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LATE SUMMER SAILING IN SARDINIA
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. 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 north-east coast of Sardinia as a luxury holiday destination. By all accounts it has lived up to expectations. The harbour is often called the centrepiece of the Emerald Coast, with its four- and five-star resorts and hotels, and its designer boutiques, upmarket restaurants, and exclusive nightclubs. The village is in the Old Port, Porto Vecchio, on the southeastern side of the harbour, while the Porto Cervo Spa, with its outstanding yachting amenities, is on the northern side. 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 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 centres 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 neighbouring 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, windswept and rugged, these islands are a natural habitat for all manner of seabirds; you can watch the birds wheeling and diving along the sandy shores. 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 neighbouring Maddalena and its smaller peaks. Because of the steady and sometimes strong winds funnelling in from the Strait of Bonifacio sailing in Caprera waters is among the best in the Mediterranean, which is why the most rigorous sailing school in Italy, The Sailing Centre of Caprera, is based on the south-west side of the island. Beaches, coves, and bays abound, making sailing around Caprera Island a delight.
DAY 5: MADDALENA ISLAND
When you go sailing in Maddalena waters, you enter a pristine natural world of incredible beauty. You'll find rocky, rugged islands everywhere. The white sails of local yachts stand in stark relief against the blue sea as the sleek boats heel in the steady northwesterly winds. In the lees of the islands you'll find superlative coves and bays that are sheltered and picturesque. In short, sailing Maddalena is an experience you must enjoy first hand to become fully aware of its majestic beauty and inspiring adventure. Because Maddalena is a tourist destination with ferry services from the main island, the port of Cala Gavetta is surrounded by a small town with some shops, a few restaurants and some bars. You can opt for a dash of civilisation, albeit in a very laid-back and somewhat rustic fashion, or you can go for more of the unspoilt natural setting that the marine park has to offer by sailing to the 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 north-east 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, quiet resort town with a laid-back ambience quite different from what you’ll find when you head south along the Emerald Coast to bustling Porto Rotondo and Porto Cervo. And that’s part of the charm of Cannigione yacht charter.