France Yacht Charter
Search Over 150 Yachts In France For Your Luxury Charter Vacation!
Chartering a yacht in France means incredible cruising waters, delectable cuisine, world-renown shopping, and many historic landmarks to see while traveling. Exploring the French Riviera, Corscia, and Sardinia in Italy, by luxury yacht is a vacation of a lifetime that you will never forget. The United Yacht Charter team is uniquely experienced to help you plan all of the details of your yachting vacation. Give us a call today to discuss the different destination and vessel options that are available for your anticipated vacation dates.
Chartering A Yacht In The French Riviera
The French Riviera has long been a major yachting and cruising destination hosting at least half of the world’s superyachts annually in the several luxurious marinas on the coast. When anchoring in harbors, large yachts as a rule must anchor outside the 300-meter zone (about 328 yards) from the coast and outside of buoy-marked shoreline swim zones in the bays. Known for opulent yacht parties and “red carpet” events that are attended by international glitterati, royalty and A-listers who flock to the Mediterranean during the high season summer months as the “place to see and be seen,” an estimated 90% of all superyachts will visit the French Riviera at least once.
Vacationers and tourists from all over Europe and the world come to enjoy the beautiful beaches, crystal clear azure waters, historical towns and locales with ancient artifacts and monuments, cathedrals and castles, panoramic landscapes and so much more. The southern France coastline of Nice county is an ideal destination for a luxury yacht charter cruise with its sunny, mountainous terrain climate similar to northern Italy—mid 80s in summers and low 40s in winter. The area boasts some 3000 resorts, 18 golf courses and 14 ski resorts in addition to miles of gorgeous beaches and some of the most glamorous coastal resort towns in the Mediterranean.
The French Riviera (Côte d’Azur) is about 71 miles of coastline from the city of Menton, near the border of Italy, to the port city of Toulon on France’s southern coast. Major cities are Saint Tropez (between Nice and Marseille), Monaco (Principality of Monaco), Nice, Antibes, Cannes, Saint Raphael, Saint Maxine. Le Levandou, Hyères (and 3 coastal Iles d’Hyères), and Toulon. The Côte d’Azur is one of the first modern resort areas, prescribed for health to British aristocracy in the late 18th century. A British enclave developed in Cannes when British nobleman Henry Peter Brougham came for his health and built a villa in 1834.
Others followed and after rail service made Nice and the French Riviera more accessible to all of Europe, 100,000 people visited the following year! Both British and French entrepreneurs saw the potential for tourism and the development of casino resorts began. No casino was grander than the iconic Monte Carlo Casino built in 1863 in the ornate Belle Epoque style by Charles Garnier, architect of the Paris opera house. Concurrently, the Hotel de Paris Monte-Carlo opened as the finest in Monaco. The luxurious casino was featured in a few James Bond films and was the inspiration for Ian Fleming’s Casino Royale.
Steamships and carriages shuttled visitors from Nice to Monte Carlo until the railway to Monaco was built in 1870. Immediately the Riviera was visited by European royalty—Queen Victoria was a regular visitor and the Prince of Wales (prior to becoming king) frequented the Club Nautique, a private club on the Croisette in Cannes when he visited aboard the royal yacht, Britannia, to observe the yacht races.
The end of the 19th century brought an influx of artists—Renoir, Matisse, Picasso, Claude Monet, Edvard Munch. The first World War changed the scene, as much of European royals and aristocracy were impacted by the war, and American business moguls and celebrities started coming, followed by prominent American writers and artists in the 1920s, and the High Society season changed from winter to summer. Sunbathing at the beaches became popular after French fashion designer, Coco Chanel returned to Paris showing off her tan in 1923!
After WWII, the Cannes Film Festival was launched in 1946 at the Festival Palace built on the site of the old Cercle Nautique on the Croisette. The release of Roger Vadim’s film starring Brigitte Bardot in 1958, “And GOD Created Woman,” incited St Tropez’s attraction to the international “jet-setters.” American movie star, Grace Kelly’s marriage to Prince Albert of Monaco in 1956 focused world-wide attention on the Riviera with 30 million watching the event via TV.
The 60s saw the development of conventions centers and museums to attract year-round visitors, along with high-rise residential real estate development. Many international celebrities and wealthy foreigners bought property and built villas in the hillsides making the French Riviera very cosmopolitan and expensive.
The tiny resort town of Saint-Tropez with popular Pampelonne beach, was once a small seaside village until made world-famous by the Brigitte Bardot film in 1957; it is still the place to be seen with 27 private beach clubs! Le Club 55 is the ultimate Pampelonne beach club. Other glamorous seaside resorts are Cap-d’Ail, Beaulieu-sur-Mer, Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Villefranche-sur-Mer, Antibes, Juan-les-Pins, Cannes, Saint-Raphael, Fréjus and Sainte Maxime. Exclusive Paloma Beach at Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat is one of the oldest and most famous private beach clubs on the Riviera and located in Cap-Ferrat, one of the wealthiest areas with some of the most expensive real estate on earth! Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild (also known as Villa Île-de-France) on Cap-Ferrat was constructed between 1905 and 1912 by Baroness Béatrice de Rothschild and donated to the Académie des Beaux Arts division of the Institut de France upon her death in 1934.
This is the most palatial of all villas on the French Riviera and is open to the public for viewing the lovely gardens with fountains and reflecting ponds and the rooms filled with the Baroness’ collection of antique furniture, art and rare porcelain. Plage Paloma was named for Picasso’s daughter; he would often come to the beach with his children. The Paloma Beach Club offers tender service to the bay’s anchored yachts. At the public half of the beach, visitors can rent a sunbed and enjoy the same view. Plage des Marinieres in Villefranche-sur-Mer is an uncrowded lifeguarded beach just minutes away from Nice in a posh area with villas Nelcotte and Villa del Cedres within walking distance to Cap Ferrat. The pebble beach of Plage de Passable is a quiet resort; the restaurant rents loungers.
Anjuna Beach on the bay in Èze-sur-Mer is a favorite of celebrities and yachties and popular with the A-list crowd, especially during Monaco Grand Prix in May. The beach features iconic aqua beach umbrellas, lounges along with live music and great ambience. Calanque d’En-Vau and Calanque du Sugiton are two of a series of coves at the base of needle-pointed limestone cliffs on the beautiful coast between Cassis and Marseilles. Part of a National Park since 2012, these sheltered inlets are best reached by boat (tender) to enjoy their crystal-clear turquoise waters and magnificent limestone cliff backdrop. The cliffs are popular with hikers and climbers.
The Estèrel coast, west of Cannes, is the location of Plage d’Abel Baliff with little, hidden beaches and known for its red rocks and azure sea. Île de Porquerolles of Hyères, located between Marseilles and Saint Tropez, is the largest of the exquisite Porquerolle islands and only accessible by boat or ferry. The island is a national park and protected; no cars or camping are permitted. Visitors can rent bicycles or hike. Plage Notre-Dame was named most beautiful European beach in 2015 and is a 30-minute walk from the village. Yachts must anchor 300 m (about 328 yards) out in the harbor. Plage d’Argent, in the northwest, is a very popular beautiful beach only 5 minutes by bike or a 15-minute walk from the pier and features a waterfront restaurant and lounge.
There are so many gorgeous spots to sail to on the French Riviera and many destinations with stylish beach clubs and restaurants. Plage de la Mala, next to Monaco in Cap-D’Ail, is a sand and pebble beach with a backdrop of steep cliffs. The beach clubs have DJs and live music, excellent restaurants, spa treatments and water taxis to shuttle to and from yachts anchored out in the harbor. Valras Plage near Beziers is an outstanding beach that can accommodate a crowd and features restaurants and bars. Grussian Plage, Narbonne, is a beautiful beach that features a casino for nighttime action and a marina. Argelès North offers stunning views of the Pyrenees and clear azure waters.
Sainte-Maxime, near Saint-Tropez, is a more relaxed resort town with over 3 miles of sandy beaches and is convenient to Nice, Cannes and Marseille. Grande Plage, Hendaye, is next to the Spanish border on the southwest coast of France and has many nearby cafes and bars. Plage de l’Estagnol, Bormes-les-Mimosas, is located between Toulon and Le Larandou, with a hidden sandy beach that curves around the bay. It is a favorite of France’s President. Yachts can be seen anchored off the coast of Plage de la Garoupe in Cap d’Antibes, with its sandy beach, warm sea, and hillside villas of the superrich. Menton is the last city on the French Riviera before Italy, and is a pretty, colorful town and harbor, famous for its gardens and lemon groves. The annual Lemon Festival is held in February.
The French Riviera is known for its lively nightlife, from the glamorous beach clubs of Cannes, Saint-Tropez, and Monaco, to quaint neighborhood bars and pubs of Nice and Toulon, and the free-flowing champagne parties aboard the many yachts lined up in the harbors; ‘red carpet’ celebrity-studded events; summer festivals; trendy clubs with world-class DJs spinning to dawn—live music, great cocktails—adds up to a frenetic High Society seasonal party scene! Some of the consistently best nightclubs are: Jimmy’z in Monte Carlo that features some of the most renowned international DJs. It was renovated in 2017 with a floating summer bar, garden areas and vast dance floors. High Club in Nice features 3 dance floors, several bars, a snack bar, and internationally renowned DJs with sets focused on electro and hip-hop. Les Caves du Roy in Saint-Tropez, located at Tropezian Byblos Hotel, is the best place to party until dawn!
The palm tree lined outdoor space is the place to see and be seen. Resident DJs spin various genres to a full house. Trendy Le Gotha in Cannes is renowned for its lively parties and international DJs. Located on the famed beach boardwalk Croisette, with fabulous views of the Mediterranean Sea. Some of the most well-known bars are: Le Bar Americain in Monte-Carlo is the iconic bar at the Hotel de Paris and features a 1920s jazz age ambience, signature cocktails, stylish patio seating and entrancing sea views. Hotel Amour à la Plage in Nice is a popular chic beach bar on Promenade des Anglais offering a large menu of cocktails, wines, and small plates. Le Bar à Vin in exclusive Cannes is a neighborhood bar accessible to all, featuring 100+ French and international wines, cheese, and charcuterie plates. Les Toits, Hotel de Paris in Saint-Tropez, is a rooftop bar and restaurant with dramatic views of the Mediterranean.
The Cannes Film Festival, founded in 1946, is an invitation-only annual event traditionally held in May at the Palais de Festivals et des Congrès on the seaside promenade of la Croisette. Cannes is one of the “Big Five” film festivals of the world and previews new films of all genres from all around the world. During the Festival, over 200,000 people descend on Cannes—stargazers along with the greatest concentration of film industry professionals for an intense 12-day scene of spectacle, fashion, deal-making, partying, and publicity. After the Cannes Film Festival, open air movie screenings are held at Ciné quartier (neighborhoods) and other open-air venues. Held annually on June 21st during Summer Season, Féte de la Musique takes to the streets of Nice, Cannes and Marseille and other Riviera cities and towns. Nice holds an annual open air jazz festival in July. Cannes beaches of Croisette (and offshore yachts) is the scene for Les Plages Electroniques, the annual vibrant electro-dance parties in August.
The French Riviera, that has been inhabited since prehistoric times, offers a wealth of sightseeing destinations. Roquebrune-Cap-Martin located between Menton and Monaco, is a picturesque medieval hilltop village with a 10th century castle—the oldest feudal castle in France. The castle was remodeled in the 15th century by the Grimaldis of Monaco, the oldest ruling family in the world!
The house of Grimaldi, of Genovese nobility, gained power in the 13th century and took political control in Monaco, Antibes and Nice, building castles at Grimaud, Cagnes-sur-Mer and Antibes. Today, Albert II, Prince of Monaco is a direct descendant of the Grimaldis. Cap-Martin is one of the poshest resorts on the Mediterranean, favored by aristocrats, the rich, creative A-listers, and celebrities worldwide. Nice, an ancient and active city in the heart of the French Riviera, features the Cours Saleya market that fills the main square with colorful stalls selling fruit, vegetables, flowers, olive oils and more on Tuesdays through Saturdays. Also in Nice is Chapelle de la Miséricorde, a famous Baroque church, Colline du Château, Cathedral Ste-Réparate and the ornate Opera.
The old town and port of Antibes is the largest pleasure boat port on the Mediterranean and is not a resort; it is a working town. Fort Carré, designed to defend the coast and town, was built by Louis XIV’s military genius, Vauban, and overlooks Port Vauban which berths multimillion-dollar yachts. The Old town features a daily fruit and vegetable market, narrow streets with interesting shops. The Musée Picasso art and ceramics collection is housed in Château Grimaldi. Restaurants and bars near the port are often filled with superyacht crews. Marineland Antibes features orcas, sharks, and dolphins. Antibes has many more museums and attractions, as do the many other historic towns along the French Riviera.
Chartering A Yacht In Corsica
This “Island of Beauty” and fragrant air is an excellent yacht cruising destination for its unspoiled natural beauty—majestic ancient volcanic mountains and steep limestone or red rock cliffs overlooking picturesque coastal towns, villages and beautiful sandy beaches lapped by crystal clear turquoise waters, pine and chestnut forests, amazingly scented maquis, historical landmarks, architecture and remains of previous centuries, and excellent cuisine—Corsica has so much to offer visitors and is a top tourist destination. The coastal climate is typical of the Mediterranean—hot summer months and mild winters. The mountains are covered with snow and ice in winter and thaw in spring for hiking season. The 300-mile craggy coast is lined with 200+ beautiful beaches such as Pietracorbara, Saleccia and Rondinara, and on the southern tip are Palombaggia, San Ciprianu, Santa Guilia and Pharellu and many natural harbors. Beaches range from white or golden sand to pebble; some coves are only reachable by boat and ideal anchorages for cruising yachts, but be careful of protected waters.
Located in the Mediterranean Sea, Corsica is France’s southernmost point, lying 110 miles south of the Cote d’Azur (French Riviera) and 56 miles east of Tuscany, Italy. The narrow 6 to 8-mile-wide Strait of Bonifacio separates Corsica from its neighboring island, Sardinia, to the south. Corsica is the largest and most mountainous Mediterranean island. In fact, mountains cover two-thirds of the island. Corsica features chic and historic coastal towns, dense forests (20% of the island is forest) and rugged mountain peaks—Mount Cinto is highest at I,878 feet. Nearly half of the island consists of Nature Preserves with hiking trails—GR20 is one of the most notable in Europe, attracting hikers worldwide to its challenges and rewarding views! The trail runs 112 miles along the spine of the granite mountain range from Calenzanza in the north to Conca, its southern terminus.
Created in 1972, Parc Naturel Regional de Corse protects rare animal and plant species and includes Golfe de Porto, the Scandola Nature Reserve and protected marine zone—a UNESCO World Heritage site, along with some of the island’s highest mountains. The Reserve can only be reached by boat; guided tours are available from nearby Porto. Endangered Corsican red deer and mouflon, a type of feral sheep, and other sensitive species inhabit the Park. Chestnut trees were introduced by Genoans in 1584 when farmers and landowners were ordered to plant chestnut, olive, fig and mulberry. A unique feature of Corsica are the maquis—dense scrub thickets of extremely fragrant botanicals that cover 20% of the “scented island” and saturate the air with their exquisite perfumes. Colorful rockroses, herbs, strawberry tree, myrtle, evergreen oak, rosemary, clematis and many others enhance the island’s attractiveness. Even Napoleon longed for the fragrance of his Corsican homeland’s maquis while imprisoned on Elba.
Ruled by the Republic of Genoa from 1284-1755, Corsica was ceded in 1768 to King Louis XV of France in repayment of military aid debts. The following year it was annexed by France. Napoleon was a native Corsican, born 1769 in Ajaccio, the elegant and sunny capital of Corsica. Maison Bonaparte (Napoleon’s ancestral home) is a museum and major visitor attraction. The island, to this day, still retains both its Italian Genoese and French cultural heritage. As with most of Mediterranean Europe, Corsica was a Roman province in 238 and integrated into Roman Italy by Emperor Diocletian. After the collapse of the Roman Empire, Corsica was invaded and ruled by a succession of political powers and cultures including the King of Aragon in the 13th century. The 16th-17th century Genoese built a chain of towers (citadels) to defend the island against Barbary pirates from North Africa; most are still standing today overlooking coastal towns and are a primary tourist attraction, as are the centuries old ornate churches.
Corsican cuisine is based on local food products grown or grazed in the island’s plains and foothills—meats from farms (pork, goat, sheep, veal), chestnuts, honey, garden vegetables, orchard fruit and many wild herbs, game (boar, fowl), and seafood, along with vineyards and olive trees from ancient times; many unique to Corsica. Corsica has the highest number of quality and protected origin designations (Label Rouge, AOC, AGI) in France for its wines, cheeses, olive oil, honey, chestnut flour, cured pork cuts, clementines, hazelnuts, pomelos, lamb and kid meat! Riva Bella Naturist is an EcoTourism Farm & Seawater Spa located in the very fertile eastern plain of Corsica. The spa features Corsican essential oils extracted from the herbs of the maquis. Two-thirds of Corsican land area is devoted to vineyards that produce a renowned wine—“Vins de Corse” with the French AOC protected origin label, as is the amber-colored honey. Corsican clementines are the only clementines produced in France.
Specialties include the cured meats of the Corsican pig that forages in the wild, feeding on acorns, chestnuts and wild herbs. Prisuttu, Coppa and Ionzu have all been awarded French AOC labeling. Corsican cheeses made from regional recipes and varieties of goat and sheep milk are another specialty, and the Corsican chestnut is a staple ingredient in traditional dishes; eaten whole, grilled or broiled, in soups and stews and chestnut flour is used to make fritters, pasties, pulenta and more. Hidden in the maquis are many species of wild mushrooms including chanterelle, morel, russula, black chanterelle, wood hedgehog, parasol mushroom, and the highly-prized boletus aereus. Rivers flowing from the mountains to the sea create lagoons with exceptional water quality allowing oysters and mussels to thrive (Diana lagoon). La Castagniccia is a beautiful forest region of chestnut trees and the source of Orezza sparkling water, a natural mineral water recarbonated from the spring. Among its minerals is a high level of iron that was used to treat anemia and other ailments in the 19th century, and even supplied to WWII troops in North Africa to alleviate anemia. Today the Orezza facility uses a natural process to remove some of the iron before bottling.
Corsica is easily reached by boat from French ports (Nice, Toulon, Marseilles) and Italy (Genoa, Livorno, Piombino, Portoferraio, Porto Torres, Santa Teresa di Gallura, Savona). Corsica also has 4 airports (Bastia, Calvi, Ajaccio and Port-Vecchio) and innumerable bays, coves, sheltered harbors, marinas and moorings. Among the best are: Port Saint Florent, an active, well-maintained port since the middle ages in a quiet bay surrounded by mountains. The town is directly below the citadel and within easy distance of the area’s historical attractions. The town center has many cafes and restaurants. Port Calvi, located on the northwest coast is a modern tourist destination while retaining its old town ambience, surrounded by mountains and pine forests. Quai Landry, along the seashore, is the place for bars, restaurants and boutiques. A beautiful white sand beach is nearby. Port Ajaccio Tino Rossi is located in the capital city Ajaccio.
It features 300 berths that can accommodate vessels up to 300’ and is a well-known superyacht destination. Pleasure boats are welcome and it is one of the most visited cities in Corsica. Attractions include Musèe Bonaparte, citadel, old center with historic architecture, and lively nightlife. Port de Plaisance de Porto Vecchio, located in the southern part of the island, is also a popular yachting destination. The historical old area surrounds the Place de Republique and ruins of the Citadel. Cafes and restaurants abound. Marina features 350 berths, with 17 for yachts 90’ and over. Maximum LOA is 165’ and 9’ draft. Well equipped with power, water, WiFi, pump-out, fuel dock and more.
Port de Bonifacio, an ancient town of the southern coast with easy access to Sardinia, is one of Corsica’s greatest attractions featuring breathtaking panoramic landscapes and many historic landmarks. Exquisite beaches and limestone cliffs surround this ancient settlement. The marina has 170 berths accommodating vessels up to 150’ and 9’ draft and is open year-round. August is the busiest month. Le Vieux Port de Bastia on the northern coast features a great historical heritage—built by Genoese in 14th century for trade with Genoa, and is known as the “Town of Art & History.” The port is near many attractions of the town; head to the old port between the Citadel and Square (one of the largest open squares in France) for bars, restaurants, cafes and landmarks such as the church of Saint Jean-Baptiste.
The marina features 350 berths for vessels with maximum LOA of 150’ and 18’ draft, with 40 berths available for visiting yachts. Bastia is Corsica’s principle commercial port and is also a major ferry port with service to Genoa and Livorno, Italy and Marseille and Nice on the French Riviera. Port de Toga in Bastia is located near Cap Corse, making it one of Corsica’s most popular ports, providing easy access to most northern coastal ports, and the scenic and tranquil surroundings of Bastia in the chestnut growing region of La Castaniccia. The marina features 357 berths with 60 available for visiting vessels and is able to accommodate vessels up to 90’ LOA and maximum draft range of 7’-12’. Equipped with all necessary amenities and technical assistance is available.
Port de Solenzara, located in Solenzara village on eastern part of the island, offers easy access to both Italian and French coasts. Boatyard is modern and well equipped with 450 berths that range in size for vessels with maximum 90’ LOA and 10’ draft. Marina is surrounded by a diverse landscape of secluded beaches, waterfalls, and cliffs. Attractions include Corsica Canion, Gorges de Solenza River, Anse de Favone and Canella beaches. Porto di Cavallo is located on Cavallo island in the Strait of Bonifacio and is the departure point for crossing the Strait to Sardinia. The island is in the natural Park of the Strait of Bonifacio, surrounded by crystal clear waters and imposing rocks and offers exceptional views of the Mediterranean. Best known area in Mediterranean for scuba diving; it is considered one of the 10 most beautiful underwater landscapes in the world. Explore caves formed by giant boulders and view rare black coral, red coral, and lots of marine life. Hand-feed and pet the tame grouper that follow you around!
Excellent accommodation and dining facilities are available, including 4-star Hotel de Pecheurs and La Ferme restaurant. The marina features berths for 200 vessels up to 115’ LOA and is well-equipped with water, electric, WiFi, pump-out, diver and mooring support services and more. Porto de Propriano, located on the western coast in the town of Propriano, an ancient settlement with architecture dating back two or more centuries. The most popular landmark is Notre Dame de la Misericorde church in the center of town which is filled with cafes, restaurants and bars. This beautiful harbor is a popular destination for luxury yachts and pleasure boats. The marina features 429 berths for vessels up to 145’ LOA and maximum draft of 18’ and offers modern facilities (electric, water, and more on site). Shipyard services with 12-ton crane and fuel station. Specializes in fishing and offers visitors many recreational activities. Beautiful beaches are nearby and the summer months feature an art festival.
Chartering A Yacht In Sardinia
Sardinia is an ancient island in the Mediterranean Sea that has become a “billionaires’ playground” and superyacht destination. High end restaurants, trendy bars, exclusive boutiques mix with ancient landmarks and the unspoiled natural beauty of this island jewel. A luxury yacht charter is an ideal way to experience the dramatic mountainous landscape and beautiful sandy beaches, some that are only reachable by boat, as are the many uninhabited coastal islands that make great secluded anchorages.
This Italian Mediterranean island, featuring 1,149 miles of rugged coastline with 40 “tourist harbors” on its coasts, lies just south of French Corsica, separated by the narrow 7.5-mile Strait of Bonifacio. The Tyrrhenian Sea is to the east and the Sardinian Sea is west (part of Mediterranean Sea). It is the second largest island, after Sicily, in the western Mediterranean and the same distance from Italy as from Tunisia, North Africa to the south. Capital city is Cagliari. Several mountain ranges crisscross the island’s interior creating its rugged landscape; the highest peak is Punta La Marmora at 6,017’ and though the granite/schist mountains’ origins are volcanic, have been extinct for ages and pose no threat of volcanic or seismic activity, unlike the rest of Italy.
Sardinia’s only natural freshwater lake is Lago di Baratz. Natural pastures cover over 50% of Sardinia, perfect for grazing 4 million sheep and goats! Sardinia has the highest density of sheep in the world, greater than the United Kingdom and New Zealand, and have specialized in sheep breeding for millennia. The island is also known for horse breeding, since the time of Iberian Aragon rule and has the highest number of herds in Italy. Sardinia is one of a few places, including Corsica, that is home to the mouflon (wild sheep). The island is known for its cork oak forest and produces 80% of Italy’s cork. Olive and orange groves, vineyards, rice marshes, artichokes, and tomatoes are some of the produce of this diverse island. Although fishing has not been a huge tradition of Sardinia, tuna, lobsters, and sardines are harvested from the sea. Portoscuso is the historic tuna port in the southern coast.
The climate is variable, depending on elevation and zone (north or south) creating its own ecosystems; this diversity has led to the “micro-continent” label. The Mediterranean and sub-tropical climates attract visitors year-round with 300 days of sunshine and mild 50-degree coastal temperatures in winter and mid-high 80s in the dry, hot summer season. Sardinia is known for a “6-month summer” season with waters warm enough for swimming from May to October. In the mountains, expect cold winters and cool summers. Sardinia’s Gennargentu mountain range is the location of 4 ski resorts; main resort is Mount Bruncu Spina. Great for hiking in the summer. The 3 National Parks covering 25% of the island’s acreage, are Asinara National Park, Arcipelago di La Maddalena National Park, consisting of 60 islands for great diving, snorkeling and watersports, and Gennargentu National Park, plus many regional parks like Sulcis Regional Park, the largest European Mediterranean evergreen forest. Grotti di Nettano (Neptunes Caves) are a major attraction on Capo Caccia on the north coast.
Porto Pollo, north of Palua, is a bay with ideal wind conditions for windsurfing and kite surfing. One of Europe’s most spectacular golf courses is 18-hole Pevero Golf Club in Porto Cervo designed by Robert Trent Jones, Sr. and Ron Kirby with spectacular views of the Mediterranean and Corsica in the distance. Commissioned by the Aga Khan and built in 1972 as Sardinia’s first golf course, it provided a scene in the 1976 James Bond film, “The Spy Who Loved Me.” The Autodromo di Mores is Sardinia’s first and only permanent motor racing and motorbike racetrack. Construction of the circuit was completed in 2003 and is the venue for several annual events. The track is in northern Sardinia convenient to ports and airports.
The earliest inhabitants of Sardinia were the prehistoric Nuragic people. Although, there is no written record, thousands of nuraghe—bronze-age beehive-shaped stone ruins are scattered across the island and can be observed via hiking trails. Considered to be among the “oldest human construction known to man,” dating as far back as 3,500 BC, one of the oldest and largest, Su Nuraxi in Barumni, dates to 1500 BC. Other nuraghe monuments and ruins are Nuraghe Santu Antine, Nuraghe Arrubiu, the Giants’ Grave, a monumental collective tomb, and Tiscali, an ancient Nuragic village. Phoenicians co-ruled with the Nuragic for a time, until conquered by Carthage in the late 6th century BC, then Rome in 238 BC, who occupied Sardinia for 700 years.
Then Vandals and Byzantines invaded and occupied Sardinia like other Mediterranean islands and territories. In 1324, the Iberian Aragon dynasty successfully took control of the island, called Kingdom of Sardinia, until 1718 when it was ceded to the Italian House of Savoy and in 1861, renamed it Kingdom of Italy and finally, in 1946 after WWII, as an Italian Republic as it is today. Examples of the historic culture and architecture can be seen in the ruins of Tharos, a Phoenician and Roman town, the Roman ruins in Fordongianus, and the Necropolis of Tuvixeddu in Cagliari.