Many of the top sailing spots in Europe have so much to offer in the off-season. The beauty of the seas and towns can be even more striking in the warmth of autumn and low light of winter, and temperatures remain mild, particularly in the south. This time of year is important in many cultures, and local customs and traditions can create a fascinating and special experience. Make the most of dividing your time between land and sea, with plenty of choice for onshore activities – including visiting cultural hotspots, sightseeing, food and wine and stunning walks – while enjoying the comfort and world-class service on board your private yacht.
1. Be spoilt for choice with incredible destinations
Throughout Europe you can take your pick from a host of destinations, with countless itineraries to choose from in the off season. Cruise slowly through beautiful Greece, enjoying culture, food and stunning surroundings. Enjoy the easy life in Italy, especially southern Italy with its bright warm skies and special atmosphere. The South of France offers glamour and culture and is popular all year round – ideal for making your way slowly along the coastline. Or why not visit the still under-the-radar Croatia with its clear waters, heritage, fine architecture and breathtaking scenes? Browse through IYC’s destination guide itineraries for even more inspiration or talk to your IYC broker to plan a bespoke itinerary.
2. Enjoy the 'Alkyonides Days'
While many Mediterranean destinations enjoy mild temperatures throughout autumn and winter, for two to three weeks during January the winds in Greece cease and temperatures rise to around 20 °C. Legend has it that when the King of Thessaly and his wife Alcyone drowned in the sea, the Gods turned them into kingfishers and ordered the winds to stop and the sun to shine for 15 days so that they could build their nest. This is an ideal time of year to experience the tranquil side of Greece, and see some of the traditional festivals that occur throughout September to January and are a refreshing change to the bustling events that are aimed at tourists during the summer.
3. Food and Drink
Food and drink are important aspects of the European culture, and never more so than in the winter months. The fresh and vibrant flavours of summer continue into winter with delicious flavours and local delicacies to enjoy. Many of the vineyards in Tuscany offer winter tours, and the deserted beaches and stunning scenes of the region are the perfect setting to stroll and soak in the peaceful beauty. Take a bottle of the region’s Chianti and some treats from a winter market back to your yacht and enjoy with a warming winter meal prepared by your onboard chef, and don’t forget to buy some local sweet wine or liqueur to relive your yachting escape when you return home.
4. Recharge your batteries
A dose of sun is the perfect antidote to winter and while the clear skies of Europe will offer a good chance to boost your vitamin D and return with a tan that’ll be the envy of your friends, why not take the chance to really recharge with a wellness charter? Several yachts in the IYC fleet dedicated wellness centres including a gym, steam room and on-board masseuse. Greece is a popular wellness destination, where locals know the regenerative properties of a spa. The country is a hive of thermal springs, with over 800 natural hot pools. The island of Santorini is an ideal destination for an autumn retreat, where you can treat yourself to a massage and long soak at one of the many natural, thermal mineral pools, before returning to the comfort of your yacht for a gourmet meal or private yoga session on the sundeck. Learn more about IYC wellness charters here.
5. Glorious sunrises
There’s a reason that artists flock to Europe at this time of year – the clear autumn and winter air throws unique light onto landscapes and cities, creating beautiful vistas. Incredible sunrises creep over the horizon, spilling spectacular low-sun hues into the sky. Imagine sitting on the deck of your private yacht with a steaming cup of coffee as the sun crawls across the sky, silhouetting features of the landscape in the clear air. Without the crowds and bustle of summer your view will be uninterrupted, and the deserted seas and empty beaches leave you with the feeling that you are exploring special, secret lands.
To plan your own European off-season charter contact our charter team here.
For more information on IYC’s range of services please contact the IYC office most convenient to you. IYC has offices in Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, Miami, Nantucket, Great Lakes, Monaco, Greece, Russia, Croatia, Montenegro, Barcelona, Scandinavia and Malta. To contact an IYC office click here.