5 beautiful off-season yachting destinations
Embarking on a voyage around the Mediterranean Sea is not just a journey—it's an exploration of diverse cultures, ancient history, and breathtaking landscapes, all seen from the unique vantage point of a boat's deck.
From the historic ports of Greece to the sun-soaked shores of Italy and beyond, this blog invites you to embrace the allure of nautical exploration in one of the world's most iconic and timeless settings.
Whether you're an experienced sailor or a landlubber seeking a new perspective, the allure of Mediterranean destinations from the deck of a boat is an experience that promises not just a holiday but an adventure of a lifetime.
Choosing the right destination for your yachting trip
Selecting the ideal destination for a short yachting trip during the off-season in the Mediterranean requires a thoughtful blend of factors that cater to your preferences and the unique characteristics of the region.
Whether it's the turquoise waters of the Turkish Riviera, the hidden coves of the Crete island in Crete, the cosmopolitan island of Kea, or a trip to the past in Croatia, choosing the right destination for a short off-season yachting escapade ensures an enchanting journey that combines tranquillity with cultural exploration.
1. Kea island, Greece
Embarking on a yacht journey from the bustling shores of Athens to the serene haven of Kea Island is a maritime adventure that promises a seamless blend of ancient wonders and contemporary bliss.
As you set sail from the historic city that birthed democracy and philosophy, the sprawling blue expanse of the Aegean Sea becomes your guide, leading you to the charming Cycladic gem of Kea.
The trip can be completed in two hours, making Athens to Kea a popular sailing destination all year round. This also determines the size of the boat that you will need on this trip.
If traveling in a large group, it is best to rent a large-size catamaran, one of the many options for yacht rental in Greece. Boats that can accommodate up to 12 people offer sufficient internal space for relaxing and eating, should you choose to dine on board.
2. Turquoise Coast, Turkey
The Turquoise Coast, or the Turkish Riviera, is a yachter's dream throughout the year. However, the off-season brings a sense of peaceful seclusion.
Cruise along the coastline adorned with ancient ruins, enjoy the warmth of local hospitality in fishing villages and witness the beauty of the Lycian Way without the summer crowds.
From the lively bazaars of Bodrum, where the scent of spices wafts through narrow streets, to the ancient wonders of Ephesus, a city frozen in time, each stop is a brushstroke on the canvas of a magnificent maritime journey.
Explore the quaint harbors of Kas, where vibrant bougainvillea drapes over whitewashed buildings, or anchor in the tranquil coves near Kalkan, offering a serene escape into nature's embrace.
Above: Dubrovnik in Croatia
3. Dubrovnik, Croatia
Feel like you entered the film set of ‘Game of Thrones’ with a cruise along the Dalmatian shores and over the Adriatic's sapphire waters.
Begin your adventure in the enchanting city of Dubrovnik, where ancient walls echo tales of resilience and beauty. You’re in King’s Landing!
Sail to the sun-kissed shores of Hvar, a vibrant island adorned with lavender fields and lively piazzas.
Explore the charming streets of Rovinj, a coastal gem where cobblestone lanes lead to panoramic views of the Adriatic.
Each port and village along the Croatian coast tells a story of timeless beauty and warm hospitality. As the sun sets over the tranquil waters, you'll find yourself not just sailing a wonderful landscape but immersed in a journey that leaves an indelible mark on the soul.
4. Amalfi Coast, Italy
The Amalfi Coast, known for its dramatic cliffs and colorful villages, takes on a different allure in the off-season. You can pick your boat and start sailing from Sail from Salerno.
Cruise along the iconic coastline, stopping in charming ports like Positano and Amalfi, where you can explore narrow streets and savor local specialties. The mild climate and tranquillity make the off-season perfect for a leisurely yachting adventure.
Continue your trip around the Sorrentine peninsula towards Naples Bay and the island of Ischia.
5. Crete, Greece
Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, offers a captivating blend of ancient history and natural wonders. In the off-season, you can experience the island's rich heritage without the summer crowds.
We recommend sailing along the north coast where you can find mooring space in any of the cities of Chania, Rethymnon, Heraklion, or Agios Nikolaos. If you sail east, you will eventually find yourself in Elounda and Mirabello Bay.
You can sail around the island of Kolokitha and the island of Spinalonga made infamous in Victoria Hislop’s novel “The Island” before traveling back to Agios Nikolaos where you can find mooring space and a variety of dining options. On your way there, you will see many famous Cretan seaside resorts, like Elounda Beach Hotel and Blu Palace.
Hop off your yacht to immerse yourself in the warm hospitality of seaside tavernas serving authentic Cretan delicacies.
Weather considerations for off-season sailing
When planning your yachting trip, careful consideration of weather conditions is paramount to ensure a smooth and enjoyable journey.
While the Mediterranean generally enjoys a mild climate, the off-season can bring variations in temperature and precipitation. It's advisable to research the specific weather patterns of your chosen destination during the off-season, taking note of potential rain and wind fluctuations.
It’s important to stay informed about the local weather forecasts, pack accordingly, and embrace the possibility of encountering occasional rain, knowing that such conditions can add a unique and refreshing dimension to your Mediterranean yachting adventure.
The appeal of off-season yachting
By exploring the Mediterranean beyond the peak tourist months, you have the potential for a more intimate and authentic experience.
Don’t forget, that charter companies may offer discounts or more flexible pricing during the shoulder seasons, making it a cost-effective option for those looking to save on their maritime adventure.
We hope you will embrace the tranquillity, savor the local flavors, and let the beauty of these destinations cast its spell on your off-season maritime exploration.
Jenny Kakoudakis likes to blog about traveling. She launched award-winning Seasons in Colour in 2014. When she is not chasing criminals out of the financial system (her day job), she gets to travel around the Greek islands and spends most of her summers in Crete.
Read her guide to the Best Boutique Hotels in Santorini, here.