Unusual charter destinations in the Mediterranean

Published 05 February 2024

Beyond the beaten path of the popular Mediterranean charter destinations lies a world of secret bays, picturesque villages and natural wonders to discover. 

A luxury yacht charter in the Mediterranean is an ideal way to visit out-of-the-way places, with your yacht being able to nose into quiet bays and cruise to lesser-visited stretches of coastline. You might drop anchor in harbours where you’re the only yacht in sight or tender ashore to visit historic towns unfettered by droves of tourists.  

Perhaps the best part of exploring unusual charter destinations in the Mediterranean is you don’t have to venture too far from the well-trodden spots to find them. Many of these locations are set within a short cruise of the usual Med hotspots but can feel a world away.  

Kotor, Montenegro

The star of any yacht charter in Montenegro is the medieval town of Kotor. Set at the very end of the long, fjord-like Bay of Kotor, this walled city appears like a mirage emerging from steep limestone cliffs. The UNESCO-listed Old Town of Kotor is protected on all sides by stone ramparts, known as St John’s fortress. Kotor dates back 168 BC when the Romans founded the city, but the fortress was built under Venetian rule in the 1400s. Within the walled city is the Kotor Maritime Museum, where you can learn about the region’s rich nautical history. 

Take a gentle hike up to the Church Our Lady of Remedy

Climbing up the more than 1,300 stone steps of the Kotor city walls is a sure way to get your heart pumping as you ascend 300m above sea level to take in sweeping views of the placid bay below. For those who prefer a less-intense hike, even walking 10 minutes up the path to the Church of Our Lady of Remedy provides a lovely vista and allows you to get an up-close glimpse of the mountainside church, which was built in 1518.  

Visit the Old Winery and treat your tastebuds to a glass of red Varnac wine

Indulge in Montenegrin cuisine and wine, trying a glass of rich, red Varnac wine at the Old Winery in Kotor. The city also hosts a daily farmer’s market, but Saturdays — when sellers come from all around the area to offer up their bounty — is the best day to seek out locally made cheeses, fresh produce, and souvenirs.  

Dugi Otok, Croatia

The island of Dugi Otok might be the Adriatic’s best-kept secret, and it’s one you can discover on a yacht charter in Croatia. While southern Croatia buzzes with island-hopping, nightlife and famous walled cities, northern Croatia, where you’ll find Dugi Otok, offers a more relaxed pace. This part of Croatia is abundant in natural beauty, medieval towns, and an array of islands to explore — all without the crowds. 

Explore Dugi Otok and embrace the colourful architecture and culture

A stone’s throw away from Zadar on mainland Croatia, Dugi Otok is a nature lover’s dream.  On the long, slender island of Dugi Otok you’ll find an emerald lake sitting atop a clifftop overlooking the sapphire sea below, wide bays offering boats safe harbour and golden beaches framed by Mediterranean pine trees. Many beaches in Croatia are stony, making the wide stretch of soft sand on Sakuran Beach on Dugi Otok a must-visit, particularly for families. 

Take a moment to admire the beautiful dolphins as they elegantly jump out of the clear-blue water

Indeed, Dugi Otok is ideal for a family yacht charter in Croatia, giving you a chance to disconnect from reality and enjoy time in nature with your loved ones. The kids can run wild on protected beaches, snorkel in the azure seas, look out for dolphins and hike up easy trails with whimsical names like Dragon’s Hideout and By the Fairytale. In Telascica Nature Park, pay a visit to the donkey sanctuary, where you can see the rescued donkeys who live peacefully in this natural haven.  

Gozo, Malta

The sleepy little sister to Malta, the island of Gozo astounds with world-famous dive sites, captivating blue holes, hiking trails to scenic lookout points, quaint fishing villages and quiet anchorages where you can put the yacht’s watertoys to the test. Thanks to its southerly location in the Mediterranean Sea — set just south of Sicily — Malta and Gozo enjoy an extended cruising season stretching from April to October, with the islands promising year-round sunshine and minimal rainfall. 

Feel the warm sand between your toes as you stroll down one of Gozo's red-sand beaches

A yacht charter to Gozo will reveal an island of contrasts, where rocky shores meet red-sand beaches, rugged cliffs descend down to clear blue waters and small towns are overlooked by massive cathedrals. Dating back to the Bronze Age is the Cittadella, also known as the Gran Castello, an ancient, fortified city in Gozo’s capital of Victoria. Gozo is also home to UNESCO World Heritage Sites, such as neolithic limestone structures of the Ġgantija Temples, which are older than the Egyptian pyramids.  

On Gozo’s western shore, the Dwerja area is full of natural wonders, including the Blue Hole, a vertical water-filled cavern that borders the sea. It’s one of the most popular dive sites in Gozo that’s equally popular among snorkellers and swimmers. The Blue Hole was once adjacent to a rock formation known as the Azure Window, which sadly crumbled during a storm in 2017.

Adventure beneath the surface and discover the hidden beauty Gozo has to offer

Despite this, visitors still flock to Dwerja to swim in the Blue Hole as well as the Inland Sea, a teal-coloured  saltwater lagoon where brightly painted fishing huts straddle the shore. The Inland Sea is nearly landlocked except for a small crevice in the surrounding rock walls that connects it with the sea beyond.

Pantelleria, Italy

If you think Sicily is the southernmost island in Italy, you might be surprised to find out about Pantelleria, Italy. This tiny speck of an island — a fraction of the size of Sicily — lies 106 kilometres southwest of Sicily. It’s actually closer to the African coast, only 68 kilometres east of Tunisia, and on a clear day, it’s said that you can see Tunisia’s shores from Pantelleria. What Pantelleria lacks in true beaches it more than makes up for in quiet coves for swimming, thermal springs on the shore and a stunning coastline with rock formations, like the arch-shaped Arco dell’Elefante.  

Be your own tour guide and cycle down the streets of Pantelleria

More than 80 percent of the island is part of a national park, Parco Nazionale dell’Isola di Pantelleria, which was recently established in 2016. The park offers electric-bike rentals, so you can more easily explore the hilly terrain, where green scrub and twisty arbutus trees grow among red lava rocks. The island’s volcanic origins can also be seen in the Pantelleria Castle, a fortress set at the entrance to the island’s Old Port, which is built in lava stone. It now houses the Archaeological Museum of Pantelleria.  

No trip to Pantelleria is complete without a stroll through the vineyards and a wine tasting

Pantelleria was annexed by Italy in 1860, but the island was first conquered by the Greeks and Phoenicians, the latter of whom established a grapevine growing technique that’s still used today. The vines bear zibibbo grapes, which are dried to produce a sweet wine Passito di Pantelleria, also known as Muscat of Alexandria. You can taste this along with other wines at the Donnafugata winery. After your tasting experience, take an amble along the Khamma Trail, winding through the zibibbo vines, ancient olive trees and sweet-smelling wild honeysuckle.  

Telendos, Greece

At the southerly reaches of the Aegean Sea, Telendos Island in Greece is actually closer to Bodrum on the Turkish Coast than it is to the Greek mainland. Tucked into the western shore of the larger Greek island of Kalymnos, tiny Telendos is inhabited by fewer than 100 people — there are no roads or cars here, making it utterly serene. Telendos’s lone village is defined by labyrinth-like alleyways, waterfront seafood restaurants and hospitable townspeople.  

Indulge in fresh seafood at one of Telendos' waterfront restaurants 

Though small in size, Telendos is surprisingly big on things to do. The island is criss-crossed with hiking trails, one of which leads up to the conical mountain peak that dominates the island’s landscape. Telendos is also a rock climber’s paradise with a range of challenging routes on offer. Bird watchers will also enjoy a visit to Telendos, with a chance to spot pelegrine falcons, audouin gulls and long-legged buzzards.  

Go sightseeing and enjoy the breathtaking view from Agios Konstantinos

On the northern shore of the island is the Castle of Agios Konstantinos, a byzantine fort where you can see remnants of a medieval village that once thrived here. Telendos is also ripe with archaeological sites, like the Ancient Theatre of Telendos. Winding steps lead down to a little seaside chapel of Agios Georgios in west Telendos, which is a perfect spot for watching the sunset. The island is ringed by secluded beaches touched by crystal-clear waters, such as Hohlakas beach, which is only accessible by a rocky path or from the water by tender, making it an ideal spot to enjoy total privacy.  

Hydra, Greece

The romantic island of Hydra, Greece, easily slots into a Greek charter itinerary of nearby Cyclades Islands to the east. But tucked in close to mainland Greece in the Argo-Saronic Gulf, it offers refuge from the strong Meltemi winds that blow through the Cyclades each summer. The island is entirely empty of motor vehicles, adding to the sense of peace and quiet found here. Carts pulled by donkeys are the main mode of transportation.  

Live out the Greek fairytale as you walk among the beautiful whitewashed houses

On the island’s western shore is its only inhabited hamlet, Hydra Town. At the heart of the town is the c-shaped Hydra Port, well protected by a sea wall. The port is lined with restaurants, boutiques and art galleries. Hills studded in whitewashed houses rise up around the port. At the end of the day, you can walk up the hillside to the Sunset Restaurant to take in views of the setting sun while dolphins jump in the water below. Outside the port of Hydra, you’ll find isolated beaches only reachable by boat and bays where the yacht can moor stern-to against the rocks while you enjoy sea, sun and watertoys.  

Hydra's beaches are a must visit on any charter's trip to Greece

Hydra is known as a hub for creativity, with many artists moving here in the 1950s. It’s also served as a backdrop for Hollywood films. Author Henry Miller is said to have spent time on Hydra, and the singer-songwriter and poet Leonard Cohen made his home here in the 1960s, a time during which the island had a thriving bohemian community. Hydra has an artsy feel with both Greek and international artists still finding inspiration here. You can even see a modern sculpture by the famous artist Jeff Koons, dubbed Apollo, perched on a hillside.  

Gökova Bay, Turkey

Turkey’s undulating coastline is full of pretty bays, and Gökova Bay is one of the loveliest. Also known as the Gulf of Gökova, this long, narrow stretch of water — 100 kilometres long, to be exact — is found between the well-known Bodrum and Datça peninsulas. A charter in Gökova Bay will take you past forested hillsides, small islands and sheltered coves where your yacht can moor.  

Sedir Island has a lot to offer from ancient cities to stunning beaches

Multiple smaller bays are connected to the gulf. Call in at the wide, crescent shaped English Harbour, so named as it was used as a base for British torpedo boats during World War II. You might also drop anchor at the natural harbour of Kurfe Bay where you can swim or take the tender to shore to walk among pine woodlands, basking in the serene nature. On the southern shore of Gökova Bay, you’ll find Sedir Island, also known as Cleopatra Island. It garners its name from fables that say the island was once a meeting place for Cleopatra and Mark Anthony. The island has a beach of fine white sand — sand which is said to be brought here from Egypt by Cleopatra.  

Enjoy the beautiful sunshine and spend the day out on the water kitesurfing

In the afternoons, thermal winds tend to pick up in Gökova Bay, making it a prime spot for kite surfers. At the very end of the Gökova Bay is the town of Gökova itself, where you can find local seafood restaurants, scenic walking trails and places to rent kite surfing equipment.  

Discover more about a luxury Mediterranean yacht charter with Burgess. Speak to our team of expert charter brokers today.  

To find out more about Burgess’ yachts for sale and yachts for charter, please contact a Burgess broker. Alternatively, get in touch with one of our offices directly: London, Monaco, New York, Miami, Singapore or all other locations.

Yachts, prices and availability are correct at the time of publication.

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