Home to a world of rich culture, historical importance and breathtaking destinations, Europe is the only place to head as summer hits the Northern hemisphere. From the ever-popular Mediterranean to the Hawaii of Europe, there’s literally something for everyone.
The European yachting season begins in late April and runs all the way through to early October, giving you a good six months to island-hop, shop, soak up the vibrant atmosphere and explore a myriad of cultures and countries.
Looking to join the superyacht crowd in Europe this summer? Here are some of the best places to head on your yacht charter in Europe to enjoy the best that the continent has to offer.
1. The Glorious Greek Cyclades
Perfectly located in the Aegean sea, 39 stunning islands await. Found nestled between Athens and Crete, watch the sunset over Santorini, party the night away on Mykonos, or escape the crowds and head for the uninhabited island of Delos. There’s a reason why the Greek islands are so popular with the jet-set crowd, and that’s because each comes with its own unique charm and atmosphere.
The island of Milos is famed for its stunning coastline, with towering cliffs and stunning rock formations dotted with gem-coloured houses at every turn. It’s also home to the most beaches on all the islands, with transparent waters, soft white sands and plenty of dining opportunities. The interior of the island is much more rustic, reflecting a more traditional way of life. The best way to explore Milos is by slowly sailing around it, stopping off at some of the best bays to be found.
If you want to enjoy a party atmosphere minus the throngs of people, the island of Mos is brimming with cosmopolitan bars, restaurants and clubs popular with the younger crowd from Northern Europe. While fantastic for letting your hair down, it’s seen as a more upmarket and intimate version of Mykonos.
2. The Captivating Croatian Coast
Each year, an increasing number of visitors are making their way to the Croatian coast to charter yachts and explore the best the Adriatic has to offer. With more than 1,000 islands and islets, it is fast outpacing the draw of once steadfast destinations in the Mediterranean. But what is it that’s bringing so many people to this part of Europe? One of the biggest factors is its unspoilt beauty that harks back to the 1950’s and 1960’s golden era of the French Riviera.
Split and Dubrovnik are two amazing cities well worth visiting and sailing between the two is one of the most popular yacht charter itineraries, perfect for a week. Explore the islands of Hvar, Korčula and Brac as you make your way to Dubrovnik. On arrival to Southern Croatia, you’re welcomed to a walled city filled with culture, history, shopping and entertainment.
Of course, the beaches along the Croatian coast are what everyone is really here for. Marinas can be found along the entire stretch of coast, giving ample opportunity to enjoy Uvala Lapad Beach, Niska Laguna and Saldun bay. It’s close proximity to Eastern Italy makes Croatia absolutely perfect for spending some time in Venice, San Marino and Bari before heading off into the Med.
3. Nautical Northern Portugal
While France undoubtedly receives the most international tourists each year, Portugal is the number one destination for Europeans vacationing in Europe. And if you want to know the best places to visit in Europe, then following the locals is a surefire way to do it. Located to the South and West of Spain, facing Northern Africa and home to some of the most outstanding scenery in the world, Portugal is unique in the fact it’s classed as a Mediterranean country – even though its coast is distinctly North Atlantic. From the tourist haven of the Algarve to the stunning Douro Valley, no visit to Europe is complete without dedicating a good portion of time to this artistic and cultural hub.
Often overlooked in favour of the call of the Algarve, Northern Portugal is a paradise for superyachts and yacht charters that demand spectacular natural beauty, friendly locals, mouthwatering cuisine, and of course, the best wine around. From the city of Oporto, sail into the mouth of the Douro Valley and make your way past rustic vineyards, cascading waterfalls, river islands, scenic villages and towering mountains.
At the border between Portugal and Spain, you’ll find the Port City of Caminha. Drop anchor and explore this medieval city before hedging to the first beach in Portugal at Moledo do Minho. Coffee culture is big business here, with cafes, restaurants and bars found along the seafront, taking advantage of volcanic mountains, eucalyptus forests, fantastic surfing and scenic paddleboarding. Once you’ve arrived in Northern Portugal, you’ll find yourself wanting to extend your stay as you fall in love with the diamond of Southern Europe.
4. The Azores
Portugal has already featured on this list, but it wouldn’t be right to bypass the Portuguese islands of the Azores. Located in the middle of the Atlantic, you’ll be hard pushed to find more dramatic scenery than here. Home to hedgerows of blue hydrangeas, sprawling vineyards, tea plantations and perfect for a spot of whale watching, it’s a stunning crossover of the beauty of the Mediterranean and the green ruggedness of New Zealand.
Often referred to as the European Hawaii or the Galapagos of the Atlantic, the Azores offer up multiple yacht charter itineraries worth checking out. From the conical volcanoes to twin lakes and emerald green fields to upscale eateries, it’s easy to lose yourself here. Plus, with nine major islands to discover, every day brings a whole new landscape. Located 1,520km from mainland Portugal, it’s a bit of a journey to make – but one that will reward you with scenery you’ll not forget in a hurry.
5. Glamourous Gibraltar
6.8km2 limestone ridge is home to a long and sometimes tumultuous history, the only wild monkey population in all of Europe, cable cars, more than 150 stalagmite filled caves, and beautiful botanic gardens. Marina Bay is where you’ll find the best place to drop anchor, with an infrastructure designed to cater to superyachts.
In fact, with 4 different marinas available in the calm Gulf of Gibraltar, there are plenty of places to dock. Besides some pretty beautiful beaches and stunning views across to Tangiers, Gibraltar is also home to the Great Siege Tunnels. The nature reserve has a towering skywalk at a whopping 340m above the Mediterranean, perfect for Instagram-worthy photoshoots.
Come evening, Gibraltar bursts into life with upscale restaurants, oceanside bars and waterfront clubs welcoming the yachting elite. Unlike neighbouring Spain, the official language of Gibraltar is English, but its atmosphere is distinctly Mediterranean. If you’ve got time on your hands, why not make the 80-minute crossing to Morocco for a day of shopping in the souks. Its proximity to the Med, the Atlantic countries and northern Africa makes Gibraltar one of the very best hubs for yachting in the Northern Hemisphere.
Where to Charter Luxury Yachts in Europe
Whether you’re wanting to spend the summer in Spain, discover the rugged Atlantic coast or island-hop around Greece, there’s nowhere quite like the Northern Hemisphere in the summer. With yachts to charter in all of the major destinations, Ahoy Club is ready to give you the experience of a lifetime.
From planning the ultimate yachting itinerary to taking care of your every need, find the perfect superyacht to fit your lifestyle and explore the beauty of the Northern world in style.
Ready to discover the best yacht charter in Europe? Let’s go.