Boat Trips to remember
Ten hidden gems that you can only reach by boat
Summer has arrived and while some dream of the sea as the temperatures rise, others are already enjoying their holiday. Those who want to give their summer holiday a special twist and want to walk away from the usual cities and beaches should definitely take a boat trip. With a gentle breeze on your face, you can leave the stress of everyday life behind and just enjoy being on a boat, surrounded only by the glittering blue sea, its gentle noise and perhaps even by dolphins, turtles or sea birds.
Holidu, the search engine for holiday homes, and Sailsquare, Europe’s leading platform for sailing holidays, which offers yacht vacations organized by local skippers, have identified ten breathtaking destinations that can almost only be reached by boat. Some places can be explored on your own, others are only accessible during a booked excursion. But they are all worthwhile!
1. Nature Reserve Sa Dragonera – Mallorca, Spain
An island in the shape of a dragon – a fantastic must-see, especially for game-of-thrones lovers who spend their holidays on Mallorca! You can reach the island off the west coast of Mallorca with an excursion boat from Port d’Andratx, Camp de Mar, Paguera or Sant Elm. If you prefer to go to the island on your own, you need a permit to dock. Diving areas, hiking trails and the lighthouse Far Vell, which offers an impressive panorama of Mallorca’s coast, are all worth exploring. Hardly any other place on Mallorca offers such an opportunity to avoid the hustle and bustle on the island. Immerse yourself in nature and enjoy being surrounded by sea birds and lizards as well as taking in the fantastic views!
2. La Graciosa – Spain
Many tourists long for secluded beaches, which are now almost non-existent at popular holiday destinations. But those who are ready to hop on a boat are often rewarded. This is also the case on the Canarian island La Graciosa, which is located near Lanzarote and can only be reached by boat. As well as for Sa Dragonera, all people travelling to La Graciosa independently need a permission to enter the harbour or to anchor in front of one of the designated bays. Those who visit La Graciosa will experience a very special flair: the island does not have any asphalted roads and the sandy roads will make you feel as if you were in the Wild West. You don’t identify yourself with cowboys? Then go on a treasure hunt! La Graciosa inspired the famous author Robert Louis Stevenson to write his world-famous novel “Treasure Island”. Alternatively, you can rent a bike or visit one of the unspoilt beaches such as Playa de las Conchas and Playa de la Cocina.
3. Lavezzi Islands – Corsica, France
The Lavezzi Islands are situated between Corsica and Sardinia in the azure blue Mediterranean Sea. Bays with white and golden sandy beaches, bizarre granite rocks and a species-rich fauna and flora make the archipelago very special. Only the Île de Cavallo is inhabited, the remaining islands are almost untouched. So it is no wonder that the Lavezzi archipelago is under nature protection. Only Lavezzi, Cavallo and Piana may be entered. It is best to start the boat trip from the south of Corsica, from Bonifacio. Visitors who go ashore on one of the islands are greeted by the scent of laurel and wild herbs; the sounds of sea birds and the appearance of dolphins complete the Mediterranean idyll. We recommend visiting the island of Lavezzi, with its impressive boulders and romantic bays. The “Seychelles of the Mediterranean” are an absolute gem and should not be missed when you are in this area!
4. Shipwreck Bay, Bay Navagio – Zakynthos, Greece
The Navagio Bay, or “Shipwreck Bay”, on the island of Zakynthos in Greece is indeed famous and often praised, but it definitely belongs in this list. In 1980, a ship loaded with smuggled cigarettes was shipwrecked off the coast and was eventually driven to the beach. The spectacular Navagio Bay with its rusting shipwreck and surrounded by impressive grey cliffs is a stunning place. Swimming in the sea against this backdrop is a unique experience. Nobody who spends his holiday on Zakynthos should do without it. Of course, this place is not spared by the masses, as nobody wants to miss the impressive scenery. It is advisable to visit the bay already in the early morning or in the late afternoon, and best with a private rental boat.
5. Lalaria Beach – Skiathos, Greece
White pebble beach, turquoise sea and picturesque chalk cliffs – welcome to Skiathos! The Greek island in the Aegean Sea has a lot to offer, especially for those who travel by boat. Immerse yourself in a panorama that seems to have come directly from a picture book and sail along the coast on crystal clear water. Skiathos has numerous sheltered bays with beautiful beaches of gravel or sand. Above all, the beach of Lalaria is a delight with an impressive arch of rock in the water. Rumour has it that those who swim through it will keep eternal youth. While being in the area, you should definitely also explore the nearby sea caves that shimmer in a fascinating blue shade depending on the position of the sun.
6. Blue Grotto – Biševo Island, Croatia
Sea caves are popular destinations not only in Greece but also in many other Mediterranean countries. Beautiful light shows can be observed for example in the blue grotto on the island Biševo in Croatia. The deep blue of the sea seems almost unnatural, when the light on sunny days is reflected in the water and gives the grotto an extraordinary glow. The entrance has been artificially created so that tourists can explore the cave on guided tours. Small boats allow groups of tourists to enter the grotto together, individual travels are not possible. The excursions start from the neighbouring island Vis. Biševo itself is almost completely covered by Mediterranean vegetation and can only be reached by boat.
7. Island in the shape of a heart – Galešnjak, Croatia
Very few know its name, but many know its shape, which represents a perfect heart: We are talking about the island of Galešnjak in Croatia, which lies between the Dalmatian coast and the island of Pašman and is an absolute artwork of nature. There are only four heart-shaped islands in the world and Galešnjak is the easiest to explore, at least for Europeans. The island is the perfect destination for romantics. There is not much to do on the small island but enjoy the scenery and some private time. Croatia with its thousands of small islands is a perfect destination for boat trips. There is hardly a country where it is as worthwhile to travel by water as in Croatia. Thus, those who are exploring Northern Dalmatia should plan a boat trip to the heart-shaped island.
Island in the shape of a heart
8. Cala Luna – Sardinia, Italy
The beautiful Cala Luna, which is shaped like a crescent moon and therefore bears this name, is a rugged bay with several caves and is located on the east coast of Sardinia. Golden sand and dramatic cliffs in front of a turquoise sea make this place seem magical. Although Cala Luna can also be reached via a hiking trail, it should not be underestimated in summer. Furthermore, when you arrive by boat, you will have a breathtaking panorama of the whole coast and you can discover more beaches on this way. As the bay is no longer an insider tip and attracts numerous sun seekers, snorkelers and divers, it is worth chartering a boat yourself – ideally with a private skipper. Thus, you can hoist the sails flexibly at any time and visit another bathing bay if the Cala Luna gets too crowded for you.
9. Skellig Michael – Ireland
It is not only in the Mediterranean countries that there are gems that can only be reached by boat. Sailing trips or guided boat trips to impressive destinations are also possible in the far north. How about a trip to the island of Skellig Michael, off the southwest coast of Ireland? The rocky island became famous through the film “Star Wars Episode VII: The Force Awakens”, in which it serves as Luke Skywalker’s hiding place. Since the film release, the crowds visiting the island have grown enormously. However, it’s not possible to get there on your own, because even when the sea is calm, it’s not entirely safe to moor. Those who are adventurous enough to dare this journey will be rewarded with the rough beauty of the island. On the way to Skellig Michael, travellers also pass the island “Little Skellig” and have the chance to observe puffins, depending on the time of day and season.
10. Stockholm Archipelago – Sweden
In Scandinavia you can enjoy the sea breeze and travel by boat for days from one beautiful destination to the next. The Stockholm Archipelago consisting of around 30,000 islands is the second largest archipelago in the Baltic Sea and particularly impressive,. While some islands can be reached by car or bicycle, most are a true paradise for sailors and boat tourists and are best explored in this way. A boat tour through the breathtaking “garden” of small, rocky islands and larger, inhabited islands promises a memorable experience! How about a visit to the island of Sandön? As the name suggests, the island is made of sand and with its natural beaches provides an ideal (sailing) break. The idyllic island of Utö is also worth a visit. Here you will find beaches and many walking paths as well as bicycle and kayak rental stations. Pure nature seasoned with a fresh sea breeze and sailing adventures – what could be better?