Best Sailing Destinations In The World

Best Sailing Destinations around the World | Life of Sailing

Last Updated by

Daniel Wade

June 15, 2022

If you've been dreaming of an adventurous vacation that allows you to explore the farthest corners and most beautiful places around the globe, a sailing vacation might be what you've been looking for.

Imagine the smell of the salt in the air, the feeling of air in your hair, and an open ocean in front of you! Well, it can't get better than this.

So get ready to pack your bags, cast off your bowlines, and explore some of the best sailing destinations around the world.

Whether you're a seasoned pro or still finding your sea legs, one of the most amazing ways of discovering and exploring a new destination is through sailing. This is how the Europeans discover the Americas and Africa and still remains one of the greatest joys of travel.

So when your friends are planning for a safari in Africa or a trek through the Himalayas, why not plan something quite different and enchanting altogether?

Just imagine the feeling that you'd get waking up to the soothing sound of the ocean, eating your breakfast under the colorful sun, feeling the wind in your hair and the spray of the ocean on your skin while watching colorful fish swim peacefully by your boat!

Well, this is exactly what you get to experience when you sail to some of the best sailing destinations around the world.

With over 70% of the world covered by water, there are almost a limitless number of sailing destinations. As such, it's almost impossible to pinpoint one single place as the best sailing destination in the world. This is why we offer a list of the 10 best sailing destinations so that you decide which one suits you best.

So without further ado, here are the best sailing destinations around the world for your sailing vacation. 


Table of contents

Best Sailing Destinations around the World


Whether you're looking for an awesome place to dance and party after a long day at the sea or a tranquil destination to relax, chill out and improve on your tan, Thailand offers hundreds or even more gorgeous places that seem to have been put in place, especially for sailors.

Known as the "Land of Smiles" thanks to its friendly locals and a plethora of some of the world's best cuisines, Thailand offers one of the best if not the best in the world of sailing. From the colossal rock sculptures rising out of the water in Phang Nga Bay and some of the Technicolor coral reefs that dot the Andaman Sea, as well as some of the world-famous beaches and honey pots such as Maya Bay, Thailand offers everything that you need for an ultimate sailing vacation.

You can anchor your boat among the hongs, jump into a dinghy, and explore some of the world's most hidden caves. We hope that you may be able to uncover secrets from more than 10,000 years ago at the bay. The water is warm, snorkeling and diving is part of the culture, the locals are friendly, the food is wonderful, the nightlife is sensational, and we promise that a sailing trip to Thailand will be enchanting.

The Adriatic Coast, Croatia

From the smart marinas, quaint harbors, historic towns, deserted islands to isolated anchorages, Croatia's Adriatic Coast is probably the most gorgeous sailing destination in the northern Mediterranean. Stretching from Pula all the way to the medieval Dubrovnik, this 1,100-mile coastline offers over 1,100 islands that you can explore.

You can explore islands such as Hvar, Brac, Vis, and Korcula, which is the birthplace of one of the world's greatest explorers, Marco Polo. You can escape the hustle and bustle of Croatian cities by visiting the remote Kornati archipelago; an unspoiled oasis that's home to several hidden lagoons that line the park's shore.

One of the must-visit places when sailing in Croatia is the country's crown jewel: Dubrovnik. This is a charming Old Town that's a UNESCO heritage site and the filming place of the critically acclaimed "Game of Thrones".

So if you're looking for a superb sailing destination that has an amazing culture and offers extraordinary wine and cuisine, Croatia should be your ultimate choice. It's a great destination for yacht owners who want to explore Europe without having to pay the huge taxes imposed by the EU. Well, Croatia is in Europe but it's not an EU member and this might be an added advantage to your sailing escapades.

The Greek Isles, Greece

With some of the world's best islands such as Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini, it's easy to see why CNN refers to Greece as "a country with seemingly more islands than stars in the sky". From charming harbors, quiet coves, deserted bays, turquoise waters to white-washed buildings, and olives groves, Greece offers just about everything anyone would require for a sailing pilgrimage.

The country's rich culture, exquisite natural landscape, and incredible ancient archaeology are a real draw for many sailors across the globe. You can sail through the country's ancient seas while exploring over 3,000 islands both inhabited and not inhabited.

Besides sailing, you can experience epic nightlife in Santorini, a hillside town with striking white-washed houses. Mykonos is another tourist hub known to draw celebrities from all over the world. Of course, you can forget to sample impeccable Greek cuisine while basking under the magnificent Mediterranean sun.

The French Riviera

Packed with awe-inspiring beaches, spectacular scenery, and thousands of yachts and boats, the French Riviera is a coastal region along the Mediterranean that offers a sailing experience like no other. In addition to offering warm waters and sunshine throughout the year, you should be surprised to come across those big Hollywood actors during your sailing escapades.

This is an incredible region that perfectly brings together a rugged landscape, and very cosmopolitan and world-class resorts of Nice, Cannes, and Monte Carlo. If you want to escape the crowd, you can sail down Porquerolles and Port Cros for a relaxed and laid back adventure. The white sandy beaches, vibrant nightlife, small but smart marinas, and sumptuous French cuisines will make you come back for more.

The Whitsunday Islands, Australia

When it comes to visiting Australia, many people often think about sampling the world-famous Sydney Opera House, the Great Reef Barrier, and the Outback. Yet, they've probably never heard or even thought about visiting the Whitsunday Islands.

Widely known as Australia's version of paradise, the Whitsunday Islands is a chain of incredible 74 tropical islands located between the coast of Queensland and the Great Barrier Reef. These islands have an abundance of wildlife, breathtakingly gorgeous beaches, and lots of amazingly blue waters that call out for sailors to explore them.

Imagine a place where you can dive and snorkel at the backdrop of unparalleled scenery and sublime views. You'll come in close quarters with some of the biggest turtles in the world. Just do not forget your underwater camera!

The Grenadines, Caribbean

Sometimes called the Spice Islands, the Grenadines is a chain of 32 scenic islands spread across a 60-mile radius on the southern Caribbean coast of West Indies. With its picturesque white-sand beaches, an abundance of marine wildlife, incredibly blue waters, melodramatic landscapes, unique culture, and utterly friendly locals, this is a place that you'll visit for your sailing vacation and never want to leave.

Unlike some of the best sailing destinations, the Grenadines lack huge crowds and so you should be surprised if you have miles and miles of water all for yourself! This place is known for offering one of the best sailing waters in the world. Bequia is specifically known for its ideal sailing conditions and has been a favorite destination for sailors for many centuries.

The spectacular scenery of the Grenadines provided some of the best filming locations for the movie Pirates of the Caribbean but that doesn't mean that you'll come across pirates while sailing on these waters. If anything, you'll have several miles of water all for yourself. 

Zanzibar Island, Tanzania

Some years ago, the Indian Ocean, especially off the Somalian coast was all over the news for pirates and all the wrong reasons. But if you ever dreamt of sampling a great African sailing destination, you can head off to Tanzania's Zanzibar Island and sample how it feels sailing on an ancient dhow.

Despite being ancient, these dhows are nice, comfortable, and easy to sail. You'll not only get a real perspective of the island's history, culture, numerous adventures, and get to meet the island's very friendly people. This is a place that, for centuries, was the hub of trade between Arabs and Europeans, especially the Portuguese; a heritage that's still present on the island today.

In terms of sailing, the azure-colored Indian Ocean is all there for you to explore. Whether you just want to sail around, go fishing, snorkeling, diving, or just work on your tan, Zanzibar offers it all. You can also take some time off your sailing and head deeper into Tanzania for a real African safari. The best part is; it's a lot cheaper than you ever thought. You can also indulge in some Swahili dishes while learning a thing or two about the Swahili language.

The British Virgin Islands, Caribbean

For centuries, the Caribbean has been considered a mecca for sailors, and the British Virgin Islands are arguably the crème de la crème of the entire region. With its deep blue seas, warm winds, blissful beaches, and waterside restaurants for eating, drinking, and indulging into the island's vibrant vibe, there are many reasons why the British Virgin Islands remain a sailor's paradise.

Although Hurricane Irma caused devastating damage to the region a few years ago, these islands are bouncing back as a sailing destination with real swagger thanks to the region's unique culture, friendly locals, and endless attractions. With some of the very best beaches in the Caribbean, there are a lot of hidden gems such as spectacular sea life and sunken shipwrecks across the islands that are meant for the adventurous sailors and tourists. If you are looking for a secluded place to anchor your sailboat, dive into the water and snorkel, or just lounge on the pristine sandy beaches, there will be no shortage of these amazing things.

And if you want to recharge yourself, you can head inshore and enjoy the best that some of the greatest resorts in the world have on offer. It doesn't matter whether you want delectable meals, world-class hotels, or hiking trails, the British Virgin Islands is a top-notch sailing destination.

The Bahamas

From the clear azure waters to vibrant communities, sumptuous dishes, and great sailing conditions, the Bahamas is a real sailor's playground. Located just next door, off the southeast coast of Florida, the Bahamas is widely known for its gentle trade winds, over 700 coral cays, and endless marine life.

Home to several islands that seem almost endless, each island is unique in its own way and offers something different for every sailor. What you'll experience in the Exumas is far much different from what you might encounter in Abacos. While Abacos is the epicenter of sailing in the Bahamas, you might just want to explore the entire area and see what it has to offer. Imagine a sailing destination that will offer a Treasure Cay in one region and a small but vibrant colonial-era town when you anchor next.

In terms of relaxation, the Bahamas is probably the best. You can sail for hours on end and you'll be naturally invited to lounge and soak some sun in the pink sand beaches that are common in the islands. And if you're so much into big-game fishing and want to combine it with your sailing escapades, look no further than the Bahamas.

French Polynesia

Located in the South Pacific, there are several reasons why French Polynesia is becoming more and more popular with sailors. This is a great sailing destination that brings together a combination of heavenly beaches, crystal-clear lagoons, swaying palm trees, fringing coral reefs, endless marine life, and incredibly friendly locals.

With over 118 exotic islands such as Tahiti, Bora Bora, Tahaa, Huahine. Raiatea, and Moorea, there are a lot of places to explore just from your sailboat. The best thing about this region is its consistently sunny climate, balmy trade winds, open-water passages, and sheltered waters that make it a great destination for sailing adventures.

The waters are also crystal-clear, which makes it great for snorkeling and diving, especially if you want to come up close and personal with the region's unique but endless marine life. You can also soak up some sun and work on your tan while lounging on some of the most pristine beaches found anywhere on earth.

What's more; you can sample the sumptuous South Pacific cuisine, indulge in the local culture, and experience the traditional way of life by moving inshore. The fact that English is widely spoken in the region is an added advantage, especially if you're looking for a sailing crew to accompany you on your adventures.

Best Sailing Destinations In The World
Daniel Wade

Daniel Wade

I've personally had thousands of questions about sailing and sailboats over the years. As I learn and experience sailing, and the community, I share the answers that work and make sense to me, here on Life of Sailing.

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