10 traditional cruising adventures

When that ship has been made ready and is fit to sail, we’ll launch it out into the broad sea,” said Odysseus to his men in the Homeric epic that historians typically trace back to around 800 BC. But even then sailing was an old art dating back many tens of thousands of years. Farther back than human memory and even myth can remember, our history has been deeply entwined with the science and art of sailing.

In the event that you, too, feel the decision of the sea and want to produce willing to sail, there are lots of destinations where you could go. However, many some are perennial favorites for a reason – whether you’re aiming for the “wine dark sea” of the Mediterranean, the clear turquoise bays of the Caribbean, or the silty green-tinted currents of the Nile. In this edited and updated excerpt from Lonely Planet’s 1000 Ultimate Experiences, we cast our net wide for the world’s classic sailing spots.

Our editorial team provides independent recommendations to assist you maximize of your travel experiences. When you produce a purchase through the included links, we may earn an affiliate commission.

British Virgin Islands
What are the results when steady trade winds meet an island-flecked channel with tame currents and hundreds of protected bays? Every mariner worth their sea salt sails there – hence the British Virgin Islands (BVIs) being fully a sailing fantasy land.

There are many than 40 islands and hundreds of anchorages, all within sight of every other. The BVIs are among the planet’s easiest places to sail – greater than a third of all visitors, from beginners to old hands, come to accomplish just that. If you’re seeking a vessel on arrival, boatshare companies like Boatsetter enable you to seek out rentable vessels at many different sizes and price points, with or without captains depending on your skill level.

2. Bay of Islands, New Zealand
This small island nation has a practice of throwing up a number of the world’s best sailors (see its America’s Cup successes) and has among the highest per-capita rates of boat ownership in the world. And with water like this, why wouldn’t it? Famed for the stunning coastal scenery, the Bay of Islands in NZ’s’winterless north’is among the country’s most worthwhile attractions, punctuated by lots of coves and filled up with clear waters ranging in hue from turquoise to deep blue.

Though a very popular tourist and sailing destination, the 150 or so islands have thankfully escaped development and the townships are typical on the mainland. Paihia could be the hub town of the Bay of Islands, and though it’s small, the populace swells dramatically in summer – so book accommodation in advance.

3. Zanzibar, Tanzania
Going to Zanzibar, which sits in the Indian Ocean off the coast of Tanzania, is much like being transported through the centuries – to the ancient kingdoms of Persia, to the Oman of yesteryear using its caliphs and sultans, to the west coast of India using its sensual rhythms and heavily laden scents. The old Stone Town, where everyone arrives, is easily among Africa’s most evocative locations.

Turquoise waters and picture-perfect beaches are trademarks of the Spice Island, and cruising aboard a traditional dhow (an ancient Arabic sailing vessel) is really a tip-top way to explore the surrounding archipelago and first-class diving and snorkelling sites. Specifically, you might want to look for Original Dhow Safaris, which provides cruises aboard a locally built dhow named after among the island’s most famous sons – Queen frontman Freddie Mercury.

4. Croatia
Called the’new Greece ‘, the’new Riviera’and the’new Tuscany ‘, Croatia has clearly become the latest gotta-go destination for the in-crowd. But for all your hype, Croatia’s pleasures are far more timeless than trendsetting: as ever, sunlight shines brilliantly on the crystalline Adriatic, which gently laps a 1778km coast and no fewer than 1185 islands.

That’s plenty of coastline to explore, and there’s no better way to do this than to sail it. The most used destination for a dock could be the hoity-toity island of Hvar, flush with well-heeled yachties, but it’s also wise to set sail for hidden coves, traditional fishing villages and more remote island groups like Kornati or Elafiti. Don’t be in too much of a hurry setting sail, however. Gateway cities such as for instance Split and Dubrovnik have plenty of history and appeal for landlubbers too Visit https://wikitravel.org/en/Sailing_Andaman_and_Nicobar_islands for travsel info about sailing.

5. The French Riviera
Nice, Cannes, Saint-Tropez, Monaco – this celebrated coastline is laden up with legend, myth and celebrity scandal. From billion-dollar real-estate to hedonism aboard monumental yachts, there’s no disputing the sheer glitz and glamour of the French Riviera.

If you want to live the lifestyle, befriend a stone star/Hollywood bigwig/Euro royal and pose artfully on the deck of the boat. Failing that, visit Antibes or Cannes (or Marseille) to hire some sails. Even when it’s only a tiny oceangoing craft, stock the fridge with champagne and caviar and live out a little of the fantasy.

6. Nile River, Egypt
For millennia the Nile was Egypt’s main transport corridor, and today’s travellers get the right chance to get off-road and sail into history. For multi-day river jaunts, budget-friendly feluccas (small, traditional canvas-sailed boats) and dahabiyyas (more-luxurious houseboats, which have become the Rolls Royce of the Nile) contain it throughout the big cruisers. They use sail power rather than engines so more hours is allocated to the river, and they can stop at small islands or antiquities sites which can be skipped by the cruise boats.

Most overnight felucca trips begin at Aswan; the most used option is really a three-day, two-night sail to Edfu. By night, recharge your batteries after hot, history-heavy days by star-gazing and playing the sounds of the river.

7. Whitsunday Islands, Australia
A prime holiday hot spot off the Queensland coast, the Whitsundays would be the stuff of postcard designers’dreams – cloudless skies, azure seas and 74 flawless islands. Much of the half-drowned mountain range belongs to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, among the seven wonders of the natural world, so you will find kaleidoscopic coral gardens, sea turtles and a mind-boggling array of fabulous fish.

Diving or snorkelling straight off your yacht is incomparable and sailing is huge business, with boats and tours catering to everyone from first-timers to professionals. The gateway to the Whitsundays is the town of Airlie Beach, where most of the services cluster along the main drag. To set up day, overnight, or private charter tours, relate genuinely to Sailing Whitsundays, a reputable agency Visit https://www.tripindicator.com/perth-top-boat-cruises-sailing-tours/1/389/N/3 for travsel info about sailing.

8. The Greek Islands
There’s something undeniably siren-like about Greece’s islands. Could it be the decision of magnificent history, 1400-plus islands dotting the waters of the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and significantly more than 300 days of sunshine per year? Sailing is the greatest way setting your own island-hopping itinerary, stopping for octopus and ouzo or locating a secluded swimming spot.

Select an area group to explore – favourites range from the Cyclades (including the recently booming Santorini and Mykonos) or the Ionians, west of the mainland and including Corfu, Lefkada and Skorpios, the private island of the late shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis.

Sailors beware the winds of change: the meltemi is really a northeasterly wind that blows through much of Greece during the summertime, which can make for more difficult sailing conditions.

9. Galápagos Islands, Ecuador
Bone on Darwin’s theory of evolution when you sail for this volcanic archipelago the name that conjures images of other-worldly wildlife. The Galapagos present a once-in-a-lifetime visit is to fly in and take a week-long cruise, living aboard a vessel (sailing yachts are available and totally look the part, but motors in many cases are used).

By day you are able to snorkel or dive, or come ashore to play Attenborough among astounding wildlife, including vast amounts of sea lions, iguanas, giant tortoises and bountiful birdlife. We implore you, however to tread carefully in this ecological wonderland endangered by climate change.

10. Tahiti and French Polynesia
It’s impossible to speak about the exotic landscape of Tahiti and French Polynesia without clichés. From the lush slopes of the high islands to the white-sand, palm-ruffled atolls with lagoons bluer than Billie Holiday, this is the place that stereotypical ideals of paradise come from. Roughly halfway between Australia and California, French Polynesia’s 118 islands are scattered over an expanse of the Pacific Ocean stretching significantly more than 2000 sq km – a place about how big Western Europe.

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