Read on to find out about the best summer yacht charter destinations in Corsica and Sardinia, including Bonifacio and the Costa Smeralda.
With temperatures in summer averaging around 22-28.5 degrees Celsius, you will definitely want to get yourselves in the water! Fortunately, Corsica is incredibly diverse and versatile for private yachts with its sandy, rocky and pebbly beaches, sheer cliffs, picturesque coves and plenty of anchorages.
Many charterers start their Corsica voyage from the island’s capital: Ajaccio. Port Tino Rossi in Ajaccio is popular among holidaymakers, many of whom are attracted by its historic sites and thriving café scene. As the birthplace of Napoléon Bonaparte, there’s plenty of history to absorb as well as some excellent beaches to lounge at such as the Iles Sanguinaires or the less touristy southern shore of the Gulf of Ajaccio where you can laze at Isolella.
Corsica has over 2000 kilometres of nature trails and many areas of unspoiled natural beauty. You could meander along the Chemin des Crêtes that overlooks the bay of Ajaccio.
If you’re looking for a cultural excursion, why not visit the Musée des Beaux-Arts de Fesch, established following the gift of the palace by its owner: Cardinal Joseph Fesch (uncle of Napoleon I). Today, it houses a Napoleonic collection and fine artworks from Italian masters. You can also see relics from his early years at Maison Bonaparte, his childhood home.
While at sea, cruise by the four islets of red granite that make up the Sanguinaires Islands – located close to Ajaccio and accessible only by boat. Here, you’ll likely encounter seabirds and dolphins.
Head to Campomoro in the southwest
Steeped in history, it is worth visiting some of Campomoro’s megalithic sites, Genoese fortifications and Romanesque churches. You can really see the influence of different civilisations.
If you anchor in the Gulf of Valinco, ensure you make time to go ashore and see the most significant prehistoric site on Corsica. Filitosa has a series of granite menhirs spanning from the Neolithic era to the Bronze Age.
Approaching Bonifacio by private yacht is incredibly evocative – hilltop fortifications and a citadel sit on the limestone clifftop. You can spend the day swimming at Roccapina beach west of Bonifacio, or Cavello Island.
From the sea, there are several caves at sea level that can only be seen by boat, such as the Grotte de S’Dragulinu (the cave of the little dragon).
Or from Bonifacio, drop anchor near the Lavezzi Islands (a designated marine reserve) and dive in the clear turquoise waters.There is also the Reserve naturelle des Bouches de Bonifacio, for nature-lovers.
Or, for a cultural trip, visit the historically-listed Église Sainte-Marie-Majeure which is the oldest building in Bonifacio and traditional Corsican butcher and cheese shops.
Corsican specialities include: chestnut bread, ewe’s milk cheese, cured meats, wild boar stew or sea bass.
Located in northern Sardinia, Olbia is predominantly still a transit city for those going towards the beaches or the airport, but it’s worth spending a few hours exploring the picturesque lanes and beaches.
Il Pescatore Restaurant has a great view across the port and a delightful atmosphere.
La Pelosa beach, arguably the most popular beach in Sardinia, is located opposite the island of Asinara. Imagine clear, shallow waters and bright, white sand, and soon you’ll think you’re in paradise.
If you’ve got some time to explore Alghero, be sure to spend a morning walking around the city walls and finding the Cathedral. If you’re not afraid of heights, we suggest a day trip to Capo Caccia, where you’ll be stunned by the magnitude of the stalagmites and stalactites of Grotto Di Nettuno and where you’ll be able take a swim off the Parco Nazionale dell Asinara. Also, Nautilus, in the oldest quarter of Alghero and overlooking the port, is a fabulous seafood restaurant serving locally-caught produce.
Or head east
Cala Brandinchi – nicknamed by the locals as ‘little Tahiti’, referring to its emerald water – is worth a visit.
Just north of Costa Smerelda, lies la Maddalena Archipelago, composed of seven large islands and 55 islets. Until 2008, when the island’s NATO naval base closed, the archipelago remained virtually undiscovered by tourists. Our favourite beaches on the island include Cala Soraya, Spiaggia Rosa and Bassa Trinitta. Access is limited to private yacht only, so very exclusive!
Costa Smeralda, also known as the Stintino coastline, is a stretch of land along the northeast coast known for its turquoise water and fine-sand beaches, including Grande Pevero and Capriccioli.
If you are in the area, it is worth checking out the Hotel Cala di Volpe – a luxury hotel on the Costa Smeralda – which has two bars open to the public: Bar Pontile (a stylish, outdoor bar with sea views and ideal for sunset hour) and the Lobby and Atrium bar (a slightly smarter indoor option). Its Barbecue Restaurant is also very popular.
But by far the highlight of any visits to Sardinia has to be the Agriturismos. These quaint restaurants, usually located in small farmhouses off the beaten track with gorgeous outdoor seating, specialise in fresh, homecooked meals, usually consisting of several courses!
Popular Agriturismos include:
- Agriturismo Nuraghe Tuttusoni
- Turismo Rurale Filieri
- Agriturismo Corda Tonino E Sabina
- Agriturismo Su Connottu
- Tanca ‘e Gaia
- Agriturismo Muru Idda