Sailing in the Mediterranean

Whether you’re sailing for a week, a season or becoming a long term live aboard, you’ll find a variety of information about sailing in the Mediterranean here. My family and I spent two full years in the region and loved every moment of it.

In order to pull in the majority of our sailing in the Mediterranean information and videos, I’ve chronologically referenced where we started off in the Med through to our travels to Spain, Gibraltar, France, Italy, Greece, Malta, various islands and even Northern Africa.

Where we visited the same area two years in a row, I include all the articles I wrote from year and one. That way, I’m hoping, you’ll be able to select an area of interest and discover every thing I’ve written about that area all in one place.

All my links located within this article about sailing around the Mediterranean are either links to articles I’ve written within this blog OR to my SailingBritican YouTube.com channel. All links will open in a new browser so you won’t lose your spot. I only referenced a few of my videos. If you want to see all 70+ videos visit our SailingBritican YouTube channel.

Cala Galdan Minorca

Spanish Balearic Islands – Mallorca and Minorca

My family and I purchased our boat in Palma, Mallorca – a Spanish Island of the east coast of Spain. We took possession of the boat in December and had to move it out of the EU for tax reasons. Just before the Christmas season (in 2013), my husband, daughter, a professional skipper and I sailed the boat for three days to Gibraltar.

Before I move onto Gibraltar, however, we did return to the Balearics the following year! I wrote quite an extensive article about sailing around Minorca. Check out: Sailing around Minorca – Article and video (If you’re going to watch one of my videos, this is probably the most popular one. It’s have over 33,000 views on it)

Sailing into Gibraltar

Our journey from Minorca to Gibraltar was a baptism of fire. Upgrading from a 35’ to a 56’ sailboat was a massive learning curve. Furthermore, we got caught in a Force 10 storm. We were all very thankful to see and have the opportunity of visiting Gibraltar.

To read about our first trip sailing in the Mediterranean start with, ‘My first trip on our new yacht – dolphins included!’. This article is the first of a series of articles and videos detailing our exciting first trip.

After moving the boat to Gibraltar, my family and I returned to our base in the UK to prepare for moving aboard full time. While preparing, we some courses, including Diesel Marine Engine course (visit the link to ready about the top 10 interesting tid-bits I learned), a VHF Radio course, and an excellent First Aid for Boaters course.

Finally, the day came when we flew back to Gibraltar and prepared for our second trip in Britican. Our plan was to sail nonstop from Gibraltar to Malta. The trip was 900+miles and would take around seven days.

Our second trip sailing around the Mediterranean did not go as planned!

We left with beautiful clear skies, hit another terrible storm and ended up stormbound in Algeria! Who gets stormbound in Algeria?! After leaving Algeria, we had to pull into a port in Tunisia (North Africa) to fix a part of our rigging.

Grand Harbour Marina Malta

Sailing to Malta

Eventually we arrived in Malta and, once again, we were all very happy to get off the boat. This ended up being the first out of two visits to Malta that we enjoyed. We stayed at the Manoel Island Marina the first time and the second, we enjoyed Grand Harbor Marina (click the links to read my reviews on the marinas).

The trip, however, was extraordinary. Read, ‘Our sailing adventure’ to get a feel for the what it was like sailing in the Mediterranean along the north coast of Africa. And discover my thoughts about Malta by reading, ‘Our expectations on Malta were minimal – boy, were we in for a surprise.’

After a fantastic stay in Malta, we sailed north to Sicily. It was the very first time that Simon and I were alone without a professional skipper on board. We had the helping hands of my cousin and the look-out eye’s of my daughter but otherwise, it was just me and Simon. We felt a bit scared 🙂

I was blown away by Malta. When we arrived in Sicily, I was once again totally gobsmacked at the amazing people, food and sights.

Sailing around Stromboli

Sailing around Sicily, the Aeolian Islands & Mainland Italy

Our sailing trip from Malta to Sicily (read about the voyage and view a video) started off calm yet it ended with us docking in a Force 8 Storm. What is up with us and storms? We successfully moored up in a town called Marzamemi. Little did we know the amazing experiences that were about to happen.

Most notably, we met a boatload of Italians whom eventually became great friends. Incidentally, only one out of the six Italians spoke English. We ended up sharing some wonderful memories and I truly started to learn that there are no walls in the sailing community.

From Marzamemi, we sailed over to Catania, Sicily to get some repairs done. The sail was great until our main got stuck at the top and wouldn’t come down. In my article ‘Sailing to Catania in Sicily – dolphins and disasters included!’ you can get the full scoop on that crazy experience.

After a fantastic stay in Catania…

…we stopped at Riposto Marina before heading to the Aeolian Islands. On our first visit to Riposto, we only stayed a few days. This marina is right at the foot of Mount Etna, an active volcano. Little did we know that in our future, we’d visit Mount Etna on several accounts! My fondest memory is when we had a snowball fight just below one of the craters!

Simon and I created a video on what it’s like to enter a marina in Sicily, Italy. The footage was taken upon entering Riposto Marina. If you’re interested in finding out what to expect, watch the video: Sailing into an Italian Marina

After Riposto, we sailed to the Aeolian Islands with a brief stop in Calabria on the mainland

The Aeolian islands are north of Sicily on Italy’s boot (above the foot). It’s home to Stromboli, a very active volcano. To my utter amazement, we were able to sail by Stromboli at 3am in the morning witnessing lava blow out the top of the volcano. Read, ‘Sailing around Stromboli Volcano needs to be on every sailors bucket list!‘

While in Italy’s Aeolian islands we stayed at the Salina Island Marina for one night and another night we docked up to a jetty on another island.

Eventually, the time came to leave Sicily

Sailing from Sicily to Corfu hitting mainland Italy on our way is an article about our voyage. Between mainland Italy and Corfu, I learned a massive lesson about looking around rather than simply relying on your plotter for information (Read article here).

Before, we head across the Ionian, I’m going to include some other articles about Sicily from the winter and the following year. I feel that I can then, at least, organize all my Sicily/Italy articles in one place.

If you’re interested in sailing around Sicily and/or Italy, check out the links below:

Also, we wintered in Sicily…so after we went to the Ionian, through the Corinth Canal down the Aegean and back to the Ionian Sea, we returned to Sicily to spend the winter.

To understand what it’s like to winter in the Mediterranean, read Living aboard a boat in the Mediterranean during the winter – what’s the scoop?

While at Marina di Ragusa, for my 40th birthday, I was privileged enough to go out on one of those tiny authentic fishing boats. If you’d like to see what it was like, watch my video, ‘Come fishing with me on a traditional Sicilian fishing boat‘

If you’re looking for Marina’s to winter in during the winter months, there are loads to choose from. For our experience, read my review of Marina di Ragusa, Sicily. And if you’re interested in what you can do over the winter, check out: Top 12 day drips – visiting Sicily in the winter.

Fiscardo Cephalonia

The Ionian Sea – Corfu, Cephalonia, Ithica and more…

While in the Ionian Sea, we stayed in various ports on Corfu, Paxos, Cephalonia, Levkas, Meganisi, Ithica and Zakinthos, before sailing towards the Corinth Canal. The Corinth Canal cuts Greece and the Peloponnese in half allowing boaters to sail directly to Athens.

The following year, we spent more time in the Ionian.

The main article highlighting all our stops while sailing around the Greek Ionian, is ‘Sailing around the Greek Ionian for a month‘. This article will give you a breakdown of where we went, what we saw and any articles that came out of our voyage.

Before moving on and into the Corinth Canal, I’m going to include the articles I wrote about the Ionian the following year:

Sailing through the Corinth Canal

After the Ionian, I wrote and video’d us Traveling through the Corinth Canal. Before we made the epic passage, however, we took out time to run the original Olympic track at Olympia AND we visited the oracles at Delphi – the ancient center of the world.

Greek Island of Poros

Sailing the Aegean Sea – Athens, Poros, Hydra, Kos, Symi and more

Once we transitioned over to the Aegean Sea, we stopped at Athens to visit for a couple days. Aside from the Acropolis and historical sites, Athens is a very dirty run-down city. We didn’t stay long.

Our first port of call after Athens was Poros. Don’t visit the Greek Island of Poros for Provisioning or Good Food! There was good and bad about Poros…but overall, I would certainly recommend a visit.

We then went to the beautiful Greek Island of Hydra. Out of all the Greek Islands, and there are thousands, this is one of my favorites. It seems so quiet and unspoiled. Read. ‘The Greek Island of Hydra‘ to get more on that destination.

After Hydra and some other islands, we made a mad dash down to Delos, the uninhibited ancient island. Then to the island of Kos to pick up friends arriving at the airport. Kos Marina is a great marina to stop in and the town of Kos is lovely.

Within Greek waters, we also sailed down to the Greek Island of Symi, an incredible port that’s very close to the country of Turkey. I was super impressed with this quaint fishing/sponge village. Anyone who has ever been to Symi will urge you to visit.

Vai Beach Crete

Still sailing the Aegean Sea – Crete

We then started to head southwest and dropped down to the large Greek Island of Crete. I managed to write loads about this lovely Island. It’s worth knowing that most of the marina’s are not good. Also, anchoring can be difficult. This is definitely and area where you’ll want to research before heading out.

Still sailing the Aegean Sea – Santorini, Monemvasia and Methoni, Greece

From Crete, we sailed to the famous Greece Island of Santorini. Needless to say, if you’re anywhere near Santorini I urge you to stop. It’s probably the most beautiful Greek Island there is! Whenever you see an iconic picture from Greece, 9 times out of 10 it’s a picture of this island. Unfortunately, it’s very expensive and extremely touristy, but we’ll worth the visit.

As chance would have it, one of my readers wrote to me saying, ‘don’t miss out on Monemvasia or Methoni, Greece…you’re in the area.’ Again, if you’re in the area, check both of these destinations out!

We made it around the Peloponnese and then got stuck in Preveza, Greece, for weeks due to engine failure and rigging issues. After getting things fixed, we sailed 49 hours/281 miles from Greece back to Sicily, Italy. The pictures of our journey are breathtaking. The Ionian Sea was flat calm!

Eventually, we made it to Marina di Ragusa, Sicily in October where we’d winter ourselves and our boat for the winter months. I’ve included all my Sicily and Italy articles above in the appropriate section.

After our lovely winter at Marina di Ragusa, we sailed back to Preveza, Greece where Simon stayed with the boat to do a refit. If you’d like to see what we did during our refit, there’s a nice video that gives an overview: What happens when a boat undergoes a refit?

Southwest coast of Italy

Southwest coast of Italy

Heading West – Starting with the southwest coast of Italy

After hanging out in Greece for six weeks finishing the refit and visiting with friends, we eventually crossed the Ionian, hung out in Toarmina, Sicily for a while and then made our way into the Straights of Messina.

Check out Sailing along the southwest coast of Italy: Reggio, Vibo, Cetrar, Sapri, Salerno and Capri for an article and video series of our voyage. For me, it was a highlight to finally see Pompeii.

We then spent a few weeks anchored of the Italian island of Sardinia. I wasn’t too impressed with the area but I’m sure that’s down to our lack of proper exploration. I just found the place to be very expensive – the area we were in was designated for the rich and famous…and we’re not rich or famous! Hehehe.

Sailing into Bonifacio on the French Island of Corsica

The French Island of Corsica at Bonifacio

Now…if you’re anywhere near Bonifacio, it is a MUST-SEE. Read my article and watch my video to find out why: Sailing into Bonifacio on the French Island of Corsica.

After Bonifacio, we sailed to the Balearics where we started off! Not only where we sailing around the Mediterranean, we sailed around the Mediterranean – a circumnavigation.

From the Balearics, we stopped in Spain (Marbella), hit Gibraltar and then made our way down to Gran Canaria to prepare for our Atlantic crossing.

So…there you have it. One concise list of most of the articles I wrote about sailing in the Mediterranean. If you have an questions about a particular area, please ask them below in the comments section. If you have a question, so does someone else 😉