When sailing in Sardinia you are spoilt for choice with stunning cruising grounds. The landscape is gorgeous, the food delicious and the people exceptionally friendly. No wonder this island is so popular with stars and celebrities. The Costa Smeralda and the Maddalena Archipelago are amongst the most sought-after charter areas in the world. Come and spend a sailing holiday in style!
What makes a yacht charter in Sardinia so popular?
Sardinia is the second largest island in the Mediterranean Sea. Its convenient location in the middle of the Mediterranean and the mild climate make it a top sailing destination. In addition, it has beautiful landscape with steep cliffs and red rocks along with simple, authentic culture and cuisine.
Fortunately, Sardinia is very easy to get to. It has three airports – Cagliari in the South, Alghero in the Northwest and Olbia in the Northeast. The main ports are Cagliari, Olbia and Porto Torres. There are ferry connections to Corsica and Sicily as well as the Spanish, French and Italian mainland.
The coastline offers many safe anchorages due to deep bays with upstream islands. There are nearly no tides. Summers are long, hot and dry but temperatures are usually moderated by a westerly sea breeze. Due to the prevailing winds good sailing skills are required.
The island is characterized by a wonderful blend of chic ports like Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo with unspoilt and largely uninhabited cruising grounds as for instance the Maddalena Islands.
Some relevant info for a bareboat charter in Sardinia:
Location: Centre of the Mediterranean Sea; 200 km from the Italian mainland
Total length of coastline: 1,849 km
Total surface area: 24,090 km²
Highest point: Punta La Marmora, 1,834 m
Population: ca. 1,663,000
Country code: +39
Climate: Mild, Mediterranean
Which main charter destinations and marinas are there in Sardinia?
Generally, in Sardinia you find many natural harbours for anchoring. The North is busier and offers better infrastructure. The South, on the other hand, is more authentic, unspoilt and quiet. Sardinia lies only 12 km from Bonifacio in Corsica, so it´s possible to combine northern Sardinia and Corsica for a sailing holiday.
The exclusive Costa Smeralda on the north side constitutes a highly popular tourist destination and an attraction for the international jet set with white sandy beaches, golf courses, luxury hotels and private jet as well as helicopter services. Particularly famous is Porto Cervo Marina – a superyacht harbour that is very protected and has great infrastructure and 720 berths for boats up to 100 m length. Also on the Costa Smeralda is the Marina dell´Orso with 305 moorings for yachts up to 35 m. You encounter numerous other ports around the area and the island, for example Alghero with its nice old town, Cagliari, Cannigione, La Maddalena, Olbia, Palau and Portisco.
The Maddalena archipelago just off the Emerald Coast features 7 major islands on the northern tip of Sardinia in the Straights of Bonifacio. It is a UNESCO world heritage site and a national park with a myriad of coves and bays, crystal-clear waters as well as breath-taking, perfectly preserved nature. Seek out the wonderful pink beach of Spiaggia Rosa, for example. Only three of the islands are inhabited, and it´s therefore a largely unspoilt marine reserve.
Further over to the East lies the fjord-like gulf of Cannigione. Sailing into the long inlet you can enjoy the view of the rocky and scenic backdrop and a charming port and quiet resort town at the end. Not far at all is the equally protected and popular Cala di Volpe with its wide bay and good shelter. More to the South you can head to the port towns of Olbia and Portisco where you have good shopping facilities and infrastructure.
The Gulf of Orosei on the east coast and the national park of the same name form a big bay with numerous caves and gorgeous aquamarine waters. There you find many sublime beaches like the Cala Gonone, Cala Goloritze or Cala Fuili and the gorgeous Grotte del Bue Marino, a 5 km cave with impressive stalactites/stalagmites and Neolithic wall carvings. Continue south along the coast of the province Oligastra and discover even more fantastic long white sandy beaches with amazing water like Cea Beach and others.
Check out the island of Sant´Antioco, 87 km from Cagliari off the south western coast of Sardinia. It is the fourth largest island in Italy. Next to it, 7 km off the coast lies the sixth largest Italian island San Pietro. It is of volcanic origin and boasts a rocky coast with pretty beaches and natural grottoes that make for great snorkeling. Its charming harbour and fishing town Carloforte on the protected eastern coast is well worth a visit.
What important weather systems are there for yachting in Sardinia?
Sardinia has an average of 300 days of sunshine per year and 6 months of summer. The heat is often alleviated by a nice sea breeze from the West. There are no significant tides (max. 40 cm). As far as winds go, the Mistral from the Northwest is cold in winter but makes the air drier and more breathable in summer. The highest wind speed from June to August is no more than 20 – 25 knots. The hot Sirocco from the Southeast brings Sahara dust from Africa. Then there is the easterly Levant that sailors need to take into account.
Summary of the sailing weather conditions for Sardinia yacht rental:
Months with highest average temperature: July/August, 28°
Months with lowest average temperature: January/February, 7°
Month with highest average precipitation: December, 131 mm
Month with lowest average precipitation: July, 11 mm
Average wind speed May – October: 8/9 knots
Month with highest average water temperature: August, 25°
Month with lowest average water temperature: January, 14°
Main season: May – October
How much is it to rent a yacht in Sardinia and what are the different charter types?
You can rent a 12 m sailboat from around 2,000 €. Prices go up according to size, type and equipment of the vessel. Luxury sailing charters are available on boats larger than 24 m. In this case of boat rental there will be a captain and a crew. If you choose to do a bareboat yacht charter you can skipper the vessel yourself. Off course you could also do a skippered or crewed charter on yachts up to 20 m if you do not wish to navigate. You also need to decide whether you want to do a catamaran charter or hire a sailing or motor yacht. Flotilla holidays are a very popular option too. Common in Italy and available in every port is renting of a 4 – 10 m long rib to go on a nice excursion on the water. If this is too small for you, go for motor boat hire on a bigger yacht.
What activities besides sailing are there on a Sardinia boat rental?
Visit some of the fantastically beautiful natural parks. The Parco nazionale del Golfo di Orosei e del Gennargentu on the east coast contains some of the oldest rocks in Europe as well as the only ski resorts on the island. Close-by Altopiano del Golgo, a nature reserve near Cala Goloritze, has amazing landscapes. The plateau is great for walks in untamed nature. The Sette Fratelli in the Southeast has much wildlife and thick forest. And the Monte Arcosu in the south-west offers some more stunning scenery. Go see the enchanting Neptune’s Cave on the west coast, a 2,500 m long wonder of nature boasting stunning views.
For some excitement attend the Swan Cup in September at the Yacht Club Costa Smeralda in Porto Cervo. Admire the racing with many of the world´s best sailors and beautiful yachts. The Loro Piana Superyacht Regatta in June showcases an amazing fleet of luxury yachts on some breath-taking sailing courses in the same location.
For sightseeing check out the town of the island of Sant´Antioco with its ancient acropolis, Roman bridge and Phoenician and Punic necropolises. There is an archaeological museum where you can learn about the rich history of the island. Visit the bastion of Saint Remy in the ancient Castello district of Cagliari. It is one of the symbols of the city with beautiful views over the town as well as the port. Castelsardo in the North is a lovely medieval village with great views from the top of Doria Castle over the gulf of Asinara. Alghero on the northwest coast has a charming cobblestoned centre encircled by ancient walls. The gothic Cattedrale di âï¿½®Santa Maria features an impressive bell tower. Also worth visiting are the Palazzo Guillot, the 14th century Chiesa di San Francesco or the Chiesa San Michele with its lovely colourful tiled dome. Seek out the 6 km long Chia beach, the second southernmost point of the island, and the spectacular lighthouse Faro di Capo Spartivento. Nearby Nora, an archaeological Punic site, is considered to be the most ancient village in Sardinia.
The famous Porto Cervo offers glitz and glamour, boutique shopping, fine wining and dining as well as a pulsating nightlife attracting celebrities and film stars like Leonardo Di Caprio or others partying in Flavio Briatore´s `Billionaire´s Club`. There, you can enjoy mingling with the international jet set listening to the best DJs.
Try the Sardinian cuisine. Do some of the many water sports like windsurfing, kayaking, water-skiing, wakeboarding, diving, snorkeling, etc. Go to one of the festivals like the Sardinia Reggae Festival at the beginning of August or the L´Ardia di San Constantino beginning of June when many villages host a fast-paced, heart-pounding horse race that is followed by joyful music and dancing.