Few luxury yacht charter destinations can claim to have the history, art and culture of the Western Mediterranean, and this alluring stretch of coast becomes even more desirable as the weather warms up in summer. Festivals, concerts and other large-scale social events draw visitors from the world over, however, you can slip away from the crowds and find tranquillity aboard your luxury yacht.
Your highly-trained crew will take care of every detail while you unwind in the sunshine, catching up with family and friends over hobbies and social events. Play on the water toys and discover the Mediterranean‘s beautiful wildlife, then end the day with a nightcap under starry skies before drifting off to sleep in your own comfortable cabin.
Below are some of the highlights the Western Mediterranean has to offer, appealing to young families, honeymooners, friends groups and adventurers of all ages year after year.
The French Riviera is also known as the Cote d’Azur and is the world’s busiest luxury yacht charter destination over the summer months: Celebrities the world over attend the Cannes Film Festival, which marks the start of the season. Parties, festivals and galas fill the social calendar, and the weather is perfect for a trip to the beach. Cannes itself has plenty of shops and cafes along its waterfront, as well as a casino and the Palais des Festivals exhibition centre where the famous film festival is held. For more history and culture, Le Suquet to the west has museums and historic villas to satisfy your curiosity.
The Iles de Lérins just a short cruise away make for a quick escape to quiet coves for sunbathing and water sports away from the crowds, and there are tracks for when guests want to stretch their legs and visit the island fort for more history.
Art lovers should not miss an opportunity to tour the streets of Nice, where the beautiful buildings are just one part of the rich creative culture that thrives to this day. Visit the Musée Matisse and the local galleries, where you might fall in love with something to take home as a souvenir of your amazing trip.
The principality of Monaco is often included as part of the French Riviera, and this compact destination has some of the greatest luxuries the region has to offer: Dine at the memorable Cafe de Paris after a satisfying morning updating your wardrobe at exclusive boutiques and internationally renowned brands, then prepare for a glamorous evening of thrills at the casino.
Depending on when you arrive, you can watch the Monaco Grand Prix from your sundeck in the marina, giving you first-class service and comfort.
Those looking for an escape into nature have multiple options to choose from, such as the Calanques National Park near Marseilles to the west, while the Iles d’Hyeres are virtually untouched. Corsica is the main destination for secretive coves and soft sandy beaches, where there are more than 300 to choose from. The area around Porto Vecchio is a favourite for those who don’t want to stray too far from civilisation, and the Italian island of Sardinia and the magnificent snorkelling sites of the La Maddalena National Park are just a short cruise away.
Many luxury yacht cross over from the Cote d’Azur to the Italian Riviera and vice versa, taking in a blend of both cultures while visiting great beaches and sites for playing on the water toys or sunbathing in complete peace. Cinque Terre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of ‘Five Villages’ that can only be accessed on foot or by boat, limiting the number of travellers to the region. These colourful destinations are ideal to stop off for ice cream and a stroll, and you can hike along the clifftop from one village to the next and meet your crew at the other end.
Update your wardrobe and pick up some luxury gifts for family and friends back home at Forte Dei Marmi, and arrange to head inland to Pisa to see the leaning tower. Tuscany has a wild beauty, from its rolling hills down to the shimmering seas, and destinations such as the island of Elba make the perfect backdrop to host your own party on board or simply enjoy the sunshine in privacy.
Watch world-renowned regattas at Porto Cervo on Sicily and get in some more high-end shopping with international brands and bespoke items before cursing off to the amazing beaches or the attractive snorkelling and Scuba diving sites at La Maddalena Archipelago.
Lastly, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands are the perfect escape for those who want to get away from it all and enjoy life at a slower pace, walking along black sand beaches or visiting volcanic craters to watch lava spit colourful sparks into the night sky.
Art lovers have plenty to see and do along the Spanish coast, particularly in Barcelona, where Gaudi has left his mark with Parc Guell, Casa Mila and La Sagrada Familia to name but a few attractions. The Gothic Monastery ‘Monasterio de Pedralbes’ is ideal for a tranquil stroll, and there are plenty of museums where local culture over the millennia has been carefully preserved. It’s also a great location of Michelin-starred dining, should you ever want to try something different from the amazing creations of your onboard chef. Enjoy the beach club vibe at OneOcean Port Vell, and take in the sunset from the marina surrounded by other impressive superyachts.
Farther north along the mainland there are plenty of beaches and coves to discover around L’Escala, and the Home and Museum or Salvador Dali awaits visitors in Cadaqués.
The Balearic Islands are the most popular charter grounds in Spain not just for its vibrant nightlife attracting international DJs in the summer months, but also its impressive selection of beaches and historic cities filled with ancient wonders. Mallorca and Menorca are great for golden sand beaches, historic sites and fantastic shopping opportunities, particularly from local artists, and under the water, there are amazing snorkelling and Scuba diving sites suited to beginners through to advanced.
The Western Mediterranean has an exceptional fleet of luxury yachts available throughout the summer season, and during the low season, there are still many fantastic vessels to suit a range of budgets, purposes and interests. Wherever you cruise, wonderful beaches and impressive cultural attractions are never far away.