For some superyacht guests, St Tropez is so last season. According to luxury yacht charter agency Y.CO, many luxury yacht charters are setting course to more experiential destinations, bravely sailing where few tourists have ever been before.
Yes, in 2012 the rich and famous are leaving Capri to the cruise ships. But Finland’s Aland Archipelago? That’s soooo 2013.
1- Kastelorizo, Greece
Greek Islands don’t come much more isolated than Kastelorizo. It sits over 500km from the Greek mainland, yet the Turkish Coast is close enough to swim to. Indeed, hundreds of tourists do so each summer, in an inter-island swim that draws in a large yachtie crowd. Superyachts looking for absolute privacy also descend upon two of the Mediterranean’s most untouched isles: Rho (population 15) and Stroggylí (population 9).
2- Stockholm Archipelago, Sweden
Outside Stockholm, the yachting capital of Sandhamn is perched on one of the world’s most alluring archipelagos. Among the thousands of uninhabited islets, guests may indulge in a dingy race, or host an angling competition followed by a fresh fish barbecue. Yacht parties have been known to top off the evening with a midnight disco featuring the music of Abba, whose famously reclusive singer Agnetha lives on her own private island in the archipelago.
3- Bodrum Peninsula, Turkey
Turkey’s yachting capital Bodrum is über-cool. Its seafront promenade is a procession of alfresco restaurants and bars, including a VIP party catamaran that sails clubbers out to sea at midnight before floating back the boat at dawn. But according to Y.CO, summer superyachts are sailing around the Bodrum peninsula to cooler climes instead. The secluded resort of Türkbükü is the country’s ritziest enclave, the preserve of models, actors and all-night clubs. Gündoğan is quieter but equally sophisticated – a favoured escape for Turkey’s political elite.
4- Aland Archipelago, Finland
The sea may be a shade cooler than the South of France, but it’s just as crystal clear. The 6,500 islands of Finland’s Aland archipelago offer remoteness and privacy in spades. Breaking out the yacht’s paddleboards for a tour along the deserted Baltic coastline makes for an afternoon of one-off exploration. And compared to Capri, it is quiet indeed.
5- Calauit Island, Philippines
A private safari doesn’t get any more experiential than in Calauit Islands’ ‘nature reserve’. Formerly the private playground of the assuredly nuts Marcos dynasty, the island provides a refuge not only for native species, but also for African animals imported as part of the family’s private zoo. By anchoring offshore, the global glitterati can take in giraffes and zebras by day, followed by a sunset South East Asian dinner prepared by their on-board private chef.
6- Cabrera Islands, Spain
Even locals struggle to get to the Balearic Island’s best boating spot, the Cabrera Archipelago Maritime Park. Off-limits until 1988 as a military base, privacy is assured, as its 19 islands are accessible only to those with their own boat. The towering cliffs harbour herons and shearwater, while whales and dolphins bask in the 100km2 of protected seas. Mere mortals are limited to a day trip. After lunch, superyacht guests have the archipelago to themselves.
7- Tinos, Greece
Serene Tinos could hardly be more different from its indulgent neighbours. This tranquil Greek Island is the perfect antidote for anyone who has over-partied on Mykonos or over-indulged on Delos. With no airport on the island, visiting VIPs have their anonymity assured. The pebbly bays of Rochari, Malli, and Ormos Panormos melt into a deep Greek blue, and are most easily reached not by land, but by sea. The beach of Agios Pandeleimonas, close to the island’s southern tip, is the island’s biggest and best.
The Croatian town of Rovinj has a cosmopolitan past. The city was essentially Italian until 1947, and today it remains a polyglot little Venice on the Adriatic Sea. Its waterfront promenade – the Riva – is one long procession of gelaterie. More importantly for luxury superyacht charters, the coastline around Rovinj crumbles into a glorious archipelago. These 22 island gems are nature’s gift to superyacht guests. Their tranquil beauty offers a near religious experience. Indeed, communities of monks were the islands’ sole residents in centuries past.
9- Sveti Stefan, Montenegro
Sveti Stefan is Montenegro’s shining star. This picturesque fishing port – linked to the mainland by a beachy isthmus – once attracted A-list celebrities from Kirk Douglas to Sophia Loren. The resort may look like the South of France in the 1960s, but it was recently reinvented as a five-star boutique village by luxury operator Aman. Superyacht guests may step off for Cuban cigars, evening cocktails and an olive wood fired rotisserie. Captains moor up by Miločer beach, which is backed by a forest of mimosa and Lebanese cedar.
10- Gulf Islands, Canada
Canada’s westernmost province of British Columbia has an incredible 40,000 islands scattered along its 27,725km of coastline. From a superyacht’s bridge, deck or even crow’s nest, one may sight glaciers, icebergs and snow-crowned summits. The finest yachts now employ a learned guest lecturer who can expound upon this pristine wilderness for one’s own private party. High-end adventures include a crew-led kayak expedition among orcas, seals and otters, or whale watching with an expert guide in your own RIB.by Tristan Rutherford Guest Luxury Expert Contributor