20 Best Sailing Destination in the World / Part 1

Sailor's paradises in twenty shades of Blue

Feeling the wind in your hair and smelling the salt in the air as you take to the sea—that's freedom. Sailing is one of the great joys of travel. Today, we explore the first part of the TOP 20 of the best destinations to cast off your bowlines. Let's start!

20. The Seychelles archipelago


The Seychelles are often called “paradise on earth” and for good reason – with porcelain white beaches, shimmering aquamarine waters and an idyllic way of life, it is hard to conceive of a more perfect sailing holiday destination. The Seychelles archipelago of 115 islands is scattered over more than 500,000 square miles in the western Indian Ocean and boasts some of the most brilliant flora and fauna on earth, just 4 degrees south of the equator.

19. Across the Andaman and the Gulf in Thailand​


Most countries would be satisfied with just a single stretch of dazzling coastline. Not Thailand. Bordering both the glittering Andaman Sea and the gorgeous Gulf of Thailand, you’ve got to believe that Thai sailors go to sleep each night wearing the hugest grins. Whether you’re looking for a place to dance and party, or somewhere more tranquil to chill out, relax and work on your tan, you will find a hundred or more that seem as if they have been put there especially for you.

18. Kotor Bay, Montenegro


The serene, deep blue waters of Kotor and Tivat Bay provide the perfect place for a great holiday. Swimming in clean, sheltered waters with magnificent backdrops or just enjoy the amazing feeling of gliding through the water under sail. With dramatic coastlines that are more steep and rugged than in Croatia, Montenegro is one of the most popular sailing destinations in the world, so expect it to be busy.

17. Turkey’s Southern Coast​


Every sailor should sail the clear blue waters of the Lycian or Carian Coast in Turkey at least once. This timeless part of the world is one of the most relaxing spots on the planet, offering the chance to completely recharge among breathtaking surroundings. During the long, typically idyllic, summer, you’ll find moderate seas and good winds that make sailing the deep water bays and mountainous coastline a sublime experience. Visit sleepy fishing villages as well as bustling towns and historic sites for an unforgettable sailing getaway.

16. Bay of Islands, New Zealand​

Nuova Zelanda

New Zealand is a nation that’s spawned some of the world’s best sailors and has one of the highest per-capita rates of boat ownership on the planet, with the maritime reserves in the Bay of Islands in the country’s winterless north rated among the most beautiful sailing spots in the world.  Punctuated by countless coves and filled with crystal clear waters that range from deep blue to turquoise, these roughly 150 islands that have escaped development, are usually the first port of call for hundreds of yachts that drop down from the tropics in the cyclone season.

15. Greek Islands, Greece


Sailing has been a part of Greek life since prehistoric times. With some 6,000 islands in Greece, each with their own distinct character, you’ll find practically an endless number of ports to stop in, with each offering a different feel. Sailing is really the best way to experience these breathtaking islands, setting your own island-hopping itinerary, finding secluded spots or dining on octopus and ouzo. The deep-blue Mediterranean waters dotted with small islands are punctuated by traditional whitewashed villages and Greek ruins while warm sea breezes waft by as the sun shines continuously. There are several island groups to choose from, with some of the most popular including the Cyclades, home to Mykonos and Santorini, and the Ionians which include Skorpios, the private island of late shipping billionaire Aristotle Onassis, Corfu and Lefkada.

14. Whitsundays, Australia


The Whitsundays are what dreams are made of, with azure seas, cloudless skies and 74 stunning islands. The majority of this area belongs to the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, one of the seven wonders of the natural world, known for its sea turtles, incredible array of colorful fish and kaleidoscopic coral gardens. Sailing here provides the opportunity to snorkel or dive all day, and never get tired of doing it. The majority of services can be found in Airlie Beach, considered the gateway to the Whitsundays.

13. Minorca, Spain


Though it may be the smaller and lesser known of the Balearic Islands, Minorca is scattered with more spectacular beaches than Ibiza and Mallorca combined, including Cala Mitjaneta, Cala Pregonda, Cala Macarella and Macarelleta, Cala Turqueta and Cala Galdana, just to name a few. The rolling landscape is mixed with secluded coves and beaches along with a climate ideal for sailing, making it a true sailing paradise. You’ll also discover charming island towns with traditional, colorful houses and winding cobblestone streets.

12. Virgin Gorda, British Virgin Islands

Virgin Gorda

With pristine white sands, luxury waterfront resorts, outstanding restaurants and chic boutique shopping, the British Virgin Islands have it all as a true sailing fantasy land. There are more than 40 islands dotted across the glistening turquoise waters of the central Caribbean Sea, and hundreds of anchorages – all within sight of each other. The Bitter End Yacht Club on Virgin Gorda, featuring luxurious cabins across the hillside overlooking North Sound, is a fabulous place to base your stay while enjoying these idyllic surroundings. The island was named n°1 in the entire Caribbean for its abundance of natural beauty, indigenous plant-lined trails and the natural wonders of its protected national parks, as well as The Baths, a popular attraction where huge granite boulders create mysterious grottos, saltwater pools and a connecting trail enticing visitors to swim and snorkel.

11. Key West, Florida

Key West

Stretching from Biscayne National Park in the north over 125 miles to Key West, the Florida Keys offer some of the best opportunities for sailing than any other place on the planet, and Key West is its crown jewel. This southernmost city is the ultimate sailor’s paradise, home to the best sunsets in the continental U.S. as well as Conch Harbor Marina which offers slips that can accommodate vessels of up to 195 feet. Of course, if you don’t have your own boat, there are a number of boat rentals and private charters available. From here, it’s just a 70-mile journey to Dry Tortugas National Park, renowned for its world-class snorkeling.

Curious to know who's in our TOP TEN of the best sailing destinations in the Earth? Follow us next week ... you will not regret!