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Sailing along the Mediterranean Emerald Coast, amidst majestic nature and ultra-chic villages

– 22 January 2024 – Sailing itineraries

Sailing itineraries

Sailing along the Mediterranean Emerald Coast, amidst majestic nature and ultra-chic villages

A sailing itinerary in the heart of the Costa Smeralda, a coveted destination for yachtsmen worldwide, with heavenly beaches, sophisticated towns, and a glamorous atmosphere reigning supreme among the international jet set.

Nestled on the northeast coast of Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda is one of the Mediterranean’s most renowned and enchanting nautical destinations. Globally famous for its emerald sea, white sandy beaches, and classy nightlife, it also boasts beautiful architecture and villas perfectly integrated into the Mediterranean scrub. It offers sailors dreamlike bays and coves, as well as ports and marinas with high-quality and exclusive services.

Amidst the granite rocks surrounding this rugged and wild coast are a series of wonderful and picturesque villages that epitomize elegance and sophistication. They add an enchanting atmosphere, blending millennia of history and local traditions into a truly magical mix. A cruise along this coast allows one to admire VIP-frequented locations like Porto Cervo, Porto Rotondo and Baja Sardinia, as well as areas of priceless natural value, such as Cala di Volpe – an exclusive natural harbor where some scenes of the film “The Spy Who Loved Me” were shot.

Other notable spots include Grande Pevero, Liscia di Vacca, Liscia Ruja, and Romazzino with their bays of turquoise waters, white beaches, and juniper plants. Not to mention the numerous islets just off the coast, such as the Capuchin Island, the Bisce Island south of Caprera, Li Nibani, Mortorio Island, the Camere islets and Soffi Island.

 Discover the best boat rental offers from Sardinia

Costa Smeralda

Day 1, Portisco, Boarding

Our starting base for our cruise on the Costa Smeralda is Portisco, strategically positioned for exploring this majestic stretch of Sardinia and well-connected with the port and airport of Olbia. Right at the entrance of the Gulf of Cugnana is Marina di Portisco, a modern, welcoming harbor awarded the Blue Flag every year since 2016 for the clarity of its waters, environmental protection, and quality of services. The natural scenery surrounding the marina is simply magnificent: to the left, the cliff and the islet of Portisco. To the right, at the opposite end of the bay, is Portisco’s counterpart, Porto Rotondo. The area is dotted with bays, coves, and islets overlooking an incredible sea of bright turquoise.

Adjacent to Portisco are some truly jewel-like beaches. Starting with Rena Bianca, where the sand ranges from pure white to pink due to the tiny grains of quartzite. Also stunning is Razza di Giunco, where the sandy beach dotted with pink granite rocks alternates with fjords, islets and promontories.

Costa Smeralda

Day 2, Portisco – Mortorio Island – Porto Rotondo, 8 Miles

Leaving the dock at Marina di Portisco, it only takes a few miles to reach the island of Mortorio, one of Gallura’s paradises. An integral part of the Maddalena Archipelago National Park, it owes its name to a small tuna fishery in the past. Some also link it to an ancient battle between Genoese and Saracen pirates with deadly outcomes. The island’s profile is rugged and rocky, with peaks reaching 77 meters in the northern part. It offers a flatter and more barren area on the southern side. These two parts are separated by a thin isthmus, creating two wild coves where nature is at its finest, including the famous Cala di Ponente or Mortorio beach and Cala di Levante.

For the evening stop, a truly special destination: Porto Rotondo. A charming place boasting exclusive venues, a lively social scene and dreamy beaches. Nestled between the Gulf of Cugnana and the Gulf of Marinella is the well-equipped Porto Rotondo marina with 800 berths, also home to the Yacht Club Porto Rotondo, opened in 1985, one of Italy’s most important sailing clubs. The original village of Porto Rotondo, or “Poltu Rutundu” in the Gallurese language, dates back to 1964, initiated by Venetian entrepreneurs Luigi and Nicolò Donà dalle Rose. This is reflected in the architecture that closely resembles that of Venice. Not surprisingly, the main square is named San Marco and is considered one of Sardinia’s most ‘in’ places, where it’s easy to spot celebrities, high finance figures, and entertainers in the high season who have long chosen Porto Rotondo as their summer residence.

Day 3, Porto Rotondo – Cala Volpe – Gulf of Pevero, 9 Miles

We set sail to reach another true gem of this region: Cala Volpe. Nestled in the heart of the Costa Smeralda, Cala Volpe is a breathtaking bay surrounded by lush Mediterranean vegetation where hedges of myrtle and picturesque juniper groves gaze at the sea, bent by the Maestrale wind. Its shallow seabed gently slopes towards the open sea, dipping into the deep blue waters. Occasionally, granite rocks emerge from these waters, adding to the typical landscape of this stunning coastline. At the center of the bay is a tourist village overlooking a small port, an ideal stopover for boats and large yachts.

Not far from Cala Volpe, in a picturesque crescent-shaped bay, lies one of the world’s most glamorous and exclusive emerald beaches: Grande Pevero, named after the adjacent gulf. It’s an arched expanse of ultra-fine, almost impalpable white sand, stretching about 300 meters, kissed by the sea’s ever-changing colors, varying from green to blue and then becoming crystal clear at the shoreline. Smooth white granite rocks and the green of the surrounding vegetation, along with the scent of ancient junipers, encircle it.

Behind the beach lies the Patima pond, and beyond that, meticulously maintained golf courses. A short distance away, in the center of the gulf and separated by a headland, lies the more secluded and wild Piccolo Pevero. This beach, less than half the size of its larger sibling, is also highly scenic and cherished. From the beach, one can admire the group of islets of Li Nibani, ‘the seagulls’ in Gallurese, named after the sea birds that inhabit them.

Day 4, Gulf of Pevero – Porto Cervo, 3 miles

Located right in the heart of the Costa Smeralda in Gallura, Porto Cervo is Sardinia’s most famous seaside village. Characterized by architecture designed by the Swiss-French set designer Jacques Couelle and architects Luigi Vietti and Michele Busiri Vici, who were hired by Karim Aga Khan in the 1960s, the village is built around a deep natural harbor, perfectly adjoining the sea promontories and the villas nestled in greenery. In reality, there are two mooring facilities. Porto Cervo Marina, in the innermost part of the inlet, consists of a breakwater, some quays, and several floating docks. And the Old Port, located to the east of the Marina on the southern coast of the inlet.

Yachtsmen use the marina, which offers 700 berths, 80 of which are for transit, on depths ranging from 1.70 to 9 meters. As hazards, 0.5 miles northeast of the entrance is the emerging rock of Secca del Cervo, and then the Secche del Pevero, the Passo delle Galere, Romazzino and dei Poveri. When anchoring, one must not invade the boat transit area but remain in the zone marked by yellow buoys that delineate the anchorage itself.

What makes Porto Cervo one of the world’s most exclusive stops is its sophisticated atmosphere, a summer kingdom for the international jet-set. The heart of the village is the historic square, packed with restaurants, clubs, and VIPs. From here, narrow streets filled with multicolored windows and balconies, especially showcasing fashion showrooms and boutiques, branch out. Surrounding them are hotels, clubs, and villas climbing up the gentle surrounding hills. The outskirts are home to the trendiest nightclubs and most prestigious restaurants, the true center of the coast’s nightlife. A visit to the Stella Maris church, perched high above, is a must. From there, one can enjoy a breathtaking view.

 Discover the best boat rental offers from Sardinia


Costa Smeralda

Day 5, Porto Cervo – Poltu Quatu, 6 Miles

We set sail again to enjoy another splendid stop: Poltu Quatu. The view on arrival by boat is enchanting. A small fjord characterized by pink granite rocks emerging from the scrub and shaped by the wind, and a handful of houses clinging to the hills overlooking the Maddalena Archipelago. This quaint village is steeped in its maritime past and strategically located in a natural inlet, nestled in the typical Mediterranean landscape. An exclusive spot amidst the crystal-clear sea and the high life of the Costa Smeralda. Established in 1987 as a harbor for small and medium-sized boats, Poltu Quatu has evolved into a jet-set destination and today is surrounded by accommodations of various categories, famous restaurants, designer shops and diving clubs.

The village centers around a central square and the modern marina, Marina dell’Orso, which has 320 berths typically also occupied by large yachts, overlooking the island of Caprera and other islands of the Archipelago. From here, one can reach the magnificent beaches of the Costa Smeralda, including Capriccioli, Cale Pitrizza, Cala di Vope and Liscia di Vacca, as well as the beaches of Palau, notably Porto Faro, Porto Rafael and Cala Trana.

Day 6, Poltu Quatu – Baja Sardinia, 4 Miles

It’s time to set course for Baja Sardinia, another gem of the Costa Smeralda dotted with luxurious hotels and dream villas nestled in greenery. Originating in the 1960s through the initiative of the Gentili family, driven by the Costa Smeralda boom, it was formerly known as “Battistoni”. This name still remains for the famous Cala Battistoni, the central beach of the town that opens west of the namesake point. Surrounded by incredibly clear waters, it features fine white sand which, due to the presence of granite pebbles, takes on a fantastic pink hue. Another option for anchoring is the wonderful Cala Granu. The town also boasts an aquatic park, “Acquadream”, offering a fun alternative to the beaches.

As the sun sets, one can savor typical seafood dishes in one of the many local restaurants and conclude the evening in some of the area’s renowned venues. Examples include “Ritual”, a nightclub located inside a natural cave, and the enchanting “Phi Beach”, nestled on the cliffs adjacent to the ancient Forte Cappellini.

Day 7, Baja Sardinia – Cannigione – Portisco, 20 miles

On the last day of our cruise on the Costa Smeralda, we reach Cannigione, a charming fishing village overlooking a delightful harbor. With its colorful houses, picturesque streets and traditional maritime life, this village offers an authentic and relaxing atmosphere, embodying the style of the Costa Smeralda. Pink granite and white stones characterize the architecture of the houses. You’ll fine everywhere green spaces, shops and boutiques. On the south is the Padula Saloni pond, where amidst reeds, rushes, and tamarisks, herons, black storks, ospreys and purple gallinules nest. On the north of the town stands Punta Occhione, covered with a blanket of Mediterranean scrub. From the top, there is a panoramic view of the entire gulf up to the Bear Rock.

Its waterfront is occupied by the docks of a modern and extensive harbor located in the innermost part of the deep Gulf of Arzachena, offering 1,000 berths and all necessary services. Next to it is the town’s sandy beach, which dips into a sea of infinite shades of blue. The seabed slopes gently, highly appreciated by divers and snorkelers, making it one of the premier diving centers in Sardinia. Don’t miss the tours in the Posidonia seagrass beds, especially near the Mortoriotto rock. Nearby, many other beaches emerge: La Conca, Tanca Manna, Mannena, Barca Bruciata, and Isuledda. The coves of Lu Multiccioni and Li Capanni, the long Tanca Manna beach and Cala Capriccioli are sublime.

After this journey through the beauty and elegant, chic atmospheres of the Costa Smeralda, all that remains is to return to the nautical base of Portisco. However, don’t rush, there will still be some time to enjoy other wonders of the area like the beaches of Liscia di Vacca, Liscia Ruja, and the splendid Spiaggia del Romazzino. A cruise impossible to forget.

 Discover the best boat rental offers from Sardinia

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