Most Beautiful Sailing Destinations In Europe

Most Beautiful Sailing Destinations In Europe

Once you have experienced the thrill and freedom of being out on the open water, the is no going back. Sailing buys you privacy, peace, and access to places that non-boaters can only dream of.

In Europe, there is a lot on offer for yachties  You will find everything from celebrity hangouts to areas largely untouched by man. Here we look at some of Europe’s most beautiful sailing destinations.

 

1. Ionian Islands, Greece

The Ionian Islands are located off Greece’s west coast. This is arguably Europe’s best sailing destination. Charter a catamaran in Greece and Island hop from Corfu to Lefkada. 

The 7 main islands are relatively close. You will never be more than an hour away from harborage. This makes the archipelago a safe place to hone your sailing skills.

Zakynthos is the crown jewel of the Ionian Islands.  The only way to access the shipwreck on Navagio Beach is by boat. You may also spot an endangered Caretta- Caretta (loggerhead turtle).

Make time for stops on smaller islands. Paxos is known for chalky cliffs and ancient olive groves. Antipaxos is the smallest of the islands and is one of the best places to snorkel.

 

2. Dorset and East Devon Coast, England

This 95-mile coastline has some of the most spectacular scenery in Europe. Also known as the Jurassic coast, this is England’s first natural world heritage site. Rock formations found here are over 185 million years old.

The Isle of Portland makes for a good sailing base. Head east from Weymouth harbor to Lulworth Cove.  Pass white cliffs and the natural stone arch, Durdle Door. 

Chapman’s Pool is an amphitheater-shaped bay. Only 15 nautical miles east of Portland,  this is an ideal spot for a few hours of peace.

Alternatively, head west towards East Devon. At Charmouth, you can hunt for fossils along the beach.

 

3. The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia

Croatia's Adriatic coastline is fast becoming one of the world’s trendiest sailing destinations. The region boasts 1185 islands and the perfect mix of nightlife, nature, and history. 

The cities of Split and Dubrovnik both have great Marinas to launch from. Before you set off, take a local tour of the many historic sites. Stock up on fresh anchovies, olives, and local wines.

Hvar island is the place to be for nightlife and upmarket dining. Prefer off the beaten track? Visit the Kornati islands off the coast of Zadar. Here you will find hiking trails, romantic bays, and fishing villages. 

 

4. Norwegian Fjords

Norway has one of the most breathtaking coastlines. Expect rugged mountains, waterfalls, and lush green forests. Formed by glaciers, the fjords offer a unique sailing landscape.

 It is worth doing some sightseeing in Oslo before you set sail. From here, there are plenty of islands and bays that you can explore by boat.

We recommend stopping at Bergen to soak up the medieval history. Visit Kaf Kafe and sip coffee inside a 300yr old merchant house. 

Experienced sailors can make the trip to the Lofoten Islands. This is a mostly untouched archipelago with only simple dock sites.

 

5. The Azores, Portugal

This cluster of 9 volcanic islands lies 800miles west of Europe. You will need to be experienced to make the  6-7 day Atlantic crossing.

Alternatively, charter a boat from Horta, São Miguel. While here, try the local specialty ‘Cozido das, Furnas’. Join locals bathing in saltwater hot springs. 

Each island offers something unique. Stroll the cobbled streets of  Angra de Heroism on Terceira. Learn about Faial’s history at the whaling museum and take photos of blue hydrangeas. Graciosa is known for tranquil scenes of green fields and windmills.

The region boasts the best whale watching in Europe. Blue, Sperm, and Humpback whales are frequent visitors to the islands.

 

6. The Amalfi Coast, Italy

Sail from Procida in the  Bay of Naples, down the Almafi Coast. This region is world-famous for picturesque coastal towns, breathtaking views, and inviting waters. All levels of experience can enjoy this calm Meditteranean ocean.

In Amalfi, learn about making handcrafted paper. Sip on limoncello, available on every corner. For the best panoramic views, head to the cliff town Of Sorrento. End your day at a jazz bar with a glass of local wine.

Capri is one of Italy’s top destinations and a regular haunt of celebrities. Capri’s Blue Grotto is particularly popular with honeymooners.