The shoreline of the Riviera has all the grandness that you read about. Casinos, 5 star hotels, exclusive boutiques, palm trees, sandy beaches and luxury villas for rent are situated along a glorious coastline. It has long been recognised as the preferred playground for the rich and famous, who refuse to settle for anything less than perfection. From the tranquility of the Porquerolles, the beautiful old port of St Tropez, the lights of Cannes and the grandness of Monaco, a cruise along this coast lets you see the unique variety the riviera has to offer. Some favourite places are the delights of Port Grimaud, which is a mini Venice based around canals. The islands of Cannes, with its beautiful turquoise waters. Pampelonne Beach, which is home of the famous St Tropez Beach Clubs: Club 55, Nikki Beach and KonTiki. The old town of Antibes and the exclusive Saint Jean Cap-Ferrat…the list is endless!
The Med’s best kept secret, even in August you can find yourself in a quiet bay, surrounding by rock formations or beautiful sandy beaches. Bonifacio is always a highlight as you navigate your way into the gap in the cliffs to find yourself in a natural port, there is a beautiful old town at the top which is well worth the walk up. As you move away from Bonifacio and head west, the beaches get quieter, carry on up the west coast to discover wonderful places like Campomorro, Cargese and Girolata. Take in the stunning red cliffs in the National Park and continue on up to Calvi, with its beautiful citadel that greets you as you head round to the town. It’s a magical part of the Western Med, with turquoise waters that you can not believe are real and that no one told you about sooner.
Sardinia is the largest island in the Mediterranean and the north east corner is famously know as the Costa Smerelda, playground of the rich. From the Gelateria in Porto Rotondo, the fun times at Phi Beach, the beautiful nights in Budelli, we have so many wonderful memories of cruising the area. Flying into Olbia it’s a 20 - 30 minute taxi ride to the marinas. Its only a few hours sail round to the Maddalena National Park, islands with beautiful turquoise waters, often busy in the day time with day trippers and quiet in the evenings as they all head back to port for the night. From here you can also cross the Bonifacio Straits and see some of southern Corsica which is also beautiful.
The bay of Naples lies in the shadow of Mount Vesuvius and on it’s seaward side lie the islands of Capri and Ischia. Along it’s shores are the ruins of the Roman city of Pompeii. Ischia is famous for it’s hot springs and on Capri you can take the funicular over the lemon trees up to the top of the island. Then heading to the east and onto the Amalfi Coast. You can stop in Galli, the legendary home of The Sirens, or why not drop anchor off Positano for the evening? A very pretty little town/village perched on the hillside. In Amalfi you can wander the cobbled streets and absorb the atmosphere, with it’s array of bars, restaurants and shops filled with local artists, pottery & paintings.
Offering stunning coastlines, dramatic volcanos and island hopping adventures, this is a magical place to visit. The easiest way to get to the Aeolian Islands is from northern Sicily, flying into Catania and taking a taxi up to Millazzo. Made up of seven volcanic islands; Lipari, Panarea, Filicudi, Alicudi, Salina, Vulcano & Stromboli, the Aeolian islands are described as a little piece of paradise, with stunning waters and natural wildlife. Containing two active volcanos, it’s as close to nature as you can get, with lots of trails to explore the wilderness. Panarea is the “VIP” island, ultra chic and picture perfect. Filicudi & Alicudi are off the beaten track and Salina has an abundance of fresh water, making it the greenest of all the islands. Lipari has some of the most beautiful coves for swimming and Stromboli delivers your own firework display, at any time of day and night, delivering a different island every day.
Mallorca, Menorca & Ibiza…it’s fair to say you won’t get to see all 3 in a week, but this is another area that has something for everyone. Menorca is the more quiet of the three and in a week you could easily circumnavigate the island. Mallorca is music larger and you should plan to take in half of the island, going either east or west around depending on the weather. With a variety of towns, quiet anchorages and flights everyday, it’s an easy place to get to. Ibiza is also a gem, whether you are brave enough to venture out and experience what is possibly the most famous nightclub scene in the world, or disappear into the tranquillity of the north. Failing that, you could venture across to the island of Formentera, with its beautiful sand dunes and pine trees.