Skippered Sailing Holidays in the Mediterranean
Southern Corsica, Sardinia, and the Straits of BonifacioPlaces to visit: Porto Cervo on the Costa Smeralda; Bonifacio; Sta. Theresa di Galluria; Maddalena Islands; Castel Sardo; Porto Vecchio.
The straits of Bonifacio between Corsica and Sardinia is an area of hundreds of islands and sandy bays, with sheltered water between them. Porto Cervo is famous as the summer playground of the Aga Khan. The medieval walled city of Bonifacio is perched high above the narrow gorge leading to its sea port. The area is known for its excellent sailing breezes, and the continuous, gentle current flowing between the islands ensures that the sea is always a clear and sparkling blue. The scenery is spectacular with wild and eroded rock formations on the coastline and the high, forested mountains of Corsica inland.
By Air - Fly to either Ajacccio on Corsica or Olbia on Sardinia.
By Land - Many ferries run from Nice, Genoa and Civitavecchia to both Corsica and Sardinia.
Tuscan ArchipelagoPlaces to visit: On Isola d'Elba - Portoferraio; Marciana Marina; Porto Azzuro; Marina di Campo. Islands of Giglio and Capraia.
The island of Elba and its beautiful, 16th C. Florentine harbour of Portoferraio lies a few miles off the coast of Tuscany, within sight of Corsica and several neighboring islands. Famed as the exile of Napoleon, Elba has been prized through the ages for its abundant mineral wealth and natural beauty. The remnants of several ancient cultures can still be seen including those of the Greeks, Etruscans, and Romans. Places to visit include the hill town of Marciana with its dramatic mountain backdrop and funicular to the top of Monte Capane, over a kilometer high.
By Air - Fly to Pisa or Rome. Train to Piombino and ferry to Elba. A taxi service is available from Pisa.
By Land - By car or train to Piombino (near Florence). Ferry to Elba.
The Pontine Islands and Bay of NaplesPlaces to visit: Vesuvius and Pompeii; Amalfi; Capri; Ischia; Ponza; Agropoli.
The crescent shaped island of Ponza is the peak of an extinct volcano, and now shelters a dozen or more perfect anchorages and sandy bays. The bustling small fishing port, with its pastel houses and ancient cemetery on the headland, is a popular watering place for the cognoscenti in the season. Heading south, the low island of Ventotene with its scattered Roman ruins breaks the passage to Ischia, crowned by its Aragonese castle and Nun's crypt. Nearby is famed Capri, its sheer cliffs rising dramatically from the crystal sea and hiding its fashionable heart and film stars from casual passers-by. The Amalfi coast, haunted by the sirens of Ulysses, is just a few miles away.
By Air - Fly to Naples or Rome. You can be met at Fiumicino porto, 5 mins from Rome airport, or on Ponza, Ischia or Capri, all accessible by ferry from Naples.
Northern CorsicaPlaces to visit: Bastia; St. Florent; Calvi; Ajaccio.
The spectacular forested mountains of Corsica rise sheer from the sea on the north and west sides, with the convoluted coastline hiding scores of secluded anchorages. Cold mountain streams tumble into the sea from hidden lakes above, fed in turn by winter snowmelt. Although the northwest coast is often battered by the Mistral (a strong wind out of the Gulf of Lion) more experienced sailors may find more challenging sailing, and some extremely remote and dramatic anchorages. The ancient fortified citadels of Calvi and St. Florent are a striking testament to the conflict and piracy of Napoleon's birthplace. Its mountainous and wild scenery, delicious cuisine and fine wine make cruising along this coastline an unforgettable experience.
By Air - Fly to Ajaccio, Bastia, Nice or Pisa
By Land - Ferries run regularly from Marseille, Toulon, Nice and Genova and Livorno to Bastia, St. Florent, Calvi and Ajaccio.
Sicily and the Aeolian IslandsPlaces to visit: Cefalu, Palermo, Ustica, Lipari, Stromboli, Vulcano, Salina, Messina, Taormina.
Named for Aeolus, the Greek god of winds, the Aeolian Islands lie scattered 30 miles north of Sicily. This chain of volcanic islands offers isolated villages to explore, black sand beaches, natural therapeutic mud baths, and coves of crystal water to swim in. Dramatic rock formations rise from the sea to be admired and snorkelled around, with active volcanoes to climb and marvel at.
On the larger island of Sicily you will find medieval towns complete with shrouded ladies and men in fedoras, vibrant and colorful marketplaces, and the glorious traditional antipasti and pasta in the local trattorias.
By Air - Fly to Palermo or Catania.
By Land - Ferries run to Lipari from Napoli, Milazzo, Messina and Palermo. Train connections via Reggio di Calabria.