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An Italian yacht charter has got to be close to the top of every sailor's bucket list! With its stunning beauty and often fun sailing, an Italian yachting vacation on the Mediterranean Sea can be a lot of fun.
There are four main areas for yacht chartering around Italy and these are mostly around the country's west coast. Venice on the east coast is one of those destinations for your bucket list but is a long way by sea from the most popular sailing areas in the country.
So what's on offer for someone taking a boat rental in Italy? Fine food and fine people with a heavy dash of fine culture hardly spoil some great coastal views and towns. The weather in the sailing season between May and October is just perfect for yachting with winds sitting in the F3-5 bracket most of the time. All of this in bright sunshine that lights up the sea to a gem-blue color.
The nightlife? Italians know how to party in style! Letting off steam ashore is a must-do as you explore this great nation by sea. As a package that makes Italy one of the top yacht charter destinations in the world.
There are four broad yacht charter destinations in Italy - the Bay of Naples and Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia. In all four you can both explore the mainland coastline or go island hopping to other destinations like the Tuscan Islands or the Aeolian Islands, and even (if the sometimes beefy winds of the Strait of Bonifacio don't put you off) crossing to Corsica from Sardinia.
The yacht charter Italy process is manageable and easy. If you have the sailing qualifications for a bareboat yacht charter you can book online at Borrow A Boat and after paying a security deposit can cast off on your charter yacht reasonably quickly on arrival. For those on a captained yacht charter, you have even less to worry about as the captain of the luxury yacht charter takes care of that!
You will pay similar yacht rental fees to other countries in the region. Outside of school vacations, you will often find that marina fees are lower than in Croatia or Greece in some cases. That means you can afford to find your away around the towns and cities you visit with their restaurants and bars that you may wish to stay in a while.
As we said above there are four main sailing regions to charter a yacht in Italy - the Bay of Naples and Amalfi Coast, Tuscany, Sicily and Sardinia.
Backed by the infamous Mount Vesuvius volcano, the Bay of Naples and Amalfi Coast is a stunning sailing destination. At the southern end is the Sorrento Peninsula and just offshore of that the island of Capri. Moving to the northern end of the Bay of Naples are the islands of Ischia and Procida that are very welcome to sailors. Naples itself is a big, buzzing city in its own right with a great culture to explore and taste.
Tuscany and the Tuscan Islands is arguably the most popular sailing destination on the Italian coast. Yes, its fine wines are a draw but so are its towns and villages that are jaw-droppingly pretty. Pisa and Florence are cities not to be ignored!
The Tuscan archipelago islands of Capraia, Elba, Giglio and Giannutri are easily accessible by sea and with their marinas are great for an evening's rest from the sailing of the day.
The island just off the 'toe' of southern Italy has its own mythos thanks to the Mafia that used to reign supreme there. The island has a deep and fascinating human history going back thousands of years. Visit the Aeolian Island archipelago and the Aegadi islands as you explore this beautiful archipelago.
Sardinia is a top charter destination in the world. With ports and marinas quite evenly spaced along the sailing area, you can go for a shorter or longer day at sea and still have somewhere to relax for the evening.
The east coast with its sandy beaches is more sheltered and is one of the best vacation areas in the whole of Italy. The west coast is more exposed but its rugged coastline will keep you looking in wonder for hours on end.
All of the four regions we looked at above are peppered with yacht charter opportunities. Among these let's focus on some of the main towns and cities:
Salerno on the eastern end of this region is the main city for an Amalfi Coast yacht charter here. To the west of the Sorrento peninsula is Procida, while to the north of the region you will find many yachts available in Nettuno.
In the center of the Tuscany coast is Scarlino where you will find a large number of yacht charters available. San Vincenzo to the north is also a busy yacht charter town and to the very north, you will find many available in Castiglioncello. Do pay a visit to the exquisite Tuscan archipelago just offshore.
Capo Orlando and Portorosa on the northern coast of the island are the main boat rental towns.
Cannigione and Portisco on the NE coast are the two main yacht charter destination centers of Sardinia.
As with much of France if you wish to drive to the west coast of Italy you can - this will be around two days if you aren't in a hurry. Trains via London and Paris are also possible, cutting the security checks and sitting around of flying. In the next sections however, we will look at flying to Italy as it is quicker and more convenient overall.
Naples Airport (NAP) is the main airport for this region. It's about 40 miles from the Amalfi Coast - book a coach from the airport to your chosen yacht charter departure point. Taxis are another option but can be a little more expensive.
Getting to Tuscany from the UK is either direct to Pisa or via Florence and then by train to Pisa and on by coach to your yacht charter town. Flights to Florence and Pisa will cost similar sums so it might only be worth flying to Florence should there be limited flights on your chosen day of arrival in Italy.
The main airport in Sicily is Catania-Fontanarossa (CAT) on the east of the island. You can get flights here year-round from the UK. Palermo's Falcone-Borsellino takes flights from the UK in the summer season, while a new airport, Comiso in the SE also takes summer season flights from the UK.
There are year-round flights from London and Manchester to Cagliari and Olbia on the island.
For those with tens of thousands of Euros and more a day to spend, a superyacht charter may well be your vessel of choice. Fully crewed luxury charter yachts with staff to meet your every need, you will find an experience aboard quite unlike any ashore. Want to go water skiing, jet skiing or even sailing on a smaller yacht? Many of these vessels will carry these aboard too.
Want to get about while unworried about the wind? A motor cruiser rental will get you where you want to go. Italians love a bit of power and speed so expect some kick when you put the throttles onto full ahead! You will often find many of the comforts of home aboard and plenty of space for entertaining.
With far more space than monohulls, these yachts also fix the Italians' need for speed as they can be very quick under sail! Most are extremely comfortable with en suite showers and heads in every stateroom and plenty of space for entertaining and sunbathing when not underway.
Metre for metre far cheaper than sailing catamarans, monohulls may be less luxurious but many say are more fun to sail than their twin-hulled equivalents. They are also better when sailing close to the wind - if there's an upwind leg you should get there quicker without having to turn the diesel on!
You don't need sailing experience or qualifications to go on a yacht charter in Italy. Why? You can have a captain aboard.
For an extra fee, their food and a tip at the end of the yacht rent period you can rent a captain to sail the boat where you want to go. They will know the best anchorages and be able to suggest the best destinations when you go on a run ashore.
You can put in as much or as little effort as you like into sailing this way. You never know - you may go for some sailing lessons when you get home!
If you have the right sailing qualifications and experience to sail a yacht then you can take out a bareboat charter of a yacht in Italy. You are then completely free to take the boat wherever you like and to your own schedule without someone outside of your party sharing your space.
If you are on a bareboat charter in Italy then you will need a sailing qualification that is recognised by the Italian authorities.
If you are from Europe or the UK you will be able to use your International Certificate of Competence (ICC).
Other major sailing qualifications like the RYA Day Skipper and ASA 104 Bareboat certificate are also recognised.
If you are on a captained yacht charter you don't need any sailing qualifications at all. Enjoy!
The sailing season in Italy is from May to October. Outside of the high season in July/August, you will find many marinas have enough room to meet demand and will often be cheaper than Greece or Croatia.
In some parts of Italy's sailing meccas, the prices rocket in July/August and you may end up paying hundreds of Euros for the last available berth if you're lucky enough to get one!
As such the best times to sail in Italy are during school term in September or October when the sea is still warm but the marinas and towns relaxed and quiet. If you want Italy at full throttle in the maximum heat of summer the high season may well be for you!
The climate as a whole is warm between May and October though even in May it can get a bit fierce and the heat is legendary in July and August - don't bring your woollies as you won't need them!
Let's first look at the winds. The Maestral (Mistral) can reach the Bay of Naples and west coast of Sardinia at most times of the year. By the time it reaches Italy it has lost much of its gusto though do be aware of it funnelling through the Strait of Bonifacio between Sardinia and Corsica - things can get interesting.
The hot, humid southerly Scirocco can make things extremely uncomfortable at night in southern Italy and around Sicily. Expect temperatures to hardly dip at night from the high 30s in the day. Orange hued fog (colored by Sahara Desert sand) is another issue, adding to the discomfort!
Similar to the Scirocco is the Libeccio, a south-westerly wind that can also bring heavy rain and the orange muck from the Sahara. This is a common enough wind in Tuscany and Sardinia.
To the north around Venice is the Tramontana falling off the Alps. This is stronger at night, but brings cool air as respite from the heat of summer.
In July and August however, many of the winds seem to take a rest for the year. You could end up motoring for much of your sailing vacation!
The cost to rent a yacht depends on what you want and when you want to use it.
For a superyacht expect to pay $20,000 a day and up even at the low season - far more in July/August. You can still pay $5,000 a day for a well-appointed bareboat motor cruiser. For a good sailing catamaran, these can cost upwards of $2000 a day. At the other end of the scale, a small sailing monohull that sleeps up to six will cost around $100 a day in low season.
From its 3,000 years of civilisation and culture to its modern-day flair, Italy is a great place to visit. Whether its wines and food or the beautiful scenery, you will not be disappointed in what you see, feel, smell and taste.
The sailing conditions are among the best in the world so a week or two exploring the coast of this fantastic country is something not to be missed. What are you waiting for? Rent a yacht in Italy using Borrow A Boat today!
The yacht charter industry is a mainstay of Italian tourism. As long as the company and yacht meet international and national regulations it is perfectly legal to rent a yacht in Italy.
You can rent almost any type of yacht from a superyacht sailing yacht to a motor cruiser to a modest but comfortable sailing monohull. Check out Borrow A Boat to see what is on offer!
You should consider your preferred sailing location, how much you can afford and whether you have the sailing qualifications to bareboat charter or need a captain amongst other things.
The busiest time to rent a yacht is in the July/August high season. It is cooler, cheaper and less crowded in September and October but the sea still retains the warmth of summer.
Yes, you will have to pay a deposit on making the reservation with the yacht charter company. Before heading out to sea you will pay a refundable security deposit on the yacht with a credit card but this can be replaced with insurance that you can buy ahead of the trip.
As ever, if at sea and in danger you should call the Coastguard for help via Ch16 on VHF. If you can make it into port safely do so and call the yacht charter company for advice on a number they will give you.
Are you bringing children? They will influence what you do and when you go. Bring cash as things are often cheaper if paid for this way. Look at the weather forecast for the week ahead of your trip to get an idea of what to expect weather-wise.
If you are from within the European Union, Switzerland, Norway or Iceland then you will not require a visa. Many other countries like the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand have tourist visa exemptions for up to 90 days in the country. If in doubt, check with the Italian Embassy website in your country.
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