This article originally appeared on JamesEdition.com.
This summer, affluent megayacht owners escaped to the seas – but where, exactly? According to tracking data by Bloomberg, the countries with the largest number of superyachts spotted in August 2021 mainly spanned Europe. Italy, Greece, France, and Spain ranked highly, as well as destinations such as the sovereign city-state of Monaco.
Italy topped the list, with 228 yachts counted, and celebrities abroad such as Kendall Jenner, Paris Hilton, Dwyane Wade, and Gabrielle Union. Al Mirqab – the 437-foot, 13-cabin vessel was spotted out on the Italia seas, as was 511-foot Dilbar, complete with a 25-meter swimming pool – one the largest installed on a yacht yet. Also, Le Grand Bleu, the 355-foot, 65-crew boat owned by Russian-American oil billionaire Eugene Shvidler.
Greece had a yacht count of 193, 168 were seen in France, and 103 in Spain. Up and coming Montenegro also found its way onto the list with 17 sightings, as wealthy superyacht owners sought an alternative to Croatia (57 were observed there).
Which upscale locations made the top 7?
With Europe dominating Bloomberg’s Resilience Ranking for best places to wait out the pandemic, it’s no surprise superyacht owners set sail for Mediterranean waters. Where was most favored in August?
1. Porto Cervo – Sardinia, Italy
At the northeast tip of Sardinia lies luxurious Porto Cervo, the undisputed capital of Costa Smeralda and home to the top-class Pevero Golf Club. With just a few hundred residents, the charming village is surrounded by natural beauty, coming alive in the summer when wealthy yacht owners and celebrities flock to the exclusive area. The port sits in a natural cove resembling the shape of a deer, and is one of the biggest and best equipped in the Mediterranean, housing 700 moorings. The glam spot is also the HQ of Costa Smeralda Yacht Club, organizer of prestigious regattas.
2. Sorrento, Capri & Ischia – Naples Bay, Italy
Located in a small cove, Sorrento’s Marina Piccola is a stone’s throw from Piazza Tasso. Boasting a strategic position, the port is within easy reach of the Amalfi Coast and well connected to the center of Naples and Pompeii. The harbor is famous for the high-end service offered by its mooring crew, able to accommodate vessels with a maximum draft of six meters. The upscale islands of Capri and Ischia sit in the Gulf, the latter being the picturesque film location for The Talented Mr. Ripley. Capri Marina sits in a natural bay with space for 300 boats, connected to the center by a funicular, while Marina di Ischia has room for 200 berths, with the volcanic isle itself home to magnificent scenery and thermal mineral springs.
3. Portofino & La Spezia – Liguria, Italy
Marina di Portofino is based around a natural cove, and among the most famous and picturesque ports in Italy. The epitome of ‘La Dolce Vita’, life is full of pleasure and luxury, so be quick if you’re keen to moor there – the deluxe and private marina has just 14 berths for yachts and superyachts, and two for megayachts in Cannone Bay.
Porto di Portovenere and Porto Mirabello are both located in La Spezia. The former is a small marina, with 32 berths for superyachts and sailboats up to 50 meters in length, while the latter is uber-modern, utilizing avant-garde tech. Built with respect for the environment, Porto Mirabello is one of the few localities in the Mediterranean that can welcome superyachts up to 140 meters long. The state-of-the-art port also boasts more than 30 shops, bars, restaurants, and an 82-foot pool. Both Portofino and La Spezia are close to Cinque Terra, Liguria’s scenic five villages – an added bonus.
4. Cyclades archipelago – Greece
This island group in the Aegean Sea is popular among yacht owners, and it’s easy to see why. There’s Paros with golden beaches and a Venetian Fortress, lesser-known Tinos boasting raw beauty, and bucket list Santorini (Thira) formed after a volcanic eruption some 3600 years ago. Not to mention Mykonos, a haven for jet-setters and celebrities, Ios with its secluded beaches and picture-postcard scenery, Syros blending Cycladic and Venetian architecture, and Naxos – the largest of the Cycladic islands, but relatively undetected as a tourist route.
5. Lefkada & Corfu – Ionian Islands, Greece
Just a short walk from Lefkada’s historic center, first-rate Lefkas Marina is one of the calmest in the Ionian, fringed by glorious sandy beaches. An excellent base for exploring western Greece, the large harbor houses 620 berths for vessels up to 40 meters long and is connected to the mainland via a small bridge. UNESCO heritage Corfu is home to several ports, most notably Gouvia – an idyllic yachting location and the first privately owned marina in Greece, with 1235-berth capacity for boats up to 80 meters long and 5.5 meters draft.
6. Saint Tropez, Cannes & Menton – French Riviera, France
The sought-after Port of Saint-Tropez boasts 734 moorings across nine hectares and an exclusive position in the heart of the village, not to mention high-quality services. Combined, these factors mean booking well ahead is a must. Vieux Port de Cannes is well regarded too, in the center of the French Riviera resort town, close to Croisette walk and Palais du Festival. In terms of details, there’s capacity for 800 berths, up to 145 meters in length. And there’s Port Pierre Canto too – equally well-positioned with space for 600 berths up to 80 meters long. Eastwards, Old Town Port de Menton houses 770 boats up to 40 meters long, while Menton Vieux Port holds 596 at a maximum of 30 meters. As well as these top-notch places to dock, other marinas to note along the Côte d’Azur coastline include Grimaud, Antibes, and Cape Martin.
7. Ibiza – Balearic Islands, Spain
The Balearic Islands have always been a magnet for superyachts. Marina Ibiza is ideally situated in Ibiza Town (Eivissa), a few minutes from UNESCO-designated Dalt Vila Old Town, and has capacity for 425 berths up to 110 meters in length. Tech-forward facilities and five-star service were in mind when designing this harbor for luxe superyachts. Surrounded by bars, restaurants and shops, and facing the sea, the nightlife of Lío and Pacha are on the doorstep, while the beautiful isle of Formentera is just half an hour across the water. Also in Eivissa are Marina Botafoch, Club Nautico, Ibiza Magna, and Sovren. And in the scenic northeast, you’ll be delighted to find Santa Eulalia Marina, with room for 763 boats.