7 superb sailing experiences across the world

A sailing holiday with Sunsail couldn’t be easier, with literally a world of choice. Sail, swim and snorkel the planet; delve into rich cultures and enjoy delicious cuisines…

Team Wanderlust
21 February 2023
Promoted by
Sun Sail

This glorious Mediterranean country could not be more suited to sailing holidays, with its sweeping coastline boasting over 1,000 islands, making it ideal for island-hopping, whether you’re a novice, a more experienced sailor or are joining a flotilla. It is awash with natural drama, backed by towering limestone mountains, alive with national parks and bursting with wildlife. Everyone from the Romans and the Venetians through to the Ottomans once held sway over these waters, imbuing them with a palpable sense of history. A rich cultural and architectural legacy lingers today in deeply dramatic cities like Dubrovnik, a Sunsail base. Lord Byron’s ‘Pearl of the Adriatic’ stars with its sparkling UNESCO World Heritage and Game of Thrones charms, and is backed up by chocolate box pretty historic Dalmatian hubs like Split, Korcula Town (said to be Marco Polo’s hometown) and Hvar Town. The sailing school at Sunsail’s Agana Marina is yet another attraction of this multi-faceted coastline, Europe’s sunniest.

Natural and cultural splendour abounds among Croatia’s 1,000-plus islands

The mystical ‘Home of Western Civilisation’ is a country that has always revolved around the sea. It is quite simply a world-class sailing destination, with over 8,000 miles of coastline and over 2,000 islands. Those islands are also dramatically different, but all share in common great wildlife and a tantalising history and culture whose bedrock is Ancient Greece, and whose epic ruins spiral sailors back in time. Greece is a country of great wine and food, too – beginners will quickly fall in love with mooring up and tucking into a traditional mezé feast at the whitewashed waterfront tavernas. You have a trio of Sunsail bases to choose from – Athens, Corfu and Lefkas (which has its own sailing school) and myriad route options, too. Once you’ve learned the ropes or are a veteran sailor in the first instance, you can take the helm of a bareboat yacht charter to challenge yourself with prolonged periods of open-water sailing pushing out to the scattered Saronic Islands. Or, just relax with easy line-of-sight exploration through the Heptanese Islands or join a flotilla to gain the support of a Sunsail leader as part of a like-minded group.

Explore the many sun-soaked islands of Greece on a Sunsail adventure

Ever dreamt of finding your own real life Treasure Island? Well here it is in the glorious British Virgin Islands (BVI). These Caribbean islands are a sailor’s paradise, with the quartet of main islands backed up by a flurry of smaller treasures. There isn’t a better place for a sailor still trying to find their sea legs, with the sea calm and the gentle blow of the trade winds keeping you moving. The BVI offers easy deep-water island stretches, as well as line-of-sight navigation and sheltered anchorages. Sailing in the BVI is like sailing through a glossy brochure, the aquarium-clear water is really that blue, the sand as pristine. The main island of Tortola is a bougainvillea-clad gem, the yacht charter capital of the Caribbean. Then there is the French-Caribbean fusion cuisine – a delicious delight. Scenic highlights include the dramatic rock formations of The Baths on Virgin Gorda, with its boulders, grottos and natural pools, and the jaw-dropping tropical sealife you encounter snorkelling or diving Anegada, the BVI’s coral atoll.

Cruise the aquarium-like waters of the British Virgin Islands to your heart’s content

The ‘Jewel of the Windwards’ more than lives up to all the hype. A Saint Lucia sailing holiday with Sunsail is a bareboat or skippered charter joy. There are superb sailing conditions with year-round sunshine and varied seasonal winds – summer’s calmer waters are ideal for beginners. Choose a line of sight trip, or open water passages over to St. Vincent & the Grenadines and Martinique. Set sail heading south to St. Vincent & the Grenadines. Explore tranquil Bequia, eight miles south of St. Vincent, an island immersed in maritime history. The Tobago Cays are a sweep of deserted islets with some of the Caribbean’s best diving and snorkelling. On Saint Lucia itself savour grilled Caribbean lobster after a day hiking through the thick rainforests. Or just ease off to your very own secluded cove for a day, immersing yourself in the unspoilt and peaceful nature.

Ford past the Pitons on a Sunsail Saint Lucia holiday

From the moment you set sail from Sunsail’s hub on remote Mahé Island you realise you are sailing somewhere deeply special. The Seychelles is a 115-island archipelago with a tantalising choice of relatively unexplored islands set adrift in the expanse of the Indian Ocean. There are consistent, sometimes strong winds suiting experienced sailors taking out bareboat charters in these spectacular waters. This is the stuff of Robinson Crusoe – you’ll find islands where the imprint of man is minimal. Warm weather is a given as you sail with all manner of marine mammals, from dolphins and hawksbill turtles to migratory whales and whale sharks. When you moor, slip into the turquoise waters and explore colourful reefs teeming with life. The Seychelles are a world-class snorkelling and scuba diving destination. The island of Mahé is cloaked in thick forests that harbour rare plant and animal species, like carnivorous pitcher plants, giant Aldabra tortoises, and 26 native species of land-dwelling crabs.

Glide among the Seychelles’ cerulean waters

It is easy to see why writer Robert Louis Stevenson and painter Paul Gauguin both sought and found inspiration and solace in French Polynesia, and why the crews of the first Western ships to chance upon the Tahitian archipelago were said to have jumped ship, never to return. Tahiti and her siblings do look like a painting, an impossible vision of soaring emerald mountain, plunging rainforest and starched white sand, its reefs giving the sandy atolls an almost impossibly pretty appeal. The everpresent trade winds and balmy weather make French Polynesia a classic year-round sailing destination, a serious adventure as many of these South Pacific islands are spread tens or even hundreds of miles apart. First-time sailors can set sail from Sunsail’s Polynesian base at Raiatea, which is surrounded by countless tiny islands and atolls. Raiatea’s self-contained lagoon offers gentle sailing experiences, as well as world-class snorkelling and diving, where you’ll marvel at myriad marine life.

It pays to peek below the surface on a sailing trip around French Polynesia

Thailand offers some of the finest cuisine, beaches and scenery in Southeast Asia, which means it boasts some of the finest of all three in the world. Sunsail’s base is on the paradisical Andaman Sea on the famous resort island of Phuket, the ‘Pearl of the Andaman’. Phuket offers swathes of history, limestone scenery, bountiful beaches and thick rainforest, a taste of what is to come amongst the 130 Andaman Islands. Take a bareboat charter, with or without a skipper, and search for marine parks and deserted islands in the emerald waters. Below the surface are darting turtles and giant manta rays. Even savour the soul-stirring experience of swimming with whale sharks. If the Phi Phi islands look familiar it’s because Hollywood loves them. The otherworldly beauty of Maya Bay, where The Beach was filmed, will astound friends back home. The food throughout is superb, not least on Ko Lanta, where you sail into isolated villages for some of Southeast Asia’s finest cuisine.

Sail among Hollywood-worthy landscapes in Thailand

About the experts

Sunsail has been offering sailing escapes since 1974 and invented the flotilla concept. Their array of trips stretches to over 20 destinations worldwide, so the biggest decision you will have is where to begin. Sunsail’s choice of adventures is impressive too, whether you are looking to hire a skipper, join a flotilla or charter a yacht on a bareboat sailing holiday. Sunsail can tailor your holiday based on your experience and desires. The choice is yours, with a dedicated team of holiday planners on hand to help you out. Sunsail offers full flexibility and by being ABTA and ATOL protected your holiday is in safe hands. Sailing with Sunsail is not hard to organise, or to do. The only limit is your imagination as you make your dream sailing trip a reality.

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