“Travel is the only delightful thing that you will never waste your money on,” the famous adage goes. There’s no refuting the wisdom in that. Traveling as frequently as you can, especially to new destinations, will not only expand your realm of thinking but also help you understand and accept different new cultures, in addition to gifting you with new experiences and opportunities. Overall, apart from the fresh perspective that you gain after a stint of traveling, daring a new destination is an excellent way of honing your resourcefulness and creativity. So it is not also surprising some of the most ambitious and cultured people are also very well traveled.
Speaking of traveling, there’s arguably no better way of embarking on a globetrotting mission than via a yacht. A voyage, unlike traveling by air, rail or road gives you an unfettered view of the majestic beauty of the wondrous sea, in the backdrop of an azure sky and vibrant marine life beneath your deck sandals. That being said, here are some of the amazing destinations that only a yacht charter can bring to life, forget Google maps.
1. The Dodecanese Islands
Just as the name suggests, the name of this cluster of Islands loosely translates to ‘the 12 Islands’ from ancient Greek. This island complex is lauded for being one of the ‘sunniest corners’ of Greece, and true to its reputation, it is a mass of 12 swathes of land in sea flanked by a few smaller ones. This archipelago is then complemented beautifully by white sandy beaches, clear turquoise waters, magnificent Byzantine, ancient statues and monuments, and more importantly, historical, archaeological finds. And if you’re feeling a little adventurous, the unspoiled virgin destinations of Pserimos and Leros offer a decent challenge.
If not so, Kos and Rhodes, two of the most famous and cosmopolitan islands in this group, harbor strong and unforgettable memories that you’re likely to treasure for a long time to come. Away from this magnificent Old City is Mandraki – one of the oldest natural harbors in the world. And if you ever get a chance to get lost in this paradisal corner of the earth, the Telendos is the perfect place to go kayaking, scuba diving, hiking, surfing, canoe-kayaking and spear-fishing at a go.
It may not be a typical tropical paradise like the Bahamas, but it offers a bucketload of unique experiences to both the novice and seasoned traveler. Geographically, the little-known group of Galapagos Islands is a collection of a volcanic archipelago with a fragile ecosystem that just goes to show the vast extent of biodiversity that you can expect here. In fact, you don’t need to be a trained evolutionary biologist nor ornithologists to see that this is one of the few places on earth where modern human influence is yet to set foot.
For those of among us who are interested in the Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution, the Galapagos Islands have an elite research institution named after the famous evolutionary scientist tucked away in the fringes of the island. Apart from containing the usual stuff found in conventional museums, the Darwin’s Institute also has a walk-in tortoise enclosure next to an incubator with newly hatched tortoises. Collectively, the Galapagos is home to some of them as old as 2000 years or as young as four months.
3. The Exumas
The Exumas is to Nassau, Bahamas what Coronado is to Los Angeles. Laid back, exotic, sparsely populated and feels more like a private resort than a public beach. Boasting of sapphire-blue waters amidst a serene backdrop, the Exuma islands can also be termed as an exotic collection of top global dream destinations rolled up in one attractive package. A combination of ultra-exclusive resorts and footprint-free beaches make these Islands such a tropical gem to look forward after a luxurious voyage. It is no wonder that some of the world’s A-list celebrities love to hang out around this place.
Having said that, it is only in Exumas that nature really outnumbers man. This is one of the few remaining unspoiled places on earth that can qualify as the ultimate escape. Just like the number of days we have in a year, the Exumas is a stunning archipelago consisting of 365 islands and cays. The first one is approximately 30 nautical miles off Nassau, which means that you can dock and replenish your supplies at the capital before heading out to savor the true Caribbean experience. Combine the world-class golf courses here, the white sandy beaches, the 5-star spa resorts, and the tropical sun on your face, and you’ll get an idea why the Exumas stands out from the crowd.
4. Croatia and Montenegro
From the dramatic coastlines to the centuries-old fortified ancients and the ever-brimming national parks, there’s no denying that Croatia & Montenegro are an Isle of heritage and culture. Steeped in hundreds of years of medieval and modern history, walking through Croatia & Montenegro feels like wandering in a 1960s film set of well-preserved Roman places interspersed and winding cobbled streets. If anything, it is recommended that you combine the beach and city to squeeze the most travel juice out of your voyage here. As soon as you dock here, start your exploration in the effervescent coastal city of Dubrovnik – one of the key filming locations of the epic Game of Thrones – before proceeding to Korcula Island. Now, Korcula Island is a quaint sleepy hermit with a cluster of a charming and beautiful stone houses.
Croatia & Montenegro is also home to UNESCO’s world famous Heritage Site found on the fringes of Kotor. This is arguably one of the most impressive places along the Adriatic stretch. If you have ever been to South East Asia, it will remind you of Vietnam, especially the imposing limestone rocks enveloped by the turquoise green waters.
5. Spain Balearic Isles
The Balearic Islands are without a doubt some of the most popular vacation destination found in the Western Mediterranean. Nothing combines enchanting coves, lush natural terrain, gorgeous tropical sunsets like the Balearic Isles. What’s more, you can enjoy and savor the islands in any way you please – whether is by relaxing in a serene atmosphere of a well-deserved quiet and peace or partying to the wee hours of the morning in the Isle’s vibrant nightlife. The Balearic Isles also mean that you can wander through the fishing hermits in the northern corridor and unearth some of the most outstanding gorgeous and natural landscapes in the Mediterranean. If you’re an adrenaline junkie, then there is a broad range of exciting water sports that you can enjoy here.
Formentera and Minorca, two of the most serene corners in the Balearic, are also the definition of paradisal tranquility. On the end of the spectrum, Ibiza, one of the largest islands here is renowned party hotspot, apart from being a World Heritage site courtesy of the UNESCO. However, we all know why Ibiza is popular among revelers around the world – the exhilarating and non-stop nightlife.
6. BVI Tortola
Lush green mountains, powdery white and grand sandy beaches and an expansive blue sea that stretches endlessly. That’s the pictorial definition of Tortola Islands in the British Virgin Islands. To crown it all, the Tortola has an array of yacht-filled harbors, just to show you how popular this BVIs capital island has grown to become. The dark past of the West Indies ( the slavery era ) and the much more promising present-day British Virgin Islands mingle and mix effortlessly alongside a collection of some of the best luxury hotels and resorts on earth. That explains why Tortola draws visitors and tourists from all the four corners of the planet. If it is not superb palm-shaded tropical beaches such as Brewer’s Bay, Apple Bay, Smuggler’s Cove, Elizabeth Beach, Long Bay Beach and, of course, Josiah’s Bay Beach, it is the exotic campgrounds in Trellis Bay and Brandywine.
There’s no shortage of pleasurable activities to indulge in as soon as you disembark here; from fishing and the exciting watersports in the naturally protected anchorages at Soper’s hole and Brandywine Bay. Avid surfers, on the other hand, can look forward to daring the Cane Garden Bay. If you’re the more adventurous type, step away from the pristine lazy beach life for a few hours and discover BVI Tortola’s rich history shrouded in the 1780 Fort Burt and the Lower Estate Sugar Museum, Callwood’s Rum Distiller and the VI Fo.
Dilapidated, embattled, worn but still dignified and only a short yacht charter from Miami Florida. There’s no refuting that Cuba has that unmistakable allure of the forbidden fruit that we are guilty of clamoring after, particularly those among us who live for the moment. It is surprising how even after more than 60 years of numerous political and social setbacks, Cuba still manages to retain its upbeat and vibrant nature. The locals here are not just welcoming and friendly, they are also always eager to show you around as well.
Aesthetically speaking, Cuba is still reminiscent of the old colonial days. The grandiose of Havana, Remedios and Trinidad still pulsate through the cobbled streets that line up a majority of the streets in this Caribbean nation. Despite the fact that most of the buildings in Havana, for instance, lie derelict as if waiting for a major facelift, the heirlooms still have that notable glow that betrays a past filled with intrigue and opulence. But that doesn’t mean that you won’t chance on a couple of retro-themed trendy restaurants and a collection of spectacular private villas.
8. Canary Islands
Debatably one of the most underrated and misrepresented voyage destinations that you can sail to on a yacht. A lush pine forest welcomes you as you dock your boat, then the looming volcanoes bordered by the sandy coves and miles upon miles of desert dunes will awe you. And although the Canary Islands will not boast the majestic world-famous museums found in mainland Spain, there’s enough to go around here for culture and art aficionados. If anything, if you’re a surrealistic fan, then be sure to be on the lookout for the breathtaking canvases of renowned painter Oscar Dominguez in the outskirts of Santa Cruz de Tenerife.
Aside from the emblematic wooden balconies – which you won’t miss if you’re a building person – the Canary Islands have a wealth of spectacular scenic and charming seaside villages and a dramatic landscape to boot. What’s more, regardless of the time you set foot here, Canary Islands enjoys a near-perfect all-year-round weather and temperatures. Which, of course, makes the vernacular Tenerife lava fields of the Canary Islands an ultimate winter getaway yacht charter destination.
9. The French Riviera
The Riviera has an unmatched reputation the world over for its unsurpassed beauty, glamor, and serenity. If it is not the Nice Carnival or the Cannes Film Festival, then it is the spectacular Monte Carlo Beach and the St. Tropez. Cote D’Azur – also known as the French Riviera – is one of the most sought-after vacation and voyage destinations by both the typical population and the Royals, billionaires, and famous jet-setters.
Located off the extreme southeastern coast of Provence, France, the French Riviera is scattered with a rich collection of some of the most popular tourist hotspots such as Monaco, Cannes, and Saint Tropez. It is no wonder that A-list celebrities such as Brigitte Bardot and Elton John have posh residences here. There’s also a horde of new experiences to try your hand in as long as you’re in the French Riviera. If it is not tasting the wine in Bandol or basking in the allure of the Plage des Allemands, then it must be exploring the creeks in Toulon.
Turkey seems to be the odd one out on this list, but that’s because most people are oblivious of the delicious fusion of art, culture and new experiences that it offers. Speaking of which, the Middle-Eastern country boasts a broad range of culinary specialties; from boutique pension breakfasts, spicy Anatolian kebabs to the oil-lathered traditional Augean vegetables made particularly for discerning globetrotter. Far from the food, Turkey also has a lyrical collection of diverse landscapes that intermingles perfectly with ancient ruins and beautiful modern vistas. After docking it in the old port town of Ephesus, the soaring Byzantine and well-aged dome of Aya welcomes you to mainland Turkey. Here, you’ll have your fair share of water-oriented fun activities such as windsurfing, diving, canyoning, rafting, diving, and kayaking. Remember to leave the country with a rare souvenir purchased from Istanbul’s Grand Bazaar.