A Very British (Virgin Islands) Christmas!

Specializing in Caribbean charters, here are our top 5 reasons to charter a yacht and why the British Virgin Islands is officially one of the best places in the world to charter for your 2020 holiday season!


Escape the bleak mid-winter and spend Christmas 2020 island hopping between the white sand beaches of the British Virgin Islands. The world’s best sailing conditions, island hopping, world-class scuba diving grounds, and a Christmas day conch meal. All of this plus an unforgettable New Year’s Eve makes the British Virgin Islands the only place to charter a yacht this Christmas!!


Christmas day on the yacht

Whether you’re a seasoned yachtie or sailing around the best sailing grounds of the Caribbean is something you’ve always dreamt of, a yacht charter in the BVI is guaranteed to make 2020 your best Christmas yet.

Although you’ll be on a yacht in the Caribbean, don’t worry there’s still plenty of decorations to make you feel just at home. Expect to see masts with fairy lights going to the top, red and white bikinis and palm Christmas trees!

Spend this Christmas walking around the white sand-beaches of Anegada and join in the local celebrations! Chose from having your own personal crew onboard to sailing solo around the many BVI white-sand beached islands.


New years eve at Foxy’s

Be sure to head to the island of Jost Van Dyke to bring in the New Year. Foxy’s on the island is renowned as being one of the top 5 parties in the world on New Year’s Eve.

Instead of celebrating the ‘New Year’, this bar celebrates the ‘Old Year’s Night’, making this iconic location different from every other New Year Party on the globe.

Hop off your boat and enjoy being in one of the best places in the world this New Year. Be sure to catch the theme before deciding on your outfits!


December diving

Switch the traditional family board games on Christmas day for a scuba diving lesson! Scuba dives are an extremely popular Christmas day activity and really make it a Christmas day to remember.

The BVI waters surrounding the islands of Norman Island are renowned for being extremely clear during the months of December and January. The Caribbean waters are full of different corals, turtles, shipwrecks and thousands of different species of fish.

Surprise your loved ones with a diving course and give the gift of the ocean this Christmas!


A Caribbean Christmas lunch

Eat like a local and celebrate the festivities with a freshly grilled lobster or conch! Head over to the Bitter End Yacht Club in Virgin Gorda for your Christmas lunch, be sure to book early this year as most restaurants serving local Caribbean Christmas delicacies tend to get booked up very quickly.


Unrivalled weather conditions

The trade winds blowing across the islands of the BVI offer a consistent breeze, ideal for sailing and for keeping slightly cool during this period. Christmas is without a doubt one of the best times of year to visit the BVI due to long, sunny days with ocean breezes coming through in the afternoon and slightly cooler evenings.

The BVI is known for ‘line of sight’ sailing and protected bays for anchorages and sailing. Unlike other locations in the Caribbean, the waters in the BVI are usually a lot calmer than many other locations.


Aftermath of Irma

Despite the saddening damage, caused by hurricane IRMA in 2017, the BVI’s are being cared for and maintained. The process of rebuilding infrastructure has been a work in progress since the hurricane struck, however, the BVI is back on track and the boat standards and sailing grounds are as popular as ever.

Don’t let the damage caused in 2017 put you off from a yacht charter in the BVI this Christmas – the BVI is up and running. For current information, we please see our “what is open in the BVI after Irma” page, which is updated regularly.

Give Santa a change from the chimney and let him slide down your mast this Christmas! Get in touch today!

You went to Croatia without a yacht!?

Thinking of visiting Croatia this summer? Undoubtedly, the only way to explore the Adriatic Coast is by yacht. For groups of friends, Croatia provides the perfect blend between partying and enjoying secluded, tranquil bays on your own yacht! There are over 2000 islands scattered around Croatia’s waters and a lot for charterers to explore! It has never been easier for groups to enjoy a yacht charter. With international flights and an increasing number of boats to choose from, a yacht charter has never been more accessible in the Mediterranean!

Having chartered in Croatia on both bareboat and crewed yachts, broker Alice provides her insights into the Adriatic Coast and how to get the best charter boat. You can choose from a bareboat catamaran or a sailing boat charter with or without your own captain and a fully crewed motor or crewed catamaran charter to explore Croatia.

Choosing the right boat

Monohull

A monohull charter provides the classic configuration of a yacht. These type of boats are perfect for those who love sailing and for smaller groups onboard. If you are wanting to charter bareboat for the first time, a monohull is a lot easier to navigate, sail and to moor up in ports as the boat is smaller. Monohulls also tend to be less expensive however they compromise on space and are generally less comfortable than a catamaran. If you are looking to charter a monohull in Croatia, a Hanse is the obvious choice.

Catamaran

A catamaran around the Croatian islands of Split.

A catamaran is the ultimate boat for a group of friends. Catamarans range in size and can accommodate up to groups of 14 people onboard. Catamarans have space on the bow and inside for relaxing. They also give additional space to get peace and quiet onboard. For larger groups, the Bali catamaran range is a great option as the brand has resigned the fleet to allow for more space on the bow for dining, sunbathing and relaxing. I would recommend adding a skipper to the charter if this is your first time bareboat charter on a catamaran. Most catamarans comprise of four double cabins with space for sleeping in the convertible saloon.

A boat with a skipper and a hostess?

For a more luxurious experience, whether you are a sailor or not, be sure to add a skipper and hostess to your charter. Sit back and relax whilst the skipper navigates you to the best kept secrets of the Adriatic Coast. Local knowledge in these parts of the world allows you to see areas such as empty bays, coves, the best anchorages and the best tips for unforgettable restaurants. Think of eating freshly caught octopus, cooked under a bell with local villagers.. this is the additional value of a skipper.

If you choose to add a hostess onto the charter too, this will typically enable you to have two meals per day onboard. Fresh, colourful lunches on deck followed by a swim are a key part of the charter. Note that if you do add a skipper and/ or hostess to the charter you are required to pay for their provisions during the charter.

Offshore Activities

Nightlife

Croatia is known to be the next Ibiza. The island of Hvar has many beach clubs for during the day and even has it’s own island for a night club, visit Carpe Diem island for a very unique nightlife experience. The streets are full of secret, underground bars for after hours. If nightlife isn’t for you but a few glasses of wine after dinner are, many quaint bars are also to be found in every village. The Croatian wine is a must- try, especially on the island of Vis where you can visit a vineyard to sample the latest production.

Nature

The nature you can expect in Croatia consists of natural waterfalls, blue and green caves surrounding Hvar, mountains and breathtaking scenery. There is also the option to dive on wrecks and reefs to explore some of the Mediterraneans sous-marine life. Visit the island Bol for hiking in vegetative mountains, Vis for its Blue Grotto and Mjat for its natural beauty. If you want a more scenic charter, be sure to visit the Kornati national park during the charter. A tip would be to go rafting on some of the waterfalls surrounding Split prior or following your yacht charter.

The Itinerary and Sailing

The Boatbookings brokers will help you plan an itinerary that will suit your group. The islands surrounding Split incorporate a blend of partying, climbing, cultural visits, swimming in secluded bays and even scuba diving. Either start your yacht charter from Split or Dubrovnik to find the best boats for exploring the Croatian islands.

See below some photographs of a Boatbookings broker trip to Croatia in 2019. First-hand experience of the sailing itinerary, best boats and restaurant recommendations enables the Boatbookings brokers to provide impartial charter knowledge.

Contact the Boatbookings team to plan your charter today!

Top 3 anchorages in the Southern Ionian

Aerial view of Fiskardo port, Kefalonia, Greece

There’s a special place in my heart for the Ionian. I have lived, sailed, swam, and grew as a person there. From Lefkas to Kefalonia, these islands are what I called home onboard a 2015, 37ft Bavaria called PARIS.

She may not look like much, but this girl got us through some bad weather, sticky situations, and above all, our refuge.

Like many sailors who have sailed in one particular area, you tend to have your favourite anchorages – your ‘go-to’ place which is versatile and enjoyed by many a ‘crowd-pleaser’ if you will! Below I talk about my top three anchorages and why you should incorporate them in your itinerary.

Number 1. KIONI – Ithaki Island.

The pretty bay and harbour of Kioni on the small island of Ithaki.

Check out our 7-day bareboat sailing itinerary here!

Why?

  • Kioni, in my opinion, has the cleanest water due to how quiet it is. In the evenings you MUST go swimming! It’s absolutely teeming with phosphorescent algae which sparkle when disturbed.
  • You can, more often than not, find a place to drop anchor and tie off to a rock, and if there’s space, on the town quay.
  • The town is quaint, with a few stunning restaurants located along the harbour wall and up in the foothills overlooking the bay.
  • Fantastic holding, and normally fairly quiet.

Where?

Kioni pin drop.

Kioni is located on the northeastern tip, protected from the northwesterly prevailing winds. Many sailors tend to hot-foot it down to (big) Vathy located further south which subsequently means that Kioni is fairly quiet, even during high season.

In this lovely town, the time has stopped in the previous century

When?

This anchorage is best enjoyed overnight. It provides protection from the prevailing NW winds and is best viewed early morning!

Anything to watch out for?

A common phenomenon happens pretty much everywhere in the Ionian and that is the Katabatic winds. Most of the tiny anchorages in the Ionian are hidden and tucked away between hills. As the air cools, and the land is warm, it pushed air and funnels between the hills. From around 5:30 PM onwards it can get pretty breezy. It normally settles by about 7:30/8 pm so make sure your anchor is well dug before heading off for your fresh greek dinner!

Number 2. Foki Bay – Kephalonia.

Yes, before you ask it really is called that – and it is truly stunning.

White yacht moored in the bay of Foki beach with cypress trees in background, Fiskardo, Cefalonia, Ionian, Greece.

Why?

  • The Trees. I nicknamed this bay ‘Little Canada’ because of the Cypress trees that almost fall into the water.
  • The caves. Accessable by tender or simply swim in! Turn your outboard off just as you enter the caves as people swim in and out of them. The Caves were used for mining in the ’50s and still remain now. Don’t worry if you’re scared of small spaces as these caves are absolutely massive. They are so big you could easily fit a two-story house in them! Take a torch and enclosed shoes (don’t wear flipflops as some bits are quite steep).
  • The beach. Sometimes while sailing around you just need some time on a beach! Well, this bay has one. In the top right-hand corner is an adorable beach with a quaint taverna serving the best drinks!
  • You can walk into Fiskardo for some shopping, it’s around 1.5-2km walk.
  • The water is CRYSTAL clear!

Where?

Foki bay is based on the northeastern tip of Kephelonia, a stone’s throw (or 10-minute tender ride) into the famous Fiskardo, boasting up-market restaurants and beautiful jewellery shops.

When?

This is a perfect lunch spot, or evening stopover (if the winds are favourable). Great holding for lunchtime with the most stunning scenery to enjoy your freshly prepared lunch!

Foki Fiskardo with crystal clear and transparent water, Kefalonia, Ionian Islands, Greece.

Anything to watch out for?

In the high season time, the beach is buoyed off to protect the swimmers, make sure you don’t get caught up in there. Try and head as far in towards the beach as possible as most of the superyachts take the entrance area as its deeper. This will also protect you from the swell that is created from the passing ferries.

Number 3. One house bay – Atokos

Beautiful bay in Ionian sea, called One house bay.

Why?

  • The pictures speak for its self. One House Bay, characterised by the one house which sits by its self in the foothills.
  • The crystal blue water and picturesque beach are just some of the reasons you should stop over here!
  • Gorgeous scenery.
  • Deep blue water.
  • Excellent walking.

Where?

One House Bay is on the Southeastern corner of Atoko Island, East of Ithica island. The island is only home to goats, which the shepherd attends to every 4th day.

When?

A perfect lunch spot when travelling from the eastern islands to the western islands. If the winds are favourable, you can possibly stay here overnight, please bear in mind it offers little to no protection.

Getting first-hand knowledge about the area is key to creating a memorable charter. I have traveled extensively throughout Greece and the Meditterenian to visit destinations to provide you with the best recommendations and advice. Looking to explore the Southern Ionian? Speak with Alice today at an@boatbookings.com!

Mystical Mallorca, a glimpse into one of the top sailing itineraries in Spain!

Mallorca, the biggest island out of the famous foursome. Known for the party vibe and hot summers! These islands sometimes get a rep of being only suitable for party lovers. Well, you have never been so wrong! Yes, these islands have a buzzing nightlife, however, the islands themselves are some of the most beautiful in the northern hemisphere.

Over 40% of Mallorca’s wildlife is protected which has created a luscious green island surrounded by dramatic cliffs.

Day 1: Palma, Cabo Blanco and Es Trenc.

  • Leave Palma port in the southwest direction and run by Cabo Blanco with its stunning cliffs.
  • Shortly after Cape Blanco is the entrance to Cala Pi, enter it and swim! After Cala Pi, sail the coast of S ‘Estanyol and Sa Rápita.
  • Anchor and spend the night in the southeast part of the beach of Es Trenc surrounded by the dark green of the pine woods.

Day 2: Es Trenc, Cabo Salinas and Porto Colom.

  • Head to the National Park of the Archipelago of Cabrera, certainly worth a visit.
  • When you pass the Cape Salinas, you will be sailing the east coast of Mallorca where you will find numerous coves to anchor and swim.
  • You can enter the Natural Park of Cala Mondragó and anchor in turquoise waters with white sandy bottoms, however, there are often many visitors on land.

Day 3: Porto Colom, Porto Cristo and Cala Ratjada.

  • Sail along the coast of Porto Cristo. This region is known as Calas de Mallorca -the coast of the coves.
  • Take a swim and snorkel around the shallows, or use the water toys aboard your yacht!
  • Spend the night in the port of Cala Ratjada, with the calm waters offering a stillness perfect for relaxing.

Day 4: Cala Ratjada to Cala Formentor.

  • The fourth day will be spent sailing through the bays of Alcudia and Pollensa.
  • The coasts and beaches of the two bays are great and have many choices for anchoring.
  • We recommend spending the night in Cala Formentor moored to a buoy.

Day 5: Cala Formentor to Port de Soller.

  • Leave by Cap Formentor – a great place for scuba diving, with much of the local wildlife being able to be spotted here.
  • Navigate through the rugged north coast of Mallorca with the Sierra Tramuntana.
  • You should visit Sa Calobra and Torrent de Pareis to reach anchor and spend the night in the Port of Soller.

Day 6: Port de Soller to Port d’Andratx.

  • Sail from Port de Sóller and head southwest while viewing the Sierra de Tramuntana to port.
  • During this journey, you will see Cala Deia, Sa Foradada, Port of Valdemosa, Banyalbufar and Estellencs. Perfect spot for a swim.
  • Later, you will enter the channel Dragonera to arrive at the Port of Andratx to spend the night in a sheltered anchorage.

Day 7: Port d’Andratx to Palma Port.

  • Leave the Port of Andratx towards the city of Palma for disembarkation.
  • Visiting the island of Toro and Malgrats, the bay of Santa Ponsa and Playa del Mago.
  • Make your way back to Palma Port where you will depart from your yacht, having had a truly memorable holiday!

We have a great range of yachts in Mallorca waiting for people to create memories on! We have a range of yachts for different purposes and itineraries. Get in touch to secure your yacht for this Summer!

Southern Ionian Bareboat Sailing Itinerary.

An in depth sailing itinerary by someone who lived the route.

Day 1 – Lefkas

lefkas, greece yacht charter, Lefkada town

Arrive at Lefkas marina for 5 pm ready to board your own private yacht! The first evening will be spent in the marina where you will receive a handover of the yacht and some local information. Preavasia airport is a convenient 40-minute journey to the Marina which is roughly 25-30 euros.

Once you arrive at Lefkas Marina, you will then be taken to your yacht and the handover will start. There is a supermarket located in the marina where you can find basic necessities – look out for their figs, the owner of the supermarket grows them! The supermarket will also deliver the provisions to your yacht for free if you wish.

There’s also a Lidl located about a 20-minute walk (or 5-minute car journey) from the marina which offers a broader range of provisions which inevitably is cheaper. Collect a token from the harbor office (10 euro cash deposit) to enjoy onshore showers – really good, clean facilities. One shower costs around 80 cents, even for ladies!

Lefkas is a vibrant, busy town located a five-minute walk from Lefkas Marina. Here you are engulfed by various restaurants, bars and don’t forget the incredible ice cream shops! The ice cream parlous even have sugar free options along with a range of vegan options. In the square, central to the town is home to some of the best Pizza you can get!


Day 2 – Lefkas to Kalamos

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Start early and get out of the Marina! The first day of your holiday! Head south, bear in mind it takes about 40 minutes to get out of the channel. Keep a look out for the larger yachts, they have a tendency to motor up in the middle of the channel, don’t let them bully you! Stay within the buoyage areas as the channel is dredged and it shelves off to under a meter in some places. Once you are out of the channel it’s time to get some sails up! It’s a wide-open span of water so perfect to get the feel of your yacht. The winds normally around force 1-2 in the morning and reaching F3-4 in the afternoons. This makes for relaxing mornings to your first lunch spot.

Over your port side as you head SW you will go past Greek mainland, various sheltered anchorages with good holding. As you travel down to the stunning Island of Kalamos get ready to anchor stern to or raft bow to stern. George, the unofficial harbormaster will come out and greet you on his white motorboat! He’s a really great chap who owns George’s Restaurant at the back of the town quay, great fresh food, locally caught fish. Can get fairly busy in high season, so best to call ahead or get in early and make a reservation.

This town quay does get fairly busy, flotillas come into the quay as well. It’s also possible to free swing near the entrance, which provides good holding. However, best to check the winds as the wind can funnel down through the bay. Limited provisioning here in this small town. You have a small bakery which is on top of the hill with the most incredible bread! Send someone fit and healthy as it’s a 15-minute walk with a very steep incline! Great views over the Ionian and across to Kastos (Kalamos’ sister island).

GREECE YACHT CHARTER GUIDE


Day 3 – Kalamos to Meganisi

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Wake up fresh and rejuvenated! Grab some fresh bread from the bakery and set the yacht for another incredible Ionian sailing day. Travelling NW, you will come across a beautiful little anchorage called Port Leoni, there are no tavernas only a small church in the hill which locals look after. Port Leoni was hit by an earthquake in ’53 and was deserted. As a result, it has left a quiet, stunning lunch spot with some of the clearest water. Really great holding here, very sheltered and can even be used as an overnight stop.

Come the afternoon the wind picks up so time to shake out the sails and get going! Head up to Meganisi, to the town of Vathi, nicknamed Little Vathi, as not to be confused with Big Vathi on the island of Ithica. Great provisioning in the town, with some of the best Gyros in Greece, only 2 euros! Restaurants and bars line the harbor wall with a great vegan restaurant. On the port side as you enter Vathi a sunken airplane is just below the water level which is great to snorkel around. Water and electric available on the town quay.


Day 4 – Meganisi to Kioni 

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Slip the lines and head SW to the most beautiful island in the whole Ionian! Ithica, a beautiful lush green island that sits next to the famous Kefalonia. Head straight onto the town quay, or long line to the port side of the bay for a quieter evening. Kioni is a tiny little village littered with fishing boats and stunning restaurants. Kioni provides great holding, there can be some deeper patches on the sea bed, so our advice is to motor in and find a good depth to anchor.

Kioni does have the tendency to get windy from 6 pm but dies off towards 8 pm. Do make sure that if you’re long lining that you have both port and starboard tied off and anchor are set properly. The wind is caused by the NW prevailing wind that funnels between the hills around the village. The water around Kioni is some of the best around this island for several reasons.

It’s really clean and clear, so great for snorkeling and discovering shoals of fish, come the evening you can expect to see phosphorescences! As you disturb the water on your midnight swim underneath the stars you will notice sparkles, this is the Algae, they emit a glow whenever they are jostled!

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Day 5 – Kioni to Vassaliki

Porto Katsiki yacht charter, vassaliki, lefkada, sailing in greece, yacht charter from lefkada

As you leave the stunning bay of Kioni, why not pop round to the island of Kefalonia. The famous Fiskhardo town filled with high-end shops and upmarket restaurants. There’s a bay just south of the town called Foki bay. A stunning inlet where tall green ferns grew, we named it Little Canada when we visited! Once you’ve moored up you can either go to the small beach or explore the disused limestone mine which is home to a labyrinth of tunnels. Takes shoes and a torch, no flipflops as your feet will slide everywhere! You can access the caves by dinghy, or you can swim. Foki Bay can be used as an overnight stop but is exposed to easterlies.

Head North to Vassiliki, a popular destination for windsurfers due to the anabatic winds. It is our advice that you get onto the quay before 2 pm or after 3:30 pm. The prevailing winds travel from west to east and can affect your mooring on the quay. It has been known to reach F6. within 10 minutes. If you are wanting to explore the land, we can recommend going to Porto Katsiki by car, or day charter from the harbor.

Poto katsiki provides blue warm waters with bright white cliffs offering dramatic landscapes for miles. This side of the island is very exposed to the prevailing winds, so our advice is to not sail around there but to go by car or ferry instead.


Day 6 – Vassiliki to Sivota 

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Why not start the day off with a walk along the sandy beach of Vassiliki? Don’t forget your swimming costume! The water is so warm on this coastline due to a large sandbank that retains its heat. Stop off on the way through town and pick up a freddo cappuccino at one of the many town quay coffee shops.

Crossing anchors in this harbor can sometimes happen, keep a look out on any unusual vibrations or strain on the windlass. Head out and travel NW. There are some lovely anchorages on the east side of Lefkada island, all providing great shelter and supremum swimming opportunities, head past Sivota to the next bay around – Poros for a swim and a spot of lunch. Head back around to Sivota, a hidden town up in the hills. Sivota is a small town with a row of restaurants, be sure to pop into the Pirates and 12 Gods, one of our favorite restaurants with great service. They also have a quay which has water and electric for free if you eat there. They also have onshore showers for free! Phone beforehand because they do get busy! There’s also the opportunity to free swing in the bay, but it does get busy.

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Day 7 – Sivota to Lefkas 

Nydri waterfalls yachtcharter, sailing yacht charter, greece sailing, greek sail, sailing in greece,

Leave Sivota and head across back to the western side of Meganisi to explore the incredible Papanikolis Cave! It’s too deep to anchor here, so someone will have to say on the yacht. Go in by paddleboard or dingy, watch out for the bats! Do not sail into the cave, although it looks big enough it isn’t! 

As you come further north you will come across the island of Skorpios, keep well away from this island! It is privately owned, and there are armed guards that patrol the grounds and the surrounding waters. The channel between Skoripos and Sparti is blocked off and is also out of bounds. Up along the coast, you have various points of anchoring, one of which is the town of Nydri.

Nydri is prone to being busy during the high season which can affect anchoring space. Inland Nydri is host to a collection of natural waterfalls that can be accessed by car or tour bus. Surprisingly Nydri has a brilliant Chinese restaurant that is well priced on the quay wall! This town is great for trinkets and gifts for those at home.

Keep traveling North up the channel and you are back where you are started! The channel can get busy with Sunsail yachts, as their base is in Lefkas harbour. The flotillas and bareboats are normally filled up with diesel at Lefkas fuel quay by 5 pm. Once you are in the harbor, head over to Portos Cafe for a refreshing drink and talk about the holiday! Lefkas also has a fantastic laundry department which iron, clean and fold 1 load for 15 euros. Head into town for the last dinner and enjoy the last moments of your Ionian holiday!

Check out our Lefkas bareboats if you would like to experience all of the above!