Italy’s coastline has long been a popular destination for yacht charter vacations, with the stunning Amalfi Coast and Liguria’s famed Cinque Terre being well-established favorites. Yet when taking a Mediterranean yacht charter, it is still possible to find quieter places to visit in Italy, with Elba and the islands around Sardinia and Sicily being particularly unspoiled thanks to their location off the beaten track.
Discover Italy’s quieter side by visiting these lovely islands
Sardinia’s unspoiled paradise
Sardinia’s glamour spots like Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo are much loved by the jet set, but not far away lies the La Maddalena archipelago of over 60 islets, an unspoiled escape boasting pine forests, white sandy beaches and spectacular emerald waters.
Here, snorkelers will discover a variety of fish and posidonia fields, while experienced divers can explore the wreckage of Thalassa at a depth of 40-45 meters. At Cala Spalmatore beach, on Maddalena island, two pink granite headlands enclose golden sands lapped by shallow turquoise waters.
On Spargi island try the beach at Cala Granara, which, with its lush plants and palm trees, is reminiscent of a tropical island, surrounded by a low reef, with light sand and crystal-clear waters.
Further south, the island of Tavolara rises 50 meters above sea level like a dolomitic mountain. This tiny paradise was, for four generations, the world’s smallest kingdom, but today’s residents consider themselves custodians rather than monarchs.
Dreamy beaches only reached by boat
In addition, many of Sardinia’s best beaches can only be reached by boat, making them much more secluded than those typically seen on the mainland. They include Cala Isola dei Porri, tucked away on the north-eastern coast, with light sand and transparent green-blue waters.
Another is Cala Mariolu, on Sardinia’s east coast, where you’ll find a stretch of fine white sand backed by golden-hued rocks, scattered with intense green Mediterranean scrub. Its shallow seabed makes it ideal for young children.
Lastly, located on San Pietro island in the south-west, Golfo della Mezzaluna is home to picturesque inlets and thrilling grottoes, particularly at the Bue Marino reef, making it a popular area with divers and snorkelers.
The island of Elba has many beautiful beaches, but for its untouched wild spots, head to the rugged Patresi beach in the north-west, or to Ripa Barata, a small cove with white sand near Marciana Marina. Over to the east, Cala Frati is a white-shingle beach surrounded by boulders and sea stacks that can only be accessed by boat.
Sicily’s Aeolian and Egadi Islands
The Aeolian archipelago of seven volcanic islands lies a few kilometers off Milazzo, on Sicily’s north-east coast. Each has its own unique identity, and as well as perfect diving waters and beautiful beaches, they are known for their hiking trails, which offer incredible views.
The Egadi Islands, located on Sicily’s western tip, may be less dramatic, but they offer a low key charm all of their own, and their protected waters conceal a submerged tropical forest inhabited by sea turtles and rare monk seals.