Corsica Sardinia← Back to all destinations
It is said that the islands of Corsica and Sardinia can be sensed long before they appear over the horizon, such is the powerful scent of the maquis.
Separated by a narrow strait, the islands are at once similar and yet totally different. Fiercely independent outposts of their French and Italian parents, these islands remain largely untouched by the commerciality of the Rivieras.
Sardinia’s Costa Smeralda, adopted by the Aga Khan as a playground for the glitterati, is undoubtedly rich and rare but serves as a contrast to the beautiful unspoilt coves and beaches best, and in many cases only able to be, accessed by yacht.
Flying in to Ajaccio’s international airport, it is a short transfer to the yacht. There is time to unpack and explore the streets of Napoleon’s birthplace before setting sail for the first night off the Isles Sanguinaires. The captain follows the advice of the locals, anchoring at sunset when these blood-red rocks are at their most photogenic. Dinner on board and a sheltered anchorage off the Point de la Parata in the shadow of an ancient Genoese tower.
A steam over breakfast across the Gulf of Valencio, perhaps the most beautiful on the west coast includes cruising the sandy beaches of Cappiciolo with the occasional halt for a swim en route for the tiny Porto Pollo. After lunch heading for the town of Propriano, a shore visit gives a chance to take a coffee before turning south and west to the impossibly beautiful Campomoro to overnight.
An early walk to the 16thC Genoese Tour de Campomoro affords a touch of summer culture with exhibitions by the Conservatoire du Littoral. Tiny criques with thousands of colourful fish make for wonderful snorkelling. An afternoon steam south and the remarkable town of Bonifacio. Medieval houses hang improbably on a 200m high promontory undercut by the sea, revealing a fjord-like entrance to the port. Arriving when the crowds have gone allows this pretty town to be explored at night in peace.
Around Bonifacio are some stunning calanques with three caves accessible only by boat of which the loveliest is the Grotte de Sdragonato. Heading east, the beautiful and almost empty plage de Rondinara is a natural spot to drop anchor and swim before heading over to the seven Maddalena Islands, remnants of the isthmus that once attached Corsica to Sardinia. The yacht anchors here amongst hidden coves and stunning bays for the first night in Italy.
La Maddalena is the only town on the islands and thought to be the most beautiful in Sardinia. Worth a visit to the small museum dedicated to a local Roman wreck and everywhere there are links to Garibaldi who lived out his declining years on the neighbouring islet of Caprera. The islands are so numerous and the beaches and coves equally prolific to merit an afternoon exploring the archipelago before anchoring in Porto Madonna off the island of Razzoli.
No yacht visit to Sardinia is complete without rubbing shoulders with the glitterati of Porto Cervo. The yacht next door may be larger, the guests more tanned but there is fun to be had celeb-spotting and wandering the Piazetta. Steaming away around the headland is a peaceful relief on the way to Spaggia del Principe, arguably the best beach in Sardinia with perfect blue water reflecting from a granite seabed. One of the local bays will provide a peaceful overnight anchorage.
After breakfast a short steam to Porto Rotondo yields an opportunity to shop in a fashionable but rather more down-to-earth resort. A late morning passage across to the aptly-named Isola de Tavolara contrasts sophistication with absolute peace and tranquillity on an island with a mere handful of inhabitants. The Bertoleoni restaurant, open only in summer, serves a simple choice of fish or fish. After a leisurely lunch at this divine spot, an afternoon snorkelling in one of the numerous undiscovered coves precedes an overnight anchorage en route to Olbia.
Steam to Olbia port for disembarkation and transfer to the airport.
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