Yachting on the Mediterranean has always been popular. From hard-core mariners to sun-worshipping A-listers, tourists the world over flock to spend the summer exploring its hidden coves and sandy shorelines. Such is the popularity of the much-loved path through French, Italian and Greek waters that the route has been affectionately dubbed by some sailors as the ‘Mediterranean Milk Run’.
Despite the crowds, the Med is still filled with enough hidden gems and exclusive hideaways to ensure that every visit is never really the same. From island sushi restaurants to haunting ancient ruins, the sea always rewards the traveller who is willing to head off the beaten track and explore. In fact with so much to see and do, those intent on taking this extremely popular expedition on a luxury private yacht can easily spend anything from a week to the whole summer travelling in style on the crystal blue waters of the Med.
So with that in mind, here is our insight into the must-visit destinations on an unforgettable Mediterranean trip…
Classic Glamour in France
The storied glitz and glamour of the Cannes Film Festival and Monaco Grand Prix traditionally act as the unofficial start of the summer’s yachting charter season. With world class events and evocative, sun-kissed settings, both events remain a powerful annual draw. Begin your journey and avoid the masses by flying into Monaco Heliport, just a seven minute helicopter ride from nearby Nice Airport.
Tradition then dictates heading up the French Riviera, where you’ll make essential stops at classic coastal destinations including St. Tropez and Nice. Lasting roughly around a week, this trip typically concludes in the captivating town of Antibes, where history meets the height of modernity. Once home of Picasso (whose work you can admire at the magnificent Musée Picasso, the town’s port now hosts the world’s largest luxury yachts on the aptly named ‘Billionaires’ Row.
Island Life in Italy
No destination embodies the growing popularity of Italy amongst those touring the Mediterranean by superyacht more than the Aeolian Islands. Charter a jet to Catania and ask your captain to meet you in the port of Milazzo, where you’ll be within touching distance of the UNESCO-protected islands.
Found off the north-eastern coast of Sicily, the seven volcanic islands’ beauty has enchanted countless visitors, with its once carefully-guarded profile rising as a result. Though you could spend an entire week exploring the beautiful islands, if you must pick one to see we recommend the picture-perfect island of Panarea. Found to the north-east of the isle of Salina, this tiny but trendy island is where you’ll find fashionistas flocking to enjoy its sandy beaches and hip hangouts.
If looking for the heart of the party, drop anchor in the Baia Milazzese bay and head to Panarea’s eternally chic Hotel Raya. With a disco dancefloor overlooking the sea and the Stromboli volcano, it’s the perfect place for the late-night crowd to dance the night away.
With the recent upsurge of tourism in Croatia and Montenegro, the Dalmatian Coast (particularly the bustling Croatian island of Hvar and the new Port de Montenegro) makes it worth your while venturing a little further East. Despite its economic woes, With tourism more valuable than ever to Greece, the sheer number of secluded havens at their disposal means Greece still remains the ultimate place to join a trip on the Med.
If you’re pulled in by the vibrancy of the idyllic Ionian Islands off the Greek western coast, try chartering a jet to Kefalonia, the setting of Louis de Bernières classic Captain Corelli’s Mandolin. The island’s main port is Argostoli, but we recommend docking instead at Kiskardo harbour, a picturesque village that caters for the well-travelled/well-heeled. Conversely, if you want to experience the diverse offerings of the Kyklades, Santorini and its well-connected airport and makes for the perfect place to use as a springboard for your adventures. Either way, those who prolong the ‘Milk Run’ to take in the serenity of the clear and glistening waters that the Greek islands have to offer will definitely reap the rewards.
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* Lead image of Turkey via Shutterstock