A Sardinia sailing itinerary takes you to Italy’s stunningly beautiful Maddalena Archipelago National Park and Marine Reserve and the world-famous Emerald Coast, well known for its superb beaches and myriad coves and bays. On longer cruises you can sail northward to the island of Corsica, France, or transit the Strait of Bonifacio and head south down the northwestern side of the island of Sardinia, where it’s a little less expensive than on the Emerald Coast and much more laid-back (see Sardinia maps). Both the archipelago and the main islands are enchanting cruising grounds regardless of the length of your Sardinia itinerary. They blend the boutique shopping, fine dining, and lively nightlife of chic ports such as Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo with the quiet and scenic beauty of the largely uninhabited Maddalena Islands. Most of all the sailing in these waters is splendid, with good winds on most days.

 

Day 1

Porto Cervo

Situated in an inlet at the base of beautiful hills, Porto Cervo is a modern resort fashioned to fit the vision of the wealthy entrepreneurs who dreamed of establishing the northeast coast of Sardinia as a luxury vacation destination. By all accounts it has lived up to expectations. The harbor is often called the centerpiece of the Emerald Coast, with its 4- and 5-star resorts and hotels, and its designer boutiques, upscale restaurants, and exclusive nightclubs. The village is in the Old Port, Porto Vecchio, on the southeastern side of the harbor, and the Porto Cervo Spa with its outstanding yachting amenities is on the northern side of the harbor. There’s easy access to all amenities since the entire complex isn’t that big, though Porto Cervo is indeed the jewel of the overall 7,500-acre Costa Smeralda development that also includes a host of private villas. Sailing in Porto Cervo waters is simultaneously beautiful for its scenery and lavishly indulgent for all the amenities available at this premier yachting destination.

Day 2

Porto Rotondo

One could argue that a visit to Porto Rotondo would be a repeat performance of a foray to Porto Cervo, and to some extent the assertion would be correct. Like Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo is one of Italy’s premier yachting centers and a world-famous luxury vacation destination. Indeed both ports vie for high-end yachting aficionados. Yet Porto Rotondo has its own fine blend of the nautical and the upscale, a somewhat more intimate feel that sets it apart. Some of Europe’s best artists helped design the more noteworthy buildings. Sailing in Porto Rotondo waters is an unforgettable experience.

Day 3

Mortorio Island

Mortorio and neighboring Soffi Island are among the smaller isles of the Maddalena Archipelago National Park and Marine Reserve. Located within an easy sail of Porto Rotondo or Porto Cervo, they make an excellent day stop or an overnight anchorage. Totally uninhabited, wind-swept, and rugged, these islands are a natural habitat for all manner of seabirds. You can watch them wheel and dive along the sandy shores, and beyond are the cliffs of the Sardinian coast, grand and awe-inspiring in their breathtaking beauty. Sailing in Mortorio waters allows you to experience the other side of the Emerald Coast, the one where Nature is supreme.

Day 4

Caprera Island

Except for a resort at Garibaldi Bay, Caprera Island is nearly devoid of development. There are a few bungalows, a shop or two, but the natural beauty is held paramount over tourism. In fact, at the height of the summer season officials limit the number of vehicles allowed on the island’s roads. Flocks of royal seagulls and cormorants, and solitary peregrine falcons soar overhead. In the interior of this 10-square-mile island, Monte Tejalone rises 695 feet above sea level, dominating the skyline of neighboring Maddalena and its smaller peaks. Because of the steady and sometimes strong winds funneling in from the Strait of Bonifacio sailing in Caprera waters is some of the best in the Mediterranean, which is why the most rigorous sailing school in Italy, The Sailing Centre of Caprera, is based on the southwest side of the island. Beaches, coves, and bays abound, making sailing on Caprera Island a delight.

Day 5

Maddalena Island

When you go sailing in Maddalena waters, you enter a pristine natural world of incredible beauty. Everywhere are islands, rocky and rugged. The white sails of local yachts stand in stark relief against the blue sea as the sleek boats heel in the steady winds from the northwest. In the lees of the islands are superlative coves and bays well protected and picturesque. In short, sailing Maddalena is an experience you must enjoy firsthand to fully comprehend its majestic beauty and inspiring adventure. Because Maddalena is a tourist destination with ferry service from the main island, the port of Cala Gavetta is home to a small town with some shops, and a few restaurants and bars. You can opt for a dash of civilization, albeit in a very laid-back and somewhat rustic fashion, or you can go for more of the unspoiled natural setting the marine park has to offer by sailing to the many bays and coves along the extensive coast of this 12-square-mile jewel of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

Day 6

Cannigione

Sailing in Cannigione waters brings you deep into the Gulf of Arzachena on the northeast coast of Sardinia. The gulf is shaped much a like a fjord and offers similar beauty. Rocky hills front each side, creating a rugged and yet scenic backdrop to the shimmering blue of the Tyrrhenian Sea. The Moorings base in Sardinia is situated on the west side of the gulf near the port of Cannigione, a small and quiet resort town with a laid-back ambience far different from what you’ll find when you head southward along the Emerald Coast to bustling Porto Rotondo and Porto Cervo. And that’s part of the charm of Cannigione yacht charter.

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