Italy’s Ligurian coast is a beautiful destination for a luxury yacht charter and not so long ago that was the only way to visit it. The Cinque Terre and its five villages were formerly accessible only by sea or by the mule paths that linked each to one another. That is rarely the case now, with the wide selection of beaches across the coastline accessible to the public, from the pebble beaches in Genoa to the soft sands of Monterosso. There are, however, some resorts that remain exclusive to those who have the luxury of a yacht. We put together the list of the five best Ligurian beaches to visit that are only accessible by yacht:
Hidden away on the Portofino peninsula, San Fruttuoso is the location of a stunning 11th Century monastery nestled at the head of a narrow bay. The beach is found at the base of a hill thick with olive groves and pines and so is only accessible by boat or on foot.
The beach is relatively small, but despite its size and remoteness, San Fruttuoso has some excellent waterfront bars and restaurants. Conditions for diving and snorkelling are exceptional and the beach’s fine sandy terrain and rocky inlets promote an exotic and varied marine wildlife.
Off the small coastal town of Albenga is the island of Gallinara. Locals often look out upon it from their terraces, but few have ever been there. Indeed, such is the exclusivity of this island that for centuries it was used as a secret fugitive resort for persecuted Milanese monks and the Benedictines. Remnants of their civilisation and 16th century monastery can still be seen today, but only for those who have access to a boat. The area surrounding the whole island is under marine conservation and, subsequently, there are few places to moor besides the miniature port to the island’s northwest.
Given its extreme isolation from mankind, wildlife has been able to claim the island as its own. Palaeolithic flower species and rare black coral flourish from the peak of its summit. Isola Gallinara is a stunning regional natural park you simply must visit during your Liguria yacht charter.
A prominent city of the Cinque Terre coastline, La Spezia is a great industrial metropolis with sprawling harbour and a population of 100,000. Just a few kilometres along the coast, however, is the peaceful hillside village of Montemarcello. So secluded is it that the only way to reach it is by climbing a steep walk from Bocca di Magra, or by anchoring on the sandy beach of Puntacorvo below.
Montemarcello and Puntacorvo are an excellent choice for those looking for peace and privacy and offer a perfect blend of charming botanical hikes, deserted white beaches and quaint provincial village cafes.
Among the La Spezia archipelago, the island of Palmaria is the biggest and the most popular, attracting thousands of tourists every year. The island is also a regional park, whose pristine beaches and crystalline waters are protected by local authorities. Palmaria is home to a spectrum of landscapes, with dense Mediterranean woodland to the east and natural beaches, cliffs, and caves to the west. All of which can only be reached by boat. For the majority of tourists coming to Palmaria, a local ferry is the only mean of transport, and getting to the best beaches can be an arduous task. On the other hand, an endless array of beaches and caves present themselves to those fortunate enough to have a private yacht charter, such as the stunning Grotta Azzurra and the mysterious Grotta dei Colombi.
Isola di Bergeggi
Bergeggi Island is soon to become a national marine conservation area to protect its numerous underwater caves and resident wildlife. These conditions make it an excellent destination for diving and snorkelling and one that is rarely explored by anyone else. Unfortunately, this also means that much of the island is prohibited to the public. The clear blue water and dramatic cliffs make it a worthwhile trip, however, and the miles of sandy beaches nearby provide ideal sunbathing destinations.