Mediterranean Delights: Sailing in Italy
Continued from "Sailing in Italy - Part I"
The Island of Capri offers great vistas, but can be busy in the main season. But then again, this can be said about pretty much anywhere in Italy during the summer months. Sicily and the Aeolian Islands leaped onto their important place in history with the arrival of Greek settlers. Take you time to explore these places, they are not only full of wild natural beauty, but offer a great deal of history and culture alongside with distinct, fantastic food. The historic port town of Cefalu on the Island of Sicily is among the most beautiful European cities.
Sicily is a good starting point to sail further North to Sardinia and maybe even Corsica (France) or alternatively to Malta. Personally, I find the West Coast of the Italian peninsula less attractive than the East Coast, therefore I warmly recommend to follow the Islands rather than the mainland. Places like Livorno or Genoa are rather bleak industrial ports that offer relatively little to the international sailor. An exception is Liguria, the coast in the North stretching towards the Cote d’Azur or French Riviera.
How to get there by Plane
Here you can either go on to France, or you stay to explore an area once favored by Europe’s (if not the World’s) high-society. Today, the glamour is worn off, but the slightly shabby touch added its very own touch to historical towns such as Santa Margherita Ligure or Portofino. There is a bit more of posh “dolce vita” to be explored once you cross the border to France near Menton. But let’s stay in Italy for this article.
How can you get there and where can you charter a yacht? Both is easy. Getting there is done by boat, train, car or plane. In the latter case you can fly pretty much anywhere – in the summer, there are charter flights available to many destinations near the Italian coast. For scheduled flights, check the big international airports of Venice, Genoa, Naples or Palermo. If you are fine with combining the plane with a car or train ride, Milan, Rome, Turin, Padua, Bologna, and other inland airports will be alternatives.
For a cheap deal from the United States, you could try to fly to London Heathrow and then drive on to Luton or Stansted, where many low-cost airlines fly from. This includes EasyJet and Ryanair, both serving a number of Italian destinations. Keep in mind that this is quite a bit of a hassle, since you won’t be able to check your luggage through. See this as sort of the student’s option.
How to Charter and When to go
Yacht Charter is almost easier – you choose where and what arrangement you want for your vacation and Italy will offer it. Being one of the most touristy counties in the World, there are essentially no needs that remain dissatisfied when it comes to yacht charter and bareboating. Make sure to compare offers and to plan your route. With such a large and culturally rich country, it is easy to immerse yourself and don’t get into depth on your cruise. It is not legal to charter yourself a foreign yacht in Italy, so if you are cruising with a party using a chartered yacht from abroad, you will have to obtain a transit form and won’t be allowed to change the crew.
The time between the end of June and late August is the best for sailing, but also the busiest. Early June and September might still work for you, when tourists are not quite that common and prices are a bit lower. Ask for special deals with your charter company if you cruise around this time of the year. Get a good guidebook, charts and restaurant guide and chances are high that Italy will take care of giving you one of your most memorable sailing vacations.
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