Taking to the seas is one of the best ways to explore new destinations.
Whether you choose to go on a cruise, charter a yacht or book a catamaran excursion, you can enjoy a different type of holiday, experiencing a side of a country or city that few rarely see.
If you’re ready to sail away, here are some of the best destinations to hit the water.
The Greek Islands
Greece is one of the most popular holiday destinations for tourists from Europe, North America and Australasia. With hundreds of islands, it’s an idyllic location for island hopping cruises and coastline sightseeing.
If you fancy hiring a boat in the Greek Islands, you’re an experienced sailor, or you’re planning your itinerary and you want to include a boat trip, you’ll be spoiled for choice.
One of the best things about exploring Greece on the water is the abundance of itineraries and trips available.
You can hop on a ferry and get from one island to the next, book a sunset cruise as part of your vacation, or charter a boat and sail around one of the major groups of islands.
Popular destinations include the Ionian islands, which boast Kefalonia, Corfu and Zante among their crown jewels, and the Cyclades islands. This famous archipelago includes Mykonos, Santorini, Paros and Naxos.
The Dodecanese islands, which include Kos, Rhodes and the tiny, colourful island of Symi, are ideally placed for exploring the coastline of Turkey after ticking off your Greek itinerary.
Sailing in Greece offers fantastic opportunities to experience incredible views, beautiful beaches, quaint harbours and charming whitewashed towns.
Enjoy the traditional music and dancing, treat your taste buds to classics like souvlaki, kleftiko and moussaka and get to know the friendly locals.
The Whitsundays, Australia
If pristine white beaches and vivid blue waters are your idea of heaven, there are few sailing destinations that rival Australia’s awe-inspiring Whitsunday Islands.
A collection of over 70 small islands scattered off the east coast of Queensland, this dazzling cluster of masses provides an ideal base for sailing and boat trips.
There are itineraries to suit all budgets and time frames. Go for the day, book an overnight excursion or spread your nautical wings and cruise around the islands for a week or two.
Highlights include the aptly named Daydream Island, Hayman Island and Hamilton Island.
Whitsunday Island is a must for beach lovers. Home to one of the most famous beaches in the world, Whitehaven Beach, the island is accessible by boat, helicopter and seaplane. Whitehaven Beach is known for its glistening white sand, which contains pure silica.
The Caribbean is a bona fide wonderland for water babies. If you love being on a boat, or you want to escape it all and leave the hustle and bustle behind, this could be the destination for you.
Characterised by golden sands that stretch for miles, swaying palms and turquoise water, the Caribbean Islands are a bucket list favourite. Sailing here offers multiple options, including island hopping, day trips and languid cruises that provide unrivalled opportunities to explore multiple islands.
From sunset catamaran cruises in Barbados, Jamaica and Tobago to yacht charter in Bahamas and sailing around the British Virgin Islands, there’s something to suit every traveller.
The beauty of travelling by boat in the Caribbean is taking advantage of the chance to reach places you can’t access by car or plane.
Discover hidden coves, secluded beaches and lookouts that offer magnificent vistas. The marine life is also a major draw for tourists. Here, you can snorkel with turtles, watch dolphins glide along the surface of the waves and swim with stingrays.
Croatia is a relative newcomer in the tourism stakes in comparison to Greece and Italy. Recently, visitor numbers have soared and more and more people are choosing to spend time exploring this beautiful country.
Croatia’s most popular destinations are Split and Dubrovnik. These cities are cultural gems, which lend themselves to lazy afternoons meandering through winding, labyrinth-like streets and al fresco drinks as the sun sets.
They also provide the perfect base for adventures on the water. The Croatian coastline is a marvel. The water is bright blue-green and there are more than 1,000 islands dotted around the coast in the Adriatic Sea.
Island hopping in Croatia is a joy. If you’re staying on the mainland, you can jump on a passenger boat and enjoy a day out, book an excursion on a speedboat or hire a yacht and sail the crystal clear waters for days, weeks or even months.
The most popular islands include Hvar, Korcula, Brac, Mljet and Vis.
The Italian waters are known for attracting the superyacht crowd, but you don’t need to be a Hollywood star or a business magnate to enjoy la dolce vita.
Sailing in Italy offers glorious opportunities to enjoy stunning views of breathtaking bays and watercolour towns built on the hillsides and cliffs and to hop from the mainland to a clutch of small but perfectly formed islands.
If you’re staying in Sorrento, for example, nothing beats hiring a boat or booking a cruise so that you can appreciate the beauty and uniqueness of the Amalfi Coast from the water.
It’s also easy to get from the main towns in the region to the alluring islands of Capri and Ischia. A trip to the south also offers Sicily and Sardinia, and further north, head to Cinque Terre.
Are you looking for a break with a difference, or are you searching for inspiration for unforgettable day trips or excursions for your holiday itinerary?
Whether you’re interested in a day out at sea, an adventure on the ocean or a week-long cruise, there is a treasure trove of destinations to choose from.
Discover different cultures, soak up the history and ambience, catch rays on beautiful beaches, glide through vivid blue waters, spot incredible creatures and escape it all as you hit the water.
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