Europe is blessed with some of the very best sailing and yachting destinations in the world.
The sparkling Mediterranean, Aegean and Ligurian seas and the glamorous coastal towns, villages and islands dotted through them have held an inexorable allure to royalty, artists and A-Listers since time immemorial.
So, here’s a selection of 10 of the most beautiful sailing destinations in Europe for you to enjoy aboard your pick of the most splendid superyachts ever to have graced these waters.
Read our guide to choose your perfect European sailing adventure
Where else could we start but Monaco, playground of the billionaire and aristocrat alike?
Not even the most fervent communist could fail to be wowed by the extravagant wonder of the superyachts glinting in Monaco’s Port Hercules deep-water harbour by day or bejewelling the mise-en-scène of the ultra-exclusive Monaco Yacht Club by night.
And there’s no way we could bring up Monaco without drawing attention to the glitz and glamour of the casinos, the supercars, the shopping and the beautiful people.
The Amalfi Coast
Think of Amalfi, and we can almost taste the lemons and the freshness of the seafood; smell the intoxicating aroma of some of the world’s finest restaurants; begin to move to the music and rhythm of its vibrant, pastel-coloured streets.
And the views! Oh, the views. ‘See Rome and die,’ as they say. But see the luminescent cobalt of the sea along the Amalfi Coast and live a life eternal.
Whether it’s exploring the almost mythical coves that pirates once so favoured as secret hideouts or reclining on one of its secluded beaches with an Aperol Spritz, Amalfi is as close to perfection as anywhere on earth gets.
Just a 32km journey by superyacht from the Amalfi Coast, Capri is an island of earthly delights, endowed with a natural beauty that so inspired the Roman emperor Tiberius that he built no less than 12 – yes, 12 – palaces there.
And from a glut of Roman palaces to a greater concentration of designer shops than pretty much anywhere on the planet, including some of fashion’s most desirable names. If you’d rather something a little more boho or boutique, Capri’s vast array of little artisan shops and showrooms will give you just what you’re looking for.
Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast
Speaking of Roman emperors and their extravagance, Diocletian’s glorious 4th century AD palace in the Dalmatian city of Split is in a state of such completion that it quite belies belief.
The Dalmatian Coast is a stunning yachting destination, perfect for island hopping, exploration and having a great time.
Dubrovnik is famous, of course, for being the location for King’s Landing in Game of Thrones, while Hvar is the party island to end all party islands – so no wonder that the world’s hottest celebrities love to let their hair down there.
Shh, whisper it quietly, but Montenegro is the Dalmatian’s smaller, quieter but no less stunning relation.
Some have dubbed Montenegro’s coastal area as ‘the new French Riviera’, with its plush resorts and increasing jet set appeal.
For instance, take Portonovi, the new US$1 billion coastal super-development in Herceg Novi, with its D-Marin superyacht marina and Europe’s first One&Only 5-star hotel with a restaurant headed up by celebrated Michelin star chef Giorgio Locatelli, a Chenot Espace wellness centre and exclusive beaches.
What’s not to like?
The Azores, Portugal
You’ve read Moby-Dick, right? No? Oh my goodness, you must – you really must.
Would it surprise you that some of what is arguably the greatest novel of them all highlighted Portugal’s The Azores as one of the most likely places on the planet to see whales? And even a majestic Blue Whale, the largest creature ever to have graced the planet?
Lying at the junction of the Eurasian, North American and African tectonic plates, The Azores islands are a geological hotspot characterised by breathtaking landscapes, charming fishing villages and vivid flora.
And, beyond their extraordinary natural enchantment, The Azores are renowned for their wonderful hospitality, authentic bars and excellent gastronomic experiences.
The Norwegian Fjords
Variety being the spice of life, the Norwegian Fjords are a starkly beautiful alternative to the destinations typically associated with superyachts and sailing.
And yet the Norwegian Fjords are becoming an increasingly popular choice among the jet set, not least for the almost mythical rugged landscapes and once-in-a-lifetime natural phenomena experiences they serve up.
Imagine witnessing the heavenly Northern Lights from the deck of a superyacht, glass of vintage champagne or suitably Scandinavian cocktail in your hand, surveying one of the world’s greatest wonders in the utmost luxury like a Nordic deity.
The Balearic Islands
Is there any place in the world more synonymous with hedonism and bacchanalian excess than the Balearic island of Ibiza?
If all that indulgence gets a bit much for you after a while, the islands of Menorca and Formentera offer quieter fishing villages and more of a family feel.
And, if you want something in between, well, Majorca can give you that perfect balance.
If you can’t find what you want in the Balearic Islands, there’s a good chance that what you want doesn’t exist.
Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip spent some of the happiest times of their married lives on Malta – and word is that the late Duke of Edinburgh would have gladly spent the majority of his days there.
And it’s not hard to understand why, with its glorious beaches, delightful all-year climate, and Baroque-style capital of Valletta bulging with culture, great shopping and fantastic places to eat and drink.
The French Riviera
If you think the French Riviera – or Côte d’Azur, if you prefer – is all about Monaco, you’ve got another thing coming.
Cannes, famous the world over for the glitzy international film festival that draws in all the very biggest Hollywood stars and A-Listers every year with its seductive allure, is Monaco’s equal in the glamour stakes.
St Tropez, Nice and Cap Ferrat, too, are the quintessence of ritzy sophistication, with a magnetism that the very rich and incredibly famous find impossible to resist.
And what of atavistic Antibes and the boundless wonder of Villefranche-sur-Mer?
Interested in making one or more of these places the destination for your next luxury superyacht adventure? Of course you are. Tell us what you’re looking for via our enquiry form and we’ll start planning your perfect experience.