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Sardinia Yacht Charter Guide

With sapphire lagoons and sunlit seas, glamorous marinas and achingly beautiful archipelagos, Sardinia is pure yachting paradise, drenched in colour and light.

A Sardinia yacht charter is all bright sunshine and sparkling water, swimming off the yacht in the hot and heady days of a Mediterranean summer, and warm, decadent nights strolling along glamorous waterfronts with a gelato, the lights of the yachts reflecting across the water.

Each year, superyacht charters flock to the Costa Smeralda to enjoy the stunning beaches, dropping anchor in water so crystal clear that the seabed is visible far below. In the evenings, guests come ashore to some of the most exclusive ports on the planet, where Champagne flows like summer rain and the beautiful people dine and dance under starry skies.

Porto Cervo in Sardinia

Yet there’s so much more to a Sardinia yacht charter than breathtaking beaches and high glamour.

Sardinia is the Mediterranean’s second largest island, with a diverse landscape that includes towering sand dunes, deep green forests and rugged granite mountains. Offshore, WWII wrecks and Roman roads lie under the surface, and in Sardinia’s ancient heart, prehistoric ruins litter the landscape and villagers go about their business as they have for millennia, surrounded by rolling vineyards, grazing sheep, and sunny citrus groves.

DH Lawrence said of Sardinia ‘This earth doesn’t resemble to some other place. Sardinia is another thing: enchanting space around and distance to be traveled, nothing of ended, nothing definitive. It is as the same liberty.’

There is no better way to enjoy that freedom and explore Sardinia than aboard a Sardinia luxury yacht charter.

On deck of motor yacht JAJARO in Sardinia

Float through moonscape archipelagos & turquoise lagoons

The medieval haunt of smugglers and pirates, the arid islands off Sardinia rise out of startlingly blue water, giant boulders encircling lagoons and coves of exquisite beauty.

The Maddalena Islands are a dreamy archipelago of pink granite rock and turquoise water, with stunning beaches backed by emerald pines and walking paths. Highlights of the Maddalena islands are the superb lagoon of Porto della Madonna, the huge boulder formations of Rizzoli islands, and the famous pink sands of Spiaggia Rosa, the location for Antonioni’s film Il Deserto Rosso.

Sardinia scenery

Despite their fierce, remote beauty, the Maddalena islands offer some fine restaurants and your Captain will be happy to advise you on where to go!

Beyond the Maddalenas are the uninhabited Lavezzi Islands, technically part of Corsica but easily included on a Sardinia yacht charter. The giant grey granite rocks of the Lavezzis frame beaches of blinding blue water, while yellow-horned poppy flowers clamber over this barren, bewitching landscape. The snorkelling and diving off the Lavezzi is exceptional, with colonies of giant grouper, schools of barracuda, and red gorgonian fans aplenty.

Beach in Sardinia

Sardinia has other beautiful, fascinating islands in the north, such as the mountainous island kingdom of Tavolara which has its own king (who doubles as a restaurant owner), and the tiny island of Asinara, an abandoned high-security prison island that is now populated by a 250-strong herd of miniature albino donkeys. If you’re cruising the south, the pretty island of Isola di San Pietro enchants with its quiet cobbled streets, clifftop lighthouse, and Ligurian dialect.

Picnic and play on beaches straight out of a dream

The beaches of Sardinia are some of the best in the world, with glimmering blue-green waters and sugar white sands. Sardinia’s coastline is more than a thousand miles long, and the beaches are as diverse as the island, from the breathtaking cliff-lined coves of the Costa Smeralda in the north to the incredible desert landscapes of the Torre dei Corsari on the western coast, where shifting sand dunes up to 70m high tower above the sea. For gently rolling sand dunes covered in pretty wildflowers and sea grasses, cruise to Capo Camino or Santa Lucia on the east coast or Chia or Teulada in the south, while those looking for a laid-back beach club scene should head to San Teodoro just south of the Costa Smeralda, with its long sandy beaches and pink flamingo lagoons.

Cala di Volpe, Sardinia

The majority of Sardinia yacht charters will spend most of their time on the dazzling Costa Smeralda, where the undulating, honey-coloured cliffs break the coast up into secluded coves of magnificent beauty, with powder soft beaches sloping gently away into crystal clear seas. The Emerald Coast provides the perfect location for anchoring off and playing on watertoys, or going ashore for luxury beach picnics in the cool shade of the cliffs. Liscia Ruja and Spiaggia del Principe are favourite beaches of the superyacht set, while Spiaggia Pevero (Spiaggia del Piccolo Pevero and a larger sandy beach called Spiaggia del Grande Pevero), Carpiccioli, and Romazzino are also standouts.

Princess motor yacht ARAMIS in Sardinia

Live the high life in glamorous superyacht marinas

The towns of Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo on the Costa Smeralda have an incredible energy in the summer months, with superyachts clustered in the marinas and an intoxicating atmosphere of celebrity parties and jet-set decadence.

Luxury yachts in Porto Cervo, Sardinia

Purpose-built by the Aga Khan in the 1960s, the ultra-exclusive village of Porto Cervo is all pastel stucco and archways overlooking the sea, with high-end hotels and fine restaurants lining the cobbled streets. Guests on a Sardinia yacht charter might shop at Hermes or Bottega Veneta, Louis Vuitton or Versace, or spend the morning playing a round of golf at the incredible Pevero Golf Course, carved into the Costa Smeralda cliffs. Lunch might be at Sardinia’s most fashionable beach club, Phi Beach, where lush Bedouin tents and elegant dining tables sit in the garden above the lapping water, or perhaps back in town at the endlessly sophisticated Costa Smeralda Yacht Club. The afternoon stretches out before you: ample time for watersports in Cala di Volpe bay, or swimming at one of the nearby beaches.

Louis Vuitton boutique in Porto Cervo, Sardinia

As sunset approaches, have drinks on the sundeck of your charter yacht or cocktails at Orange Beach as the DJ’s get the party started, before adjourning to dinner at one of the great restaurants of Porto Cervo: Gianni Pedrinelli’s, Il Pescatore, or Restaurant Cala di Volpe at the eponymous hotel. For a stunning view over the coast, you can dine one mile inland at the excellent I Frati Rossi, where the menu includes amberjack tartare and fresh made pasta with saffron-scented lobster. Of course, you could just spend a leisurely day at the iconic Billionaire Club, moving from the pool terrace, to Crazy Fish restaurant, and onto the VIP lounges and dance floors of the two prestigious clubs. For an elegant nightcap, the American cocktail bar Il Portico is a splendid choice, or for an atmospheric drink overlooking the marina, the Aqua Lounge (at the yacht club) pool terrace is hard to beat, and only livens up as the evening rolls on.

Superyacht in Sardinia

Porto Rotondo is another upscale town at the southern end of the Costa Smeralda, with a luxury marina, fine dining restaurants, designer boutiques, and a gorgeous piazza and church. Dine on a pool terrace under stone archways at Stella di Gallura, or take a veranda table overlooking the water at Lu Stazzu to enjoy an authentic Sardinian feast of suckling pork, pasta, and fresh-caught seafood. Set on a circular bay and surrounded by stunning beaches and spa resorts, Porto Rotondo is a sparkling gem on the emerald coast.

Venture into the delicious, sweet-smelling heart of Sardinia

Moving away from the designed luxury towns of the Costa Smeralda, you find the beating heart of Sardinia. Behind the beaches, groves of eucalyptus and emerald pines give way to the thorny macchia scrub that releases its fragrance under the Mediterranean sun- wild pistachios and strawberries, myrtle, cypress and juniper, rosemary and lavender.

Cows on mountain road in Sardinia

Forests of cork trees, oak and chestnut carpet the rolling hills, interspersed with olive and lemon groves and rocky fields where sheep and goats graze in an ancient landscape. Time has seemingly stood still in the medieval hamlets of rural Sardinia, with scenes straight out of a National Geographic photo shoot: elderly matriarchs dressed in black gossiping on doorsteps, Sunday streets filled with worshippers, and gnarled, weatherbeaten farmers in old garb leading short-legged donkeys along country lanes.

Mountain scenery in Sardinia

As you venture further away from the coast you come to the rugged granite mountains of Sardinia- low lying but fierce in their wild, pure beauty. Where Sardinia’s islands were the haven of smugglers and pirates, the mountain caves and canyons were the domain of the famous banditos. Up here, wild horses roam free, and eagles, vultures and falcons wheel above the eyries, giving the high country a haunting, almost eerie beauty. You might visit the staggering granite formations of the Gallura region, walk through the oleander-scented valleys of the jagged, lonely Monte Sette Fratelli in the southeast, or explore the stupendous gorges and peaks of the Supramonte, with sheer cliffs that fall away into the deep, cool sea.

On a Sardinia yacht charter, take a day trip from the yacht to hike, quad-bike, or horse-ride through Sardinia’s stunning interior, uncovering the ancient Sard culture and cuisine as you go.

Food on M/Y JAJARO in Sardinia

Savour the Sard cuisine

In Sardinia, local markets in sunny squares overflow with produce: local honey with hints of carob, deep green olive oil, fragrant myrtle liqueur, and the giant wheels of Pecorino cheese that Sardinian cuisine is famous for. On a Sardinia yacht charter, be sure to try the local specialties: podeccu, suckling pig; a handful of hot fried picarel fish; or bottarga, cured mullet roe grated over pasta and wild asparagus. Fregola are delicious balls of semolina dough, while for desert, seada fritters delight with their sweet cheese and lemon zest filling and finished off with a drizzle of honey. For wine enthusiasts, the vineyards of Sardinia produce spumante, red and white wines, including the popular Vermontino di Galllura and the delicious Cannonau red variety.

Explore fairy tombs and Roman amphitheatres

Sardinia is littered with remnants of the past, the most common the thousands of stone towers of the Nuraghic people, an ancient Sardinian culture who lived here thousands of years before the age of Christ. The early Sardinians lived in caves, and when they emerged to live in the fields and forests they continued to bury their dead and leave idols in sacred caves, carved out of the rock into fantastical fairy tombs, giants tombs, and witch houses. These fairy tombs can be seen near the coast at Alghero and in cliff faces in the mountains, while the best example of nuraghic ruins is the UNESCO-world heritage site at Barumini, north of Cagliari.

Historic parade in Sardinia

Waves of conquerors ruled Sardinia after the Nuraghic people, with Phoenicians, Carthaginians, and Romans leaving their mark on the island, with the ancient Punic and later Roman town of Nora an excellent example of amphitheatre, temple, and baths.

Stroll Ancient Cities and Pretty Fishing Villages

If you can drag yourself away from Sardinia’s beaches, the cities and towns have an enormous amount to offer visitors.

Beautifully restored Alghero on the north west coast is a highlight of any Sardinian yacht charter, with its Catalan architecture and historic centre, while the spectacular Neptune’s Grotto is found on a cliff-face nearby, accessible only by yacht or by a dizzyingly steep stairway cut into the rock. Slightly further south is the splendid river town of Bosa, palm trees and pastel buildings lining the water, while a short cruise away is the charming town of Stintinto with its pretty harbours full of fishing boats and stunning La Pelosa beach. Also in the north west, the brightly painted medieval village of Castelsardo sits above the gulf of Asinara, its castle ruins a place of epic beauty high up on the crag above the town.

Fishing boats in Sardinia

Cagliari, the capital in the south, is undergoing a cosmopolitan revolution, with wine bars and boutique hotels popping up across this ancient Italian city of palazzos and shady piazzas, with the walled Castello quarter providing astonishing views across the water.

Dive 

The diving in Sardinia is some of the best in the Mediterranean, with colourful coral, shipwrecks, and remnants of sunken Roman cities.

Diving in Sardinia

La Maddalena islands are considered some of the best dive spots for a Sardinia yacht charter, with giant boulders covered in corals and the marine reserve creating a haven for large groupers, barracuda, octopus, eels, and spiny lobster. Costa Paradiso in the northwest is also very good indeed, and Capo Caccia near Alghero has a superb tunnel and cave network stretching over 350m. On the east coast, Cala Gonone provides WWII wrecks and interesting underwater terrain, while Santa Maria de Navarrese is the home of a bomber plane and some great boulders, caves, and red coral. If you’re venturing into the south, the Gulf of Cagliari offers some fantastic WWII wreck dives, including the Romagna, which was sunk by a mine in 1943 and the large warship, the Isonzo. For ancient history buffs, the Gulf of Teulada hides remnants of Roman shipwrecks, while just off the shore at Nora is where scuba divers can find the marble floor of the ancient flooded port, as well as a sunken Roman highway leading out to sea.

Swimming on a beach in Sardinia

Cruise across to stunning Corsica

As if there wasn’t enough wonder in Sardinia alone, Corsica is just a very short cruise away across the Bonifacio Strait, and is very often included on a Sardinia yacht charter. Please check out Bespoke Yacht Charter’s Corsica yacht charter guide.

Luxury yacht in Porto Cervo

A Sardinia yacht charter is the ultimate way to discover Sardinia’s glamorous ports, dreamy archipelagos and stunning beaches in the dazzling light of a Mediterranean summer. But don’t forget to take a day trip inland, to the wild, pure heart of ancient Sardinia.

This guide was written by Jo Morgan – Jo is a freelance writer for yachts and travel, offering targeted feature articles, content marketing, blogs and press releases for the yachting and travel industries.

We hope you found this guide to yacht charters in Sardinia interesting. To organise your own Sardinia yacht charter, please contact Bespoke Yacht Charter:

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