A guide to yachting in Italy is important to have so that you start your journey with a clear plan. The perfect tour often includes visits to Sicily, the Tuscon Islands, and Argentario. Continue reading below to discover the top recommendations of where to visit when yachting in Italy.
Guide to Yachting in Italy
With all that Italy has to offer in the way of dreamy landscapes and a sense of rich and vibrant history, it is no wonder it has remained one of the world’s most enduring vacation destinations.
The food is absolutely superb. Italy is both social and romantic, so whether you’re planning to yacht with a group of friends or family members, or with your partner, yachting in Italy guarantees a vacation that will meet and exceed all of your expectations.
Italy offers some of the best waters in the Mediterranean. The lack of natural harbors and the limited number of places in the man-made marinas can make it challenging to find a berth during the summer months. However, when yachting in Italy with careful preparation, a few keywords in Italian and a little patience and understanding, the rewards will be well worth it.
The strength of the wind varies greatly depending on the location and time of year. The islands of Sardinia and Sicily tend to enjoy more wind than the Bay of Naples and the Riviera but, in general, there is a lot less during the summer months than other times of the year and yachts tend to have to motor more here than elsewhere in the Mediterranean. However, when the sun shines, and there is a warm, steady breeze, most yachtsmen would feel that the wait had been worth it. In the meantime, the variety of scenery, the fabulous climate, the beautifully clear water and Italian food and wine certainly go some way to make up for the lack of wind!
Sicily is an attractive destination for yachting in Italy, particularly along the northern and eastern coasts. It has a number of well-established marinas although they can be very expensive in the summer months. Some of the larger, yacht companies have bases here. There are anchorages at Cefalu and either side of Palermo.
On the western end, San Vito lo Capo also has a comfortable marina and anchorage, which can be very useful in a Maestrale. Off the western coast of Sicily lie the Egadi Islands, which provide some spectacularly clear water and secure anchorages. There is a marina at Favignana.
The cities of Trapani and Marsala are attractive destinations, but further round to the south the facilities diminish somewhat. The area is slowly being developed but some care should be taken when on a passage in this area. The eastern side of Sicily has some beautiful cities and interesting yachting destinations, in particular Siracusa, Catania, and Taormina are well worth a visit. The marina at Riposto provides ring-side seats for any firework shows that Mount Etna chooses to put on.
A trip through the Straits of Messina is made more interesting by the presence of whirlpools at certain states of the tide. Although not dangerous to cruising yachts, they look a little threatening and can affect the steering at times.
Tuscan Islands & Argentario
Of all the places to yacht in Italian waters, the Tuscan Islands are probably the most appealing and it is probably one of the most popular areas for yachting in Italy. There is something for everyone when yachting in Italy.
The islands of Capraia, Elba, Giglio, and Giannutri are all accessible to yachts and provide a number of attractive harbors and plenty of anchorages, some even secluded in bad weather.
On the mainland south of Livorno, the harbors of Cala di Medici, Punta Ala, and on the Argentario promontory: Porto Santo Stefano, Porto Ercole, and Cala Galera, are all relatively large and comfortable, and anyone of them would provide a fabulous base for exploring the area.
The Bay of Naples
It is not hard to see the appeal of the Bay of Naples for yachters. On the northern end, the islands of Ischia and Procida are both very accommodating to yachtsmen with several well-equipped marinas and a number of beautiful anchorages suitable in settled weather.
In the center, the famous outline of mount Vesuvius dominates the skyline with a number of marinas lining the coastline around Naples, some more attractive than others.
On the southern end, the Island of Capri lies serenely off the Sorrento peninsular. Its harbor is famous for its colorful houses, there is an anchorage to the side of it and a number of spectacular bays suitable for anchoring in settled weather. To the north of the bay, yachts can visit the beautiful Pontine Islands and to the south, the Amalfi Coast beckons.
The island of Sardinia offers some of the best waters in the world and has safe harbors more or less evenly spaced around the whole coast. The east side is more protected and offers some spectacular beaches with white sand and clear water.
It is a very popular holiday destination and the ‘Costa Smerelda’, in the northeast of the island, is very much a playground for the rich and famous. Harbors like Porto Cervo will let you stay for next to nothing out of season. The western side of Sardinia is more rugged and more open to the Maestrale (Mistral). When it blows, great care must be taken by small yachts as the seas build alarmingly and there are few safe harbors to run to.
The Strait of Bonifacio, between Sardinia and Corsica, is a scary place to be in a full Maestrale. Further down the western side, there are some delightful yachting areas between the Island of San Pietro and Capo Teulada, the southernmost point of Sardinia.
The Aeolian Islands
Named after the God of Wind, Aeolus, the Aeolian Islands have a reputation for enjoying a little too much of it. However, most of the time they are delightful and they provide some of the most secure anchorages available in the Tyrrhenian. There are eight in all, the last being little more than a rock, jutting out of the sea. Visitors can anchor off the island of Stromboli, whose active volcano occasionally provides a spectacular light show.
The neighboring island of Vulcano also has an active volcano, and here visitors can enjoy hot springs in the bay and volcanic mud baths ashore. The islands of Lipari and Salina are larger and have attractive towns with well-established marinas. On the mainland, the attractive harbor of Tropea makes a good stopping off point when on passage to or from the Aeolian Islands.