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COVID-19: Where Can I Travel from the UK & Europe for Yacht Charters in 2021?

By Nina Done   4 May 2021

With successful COVID-19 vaccination roll-outs, as well as the latest easing of restrictions across the board, there is much to be excited about for UK and EU citizens wishing to book a yacht charter vacation for 2021. That said, there is still some confusion about which countries you can visit and the different rules and regulations currently in place. To make things clearer, we have compiled our guide of the best luxury yacht charter destinations currently welcoming UK & EU citizens for the perfect dream getaway this summer.
 

Mediterranean

With some of the most beautiful destinations on the planet right on your doorstep, the Mediterranean is a perennial favourite for those looking to book a luxury yacht charter escape for summer. However, some countries have been reluctant to open their doors until their vaccination program is well underway. So, with this in mind, where are the best places to book a yacht charter vacation right now? Read on to discover some of the hottest destinations for the ultimate covid-safe yacht charter experience of a lifetime.

Statue points out over Croatian waters

Greece

For the perfect yacht charter vacation this summer, look no further than the breathtaking islands of Greece. With their renowned incomparable beauty, electric-blue waters and some of the loveliest beaches in the world, the Greek islands are a stellar choice for covid-safe yacht charters.

Aerial shot of Shipwreck beach in Greece
Close up of a lemon tree in Greece
White buildings and blue roofs in Santorini, Greece

Greece boasts myriad idyllic islands just waiting to be explored; venture to the west coast and discover the untamed beauty of the spectacular Ionian islands with their lush mountainous regions, olive groves, abundant wildlife and rich cultural history. Or head east to the Aegean Sea, where you could enjoy the vacation of a lifetime island hopping between the scintillating archipelagos of the Sporades, Dodecanese and the Cyclades. These islands offer a heady mix of ancient history, breathtaking beauty, vibrant party scene and fantastic cuisine, not to mention the most wonderful Greek hospitality!

Current measures in place

The Minister for Tourism has confirmed the scheduled reopening of Greece will take place on 15 May. To enter Greece visitors must provide evidence of either a vaccination or negative PCR test result within 72 hours of arrival into the country. Tests can also be carried out on most of the islands.

What's open?

Greece's restaurants, bars and cafes have already opened up on 3 May, although with a number of protocols in place, such as outdoor seating, mandatory masks for staff and strict sanitation measures. 

Santorini restaurant in a quiet harbour, Greece

Greece had very similar restrictions last summer which did not impact on guests' vacation experience.

The Parthenon in Athens, Greece
Windmill in Oia Village in Santorini, Greece

For those interested in chartering Greece’s island hotspots, the Aegean islands have become the first fully vaccinated area of the country, with other Mediterraean countries looking to adopt similar measures for their own popular tourist destinations. 

Furthermore, many archeological sites are already open and still relatively quiet compared to normal, making this the ideal opportunity to visit iconic historical monuments, such as the Parthenon, without the crowds.  

Best attractions to visit on a yacht charter in Greece

  • The Acropolis, Athens - dominating the skyline is one of the world's most well-known attractions, the majestic Parthenon, where you can marvel at ancient marbled Doric columns and temples that date back to almost 2,500BC.

  • Shipwrecked Beach (Navagio Beach) - a highly instagrammed cove with bright blue waters surrounded by towering white limestone cliffs, and featuring its very own shipwreck!

  • Fira (Thria), capital of Santorini - soak up the classic white buildings and blue domed roofs of this gorgeous town where the architecture alone is well worth a visit.

  • Melissani Cave - take a kayak tour around this breathtaking cave in Kefalonia where light floods in from above giving the water a beautiful turquoise hue.

  • Paradise Beach, Mykonos - head to some of the best beach clubs in Greece with live entertainment and trendy restaurants and bars.

  • Historic Crete - discover Greece's rich cultural heritage on one of its largest islands, where you'll find beautiful Venetian architecture, stunning old world churches and other ancient historical artefacts dating back to 2,000BC.

Croatia

This jewel of the Adriatic boasts a dazzling coastline, diverse topography, vibrant club scene and astonishingly rich cultural heritage, with easily accessible beautiful verdant islands, making Croatia the ultimate yacht charter destination for families and friends.

A lone yacht anchored in blue waters of Croatia
Tower of medieval Kamerlengo fortress in Trogir, Dalmatia, Croatia.Visovac island monastery on river Krk in National Park Krk

Most yacht charters start in the historic town of Split, which is also the home port for most of Croatia’s luxury yachts. With its international transport links, this is the perfect jumping off point to the Dalmatian islands and beyond.

The islands offer everything from buzzy clubs and bars to idyllic beaches and secluded coves. The most celebrated of these is Hvar, sometimes referred to as the St Tropez of Croatia, which offers a world-class club scene, upscale boutiques and beautiful beaches. Another must-see is the renowned island of Brač, with its world-famous Zlatni Rat beach, or Mljet National Park, a lush romantic island popular with honeymooners, which also boasts its own 12th century Benedictine monastery.

Roman amphitheatre in Pula, Croatia
Kornati archipelago in Istria region in Croatia

In the enchanting Istria region in the north, you’ll find the spectacular island of Pula, the region's capital which has a history that dates back to 3,000BC, as well as a well-preserved Roman amphitheatre seating 26,000 - one of the largest in the world. Head further south to the Kornati archipelago, a secluded island group offering fanatstic snorkelling and swimming. 

Current measures in place

Visitors from the UK and the EU must provide either a negative PCR test taken up to 48 hours prior to arrival in Croatia, proof of vaccination or a “certificate of recovery” following a positive test result within the last 6 months.

What's open?

Zlatni Rat beach on the ilsand of Brac in Croatia

Most yacht charter destinations are open to tourists, with the exception of Dubrovnik which still has heavy restrictions in place. 

All hotels, beaches, cafes, bars and restaurants are now open, although with outdoor dining only till 2200 hours. Major tourist attractions are also now open, subject to increased health and safety requirements such as social distancing and strict sanitation measures.

Best attractions to visit on a yacht charter in Croatia

  • Diocletian's Palace, Split - a beautiful ancient Roman palace built at the turn of the 4th Century, which makes up approximately half of Split's Old Town.

  • Krka National Park - A stunning location in Croatia's Dalmatian region boasting lush islands and myriad waterfalls from the Krka River.

  • Zlatni Rat Beach - sometimes referred to as Golden Horn, this stunning world-famous arrow-shaped beach is located on the celebrated island of Brač.

  • Mljet National Park - this lush region is a honeymooner's paradise, offering tranquil hikes, vineyards and exquisite scenery.

  • Blue Grotto, Bisevo - this waterlogged sea cave comes alive with a magical iridescent blue light that appears at intervals throughout the day.

  • Pula Arena, Istria region - this impressive Roman amphitheatre is one of the six largest, and certainly the most well-preserved, in the world.

Turkey

With a glittering azure coastline and over 500 picturesque islands offering world-class cruising, stunning beaches, hidden coves and phenomenal scenery, not to mention a deeply rich architectural heritage, there is much to love about a yacht charter around this tantalisingly beautiful region.

Gulet anchored in Turkey
A narrow allow with white buildings in Turkey
Historical architecture carved into the cliffs in Marmaris

With its close proximity to Bodrum and Marmaris, the beautiful Fethiye is a popular place to kick start your Turkey yacht charter. Venture from here to the magical Blue Lagoon (Oludeniz), one of Turkey’s most beautiful beaches.

Another recommended destination is Marmaris, offering a unique combination of ancient caves, buzzy nightlife and tranquil secluded harbours. The ever-glamorous Bodrum also offers fantastic bars and restaurants, as well as lovely beaches and stunning scenery.

Gocek islands off Fethiye in Turkey

One of the most popular Turkey yacht charter destinations has to be the lovely fishing village of Gocek Bay, with an array of islands near Fethiye boasting hidden coves, secluded beaches and astonishingly beautiful landscapes, as well as a number of well-equipped superyacht marinas. Perfect for anchoring or berthing overnight where you can enjoy sundowners on the aft deck as you watch a sultry apricot sun disappear over the horizon.

Current measures in place

Although Turkey is currently in a temporary lockdown until after Ramadan on May 16, the country is open to tourists, although visitors must complete a health declaration as well as providing a valid PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival into the country. Despite current elevated COVID-19 rates, Turkey’s vaccination program is doing exceptionally well and it is anticipated that infection rates will continue to fall rapidly as a result. 

What's open?

After the temporary lockdown, amenities such as shops, restaurants and bars will open, although this could be phased in after other businesses are opened, with additional restrictions such as strict health and sanitation measures and earlier closing times and weekend curfews. It is hoped that this will change in the near future as infection rates fall.

COVID-19: Where Can I Travel from the UK & Europe for Yacht Charters in 2021? photo 21

Best attractions to visit on a yacht charter in Turkey

  • Baca (chimney) Cave, Marmaris - with depths ranging from 5-50 meters this popular conical diving spot is perfect for beginners and expert divers alike.

  • Duden waterfalls, Antalya province - formed by recycled water this beautiful rocky cliff feature is a must-see for guests chartering this region.

  • Cleopatra Bay, Marmaris - a stunning platinum sand beach with waters so clear it gives you the impression of walking on clouds.

  • Kekova Sunken City - on the beautiful island of Kekova you'll find the intriguing ancient Lycian remains of what was once a flourishing city lying just beneath the clear turquoise waters.

  • Ephesus, Izmir province - one of the Seven Wonders of the World, this ancient church is cited in the Book of Revelation and the ruins of which are now a world-famous tourist attraction on everyone's bucket list.

Other Mediterranean destinations

Long shot of the French Riviera
Glorious Amalfi coast in Italy

Popular west Mediterranean hotspots, such as the French Riviera, Amalfi coast and the islands of Sardinia, Corsica and Sicily still have restrictions in place preventing free travel to their shores at this current time. However, both France and Italy are well underway with their vaccination programs and are looking to open up their doors to tourists in June.

Italy has already outlined plans to introduce its own "green pass", which will enable its citizens and tourists to move freely around the regions. 

Interested in booking a yacht charter?

Yachts moored in a harbour in Croatia

Charter yachts are the perfect way to visit a destination as they provide the ideal base for safe, socially distanced vacations.

Recently, there has been an increase in demand for charter yachts, especially around these regions which already have a limited number of crewed yachts available compared to its western Mediterranean counterparts, such as France and Italy.

Yachts available for charter in the East Mediterranean

Gulet yachts in Turkey
A white motor yacht is anchored in blue waters of the Mediterranean
Yachts moored at night in Croatia

Generally, the type of yachts available for charter in this region will be either motor yachts - perfect for cruising Croatia’s stunning regions with ease, sailing yachts - ideal for island hopping and gulets, which are traditional wide-beamed wooden yachts that originate from Turkey, but also available for charter in Greece and Croatia at substantially lower charter rates than most luxury yachts.

Due to the limited fleet of yachts available for charter in the East Mediterreanean we strongly advise booking a yacht well in advance of your vacation to avoid disappointment down the line.  

Need more advice?

If you're interested in booking a yachting vacation, you can take a look at the full fleet of available charter yachts in the East Mediterranean

If you would like more information about booking a yacht, please reach out to your preferred yacht charter broker.

For more information about COVID-19, superyacht charter, Social Distancing, travel updates and news, please refer to our Yacht Charter and Coronavirus Guide.

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