Lying on a sun-drenched deck, the sun slowly setting below the horizon, all you can hear is the lapping of the waves against the side of your yacht moored in a deserted bay. From the galley drifts the intoxicating aroma of grilled fish. This is, perhaps, the most romantic moment you can have aboard a boat! Journey us as we discover the most magical places where you too can experience an unforgettable romantic sailing holiday.
7 top spots for a romantic yachting vacation
Whether you're in search of unspoilt nature, romantic medieval backdrops or deserted coves, you'll find something just for you in our recommendations below.
1. Raiatea Island, French Polynesia
The whole of French Polynesia resembles one huge botanical garden. The vibrant colour of the blooming plants is stunning, with coconuts, limes, bananas, and even mangoes, all growing wild around the trails here.
On the deserted island of Raiatea one of the world's rarest flowers is to be found. Only here does the fragrant Tiare apetahi grow. The trail on the western slopes of Mount Mt. Temehani, where the Polynesian gods reside, will lead you through the jungle.
YACHTING.COM TIP: French Polynesia will captivate you with its natural beauty, fascinating underwater world, friendliness and culture. It will truly fulfil everything you could wish for in an exotic boating holiday. In our guide, Try sailing in an exotic paradise: all about French Polynesia, we'll introduce you to this yachting destination in all its glory.
On the island of Raiatea, lies the most sacred place in French Polynesia — Marae Taputapuatea, an ancient sacred complex where religious ceremonies took place, as well as meetings of travellers and ship navigators.
Other islands to be discovered along the way are equally charming — Tahaa, Bora Bora and Huahin.
2. Pula, Croatia
In the very heart of the city there is a unique Roman amphitheatre, one of the best preserved in the world. In the past it was mainly used for gladiator games but it has now been revitalised via regular cultural events. The most breathtaking view of the arena is at night, when you won't have to share the incredible atmosphere of this magical place with tourists.
On Pula you can sample local specialties, truffles or delicious seafood. The local marine aquarium is also worth a visit.
Explore the islands of Kvarner Bay with its numerous romantic coves and the Brijuni National Park. There are wonderful oak, cedar and pine forests, beautiful parks, footpaths and ancient monuments. The air is filled with the scent of eucalyptus and exotic flowers.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Istria, Croatia's largest peninsula, and Kvarner Bay form a vast region around the city of Pula and is usually crowd-free even in summer. As the distances between the islands are greater and the winds are favourable, experienced sailors can undertake longer crossings. Take a look at the 10 best places to visit in the area.
3. British Virgin Islands (BVI)
The yachting paradise known as BVI is home to over 50 islands. Mostly uninhabited, dotted with secluded coves and hundreds of safe mooring buoys, the largest islands are Tortola, Virgin Gorda, Anegada, and Jost Van Dyke.
Vibrant coral reefs teeming with life, crystal-clear sea with 30 metres of visibility, lush vegetation, caves, cliffs and palm tree-lined beaches all create the perfect backdrop to romance on board a boat. And did you know that here the sun shines 365 days a year?
YACHTING.COM TIP: As the colder months approach in Europe, sailors are increasingly unwilling to accept that the yachting season is coming to an end and are changing tack in search of sailing opportunities in warmer climes. If this is you, we highly recommend exotic locations, such as the Caribbean, the Seychelles and Thailand, where pristine beaches and bays, stunning natural beauty and a magical underwater world await. And there's no need to be apprehensive about trying out exotic destinations — in our Guide to exotic sailing holidays: where, when and which boats to charter?, you'll find everything you need to know before setting sail.
4. Lefkada Island, Greece
The beautiful emerald island of Lefkada is full of attractions. Along the coast, look forward to gorgeous snow-white beaches in stunning contrast to the turquoise sea and lush green vegetation on the rocks, as well as breathtaking sunsets.
YACHTING.COM TIP: The rough sea, a biting wind, darkness all around but ahead a light suddenly appears to lead us to safety. For most people, lighthouses are both a symbol of hope and of the romance that sailing brings. Even in the age of GPS, many of these lighthouses still serve their function, but their stunning architecture and magnificent views make them the perfect stop-off point when sailing. Check out our article to find out which lighthouses you should visit in Europe this year and why — The 15 most beautiful lighthouses you must visit.
The white limestone cliffs along the coast create the perfect backdrop and give the a light blue coloration to the sea. Many beaches are less accessible to hikers, which makes them a paradise for sailors. Lefkada is also a popular spot for windsurfing or kiting enthusiasts.
A cruise to Lefkada can easily be combined with a visit to the other islands and islets in the South Ionian Sea, such as Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos.
5. Balearic Islands, Spain
The Balearic Islands will enchant you with their stunning natural beauty, picturesque harbours and deserted beaches. The more remote island of Formentera is untouched, beautiful and accessible only by boat, and just made for a romantic trip.
Formentera is renowned for its white sandy beaches, azure Caribbean-like sea and wonderful tranquillity. It is rightly known as the last Mediterranean paradise.
6. Procida Island, Italy
Never heard of Procida? It’s no wonder. This small, rocky island in the Gulf of Naples is a hidden gem. This makes it an ideal stop off on a romantic voyage. It’s volcanic in origin and, in contrast to the neighbouring Ischia and Capri, retains the atmosphere of bygone times.
YACHTING.COM TIP: Both novice and experienced sailors can savour the waters around Naples steeped in local culture, sights and natural beauty. We've rounded up the most beautiful places and routes for you in our article Sailing in Italy: explore the Bay of Naples with all your senses. And the infamous Amalfi Coast is a whole chapter in itself.
7. Stockholm, Sweden
The rugged North Sea is unbridled and will easily capture your heart. Beautiful nature, romantic fjords and thousands of charming islands. The season is shorter, but Sweden will give you truly unforgettable experiences.
Try renting a boat in Stockholm, in the vicinity there are more than 20,000 beautiful islands with a typical Nordic atmosphere. In addition to this, the Swedes absolutely love sailing with every 5th Swedish family said to have their own sailing boat.
Romance simply belongs on a sailboat and beautiful places can be found everywhere around the world! Throughout the day, you can bathe in deserted bays and lie on white beaches, explore ancient harbours in the evening, and enjoy candlelight dinners in cozy restaurants.
Not got a captain's licence? No problem, we can provide a skipper for you. Just ask us. It’s also possible to sail on a smaller boat or houseboat where you won’t need a licence.