Many sailors are increasingly frustrated with the overcrowded ports, harbours, bars, and streets of beach resorts during peak season. For a fantastic sailing vacation, avoiding the crowds, set sail in autumn, preferably where the sea is still warm enough to swim in October. To help you choose where to head, we've put together our list of recommended locations for autumn sailing. Which one will you choose?
Sailing in Turkey
Turkey offers great sailing along more than 8 km of coastline. There are two major areas to choose from — the Aegean Riviera, in the Aegean Sea where Turkey borders Greece, and the Turkish Riviera, centred around Antalya, which lies a little further south and whose shores are bathed by the Mediterranean. In both cases, as well as picturesque, uncrowded bays, you can visit a host of historical towns, archaeological sites or take a hike to one of the green peaks. Even in autumn, you can still enjoy warm weather. The average October temperature is a pleasant 26 °C, the sun shines for up to 11 hours a day and at sea, the wind speed tends to be around 15-20 knots. Most boats depart from the marinas of Gocek, Marmaris, Bodrum or Fethiye.
Hadrian's Gate in Antalya
What boats do we recommend in Turkey?
For lovers of comfort combined with beautiful sailing, we recommend the First 50. This is a beautiful sailing boat that will provide plenty of comfort for you and your crew, but when the wind picks up, you can race it with the wind. It has a classic full-batten mainsail.
From our own personal experience, we have to highlight the Dufour 382 Grand Large named Calypso with three cabins that can comfortably accommodate up to 7 people.
If you want to try something unconventional, don't be afraid to rent a gulet in Turkey. This is a special type of boat that looks like an old pirate or merchant ship. Gulets are usually wooden and are built by hand according to traditional plans. Each boat is totally unique.
Gulet Be Happy
The Seychelles has been described as the most beautiful archipelago in the world. It consists of 115 islands scattered in the Indian Ocean north of Madagascar. The main island of the Republic of Seychelles is Mahé with its capital city Victoria being one of the smallest capitals in the world. Sailors are not only attracted here to great sailing in an exotic location, but also by the unique local ecosystem. Many endemic species, over 275 bird species and 2,200 giant tortoises have been recorded in the Seychelles. To sail in such a sea is simply an amazing experience.
YACHTING.COM TIP: The most popular destination in the Seychelles islands, ideal for a sailing holiday, is around the islands of Mahé, Praslin and La Digue. We recommend spending at least 14 days in this exotic location. This provides enough time to explore the most beautiful and interesting spots and return to your starting point.
Autumn weather in the Seychelles
You can swim here almost all year round, but the weather in October is pleasantly warm, with average temperatures ranging from 24 to 28 °C and pleasant winds of around 10 knots. Bear in mind, however, that there are larger changes in the water level during high tide — about 1.5 metres.
You can experience this beauty too
What boats do we recommend in the Seychelles?
There are plenty of boats to choose from in the Seychelles, but the absolute best-sellers are the catamarans, which can take you almost all the way to the beaches. For example, the Lagoon brand — one of the most popular models the Lagoon 380, offers a reasonable price/performance ratio and enough comfort for a crew of 10.
Sailing in French Polynesia
This part of the planet is also known as "paradise on earth". Anyone who has been here knows it and anyone who hasn't visited this part of the world should definitely try it once in their lifetime. French Polynesia is a system of several archipelagos in the South Pacific, made up of 118 islands and islets, so there is plenty to discover. The sea and beaches are beautiful, the people very friendly, the nature unspoilt and the weather stable all year round, even in autumn. In October, for example, it is a pleasant 23-29 degrees Celsius, making it an ideal destination for an autumn yachting holiday.
Huts on the island of Mo'orea
YACHTING.COM TIP: What to prepare for when sailing in Oceania? For more information about what it's like to sail French Polynesia, take a look at our interview with an experienced yachtswoman and expert on the region.
What boats do we recommend in French Polynesia?
We rent boats mainly in the port of Raiatea. In this area, we recommend catamarans, which are the most suitable due to the shallow depths and the desire of sailors to sail almost right up to the beach. For example, the Leopard 40, Leopard 45 or the large Leopard 58, which can take up to 13 people. For lovers of single-hulled sailboats, try the Sun Odyssey 440.
The Leopard 58 is a truly majestic catamaran
YACHTING.COM TIP: Are you unsure whether to set sail in autumn? Autumn on a yacht is guaranteed to be captivating and it's definitely worthwhile. Look forward to empty marinas, warm seas, and low off-season prices. Read our article — 5 reasons to set sail in autumn and which are the best destinations?
Sailing in Phuket (Thailand)
Thailand has some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, but there are also 140 natural national parks, many beautiful islands and famous bays. In October, the monsoon season ends here, so it still rains occasionally during the day, but the rain usually lasts only one or two hours and then stops. Temperatures here hover around 25 °C during this period, but you'll also experience days when it's over 30 °C. The winds are very favourable for sailing, ranging from 10 to 20 knots.
In Thailand, we recommend the Phuket Island area for sailing. The sea here is beautiful with plenty of deserted white sandy beaches. Be sure to visit the local Buddhist temples. It's a great experience for a European.
The famous James Bond island near Phuket
What boats do we recommend in Thailand?
The charter offer here is dominated by Leopard boats, such as the Leopard 40 or Leopard 45. In addition, however, you will find catamarans such as the Island Spirit 38 with the characteristic name Thai Angel or Island Breeze. The Fountaine Pajot Mahe 36 catamaran or the classic Bavaria 45 Cruiser will also serve you well for island hopping.
Autumn sailing in Malta
Not many people know that Malta is basically made up of three islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino). Each of the islands has many beautiful bays where you can anchor. The island of Gozo is admired for its green landscape, making it perfect for a spot of hiking. If you're on the island of Malta, set aside at least one day to visit the capital Valletta. Its old town is well worth seeing.
You can also anchor right in the historical part of Valletta
During the month of October, there is a mild warm climate of around 25 °C, the water is just right for swimming or snorkelling. You'll also be rewarded by the fact that it's considerably less crowded than in high season.
What boats do we recommend in Malta?
Sailing the Balearic Islands (Spain)
The islands of Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza or Formentera are the most popular holiday destinations for many tourists. But what about swapping your hotel for a boat and getting around these islands by sea? Cruising in this region offers picturesque rocky coastlines and beautiful beaches, pleasant landscapes and historical towns that are well worth a visit.
We recommend this area to practically everyone, i.e. groups of friends and families. The wind is calmer here, so you will experience more relaxing sailing. In the summer it tends to be hot and dry, which doesn't give you much chance to explore the local towns and beautiful countryside. In October, the situation is much more favourable, with average daily temperatures hovering around a pleasant 20–23 °C Celsius. There may even be the occasional shower. The sea temperature does not drop below 21 °C. So for us, October in the Balearics is absolutely perfect.
The seaside scenery of Mallorca and its idyllic coastline, Cala Rajada
Catamaran Lagoon 42 with beautiful turquoise sails
If you're after a smaller boat, the Hanse 325 is a cute choice. The elegant Oceanis 46.1 is a combination of comfort and good handling or the slightly smaller Oceanis 41.1. The Cyclades 43 is also an interesting choice.
For those who are more interested in partying in Ibiza than actual sailing, we also rent motorboats, such as the Fjord 40, which will make a splash in the harbour, or the Leader 33, which will whizz you around the sea at incredible speeds.
Sailing the Ionian Sea (Greece)
The Ionian Sea is a popular destination for a relaxing cruise in Greece. In autumn, the weather is a little cooler than in high season, but that means you won't be boiling in the sun while exploring Greek towns. We recommend visiting the islands of Corfu, Paxos, Othoni or Erikoussa when sailing in the northern Ionian Sea, and Ithaka, Lefkada and, of course, Zakynthos when sailing in the southern Ionian Sea.
Amazing Navagio beach on Zakynthos
Which boats do we recommend in the Ionian Sea?
The modern Hanse 458 is very nice, but the Jeanneau 54 named Erica is also worth mentioning. You can also sail in Greece on classic Bavaria boats, such as the Bavaria 40 Cruiser, the larger Bavaria 50, which was refurbished in 2022, or the special Bavaria C45 series.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Don't know where to anchor in the Ionian Sea? Check out some specific places in our article on tips for mooring in the Ionian Sea. And remember, especially in Greece, you'll need to know how to moor your boat using what's called Mediterranean mooring, or stern-to. Find out everything you need to know in our article — How to moor stern-to: a step-by-step guide.
Sailing around Sicily (Italy)
Even in Sicily, you can experience sunny days with a real touch of summer during autumn. Compared to summer, it is windier (around 10 knots) so you can experience great sailing. The huge benefit of autumn sailing in this area is the lower prices. The weather is perfect for exploring the mainland and as well as discovering lots of beautiful places, you can be sure you'll eat and drink well almost everywhere.
Cannoli siciliani, Sicilian dessert filled with creamy ricotta and pistachios
What boats do we recommend for Sicily?
In Sicily, you can hire the beautifully crafted Elan Impression 40, which our clients rave about. Also worth mentioning is the Bavaria 51 Cruiser, which can carry up to 12 people. If you're more into catamarans, we recommend the Nautitech 46, Lucia 40 or Isla 40.