Sailing Europe is the stuff of dreams. Dreams so otherworldly beautiful, romantic, and picturesque they actually seem more like fantasies Chartering a yacht is easier and more accessible with the advent of internet and cheap travel. Most people do not realize it, but a sailboat charter is within their reach, even if it’s only for a few days. Your dream may become a reality
When you consider what you’re actually getting for your money when you charter a yacht – not just a trip, but a journey and an opportunity to become an explorer; not just relaxation, but a vacation permeated by a deep sense of freedom and adventure, sailing the coast of Europe starts to feel like a luxury. But it might also be a necessity that you owe to yourself and your inner child, romantic, traveler, and bohemian. Hell, even your inner pirate.
In that spirit, here are a few of the most gorgeous sailing destinations in Europe which are just meant to be reached by sea, the old-fashioned way.
#1. Ionian Islands, Greece
All of Greece is a God-kissed place, but it’s Ionian islands is where the creator seems to have really left a stamp of divinity.
The seven large islands are like Greece’s own seven wonders, and if you had to pick one, the “easiest” choice would probably be Zakynthos, with its iconic Navagio beach. Nestled between imposing oval cliffs, this famous bay is accessible only by boat, and to make it all even more piratelike, it is the site of a 1980 shipwreck.
The water is the kind of fluorescent blue you see only in fantasy films in the form of magic potions and flames. And the views don’t get any less beautiful once you start exploring the islands on foot.
You’ll be greeted by the classic warm fishing-village vibes of Greece and the Mediterranean, picturesque little houses, colorful nature that always looks in full bloom. Greeks’ trademark penchant for simplistic and relaxed, yet passionate way of life that steams from every corner, tavern, and little cobblestone alley.
Everything about those islands will pull you deeper and entice you to stay.
#2. Azores, Portugal
Even though Portugal is also replete with the classic Mediterranean charm, the Azores offer a different kind of atmosphere. Located in the Atlantic Ocean, these islands are volcanic, and as such enchant the senses with views that are more imposing, eerie even, and this sense of majesty and drama is highlighted by their curvy, lunar-esque coastline.
To put an exclamation point on their surreal vibe, the shores of the Azores grace some lucky travelers with the occasional whale or dolphin.
#3. Norwegian Fjords
Sailing between the snaking Norwegian Fjords is the kind of experience that can really make you feel small and insignificant, in the good way. Even if tropical beaches epitomize your idea of Paradise, you simply can’t sail those waters and not marvel.
To say those landscapers are otherworldly would be like saying mount Everest is high. Only once you witness those awe-inspiring fjords and their towering, monstrous shadows can you really start to understand how Scandinavian mythology was born. How can Norwegian people not believe in a God that wields thunder when their country’s nature looks like a sleeping beast that can wake up any second? The fjords are just drenched with Vikings’ sturdy spirit.
At the same time, especially when it’s sunny, the fjords can feel tranquil and blessed, with picturesque waterfalls cascading down the granite peaks and little houses greeting you from the edges of remote cliffs.
Sailing those majestic waters is just bound to leave a mark on you.
#4. The Dalmatian Coast, Croatia
Croatia has been stealing some of the spotlight from its Adriatic and Mediterranean neighbors for a reason. After all, Dubrovnik, the jewel in its crown, is often touted as “The Pearl of the Adriatic.”
Croatia offers everything people have come to love about the Mediterranean, but adds a touch of Balkan in the mix to spice things up.
Croatia’s coasts are all just perfect postcard material – nature that pulses with color and life, little houses that just invite you in, waters so pristine you can see your yacht’s shadow at their bottom.
This sailing destination offers something else as well which makes it stand out from the competition – its enticingly old, almost medieval vibe, emanating from its fortresses and preserved buildings. For the Game of Thrones fans, sailing here would be an inimitable experience as lots of the Westeros scenes are shot in Croatia.
Of course, Europe’s coasts are just studded with a plethora of gorgeous sailing destinations, each prettier than the next. The places mentioned in this post give a taste of the Mediterranean and the Nordic latitudes, but there’s more, a lot more to be explored in each category of sailing destinations.
The choices are infinite and hard, but actually, that also makes them easy – It’s almost impossible to go wrong. Here is a lot more to be explored.