SailSterling Essential Spain
A sailing holiday in Spain gives you the best of two very different worlds. On one hand, the opportunity to experience vibrant culture, pulsating coastal towns and cities, delicious food and the best nightlife in the Mediterranean and on the other, the possibility to weigh anchor and escape into ultimate privacy, with the sun on your face and the wind in your hair, out at sea and far from the madding crowds heading towards sandy beaches and remote bays. A yachting holiday in Spain allows you to see the country – its coastal landscapes, its islands, its soul and its passion – from a unique perspective.
According to the OECD, on average only the Japanese live longer than the Spanish. Maybe it’s all the olive oil? We think it’s the delicious local wines. Just compromise and have plenty of both.
Food and culture highlights
Think Spain, think paella? Well, there is a lot more to Spanish cuisine than just that. In fact, most Spaniards see the world-famous rice-based dish as typical of Valencia for sure, but not of the whole country. Whereas once foodies were automatically drawn to France, now “world restaurant top ten lists” regularly feature several from the Iberian Peninsula; there was a good reason that famed restaurant El Bulli used to get two million reservation requests a year at the height of its success.
Fresh seafood on holiday in Spain is a given, from the plumpest prawns and succulent tuna to to tiny, deep-fried anchovies called boquerones, eaten whole, down in one. But then add in delicious meats, especially serrano ham, soups, tortillas, salads, stews, cheeses, crème caramel-style deserts and, of course, tapas, which can be a meal in themselves. Accompany all that with a chilled sherry or beer and world-beating wines sipped under the shade of an olive tree or late at night in a buzzy marina and you’ll see why food and drink are such an important part of any holiday in Spain.
Spanish culture is a blend of centuries of both foreign influences on the country itself – Spain was part of the Roman empire, and the Moors ruled the south of the country for 800 years – as well as those brought back during centuries of conquest from lands that stretched along the Americas and as far afield as the Philippines and parts of Africa. Today Spain is world player in many fields from architecture and cinema to music, literature and the arts.
In north-eastern Mallorca, moor up to stroll along the wild beaches by Son Real, where the water is Europe’s answer to the Caribbean. Bear in mind the further you go towards Colonia de San Pere, the more optional the clothing.
Weather and climate (when to visit)
Summers are hot in this part of the Mediterranean with temperatures in the high 20s centigrade from June to September, but May and October are still very pleasant. Winters are obviously cooler and rainier but there are certainly days when you’ll still have a half decent chance of being in shorts and a t-shirt. October to February tend to be the wettest months.
Extending some 100-200km east of the Spanish mainland, the four main Balearic Islands – Mallorca, Ibiza, Menorca and Formentera – maintain an atmosphere and traditions that are not only different to the rest of Spain, but also to each other.
So, a sailing holiday here can be what you want to make of it…swimming in sheltered bays, mooring up to find a local market accessed through pine forests, seeking out a quiet restaurant recommended by friends for lunch, watching the sun sink through the prism of a chilled glass of wine on deck or staying up late with the beautiful people to party like it’s still 1999.
You could easily split a week between two of the islands. A week’s charter gives ample time to explore much of Ibiza’s coastline, for example, then include a trip over to Formentera, it’s tranquil sister.
Formentera is exclusive to those able to reach it by boat as there’s no airport, and is a delight of crystal clear-waters and stunning beaches. If this isn’t enough nature, Ibiza itself has a great many biking and walking paths through serene landscapes with awesome views across the sea, not to mention fantastic restaurants, bars and yoga retreats if you want to perfect that downward dog to try on deck later.
The Costa Brava stretches north of Barcelona, arguably Spain’s most vibrant city, to the border with France, with a number of well-maintained and equipped marinas along its 100km length. Yes, it gets busy with fly-and-floppers in summer who jet in from all over Europe, but the vibrancy is part of its charm and the joy of a yacht is having your own space to retreat to at the end of another fun-packed day. You’ll get the chance to visit pine-backed coves and sandy beaches, buzzy towns such as Lloret de Mar and Palamos, and picture postcard ones like Begur and Cadaqués, a spot from where Salvador Dali drew inspiration. Pause at the Medes Islands, which form a protected nature reserve and a are great place for snorkelling.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page”
Stringent cleaning procedures are already in-place across all boats globally for the well-being of our crew and guests. These will be further enhanced to meet government guidelines in the UK and Italy which are in place in July 2021 in relation to the COVID pandemic. These will include temperature checks prior to boarding; hand-sanitising stations in public areas; additional deep cleans of public areas including decks; social distancing if required. With each catamaran’s capacity at a maximum of 10 people including skipper and chef, if required in August, guests would remain in catamaran bubbles during visits to vineyards and other on-shore activities.