is already there waiting for you.
Balearic Islands, Spain
For those looking to see and do as much as possible during their time on the water, the Balearic Islands are an excellent opportunity to explore a string of lively islands in the Mediterranean sun. The best time of the year to sail the Balearic Islands is the summer, between April and October, when the waters are at their calmest.
The sense of freedom as you explore inlets surrounded by perfect blue waters, spot dolphins and swim or dive is certainly idyllic, but the archipelago, located off the eastern coast of Spain, offers so much to explore and discover that you will likely need at least two weeks to explore the four largest islands (Majorca, Minorca, Ibiza and Formentera).
From the stunning cathedral in Palma de Mallorca to Porto Cristo, the Caves of Drach and their famous underground lake, Majorca is a perfect place for discovering the history and culture of the Balearic region. With seven Michelin-starred restaurants on this island alone, foodies will also be in paradise.
Menorca’s size makes it ideal for exploring by the sea, but any budding hikers in your group should also experience Camí de Cavalls, a 185km, 20-stage walk that covers the entire island’s coastline, cliffs, beaches and pinewoods. Similarly, the smallest of the four islands, Formentera, is the perfect size for a day of walking or cycling.
Finally, Ibiza, a UNESCO World Heritage site, is renowned for its night life as much as the area’s natural beauty and is certainly worth setting foot on shore for during your stay.