Sailing trips have been increasingly popular in recent years. Many of us are looking to get back in touch with nature even while on vacation and that can involve hiking, camping or taking to the waves on a seaworthy vessel.
The added bonus of a sailing holiday is that you can visit some truly breathtaking destinations unreachable by land. And if you choose a sail boat that’s predominantly powered by the wind, it’s an environmentally friendly option too.
In this list, we take a look at some of the most unforgettable holidays you can have on the water.
1. North America
- Some of the best sailing in the United States can be found in Chesapeake Bay. The bay’s watershed extends to six states, Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Delaware, Pennsylvania and New York and is the largest estuary in the country. Explore the historic heritage of the area or find a secluded cove and enjoy a wild fishing experience.
- The Bahamas consist of approximately 700 islands in the West Indian Lucayan Archipelago in the Atlantic so it’s no wonder it’s a hot spot for sailing holidays. Firms like Borrow A Boat offer bareboat rentals to those with experience and also skippered and fully crewed yachts and catamarans if you’ve not yet achieved your yachtmaster qualification.
British Virgin Islands
- With so much prime quality sailing to be had in the Caribbean it’s almost impossible to list everywhere here. BVI offers first class marina facilities as well as plenty of fine eateries to enjoy inland. December to April present the best conditions for a Caribbean sailing trip.
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2. South America
Galapagos Islands, Ecuador
- Follow in the footsteps of a young naturalist, Charles Darwin aboard the HMS Beagle in 1831 and sail to this volcanic archipelago with its unique biodiversity. Due to its importance as a national park there are only two permitted anchorages but weaving in and out of the islands is one of the best ways to experience them. Why not opt to partake in some ‘voluntourism’ and help eradicate invasive plant species to aid the preservation of this special part of the planet.
The Greek Islands
- Greece lays claim to the most islands of any European nation outside of Scandinavia and many of them exhibit a quaint allure. Rich with history and a cuisine to die for, plotting a course among the Ionian, Cyclades, Sporades, Dodecanese, Saronic and Aegean islands is a feast for all your senses.
- It might not be the sunswept, sandy beaches we imagine when we first think of a boating holiday but there’s a unique charm to the 3,000 mile Victorian waterways of the United Kingdom. Book your own narrowboat house complete with traditional paintwork, and lazily navigate the canals that as many as 15,000 people call home, stopping only for a local cider and a pork pie.
- The Lofoten Islands are one of the most striking features of Norway, where mountains collide with white sandy beaches (yes in Norway!) and traditional fishing villages. There’s something on offer for all seasons from the famous midnight sun, the chance to witness the northern lights, surfing, rock-climbing, hiking and fantastic local cuisine.
- The 50 km Amalfi Coast of the southern edge of Italy’s Sorrentine Peninsula needs little introduction. Rugged cliffs, world famous vineyards and sweet lemon groves are interspersed by celebrated restaurants and 5 star resorts. Soak up the impossible panoramic beauty of the area before heading to Naples for the best pizza of your life.
- The reliable winds of the Spice Islands, Tanzania seem to be custom made for an unforgettable sailing experience. The sheltered anchorages of Zanzibar, Pemba and the Mafia Island archipelago are within swimming distance of their idyllic beaches and unrivaled diving expeditions.
- Cape Verde was uninhabited when the Portuguese discovered it in 1460 so retains much of its natural appeal. It should be high up any sailing enthusiasts bucket list with ten volcanic islands of sandy beaches and sleepy fishing villages to explore.
- Roughly 750 km from the Asian mainland lies the Maldivian archipelago of over 1000 islands. Synonymous with luxury, The Maldives are a great choice for a hedonistic island hopping escapade. We can hear the champagne corks popping already.
Andaman and Nicobar Islands
- Revel in the blissful isolation of these Indian jewels in the Bay of Bengal. Over 500 jungle crested islets, palm lined beaches and unparalleled snorkeling and diving opportunities await an adventure of a lifetime.
Oceania (Beach in Fiji)
- The tropical waters of the South Pacific play the consummate host to a blissful sailing experience. The Fijian government established ‘Blue Lanes’ to facilitate a fuss free pleasure yachting course among the million square kilometers of ocean, for diving, swimming and surfing at modern facilities.
- Whitsundays, Queensland offers some of the best cruising on the planet into the Coral Sea. September is the best time to visit with clear sunny days and minimal rain, and the islands boast a good mix of natural wonder alongside the more developed areas with bars and restaurants.
We hope some of these ideas have convinced you that a boating holiday is not only for everyone but it’s surely unmissable too. It’s time to start planning your itinerary right away!