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With its strategic position in the Mediterranean sea, the island of Sardinia has a long maritime tradition. With its high cliffs and wonderful beaches, a yacht charter on the island can present you with great views from the sea and great sailing conditions.
There is evidence that Sardinia was first occupied by Man as long as 100,000 years ago. Could the island be the 'real Atlantis'? There are a lot of references in the tale of the city consumed by the sea that matches the island, and once more a Sardinian civilization called the Nuragic people came to play an important role in Mediterranean trade for several centuries, around 1800 years BC.
The island has been subject to domination by different empires from the Byzantines to the Spanish and now, Italy. Each and every age of history has left its mark on Sardinia so though fiercely Catholic you will see references to local pages traditions in the different festivals that happen every year. From nearby Corsica Napoleon Bonaparte wanted Sardinia but the naval and land forces of Europe fended them off. You never know - you may sit in a restaurant once enjoyed by Admiral Lord Horatio Nelson himself!
There is even a language - Sardo - that only Sardinian people speak. The island nation is aware of its current and past ownership by different countries but still very much one of its own.
Rent a yacht in Sardinia to explore this diverse and unique nation on a sailing vacation. There is so much to explore and absorb from its beaches on the east coast to the deep local culture throughout that you may well come back home wanting for more!
Renting a yacht in Sardinia follows that of any Italian yacht charter. There is very little to worry about, as long as you have any paperwork you need to hand. If on a bareboat charter you will need your sailing certificates, as well as passport and a credit card/charter insurance policy to hand to cover the legal requirements of a Sardinia yacht charter.
If you are on a luxury yacht charter with a captain or crew aboard then you just need to worry about getting to the dock!
Whether bareboat or captained yacht charter you then leave the marina and off you go.
Expect beautiful, quiet, protected natural parks and peaceful beaches with few people around. Don't expect nightclubs full of people on chemicals gyrating to loud music until dawn. Expect fine Italian food and booze that will tickle the tastebuds - enjoy a little too much but don't expect large numbers of 18-year-olds competing to cause themselves liver damage.
The locals welcome yacht charter groups, but it is plain that the nation's primary economy - agriculture, fisheries, and viticulture - are of more interest to them than hordes of tourists tramping over their beautiful land. Respect them and they will welcome you warmly. The world adapts to Sardinian life - never in the fast lane but always deeply cultured, warm, and genuine.
There are direct flights from several airports in the UK and Europe. Let's look at the three main airports:
Cagliari: This is the capital of Sardinia and the international airport serves the south of the island.
Olbia: Serving the Costa Smeralda and north coast of Sardinia with its fine beaches, boutiques, fine dining, and laid-back vibe. There are a number of direct flights from Italian airports to Olbia too.
Alghero: This smaller international airport has direct flights from several European countries and is great for accessing the Costa Smeralda and west coast with its high cliffs and secluded anchorages.
Ferries from Civitavecchia: There are 38 sailings a day from Civitavecchia on Italy's west coast (not far from Rome). These serve the main cities of Cagliari, Alghero, and Olbia as well as a number of smaller towns on the island. In theory, you could drive to Italy and then take a car ferry or fly to Rome and go by bus and on foot to the island.
Almost every stereotype of island life on the Mediterranean can be found here. Beautiful natural harbors like the Cala di Volpe, stunning islets such as the Isola de Cappuccini, dominated by its abandoned Franciscan convent, and churches like the Stella Maris will astound you as you pause and wander this epicenter of luxury vacations.
Sailing the Maddalena islands is challenging as, as well as the 60 islands in the Maddalena archipelago there are an awful lot of rocks! On the Bonifacio Strait, the sailing can be very exciting too. That said with just one island - Maddalena Island - inhabited this is a chance for deep solitude and connection with nature. The views will awe you and the silence will reach deep into you. Don't miss the Spiaggia Rosa - the famous pink beach of Bocelli.
Most people fly or take a ferry into Olbia and don't really pause to appreciate the town. A laid-back town that was occupied long before the Romans arrived, it has a lot to take in. Do visit the archaeological museum, the Chiesa di San Paolo church, and the Basilica Minore di San Simplicio - the three main tourist attractions. The vibe is more why people visit - the food, the fine alcohol, and a chance to forget the world outside.
Typically Sardinian, a yacht charter along the north coast to the fishing village of Porto Pozzo will be a worthwhile pause on your trip around the island. There's much to absorb but this is no buzzing metropolitan center. You will get fish so fresh it was swimming just hours before it reaches your plate. Taste the locally made ice cream! Enjoy the natural world of the islands nearby.
On an island renowned for its snorkeling and scuba diving, Cannigione is widely held as one of the best villages for this even for Sardinia. There is a commercial fishing port - this means excellent fish in the restaurants - and the beach is astounding.
On the NE Costa Smeralda, Portisco has a large marina and is more town than a village. You may well charter a yacht direct from Portisco but it is worthy of a pause in its own right - perhaps the last gulp of town life before disappearing into a world of quiet villages and deserted anchorages! The white sandy beach is a great place to catch the sun while the bars and restaurants will get your stomach juices flowing.
Unlike many sleepy backwater destinations in Sardinia, this town has a buzz about it - if you have the cash to enjoy it! Buzzy nightspots where you can party all night and shop until you drop with the ladies who lunch at the top end boutiques and restaurants serving the best Sardinian cuisine. Perhaps lie back and relax at a luxury spa too? Once one of the top destinations of the billionaire elite, Porto Cervo still struts its stuff today and accessible directly from Olbia airport now.
Before you absorb yourself into the deep history of this important Mediterranean trading port of the past, do pop into Neptune's Grotto sea cave. That will give you a taste of the natural history of Alghero before you absorb yourself in a town that has relics of empires long into the past. Explore on foot or by bike.
Arriving in (or departing from) Marina Piccola, you will see the capital of Sardinia as sailors have done for centuries - through the marina itself is very modern! Cagliari is a small city in southern Sardinia with 150,000 citizens but the biggest city on the island. If beaches are your thing, drop by the five-mile (8km) long Poetto Beach where you are sure to find a big space to yourself. The history? This goes right back to pre-history so you will be spoiled to death as you explore it!
On the Isola di San Pietro, around four miles off the SW coast of Sardinia, Carloforte is the only urban center on the island with some 5,000 lucky residents calling it home. Unlike Sardinia's Sardo, the locals speak Ligurian, a language that is part European and part Tunisian. It started out as a fishing village but its quaint charms draw tourists from all over. Very much one of those dialed backstops on a yacht charter, you will be enchanted as you explore this beautiful village.
Cannigione on the northern coast of the island has a number of marinas from which to rent a boat. You can access it via Olbia airport or the ferry terminal at Olbia. Great for exploring the Emerald Coast and the Tyrrhenian Sea.
Olbia is one of the busiest transit towns in Sardinia with a ferry port and an airport. It also has a number of marinas from which you can set off to explore the NW and NE of Sardinia.
Porto Cervo is a party town with a large marina to launch your trip from. It has a number of superyacht berths so if that's your chosen means of exploring this fine island, could well be your departure point. Again, this is close to Olbia airport.
Cagliari on the south coast of Sardinia has its own airport and ferry port with links to mainland Italy. The capital of Sardinia, it is the nearest thing to a cosmopolitan center you're likely to find on the island! There are several marinas to depart from, easily accessible by taxi or bus from the airport.
What better way to see this great island than from the bridge of a motor yacht with your friends and family relaxing in the sunshine as you blast along? Often with en suite bathrooms and ample saloon, a motorboat can be a most enjoyable way of seeing this historic island in all its glory.
You will not be the only superyacht on Sardinian waters by any means. You never know - you may be able to do some networking with some of your comfortably off fellows on other boats! Fully crewed and coming in a variety of sizes from large to extremely large, you will find yourself pampered and rested as you see the very best that the island has to offer.
Like superyachts, these will often come with a captain and perhaps crew but can be sailed on your own too. You'll get what you pay for including perhaps a smaller water tender or toy for exploring those nooks and crannies of the coast and islands of Sardinia.
Still at the luxury end of yachting, and sometimes with sails or without, catamarans are great for getting close into shore thanks to their shallow drafts. That means you can have a barbecue, swim, and lie on the beach or rocks all with the boat a stone's throw away... They often have big spaces for sunbathing and the sailing catamarans have a good lick of speed on a reach too!
Though the smallest come in at a good budget price, monohull sailing yachts aren't all heeling on a wet beat! Often very comfortable in their own right, monohull yachts can be very fun to sail on waters that are renowned for their excellent sailing. Isn't the journey meant to be as exciting as the destination itself?
Where it comes to a Sardinia yacht charter you have two choices - bareboat rent or captained yacht charter. Both have their own advantages.
You don't need any sailing qualifications to have a captained yacht charter. That could mean you have no sailing experience at all or you could just lack the confidence to sail your family and friends yourself.
Another advantage of a captained yacht charter is that you will benefit from the local experience and knowledge of people who know these waters like the backs of their hands and should be able to show you things non-locals wouldn't risk or even know about.
Perhaps chained to your desk for the last six months you have dreamed of cutting loose and being your own person, in charge of your own journey and destinations with just your family, friends, and sea life for the company? You will need sailing qualifications (read below) but then can cut loose and experience the world under your own steam wherever you want...
If you want to bareboat charter you will need an approved boating qualification, below is a list of relevant qualifications:
International Certificate of Competence (ICC): Standard European Qualification for bareboat sailing
ASA 104 Bareboat sailing certificate: The American Sailing Associations captain minimum qualification for renting bareboat yachts
RYA: The Royal Yachting Association's qualifications (minimum day captain level) is necessary for bareboat charter rent, it's also worthwhile seeing do you need to have done a VHF radio course, as well as some boat owners, will require this.
There are also many other European national boating qualifications that are accepted here too. It's worthwhile checking these details before renting.
If you want a captained boat rental as a charter yacht then you don't need any sailing certification at all, you just turn up, and off you go.
Sardinia has some of the best sailings on the Mediterranean year-round. The season is March - September, and outside of the school vacations, you can enjoy sailing at a good price. In late September the seas are still warm yet it is cooler than the baking temperatures of August too.
July and August are the peak sailing season. This will mean marinas are more expensive and the anchorages are crowded. The nightspots and restaurants will be full, and for those for whom that is a draw, this will be the best time of year.
Mistral (Maestrale): Generally dying off to excellent sailing winds come March and picking up again in September, this NW wind comes from the French Alps and is the main wind of winter. It can be quite fierce and can pop its head up at any time of the year.
Libeccio: This SW wind tends to be the wind of summer, heating the air and getting feisty through the Bocche di Bonifacio between Sardinia and Corsica. It is dominant on the west coast of the island.
The Sirocco is a humid wind blowing from the deserts of North Africa. This is dry until it crosses the Mediterranean but the heat draws in moisture so expect a lot of humidity.
Yes, yacht rent in Sardinia is legal. It is one of the best ways to appreciate the island to its full too!
There is usually a boat that will meet every budget to rent in Sardinia. Whether a small RIB to explore a bay, a luxury yacht to see the islands in style, or partying about a multimillion Euro superyacht, you will find a vessel to rent with Borrow A Boat you can afford.
Do you have the qualifications and experience? If not you can take a captained yacht charter or gulet. You will need to passage plan and victual in the normal way on a bareboat charter. Consider which nights you want at anchor and which you want in port - and budget accordingly.
March to September is the main sailing season. July to August are the busiest and most expensive. If your kids don't need you at home, September can be the best time of year owing to price, warmth and peace and quiet!
You will normally pay 50% upfront ahead of taking on the yacht charter. You will pay the balance on arrival. In addition you will normally pay a refundable security deposit on your credit card - though this can be covered with a yacht charter insurance policy.
If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to/are on a mooring you will be able to phone a number given by the yacht charter company.
You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter you want to book and where do you want to go. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks lile the weather can be cool as well as warm
If you are coming from within the European Union you will not normally have to have a visa. If you are coming to Sardinia from outside, from many English speaking countries you will be allowed in on a standard tourist waiver or visa. If in doubt contact your Italian Embassy.
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