Believe it or not, there is yet more to discover in Italy than its innumerable art-filled towns, its breath-taking landscape, and its superb Chianti. This enchanting corner of the world is perhaps best known for its picturesque Amalfi Coast, but also offers a cluster of islands and areas ripe for discovery by boat: the Tuscan Archipelago, Sicily, the stunning Cinque Terre, the Aeolian Isles and the beautiful island of Sardinia.
The Amalfi Coast offers secluded harbours, crystalline waters and sheltered bays as well as a host of gems to explore on dry land. Positano – with its gorgeous multi-coloured houses hewn into the vertiginous coastline – is perhaps most enchanting viewed from the sea. Capri is a must for a spot of shopping and people-watching, whilst Ischia offers some of the world’s most indulgent thermal spas.
According to mythology, the Tuscan isles – Elba, Gorgona, Capraia, Giannutri, Giglio, Montecristo and Pianosa – were formed when Venus rose from the waters and dropped seven pearls from her necklace into the sea. The largest marine park in Europe, the Tuscan Archipelago National Park obtained protected status in 1986, and remains one of the most beautiful places to sail in the Mediterranean.
Sardinia is a true yachting haven, with intense, turquoise waters renowned for their sparkling clarity. Boasting a plethora of secluded coves, gleaming white beaches, gorgeous coastal villages and rugged scenery, Sardinia is simply one of the most captivating places to discover by sea.
The Aeolian Islands, named after the ancient Greek god of the winds Aeolus, are a volcanic archipelago in the Tyrrhenian Sea situated on the north of Sicily. Breathtakingly beautiful and diverse in nature, the seven islands and many uninhabited islets of the Aeolian archipelago were claimed a Unesco World Heritage site in 2000. An amalgamation of stunning waters, rocky coastlines, smoldering craters and black-sand beaches is what makes these islands truly unique. Each island has its individual charm and the archipelago is a paradise for island hopping.
The island of Sicily is the largest in the Mediterranean Sea, and is an autonomous region of Italy. The impressive faces of Mount Etna can be seen from the sea, and this is undoubtedly the most impressive way to meet Europe’s largest active volcano.