Top 12 fun activities to do on a sailing holiday

Kayaking, snorkelling, paddleboarding, hiking, and golf are just a few of the things you can do on a boating holiday. We'll give you recommendations on what to do and where to go.

Wondering what other activities to combine with sailing? Whether you enjoy water sports, such as snorkelling and kayaking, or prefer to explore islands and towns on foot or by bike — we've put together a list of the best. Try them out this year and make the most of your sailing vacation.

1. Snorkelling

Swimming itself is always the first activity but snorkelling provides a fascinating glimpse into the underwater world. Plus, it isn't a large investment, as all you'll need are fins, a mask (goggles) and a snorkel. Alternatively, you can use the recently trending full-face mask with built-in snorkel.

Best snorkelling spots in Croatia, Greece and Italy

Wherever you head, you'll find a spot to snorkel but here are a few places that are definitely worth checking out:


WHERE TO SNORKEL IN CROATIA


  • Cape Kamenjak in Istria
  • Dugi Otok Island
  • Blue Cave on Biševo off the island of Vis
  • Pakleni Islands off the island of Hvar (if you want to explore underwater caves, sunken wrecks and an abundance of colourful marine life, read our article on the 7 best snorkelling spots in Croatia)


MARINE LIFE IN GREECE


  • Crete: Mirabello Bay, Plakias, Bali
  • Corfu: Liapades, Paleokastritsa, Kassiopi
  • Zakynthos: Laganas Bay, Makris Gialos, Porto Limnionas
  • Santorini: Mansell Reef, Nea Kameni Island, Adiavati Reef

 

SNORKELLING IN ITALY


  • Sardinia: Isola Rossa
Snorkeling by a coral full of colourful fish.

2. Scuba diving or underwater scootering

As beautiful as it is to sail on the surface of the ocean, there's plenty to explore beneath. And when a snorkel just isn't enough, you can grab a tank or even an underwater scooter. Of course, you can do both and they are readily available to rent. It's up to you.


SCUBA DIVING

If you don't have a diving license, go to sites where you can dive with an instructor after some initial training. In Croatia, for example, the island of Vis is ideal for this, while in Greece you can try Vasiliki in Lefkada. Of course, the beach in Vasiliki is probably best known as a place to go surfing, kiteboarding and much more...


DIVING WITH AN UNDERWATER SCOOTER

If you don't want diving to be too strenuous, power yourself with an underwater scooter. It takes a little bit of practice, but it will get you where you want to go with ease. Besides being a fun experience, it's also practical — at some point, you'll have to dive under the boat to sort out an unexpected problem.

Divers at a shipwreck.

3. Paddleboarding

When you don't have a dinghy, this will quickly become your best sailing companion. Not only does it allow you to get to the shore quickly, if you need to go food shopping or to a restaurant in the evening, but it also provides an endless amount of fun. And most importantly — it's portable! If you have two with you on the boat, you can even have a head-to-head battle. Read what types of paddleboards are out there and a few tips to get you started in our article


Nowadays you can get a paddleboard with various accessories — you can inflate and hold a wing that propels you forwards without it being attached to the board (wing foiling), or add an inflatable sail to enjoy some windsurfing. Prasonisi Beach on Rhodes is very popular for surfing — you can also rent a small boat here and when the wind conditions are good, it's a pleasant spot to anchor.

YACHTING.COM TIP: Wondering what it would be like to enjoy a boating holiday but haven't quite plucked up the courage yet? If you don't have a captain's license yourself, you can always hire a skipper. Take a look at our step-by-step guide to renting your first boat and the 10 things you need to know before you departAnd if the sea begins to win you over, get yourself a skipper's licence with us.

4. Jetboarding

If you don't like your boards with sails or wings and there are no waves in sight, you'll love motorized boards. It's a bit more of an investment, but on the other hand, it doesn't take up much space and fun is absolutely guaranteed.

A woman on a jetsurf.

5. Foilboarding

Instead of jetboarding, why not try flying above the waves. A hydrofoil board is exhilarating, great for muscle strengthening and will definitely attract some attention.

Man on a wave on a foil surfboard. Foilsurfing.

6. Kayaking or canoeing

Or, how about taking a leisurely ride to the nearest islet to watch the sunset? You can get sea canoes (for individuals) or kayaks (for 2 to 4 people), which inflate in no time and are very portable. Plus, you can use them for exploring the surrounding area. As they are inflatable, you won't be caught off guard by a wave and you can even take the kids along for a trip.

Woman in kayak on clear water in bay, motor boat in background.

7. Cycling

If you've had more than enough of the water, rent a bike and explore the area where you're anchored. If you're in Croatia, for example, the island of Korčula is definitely worth a look.

8. Renting a scooter or quad bike

If you don't want to exert yourself too much, but would still like to explore the coastline where you're anchored, rent a scooter. A scooter provides much more freedom than a car, and it isn't too expensive either. From a scooter, you'll get to know the countryside faster, and you'll have a great time.


In Greece, it is the most common means of transport. Rent one on the island of Corfu, explore all the beaches and sights during the day and ride to dinner on it in the evening. You can easily spend a few days here and you won't get bored.

More sailing tips:

9. Hiking

A bit of hiking never hurts. And, hand on heart, what's truly the best way to get to know the landscape? A good honest walk. You'll burn some calories, and you get to enjoy the beautiful scenery at a natural pace.


In Greece, one of the best places to hike is on the island of Ikaria — the Greek destination for nature lovers. There are two towering mountains here, Melissa (1,011 m) and Atheros (1,040 m), and roughly midway between them, you will find the oldest forest in the Aegean — the Radi forest, where you can even find oak trees that are 300 years old.


Another place that is definitely worth a visit is Sicily. Among other things, you can climb the infamous Mount Etna which reaches 3,260 m above sea level and is accessible all year round.

A man hiking on the cliffs at the seashore, view of boats in the bay.

10. Playing golf

This elegant but actually very difficult sport began in Scotland over 500 years ago. Originally known as a gentlemen's sport, some of the biggest deals have been struck on a golf course. It is a very popular pastime in Spain and it is worth playing a round or two on the Balearic Islands — stop off in Mallorca, known as the "Queen of the Balearic Islands" where you'll find 23 excellent golf courses. You'll also have the weather on your side, which gives you the opportunity to sail around the Balearics almost all year round.

Golf resort and players by the seashore.

11. Wine tasting

The southern nations of Europe are also popular for their wine production and you'll discover numerous vineyards in Spain, Italy, Croatia, Greece and Montenegro. So plan a winery tour at your destination. Croatia has wineries on many of its islands.


In Montenegro you can visit one of the most beautiful vineyards in Europe — the Radevic Estate Winery. It is located just ten minutes by car from the capital Podgorica and easily accessible from one of the most beautiful marinas in the world — Marina Montenegro.

12. Enjoying the nightlife

All these activities have to end somehow. And what better way than to go out on the town? Sometimes it doesn't hurt to enjoy a bit of the nightlife, and the water provides its own unique charm.

 

The most famous party island in Croatia is Pag and the infamous Zrce Beach. During the summer season you can sail here and spend a few nights. But bear in mind that it is bustling here even during the day. Another very popular party town in Croatia is Hvar on the island of the same name.


In Greece, Nydri is famous for its nightlife and you can drop anchor in the harbour in peace and head out.

Hideout Festival 2013 on Zrće beach, island of Pag, Croatia.

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