Back in June we embarked on our first charter in the Mediterranean. The pick up being in La Spezia located to the North of Italy on the East Coast of the Ligurian Sea. La Spezia is known for it military background & naval dockyards. It is surrounded by the stunning mountain region of the Cinque Terre National Park named after the ‘five lands’ or coastal towns that make up the area. These are just a selection of the beautiful and historical towns that can be visited on a yacht charter in this area.
Vernazza (Part of the Cinque Terra)
We Picked up our guests mid afternoon in Porto Mirabello Marina and took a short sail over to Porto Venere. This is a picturesque town with a well protected anchorage and a lovely spot to go ashore. My guests bought me some amazing locally made Pesto from here!
Further up the coast line are the five towns referenced to by ‘Cinque Terra’ :-
Monterosso Al Mare (Part of the Cinque Terra)
From the south, Riomaggiore is the closest village to La Spezia, a vibrant and colourful town. The village has narrow streets and pretty buildings that treat visitors with old Italian hospitality and charm and amazing seaside views.
Manarola One of the best known views of Cinque Terre are the one that are enjoyed on the path that leads to the village of Manarola from Riomaggiore with flourishing undergrowth, sweeping beaches and overhanging rocks. The village of Manarola is peaceful, pleasant and picturesque. It offers a little more cosmopolitan feel with a sprinkle of restaurants and bars overlooking the sea. The pastel coloured houses and fishermen boats are just as charming.
The quietest village in Cinque Terre is Corniglia and it is the only one that is located above the sea level. This beautiful village offers locals a private hideaway as it is sheltered high. This little gem can be reached by the bus or the train after a challenging walk.
Vernazza is known to be the most captivating, bustling and bright of all the Cinque Terre villages. It offers waterfront cafes, quaint shops and a small harbor filled with immense charm. Vernazza has a very casual, elegant and jovial atmosphere and is the perfect location to enjoy a delicious lunch or just sit and enjoy the postcard style breath-taking views.
Monterosso al Mare
Monterosso al Mare
The last in the Cinque Terre villages is the village of Monterosso al Mare, the most modernized and the largest of all five villages. It is the only village in the region that resembles a resort town and this is where the most beautiful beaches and the finest hotels can be found. Monterosso is known for its beautiful seaside promenade, its innumerable gelato parlours, its uphill streets and its trinket stalls that make an evening walk pleasurable.
Unfortunately there are limited anchorages along this coastline which can be open to swell and winds. Whilst we were there although there was little wind there was quite a swell running, we actually chose to anchor in Monterosso al Mare by day and return to the protected anchorage in Porto Venere at night.
Another morning or afternoon sail away is the more high profile town of Portofino. A little more cosmopolitan than the Cinque Terra region but still not losing its rustic italian feel. There is a reason this town is so popular and visited by so many, a quaint little fishing village tucked in the hillside which is dotted with colourful buildings – it had everyone of our guests on deck with their camera at its beauty. The town itself is filled with restaurants and amongst the cobbled streets there is plenty of opportunity to shop – but bring your credit card – some of the most popular designers have outlets here.
If you want to head out of the town for a nice walk or run there is a great footpath that runs along the coast into the next town of Santa Margarita. There are a couple of beaches along the way with cafes and bars and in Santa Margarita itself there is a small marina and some larger more commercial stores.
This area also has a great reputation for snorkeling and diving, the protected reef is an underwater fantasy of red coral reefs, deep cliffs that plummet to the sea bed and wrecks just waiting to be explored. If you do not have your own equipment or are not a certified diver there are dive shops locally that can take you on excursions.
As we had less than a week on this charter we went on from Portofino to Genoa where our guests were flying out of. There are however numerous other places to be visited on this coastline and on charter in these areas. For more information take a look at our pages on the Italian Riviera.
Largest Yacht in the World - M/Y Eclipse, Owned by Roman Abromovich
To finish off as we entered the marina in Genoa we motored past this mega yacht – at 577ft and a whopping 1.2 billion to build this is one of Roman Abromovich’s 3 mega yachts. This named Eclipse is the largest mega yacht in the world to date being 36 feet longer than the previously names largest ‘Dubai’ coincidentally owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai.
Eclipse has two helicopter pads, 11 guest cabins, two swimming pools, numerous hot tubs and a dance hall. The massive ship also comes stocked with three quickly deploy-able speed boats, and a small submarine that is capable of submerging to 160 feet. 70+ crew members are needed to operate the yacht.
Security is foremost on Eclipse. The ship is equipped with a system that can detect unauthorized personnel and a defense system capable of launching missiles. Abromovich’s yacht also features armour plating and bullet-proof glass in critical parts of the vessel. The ship is also shielded with an privacy feature in the form of lasers that monitor the area, and can shoot a beam of light directly at any cameras aiming to shoot photos of Abromovich or his guests. These deterrents don’t run constantly, so Roman’s friends can still shoot photographs. They are simply turned on when guards spot what they believe to be the paparazzi is in the area.
You can search our selection of Yachts on our home page at – www.jkyachtcharters.com
Back to reality! and to sum it up I would highly recommend the Italian Riviera as a place to charter. More rustic and a little more ‘down to earth’ than its French neighbors with its picturesque towns & mountainous backdrop paired with Italian cuisine and a relaxed atmosphere – it exudes Italian Charm.
Both Pisa and Genova airport are nearby – our guests chose to fly into Pisa and depart from Genova. Many budget airlines fly into both airports especially from the UK into Pisa.
Useful Websites for flight information:
For Trains you can also check out www.raileurope.com