A Corsican / Sardinian holiday delivers on all counts: turquoise Mediterranean Sea, delicious fresh seafood and an impressive array of iconic ports popular with luxury travel. The hot summer months is the peak time to visit, although the mild winter means warm sunshine, and a quieter experience, throughout September and October. Despite Corsica and Sardinia being part of France and Italy respectively, both islands are home to spectacular landscapes and maintain their own cultural identity and charm.
Welcome onboard in Corsica, the ‘Island of Beauty’, and the fortressed town of Calvi. Dominating the entrance to the Gulf of Calvi is the Citadel, high on a rock (calvus), from which the town’s name is derived. The centre is sunny, with palm trees and quaint shops. On the south side is a long crescent beach of fine white sand. It is one of the most beautiful beaches on the island with a gentle slope and safe bathing in the shallow, turquoise-blue waters. The marina is a palm-lined quay on the waterfront where eating and drinking has been elevated to the status of an art form in an assortment of elegant fish restaurants and lively cocktail bars. Start your trip by cruising to La Girolata. The setting here is grandiose; a fortress on a headland hides the tiny hamlet that is situated right in the middle of a National Park. There are only two ways to access it – by donkey or by boat, the latter being far more agreeable! The beach restaurant sells fantastic fresh lobster. Dine ashore or have the chef prepare them aboard. The waters here are some of the clearest you will find in the Mediterranean. In the evening, there is an exquisite sense of serene isolation. Night at anchor.
A short morning cruise across the bay is a great spot to enjoy windsurfing, diving, jet-skiing, water-skiing or paragliding in a beautiful location for lunch. Continue on to Ajaccio, the capital of Corsica, where there are many shops and restaurants to explore in the attractive old town. Ajaccio is also the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte, and you can discover much about the great man’s life by visiting Maison Bonaparte, the ancestral home of the Bonaparte family which is now a national museum. Night in Ajaccio.
Head over to Bonifacio, a town perched impressively high on the cliffs overlooking the waters below. The arrival is spectacular; a narrow entrance hidden at the foot of the cliffs leading into the harbour. The town is energetic with many restaurants and bars, most of which play live music. There is also the Sperone Golf Club whose course bends its way across the cliff tops overlooking the Bonifacio Straits. Night in port of Bonifacio.
A short trip through the Bonifacio straits takes you to the beautiful rocky Lavezzi Islands. Classified as a Natural Reserve by France in 1982, the islands in the strait between Sardinia and Corsica have been protected from development and are largely uninhabited. From here cruise on to Spalmatore for the evening, a picturesque bay in the Sardinian archipelago of Maddalena.
The archipelago of La Maddalena, is a quiet place of turquoise lagoons, deserted islands and the most heavenly beaches in Sardinia, with barely a footprint to spoil them. Spend the morning embracing the clear waters before heading to Porto Rotondo. Porto Rotondo is a stylish and popular destination due to its sandy beaches and luxurious charm. It is comprised of many elegant shops and restaurants serving fresh, authentic Sardinian cuisine. The area is also a treasure trove for those wanting to explore with the Capo Figari National Park nearby home to hiking and biking trails through the rugged landscape. Night in Porto Rotondo.
Cruise around the coast to Porto Cervo to moor in the old town and enjoy the area and the wonderful food! Sardinian cuisine tends to be hearty, simple, and served in large portions. The best seafood is to be found on the coast and local specialties include spiny lobster and orziadas (fried tentacles of sea anemone). Inland menus revolve mostly around lamb, wild boar, goat, pasta, flat breads, and the outstanding local cheeses – occasionally all in one sitting. Sardinian wines have been influenced by the successive waves of invaders, with the Spanish leaving the most indelible mark. The full-bodied red Cannonau is the wine of choice when serving Sardinia’s excellent lamb. The Spanish imported Monica di Cagliari (DOC) can be found in dry well-aged varieties as well as a sweet dessert wine known as Liquoroso Dolce. The most well-known Sardinian white is Vernaccia di Oristano (DOC), a golden dry wine that that is popular with fish and Sardinian lobster. The well balanced Vermentino di Gallura (DOCG) is the perfect accompaniment to the seafood of the Costa Smeralda.
‘The Bay of the Fox’ is a deep bay, well protected from the Mistral wind and is surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches such as “Liscia Ruia”, known as “Long Beach”. Its crowning feature is the spectacular five star “Hotel Cala di Volpe” at the end of the bay, designed by both father and son, Jacques and Savin Couelle. This hotel is overlooked by the Pevero Golf Course and on the other side there are the fabulous villas of La Celvia and Petramanna. Lunch can be organised at the hotel or on board as preferred. After lunch cruise to Porto Vecchio. Porto-Vecchio is also called the ‘city of salt’, because it was built on salt-water marshes. The city presents all the advantages of a seaside resort and with its age-old bastion and beautiful marina being particular highlights. The heart of old Porto Vecchio lies within a concentrated area of narrow lanes which attract visitors to the central square and the Place de la Republique, which itself is dominated by a magnificent cathedral. Night in the port of Porto Vecchio.
The home of picturesque landscapes, traditional culture and revered cuisine, Italy is a joy to travel. Epicentre of the Roman Empire and birthplace of the Renaissance, Italy groans under the weight of its cultural cachet and is home to more UNESCO World Heritage cultural sites than any other country. Combined with a dramatic and scenic coastline, Italy holds many treasures to visit by yacht, and making the most of the warm European summer climate is the preferred time to go. The vibrant culture, world-class gastronomy and effervescent warmth of the population results in Italy being a favourite destination for many.
Board in Rome or Gaeta Marina. The latter is one hour south of Rome airport and the ideal place to start a charter heading southward to Ponza and finally Naples. Of all Italy’s historic cities, it’s perhaps Rome which exerts the most compelling fascination. As a historic place, it is special enough; as a contemporary European capital, it is utterly unique. Once the seat of a great empire, and later the home of the papacy, there are of course the city’s classical features, most visibly the Coliseum, and the Forum and Palatine Hill; but from here there’s an almost uninterrupted sequence of monuments – from early Christian basilicas, Romanesque churches, Renaissance palaces, right up to the fountains and churches of the Baroque period. If shopping is a must, you won’t be disappointed either. The best of the designer shops all have their place, as well as the charming little boutiques offering their own fashion ideas.
Nothing short of spectacular, the anchorage at Ponza is one of the most beautiful in the entire Mediterranean. The town is a completely authentic and unpretentious Italian port, a great place to sit at a waterfront café and watch the world go by. The water is spectacularly blue and a boat ride around the island in the tender is a highlight, peeking in and out of the grottoes. Around the coast the rock pinnacles and cliffs have been eroded into fantastic and wonderful shapes and are quite spectacular. It is well cultivated and produces a reasonable local wine. Historically, it was colonized in 313 BC by the Romans and Augustus built a villa here. In later years, the island played host to many exiles, including the demented brothers of Caligula and his sister, Agrippina (mother of Nero). Water sports are practicable here (very limited in the Bay of Naples)
Procida is the smallest island in the gulf of Naples and easily the most unspoilt. The word Procida means archaeology and its history centres around the impressive medieval village ‘Terra Murata’ (walled land) perched atop the 90 metre cliffs and on ‘Corricella’, the fishing settlement. Attractive features include the orchards, ‘casali’, the little harbours of Marina Grande and Chiiolella, the Corricella with its wonderful view. (The ‘Postman’ by Massimo Troisi and ‘The Talented Mr. Ripley” were filmed in Corricella). The architectural style of Procida has the typical Mediterranean pastel colours. The Perron staircase, the cross and circular vaults and arches all with different forms are picturesque. The island’s main attraction, however, remains the sea and Procida has six lovely beaches.
Enjoy a morning cruise to Capri in time for lunch. This fashionable and beautiful town is perched high on a hill, the main town being reached either by a winding road or a funicular railway, directly to the top of the island, offering excellent shopping and breath-taking views of the dramatic coast. The water around Capri is deep and clear and snorkelling along the bases of the cliffs is excellent. Many visit the world famous Blue Grotto, a massive cave entered by rowing boat or tender through a tiny entrance. Day trips to Pompeii or Agropoli can be organised for the more adventurous. A helicopter trip over Mount Vesuvius would also be a memorable experience!
Move on to the tiny port of Amalfi, a quaint and perfect place for an evening waterfront stroll. Amalfi’s ninth-century Duomo (or cathedral) is one of the town’s major attractions. It dominates the town’s central piazza, sitting atop a wide flight of steps. The cloister (Chiostro del Paradiso) and museum close by house sculptures, mosaics and other relics of the town’s wealthy past. The Arsenal by the sea is a monument to the maritime past of Amalfi. The town is small, but you can easily while away a few hours exploring the narrow white alleyways and shopping. In one of the many cafes, you might wish to sample the Amalfitana specialties, such as the strong limoncello liqueur or the pastries while watching the world go by. Up the valley (a 30 minute taxi ride, is the ancient town of Ravello). An artist’s community with spectacular views of the Amalfi coast, it’s a place to saunter and soak in the romance of the palaces, gardens, villas Cimbrone and Rufolo and churches high on a hill, seemingly lost in time.
Cruise over to Sorrento. This is one of Italy’s best known resorts, situated on a coastline of unrivalled beauty on the Northern slope of the Sorrentine Peninsula. It is a sheltered spot, surrounded by luxuriant hills where vines, olives and high quality citrus fruits are grown. The site of patrician villas during Roman times, it has been a highly prestigious retreat since 700 AD. Sorrento has been nicknamed “La Gentile” because of its mild climate, the refinement of its streets and gardens and the friendly inhabitants.
Naples is Italy’s largest coastal city and capital of Campania, on the Tyrrhenian Sea. It’s somewhat unfair reputation as being overrun by Italy’s Mafia and unsafe has been tempered over the past decade, thanks to a focused governmental effort and today Naples’ young and creative population makes for a lively and entertaining atmosphere. The lovely bay of Naples overlooks Capri and Ischia and for those interested in a bit of history, a short hop away are Pompeii and Herculaneum – two cities destroyed by the Vesuvius volcano eruption in 79 AD.
Sun-soaked and skirted by golden sands, the Balearic Islands are awash with leafy terraces, crumbling heritage sites, secluded coves and rolling hills, off the coast of Spain. Each of the four islands of the archipelago could be said to have a theme.
Mallorca is the senior island, combining a little of everything, from spectacular mountain scenery and hiking through to the standard sea ‘n’ sun seaside tourism.
Ibiza is synonymous with clubbing. This dance music scene may draw trendy travellers but Ibiza’s also a pretty island with a relaxing and welcoming spirituality.
Menorca is a haven of tranquillity – splendid isolated beaches and coves, and prehistoric monuments standing as taciturn reminders of how small we are in the grand scheme of things.
And tiny Formentera, a chill-out island, where some people lose themselves for the entire summer, needing little more to keep them happy than white beaches and sunset parties.
Surprisingly, the islands have managed to maintain much of their intrinsic beauty. Beyond the high-rise resort hotels, bars and more popular beaches are Gothic cathedrals, Stone Age ruins, fishing villages, spectacular walks, secluded coves, endless olive and almond groves and citrus orchards. The following 7-Day itinerary visiting Mallorca, Ibiza and Formentera, will give you the opportunity to enjoy this wonderful group of islands.
Fly to Palma de Mallorca to begin your cruise through the Balearic Islands. Cosmopolitan Palma is Mallorca’s capital city and largest port . Its Moorish and European architecture is dominated by the Gothic cathedral, La Seu while the fascinating “old town” or central area, offers numerous narrow streets, hidden behind the high walls of ancient buildings. Palma offers the best of both worlds: the vitality of a capital and the relaxed pace of an island town. It looks like a gracious mini-Barcelona, a chilled-out, street-safe city with a cosmopolitan population, notable architecture and a buzzy nightlife. Its Old Town, with its narrow cobbled streets, Renaissance palaces and hidden squares, is a jewel. Explore the winding cobbled streets of the old town and lose yourself in the alleyways where you will find numerous tapas bars and cafes hidden in the back streets. The cathedral towers over the town and is well worth a visit. Have dinner ashore or onboard as you wish!
From Palma the yacht will take you to Puerto de Andratx (which you may also see written as Puerto Andraitx) and stopover in Portals Vells to anchor for lunch, swimming and some watersports. In the evening you will be in Puerto de Andratx at anchor, a lovely fishing port with a great atmosphere and good restaurants. The original town was built inland from the port as a defence against pirate attacks. Evidence of this is found in the town’s narrow cobbled streets and fortress-like Santa Maria church. Walk uphill for beautiful views of the old town.
After a quiet breakfast the yacht will cruise to Ibiza, where you will arrive in Talamanca Bay in the afternoon. This is just a stone throw away from the largest city on the island Ibiza Town, renowned for its vibrant night life. Ibiza Town isn’t short on offerings, by day or night. Stroll through the old village and experience a town teeming with culture and history. Spend the night at anchor in Talamanca Bay.
Wake up in Ibiza to have breakfast. A short cruise away, the little sister island of Formentera floats in a world of her own. Formentera is much less lively than its hedonistic sister, Ibiza, and its peace-loving, beach-lounging devotees wouldn’t have it any other way. The smallest and least developed of the four main Balearic Islands, it boasts fine beaches and mud baths, great walking and cycling trails, as well as secluded coves and sleepy fishing villages. If you dream of stunning white beaches and swimming in azure seas amongst marine life then you can experience all that and more. Enjoy a simple picnic or dine in some of the friendliest establishments you will ever find. The local fishermen will tell you, that the seafood caught around Formentera is second to none in quality.
The yacht will take you to visit the most hip and happening bays Ibiza has to offer, starting at Cala Jondal. This is now possibly the trendiest beach on Ibiza and there is a fabulous selection of beach restaurants that are popular with the rich and famous. The long beach with crystal-clear waters of an amazing turquoise colour is definitely the place to enjoy the summer in Ibiza in an atmosphere of glamour, beautiful people, relaxation and nature. The white pebbles of the cove contrast brilliantly with the turquoise of the water, whilst the green pine forest make the perfect backdrop to the stunning resort. Next stop is Ses Salines, named after the salt lakes in the south of Ibiza. The very long, wide crescent of pale sandy beach is bordered by pine woods. You will spent the night in Porroig Bay, a sheltered bay for the many fishermen’s boathouses.
You will return to beautiful Mallorca but not before visiting the uninhabited Ponent Nature Reserve. Lying in the south coast of Ibiza the spectacular rock Island Vedra and Island Es Vedranell are towering high above sea level. The bay of Cala d’Hort has a fantastic view on this mysterious island. In the evening the yacht will cruise back to Mallorca.
Back in Mallorca, you will be able to enjoy the beautiful coves you pass on your way to the most prestigious nautical and leisure complex of the island, the harbour of Portals Nous. The luxury harbour will offer you a welcome variety of shops in a luxury environment to spend your last evening onboard. The following morning return to Palma de Mallorca around noon where you will disembark the yacht energized and with some great new memories of “El Paraiso” The Balearics.