Mediterranean Yacht Charter: French Riviera vs Italian Riviera

December 5, 2016

Riviera [Riv-ee-air-uh]; from the Italian, meaning “shoreside” is a resort area of the Mediterranean Coast stretching from St. Tropez in SE France, to La Spezia in NW Italy.

Should you find yourself with the enviable choice of where to charter a yacht in the Mediterranean next summer, and the idea of cruising along a sapphire sea, set against a backdrop of verdant mountains and colour-splashed villages appeals, where every turn of the coast brings with it a different kind of charming elegance, only one decision must be made: French or Italian Riviera?

Whether you channel the golden days of Hollywood exploring the coast in a beautiful classic Riva, or anchor off hotspots such as Portofino in a shimmering white superyacht, below are our suggestions to make the most of this rather alluring part of the world, with suggestions of where to explore when taking shoreleave:

Our French Riviera Suggested Itinerary covers Saint Tropez – Saint Raphael – Cannes – Monaco in 41 nautical miles.

The South of France is well-known for its hosting capabilities, offering her guests a plethora of beaches, fine dining, famed and fabled stop off points such as St. Tropez, and stunning anchorages along her majestic coastline.  The prestige and old-school glamour still lingers, making the French Riviera a place to see, and in which to be seen.

Relax: Pearl Beach Beach Club, Saint Tropez

Riviera - St Tropez
St Tropez

Ambient and intimate, begin your French Riviera yacht charter with a relaxed morning spent at the invitingly exotic Pearl Beach Club.  Moor just off the beach, anchored against the beautiful views across to Saint Maxime, and tender and then jet-ski, or swim to the shore, where you will be met with a refreshing fruit cocktail to kick off the day.  Take advantage of a morning massage in the luxury Beach Club Spa, or some last minute shopping in their overly enticing boutique.

Swim: Sea Lion Island, Saint Raphael

Riviera - Ile du Lion de Mer Straphael
Ile du Lion de Mer St Raphael

Cool off en-route to Cannes with a quick snorkel around Sea Lion Island, where over 40m of crevices and rock pools are covered in colourful coral shoots, the diverse sea life never failing to fascinate.

Eat: La Palme d’Or, Cannes

Riviera - La Palme Dor
La Palme D’or

It isn’t difficult to see where this restaurant took inspiration for its name from; surrounded by palm trees, through which the sun emits the gorgeous golden glow that bathes Cannes every summer, La Palme d’Or is the only Two Michelin-starred restaurant in town.  Serving intricate and inventive dishes inspired by local Mediterranean produce, head Chef Christian Sinicropi’s talents even extend to making the ceramics on which the food is served.

Drink: Nikki Beach & Buddha Bar, Monaco

Riviera - Champagne at Nikki Beach
Champagne at Nikki Beach – Monaco GP

Set atop the Fairmont Hotel, with views of both the Monte Carlo Casino and the ‘most famous bend in the world’ – that notable chicane of the Monaco Grand Prix, Nikki Beach is much alike a superyacht out of water. Sip expertly crafted cocktails while enjoying the balmy sea breeze flowing through the curtains of your own private four-poster sunbed, relaxing against the soothing beats of the poolside DJ.  Before returning seaward, indulge in an array of exquisite sushi at Buddha Bar, in a setting worthy of a movie-set.


Our Italian Riviera Suggested Itinerary covers San Remo – Portofino – Cinque Terre in 90 nautical miles

Not as well known as her French counterpart, but equally beautiful, the Italian Riviera offers charterers a different style of cruising.  Chic, rustic, elegant, the charmingly rugged coastline is as inviting as it is delightful, having been used as a source of inspiration for writers and artists for centuries.  Nestled between the South of France and Tuscany, this crescent-shaped area, also known as Liguria, boasts the picturesque and historical towns of San Remo, Portofino, Genoa, and of course, the dazzling Cinque Terre.

Refresh: Hotel Royal, San Remo

Royal Hotel, San Remo

Before setting off on board to explore the Italian coastline, take a refreshing dip in the Gio Ponti-designed pool of the exclusive and elegant Hotel Royal, while awaiting a hearty Italian breakfast including focaccia for which the area is so famed.  Set in a sub-tropical park looking out upon the stunning Ligurian coastline, this famous hotel has been entertaining guests since the 1870s, and perfectly sets the tone for a chic Italian weekend.

Visit: Portofino

Riviera - Portofino by Night
Portofino by Night

As one of the most characteristic places along the Ligurian coast, it is not difficult to see why the opulently beautiful village of Portofino – a protected area since the 1930s, also attracts Amalfi Coast yacht charters every summer.  The picturesque village is carved into the rock face, filled with exclusive restaurants and designer boutiques, perfect for an afternoon of exploration.  Moor in the port for fantastic views of the town and out to sea, where the crystal clear waters are as enticing as stepping ashore.

Explore: Cinque Terre

Riviera - Manarola Cinqueterre
Manarola Cinqueterre

Set amongst a UNESCO protected national park of olive groves interspersed with grape vines, the five impossibly gorgeous towns that make up the Cinque Terre near the large Port town of La Spezia is an experience not to be missed.  Approaching by yacht, the number of visitors is limited in order to protect this unique and unspoilt part of the world.  Enjoy an evening meal on the aft of your yacht while looking out at the elegant buildings of the towns, the twinkling lights of the houses reflecting off the clear waters of this stunning inlet.

With a myriad of beautiful anchorage spots, wonderful and historic towns to explore and enjoy, from the chic glamour of the French Riviera to the relaxed and charming Italian, there are opportunities abound to create a dream charter for all on board when cruising theses gorgeous Mediterranean waters.

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