French Riviera
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Setting Sail: 10 of the World’s Best Yachting Locations

From the Bahamas to the Balearic Islands, Luxury Defined explores 10 top yachting destinations around the globe

Does anything even approach the romance, adventure, and freedom of cruising the Seven Seas in a yacht?   

The vessel is built to enhance, embrace, and refine every aspect of life at sea. The best designs emphasize space, fixtures, finishes—and creature comforts.  

The superyacht dials all that up to 11 by maximizing livability with such amenities as swimming pools, personal watercraft, satellite links, private chefs, swimming and entertainment decks, cinemas—even helipads. For any sea traveler, though, the best leg of any voyage is the voyage home.  

This edition of Luxury Defined showcases the world’s most livable yachting destinations, and the homes that equal—or exceed—a superyacht’s luxury. Welcome home, sailor, home from the sea. 

French Riviera
The French Riviera is a breathtaking landscape of verdant hillsides dotted with luxury villas, chic seaside villages, white-sand beaches, and protected coves and harbors teeming with superyachts.

Perhaps the most glamorous seaside destination in Europe, the French Riviera, or Côte d’Azur, draws the sailor and sunseeker alike.

Picture-postcard villages and barefoot-chic beach resorts line the coast from the cosmopolitan glitz of Saint-Tropez and Cannes to the unspoiled beauty of Port-Cros.

The winter resort city of Nice, with its ample sunshine, white sand beaches, and special events such as the Cannes Film Festival attract a who’s who of international glitterati.

West along the coastline, past the jet-set destination of Saint-Tropez, the island of Porquerolles awaits, with a peaceful escape from the bustle of the mainland. 

Luxury waterfront home on the French Riviera.
This scenic waterfront property is just over half a mile from the hustle and flow of Saint-Tropez, on nearly an acre of tranquil parklike grounds with a boathouse and a private dock with direct sea access. There are seven en suite bedrooms in the main house and a separate caretaker’s house.
Coast of Greece
The serene waters of the Aegean Sea and thousands of small, picturesque islands make Greece's ruggedly beautiful archipelago a top destination for discerning sailors.

Surrounded by “wine-dark” seas and thousands of islands, ancient Greece prospered with a maritime culture that became the cradle of Western civilization.

There is plenty left to explore, from the natural beauty of its uninhabited isles to the beaches and cosmopolitan nightlife that have made islands such as Mykonos into global destinations.

Yachters can stop for an archaeological exploration or a night on the tiles in the tavernas of Athens to the nightclubs of Mykonos, Corfu, and Crete, the largest island in Greece. 

Luxury home in Greece
Ulysses’ Cove occupies a private peninsula on Ithaca, the legendary island home of the wandering hero of Homer's Odyssey. This 247-acre idyll is a paradise of cypress and olive groves and hidden coves with eight secluded beaches leading into serene cerulean seas. Nine elegant dwellings, built in the 1960s, lie within lovely Mediterranean gardens with sea-view terraces for dining, relaxing, and entertaining.
Seaside coast of Croatia
The “Land of a Thousand Islands,” Croatia’s beautiful Dalmatian Coast is the third-longest in the Mediterranean (after Greece and Italy). It runs just 327 miles as the crow flies, but with its 1,100 islands, islets, and bays, the total is more than tenfold that at 3,626 miles.

The eastern Adriatic has become a prominent destination for sailors and the superyacht crowd. Croatia’s Dalmatian Coast is the main event, fringed by more than a thousand islands and islets.  

There are plenty of safe harbors to dock or moor for a night or two. Popular destinations include Trogir, Cavtat, Zadaar, Korcula Island, and the medieval seaports of Split and Dubrovnik, immortalized as the capital of Westeros, King’s Landing, in HBO’s blockbuster series Game of Thrones.   

Just down the coast is Montenegro. Sandwiched between Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Albania, this tiny Balkan nation has emerged as a travel destination since gaining its independence from Serbia in 2006.  

In 2022, the former Bijela Shipyard, located in the beautiful Bay of Kotor, officially reopened as Adriatic42, the largest superyacht refit facility in the Southern Adriatic. Another spot to dock the yacht along the country’s 186-mile coastline is Dukley Marina on the Budva Riviera—“the Montenegrin Miami.”  

Contemporary Villa in CroatiaContemporary Villa in CroatiaContemporary Villa in Croatia
Mallorca, Spain
Mallorca’s deep fjord-like inlets and mysterious caverns have attracted artists and adventurers since the 19th century.

Mallorca, the “Pearl of the Mediterranean, is the largest of Spain’s Balearic Islands. Joan Miró called it “the pure Mediterranean light.”

The Catalan artist and his wife, Pilar Juncosa, lived and worked on the island from 1956 to 1983. Fundació Pilar I, their hilltop compound in Cala Major, is a world-class museum celebrating his life and work.  

The capital, Palma, is a picturesque old town overlooking the Bay of Palma and the Serra de Tramuntana mountain range. The Marina of Club de Mar is the largest marina in the Bay of Palma. Six miles southwest lies Port Adriano, a magnificent marina designed by Philippe Starck.   

On the southwest tip of the island is Port d’Andratx, famous for its deep fjord-like calas and golden-sand beaches. On the island’s west coast are the Caves of Drach, home to one of the world’s largest underground lakes.

On the northeast coast are the Cuevas de Artà, an extensive network of enchanting, otherworldly limestone caverns thought to have inspired Jules Verne’s Journey to the Centre of the Earth. 

Luxury villa in Mallorca
This elegant stone manor house has a dramatic cliffside setting overlooking Port d’Andratx and the Balearic Sea. The main residence is set within cypress-lined gardens. There are several reception rooms, a gourmet kitchen, and six bedrooms, including a primary suite with a private balcony. A staircase leads down to a mosaic-tiled infinity pool facing the sea. The detached guest house includes a gym, lounge, and two upstairs bedrooms. Andratx Town and the Club De Vela Port D'Andratx Marina are a few minutes’ drive.
The Costa Smeralda has fascinated and allured ever since Prince Aga Khan IV sailed past on his yacht in the summer of 1959 and made it his mission to create a paradise along the Emerald Coast. The Yacht Club Costa Smeralda, Pevero golf club, and pristine beaches are still a beacon for royalty and movie stars.

Sardinia’s Emerald Coast is a playground for the jet set, and its dramatic, unspoiled coastline and luxury marinas draw yacht folk from all over.

The marine grottoes of Cala Gonone and the rock formations of Capo Testa, shaped by centuries of sea winds, are favorite attractions. 

While the quaint towns of Carloforte and Castelsardo provide local color, the exclusive Yacht Club Costa Smeralda offers dining, a clubhouse, and spa services. Sailors can explore the tiny islands of the Maddalena archipelago or the white sandy beaches and rocky cliffs along the Gallura coast.

Tranquil sunset viewing turns to fine dining and sizzling nightlife in the exclusive restaurants, clubs, and discos of Porto Cervo and Porto Rotondo. 

Luxury villa on coast of ItalyLuxury villa on coast of ItalyLuxury villa on coast of Italy

6. Bermuda

Yachts in Bermuda
Bermuda’s Great Sound is a draw for weekend boaters and pro yacht racers alike. The island has hosted world-class sailing competitions throughout the years, including the 2017 America’s Cup. The islands’ calm turquoise waters and protected coves are ideal for swimming and snorkeling.

Bermuda has been the crossroads of the North Atlantic voyage since the town of St. George was settled by shipwrecked sailors in 1609.

Between March and November each year, racing yachts from around the globe arrive in the harbors of St. George’s and Hamilton parishes to compete in regattas organized by Bermuda’s many sailing clubs. 

Thanks to the Gulf Stream, the island’s temperate climate is a year-round draw for leisure travelers, who come to cruise the island’s Great Sound and soak up the sun and local culture.

The warm waters are ideal for scuba diving, whether it’s to explore historic shipwrecks or the marine wildlife habitats that line the reefs around Bermuda’s perimeter. 

Luxury villa in Bermuda
Windsong House is a historic 1.7-acre estate on a private peninsula on Riddell’s Bay and the Great Sound. Built in 1720 as a sea captain’s home, the magnificent 7,200-square-foot, three-level main house has been completely refurbished yet retains its elegant Bermudian ambiance. There are seven bedrooms, including a main suite and guest/staff apartment, a drawing room, library, formal dining room, and chef’s kitchen. The waterfront grounds include an organic garden, bayside pool, swimming terrace, and a sheltered mooring and large jetty for the yacht.
With 16 major islands across 100,000 square miles of crystalline water, the Bahamas is a yachting paradise. Nassau, its capital city, is a bustling jangle of shops, art galleries, and fine restaurants great and small.

The 700 islands of the Bahamas begin at Bimini, just 45 miles off the coast of Miami, and stretch 500 miles southwest to the islands of Great Inagua and Little Inagua, neighboring the Turks and Caicos Islands.  

The Bahamas were made famous by Ian Fleming (the islands featured in the James Bond spy thrillers Casino Royale, Thunderball, The Spy Who Loved Me, Never Say Never Again, and License to Kill). But they’ve been a haven for sailors and swashbucklers since the 18th century. 

They’re a paradise below the water, too, for sport fishing and scuba diving. Palm-lined beaches, nature preserves, world-class golf courses, and colorful Colonial-style villas welcome seafarers ashore. 

Luxury estate with pool in BahamasLuxury estate with pool in BahamasLuxury estate with pool in Bahamas
Martha’s Vineyard is one of the world’s most celebrated nautical communities. Each July, the Vineyard Cup Regatta offers three days of world-class yacht racing in the waters of Vineyard and Nantucket sounds.

This picture-postcard island of Martha’s Vineyard, or simply “The Vineyard,” is a 100-square-mile island just seven miles south of Cape Cod.

Its coastline ranges from wild, windswept beaches and towering seaside cliffs along the Atlantic to marshland ponds and sandy inlets protected by Vineyard Sound.  

The island was a center of the whaling industry from the early 18th to mid-19th century, as famously portrayed in Herman Melville’s classic novel Moby Dick. In the 1970s it became famous for another big fish, Jaws. Steven Spielberg’s iconic 1975 thriller was filmed almost entirely on the island, starring as the fictional Amity. The famous opening sequence was shot at South Beach, Edgartown. 

The town is the center of sailing and island life. From spring to fall, sailboats and superyachts jostle to find a berth in its safe harbor. More than 100 vessels take part in The Vineyard Cup, one of New England’s premier regattas, featuring thrilling yacht races and tony onshore events over three days in the second week of July. 

Martha's Vineyard luxury waterfront home
Minawetu, or “Island Home,” is one of the most breathtaking properties in New England. The newly built, 3.3-acre beachfront estate on the North Shore of Martha’s Vineyard was designed in accordance with the principles of biophilic design, an approach that aims to connect the built environment with the natural world. In essence, Minawetu is a platform for a botanical garden, which grows on and around the house. The landscaping is complemented by specimen trees and wildflower meadows. 
Dubai is fast becoming a yachting destination, and its premier locale is Dubai Marina, a two-mile stretch of waterfront where superyachts and skyscrapers glitter in the desert sun.

Dubai, home to the world’s tallest building—the Burj Khalifa—is a convergence of dazzling skyscrapers, red-sand deserts, palm-shaped islands, and lavish beach resorts. In Dubai, recreation reigns supreme. Golf, Formula One, horse racing, camel riding, and indoor skiing are among the diverse sporting options on offer here. Shopping has been raised to an art form, whether hunting for a bargain in a souk or a duty-free Ferrari in a supersized shopping mall. Its location on the Arabian Gulf and the new 1,100-berth Dubai Marina make it a major hub for superyachts.

Luxury estate in DubaiLuxury estate in DubaiLuxury estate on the coast of Italy
Cobalt blue waters framed by evergreen forests provide the stunning backdrop to a sailing voyage along the shores of Vancouver Island in British Columbia, Canada.

Greater Victoria is the boating capital of British Columbia. This picturesque region at the southern tip of Vancouver Island is about 50 nautical miles west of Vancouver, and 23 nautical miles north of Port Angeles, Washington, on the U.S. mainland. 

 The region draws sailors to its beautiful, sheltered bays, craggy inlets, and safe anchorages, beyond which are temperate rainforests and the archipelagos of the Gulf Islands and the San Juan Islands.

There’s plenty of marine wildlife along the coast and at sea: bald eagles, sea otters, harbor seals, and killer whales. 

This 3,900-square-foot penthouse is in Shoal Point, a landmark building at the mouth of Victoria’s historic Inner Harbour. Palladian windows in the principal rooms bring in the light and the views of the Inner and Outer Harbours, the Victoria cityscape, and the Vancouver Island Ranges. The spectacular 3,500-square-foot deck has an outdoor firepit and hot tub with 360-degree views. Residents can moor in adjoining Fisherman’s Wharf.

Inspired to set sail this summer? Find your luxury waterfront home in the best livable yachting locations from our collection.