It’s nearly impossible to find a list of sailing destinations without the European hotspots: Greece, Croatia and Balearic Island. Or the tropical islands in the Caribbean. Even though these places deserve their spot on the top lists, we’re going to take a different approach.
If you are tired of the crowds, want to see something different, or experience sailing in another continent – we’ve got you covered. Here’s 12 + 1 hidden sailing gems around the world worth visiting on your next sailing adventure.
Sail away from the busy French Riviera and the Balearic Islands to admire the stunning cliffs and deep blue waters of Corsica. Anchor in Bonifacio’s port on the southern tip of Corsica and explore the historical sites, go for a hike in the majestic mountains and make sure to explore the old towns and enjoy the delicacies this rugged and beautiful island has to offer.
With over 8 300 kilometres of coastline, Turkey should definitely be on the top of your list for your next sailing vacation. We’re talking hidden coves, beautiful inlets and small tranquil beaches and bays. The idyllic summer offers moderate seas and good winds. If you want to experience the ‘real’ Turkey and enjoy breath-taking views, head to the Lycian or Carian Coast.
Taken that Slovenia only has a short strip of coastline, it’s not the first country that comes to mind when talking about sailing destinations. However, the idyllic town of Izola is perfectly located in the north of the Adriatic Sea. It’s easily accessible and provides a great starting point to explore the north of Italy and Croatia. Enjoy unique culture, less people and more predictable winds.
South East Asia
Even though Thailand is one of the most popular tourist destinations, there are plenty of secluded islands and secret spots to escape the crowds and enjoy your freedom. Lush rainforests, dramatic limestone cliffs, crystal clear waters, friendly people, delicious food… Need we say more? The best way to explore all this is definitely by boat. Start from Phuket or Krabi and cruise around the Andaman Sea.
One of Lesser Sunda islands, Flores is a fascinating island with turquoise water, lush green forests and white sandy beaches. Its rich marine life attracts divers, the pumping waves are popular among surfers and the incredible views from the mountains are definitely worth the hike. The perfect destination to combine sailing with other water activities.
Australia and Oceania
Compared to the tropical Whitsunday Islands, Tasmania provides a different sailing experience. Here, you get to enjoy world class sailing, wonderful scenery and warm hospitality. Go for a hike and enjoy the views over the Wineglass Bay. Or simply enjoy a glass of wine while enjoying the peaceful environment. Did we mention uncrowded and private anchorages?
7. New Zealand
Home of many of the world’s best sailors and mesmerising nature, New Zealand is undoubtedly among the best places to go sailing. The maritime reserves in the Bay of Islands are absolutely beautiful with coves and clear waters ranging from deep blue to turquoise. Wherever you go around the 150 islands, you’ll find empty beaches, raw cliffs and rich marine life. Jump in the water and go diving, watch the dolphins from the deck or take out your rod and go fishing.
8. French Polynesia
The embodiment of a tropical paradise. Made up of five main groups of islands, French Polynesia provides an impressive landscape with majestic volcanic peaks, lush greenery and amazing waterfalls. There’s plenty to explore both at sea and on land. Discover beautiful lagoons and get familiar with the traditional culture. You can choose your base from the different islands, including Tahiti, Moorea and Bora Bora.
Similar to South Pacific, Belize is a chilled paradise offering unspoiled nature. Did you know it’s home for the second largest barrier reef in the world? Here, you get to enjoy spectacular sailing, snorkelling and scuba diving. The best part: not as crowded as other areas in the Caribbean. On land, you’re welcomed by charming beach bars and further away, the majestic Mayan ruins.
10. Grenada and the Grenadines
The Grenadines, or “Spice Islands”, form a chain of 32 charming islands in the West Indies. They are a perfect mix of beautiful landscape, exotic culture, friendly people and some of the greatest sailing waters in the world. Lack of crowds, secluded beaches and great sailing conditions – what more can you wish for? Grenada, the largest of the islands, hosts white sand beaches and stunning waterfalls. Bequia is a long-time favourite among sailors for its protected harbour and lively, local culture.
Get the best of both worlds on your holiday and combine your sailing vacation with exploring the vibrant culture on land. Cartagena is famous for its rich history and colourful streets. Not far from the port, you’ll find private bays, natural islands with palm trees and coral reefs and stretches of white sand. Santa Marta is another port city that is great to visit all year round for sun, sand and cultural adventures.
What makes Chile a great sailing destination is that it’s remote enough for finding undiscovered places, but not too isolated to feel completely lost. While the weather conditions might not be for everyone (cold and sometimes very wet), the country offers great sailing and incredible scenery. Snow-capped mountains, fjords and icefields in Patagonia – what a unique sailing adventure! Let alone Cape Horn on the southern tip of the country with unforgiving and raw conditions.
And last but not least…
This is not for the faint-hearted. A challenging environment even for an experienced sailor, there is no place on earth like Antarctica. A one-of-a-kind sailing expedition to the bottom of the earth to admire the icebergs and wildlife. Freezing cold and harsh conditions, yet an unforgettable adventure.