You don’t have to be a sailor to enjoy the freedom of sailing. Even if you don’t have good sea legs there are calm bays across the globe so you can still enjoy the solitude of the sea. Sailing takes you from one port to another, giving you the chance to disembark every time and spend some time in a new city or village, or on a different beach.

Sailing is for everyone whether you want to be the skipper or just lay on the deck and catch some rays whilst watching the world sail past – literally! Here are the best places for sailing about the globe.

Best places for sailing

Croatia

Croatia has fast become a hot spot for sailing and with calm bays, pretty towns and a great party scene, we can see why it has gained popularity. Most visitors don’t get as far as the five islands that surround Dubrovnik and Split so the best way to see what Croatia has to offer is on a sailing trip.

There are a thousand or so islands along the Dalmatian coast and you can moor at charming fishing villages, swim in an inland lagoon or visit the island of Vis, which only opened to foreigners in 1989 and remains surprisingly unspoilt. The island of Hvar is the best place to watch the sunset in Croatia and also has the best party scene.

Croatia has calmer sailing and is perfect for those who just want to experience sailing without having to actually take part. The Croatia Tourism Board lists all the islands you can visit. 

Best places for sailing

Sailing in Greece (photo @ Revital)

Greece

Sailing in Greece offers more than just beautiful coves, Greek salads and the traditional Ouzu. The Aegean is the birthplace of the Greek seamanship and gives an insight into the Greek way of life, both old and new. Begin your sailing adventure from Epidavros in the Saronic Gulf for historical cities and ancient ruins, all whilst sailing past ancient landscape and rugged coastlines.

You’ll be spoilt for choice from the Ionian Sea to the Sporades; visit heaven-sent islands, traditional fishing villages and olive groves. Take a catamaran cruise around the breathtaking volcanic island of Santorini all whilst sampling fresh local Greek cuisine.

With a choice of bareboat skippered, sailboats, flotillas or yacht charter, sailing here caters for every level from novice to the more challenging. Sailing trips in Croatia and Greece are from May to September. Sailing companies such as Ocean Elements Sailing Holidays offer beginner skipper courses to help you learn to sail.

Sailing in Turkey

Turkey

Turkey has so many interesting and fascinating places that sailing around them is one of the best ways to explore the Turkish sites and coastline. You can choose a sailing trip for a few days or even a week to explore Turkey’s most beautiful islands such as St Nicholas Island, a beautiful place with great cultural value because of the ruins from ancient times. Others are Tersane Island and Yessica Islands, where you can visit the largest naval port and the island on which, according to tradition, the devil lives.

If the boat starts from Fethiye, you’ll see places such as Bodrum, Marmaris, Kemer, Rodhos, Kos or Demre and also get a chance to swim along the way. There are plenty of ruins to see too. You can choose a luxury week self-catering holiday or if you are short on time, experience the Turkish coastline from just four days.  Sailing in Turkey starts in April and finishes in November making it an ideal destination for the beginning of the winter.

The gorgeous Bahamas

Caribbean

Is there any better way to see the Caribbean than by sailing around it? Sailing around the Caribbean allows you too see more than one island, explore the gorgeous beaches and jump into the crystal clear Caribbean sea whenever you want. The Caribbean is grouped into clusters of islands. Although the islands are synonymous with families and couples, you can still explore them as a solo especially on a sailing holiday.

Divided into the Lesser Antilles and the Greater Antilles you sail around the Cayman Islands, Dominican Republic, Jamaica, Cuba and Puerto Rico and stop off in Havana to experience a taste of Cuban life and Cuban salsa; see the Seven-Mile Beach in Jamaica and listen to some Caribbean reggae; or go diving at one of the three Cayman Islands. Puerto Rico is a great destination to stop at and watch live, cultural performances at Plaza de Aromas after meandering past the colourful buildings in Old San Juan.

The Leeward Islands are another group of islands to visit. Experience the French islands of Saint Barts or Guadeloupe, or the English-speaking islands of Anguilla and the British Virgin Islands – an archipelago of sixty islands with National Parks and shipwrecks to explore. Antigua is one of the main sailing hubs and has hundreds of beautiful white beaches. You can even go zip lining here. As some of the most exclusive in the Caribbean sailing to these islands will give you a different type of holiday than Cuba or Jamaica for example.

best places for sailing

Whitsundays (photo @ Tanya Puntti)

Whitsundays

Where better to sail than at one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World? The 74 Whitsunday Islands off the tropical coast of Queensland are Australia’s sailing paradise and are surprisingly lush. Secluded bays and inhabited islands offer relaxation and solitude and you don’t even have to leave the vessel. If you do want to explore, take an island or reef tour or just moor up and indulge in an island spa treatment.

The pearl of the reef has to be Whitehaven Beach – its pure white beach dazzles you as you approach by sea. Here you can see manta rays swimming along the shoreline and the only way to experience this white sand haven is by boat or a helicopter ride. It has been named Queensland’s Most Beautiful Beach and also the friendliest! Take a swim in its warm bay or walk along its white shoreline, you can even polish your silver jewellery in its crystal clear waters.

The Whitsundays are perfect for relaxation and offer a choice of catamaran, bareboat or traditional sailing. You don’t need to pre-book either as you’ll find sailing companies in Australia. Book and board your sailing trip from Airlie Beach (and party here beforehand).

Finally

These are just some of the best places to go sailing around the world. There are plenty of others too. Wherever you end up sailing, there is no better way to see the world than by exploring it from the sea. Just book your flight and go!

Have you been on a sailing holiday as a solo? 

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