If you’re dreaming of a Mediterranean yacht charter, there’s probably a few A-list destinations that you have in mind, such as St Tropez or Capri, Mykonos or Hvar. Superyachts flock to these destinations each summer, creating an almost mythic reputation for glamour and decadent fun in the sun, all set against a backdrop of spectacular natural beauty, whether that’s on the French Riviera, the Amalfi, or Sardinia’s Emerald Coast.
But for those looking for hidden spots to charter – destinations with quieter anchorages, authentic restaurants, and a robust local culture – there are a multitude of lesser-known gems just waiting for your yacht to drop anchor. Those willing to float a little further afield can also discover uninhabited islands, exquisite national parks, and secluded beaches only reached by boat or goat path.
In many cases, you can even combine the best of both worlds on a Mediterranean yacht charter, with tranquil spots just a short cruise from the vibrant yachting capitals.
Best-kept secrets to explore on a Mediterranean yacht charter
Croatia’s hidden charms
Over the last decade luxury yacht charters in Croatia have wildly grown in popularity, with superyachts setting off from Dubrovnik for a cruise through the heavenly southern Dalmatian islands, sampling the Venetian architecture of Korcula, the monasteries and lakes of quiet Mjlet, and the epic beach clubs and glamourous nightlife of Hvar.
However, for those wishing to get off the beaten path, there are over a thousand islands off the Croatian coast to be discovered, whether that’s heading further out to the tiny island of Bisevo to discover its blue cave, ruined monastery, and dolphin pods, or heading north from Split to float through the dreamy Kornati islands, where birds soar over empty sea cliffs and national parks roll down to deserted beaches. Further north still, the quiet island of Susak promises sandy beaches, gorgeous forest paths, and a biennial international art expo, while the Brijuni archipelago off the Istrian Peninsula is made up of 14 pine-covered isles with a safari park, Roman ruins, and national park. Croatia’s coastline offers magnificent cruising at every turn.
The secret Cyclades
When it comes to the Cyclades archipelago in Greece, the epic sunsets of Santorini and the party scene of Mykonos tend to hog the spotlight. But just a short cruise away lie two spectacular islands which are lesser-known on the superyacht circuit and promise a different perspective. Like Santorini, Milos and Folegandros were both forged by volcanoes, leaving striking landscapes rising up out of a gin-clear sea.
Tiny Folegrandos shares the vertiginous volcanic landscape of Santorini, but not (yet) its fame. Its sugar-cube villages set high above the sea offer the same magnificent sunsets as its glamorous neighbour, yet you’ll be able to enjoy the breathtaking views and pretty blue-green anchorages largely free of crowds on your Mediterranean yacht charter. Sometimes referred to as the ‘authentic Greek island’ and home to only 650 permanent residents, you’ll dine at tiny family-run restaurants with only 5 tables in a garden courtyard, and wander whitewashed village plazas where Greek matriarchs sit on doorsteps, dressed in mourning black. Donkeys still work on the fields, and thousand year-old houses cling to the arid hillsides.
Just north of Santorini you’ll find Milos, where there are 70 beaches, surreal lunar-like landscapes, and sea caves and hot springs favoured by Hippocrates himself. Exploring Folegandros and Milos is like stepping back in time, before returning to the glamour and excitement of Santorini and Mykonos.
Corsica’s natural wonders
A combined Corsica and Sardinia trip is one of the most popular itineraries for a Mediterranean yacht charter, taking in the gorgeous ports of Bonifacio, Ajaccio and Porto Vecchio before floating through the breathtaking Maddalena Archipelago and across to Sardinia’s splendid Costa Smerelda.
A luxury yacht charter allows guests to see a part of Corsica that most tourists miss: the UNESCO-listed Scandola Reserve in the Gulf of Porto, where turquoise water laps against deep red cliffs, wild rosemary grows on steep paths around ruined medieval watchtowers, and turtles swim in glowing blue grottos. Further into the Gulf of Porto, the tiny hamlet of Girolata offers seafood restaurants on the beach and heavenly walks where you may not see another soul. Because this area is only accessed by boat, it is truly one of the Mediterranean’s hidden gems.
Whether you wish to stay close to the established superyacht playgrounds or cruise further afield, the Mediterranean still offers many hidden treasures to those privileged enough to explore this region aboard a luxury charter yacht.