We rejoin the Octopus today for the second part of his journey through the most beautiful anchorages in the Mediterranean. After a well-deserved rest in the Balearic Islands following his itinerary of the Hyères Islands and Corsica, our favorite mollusc resumes his journey towards the East. On the menu, stopovers in the one and only Sardinia, the picturesque southern Italian coast, mystical Greece and beautiful Croatia!
Prepare to tack and set sail for the most visited anchorages in the Mediterranean!
The best anchorages in the Mediterranean (Part 2)
After the brilliant Balearics, the Octopus set sail for sunny Sardinia. The second largest island in the Mediterranean holds many stopover options, each more exceptional than the last. Unsurprisingly, the most visited anchorages on the island are Porto Palma Caprera and Cala Portese – two anchorages in the heart of La Maddalena which are attractive to any true sailor in the region. Having already presented the archipelago extensively in a previous article (find it here), we set off for the anchorage of L’Isola Tavolara, a dazzling nature reserve in eastern Sardinia.
Located off the east coast of Sardinia in the Gulf of Olbia, Tavolara is a limestone island of 6 km², home to a rich historical and natural heritage. Furthermore, the only anchorage in the Tavolara reserve offers an exceptional natural setting, immersed in turquoise waters where the long column of rock dominates the panorama. A true natural curiosity that forms a unique landscape!
Nicknamed ‘The Pope’s Rock’ for its resemblance to a human face, it offers an exceptional point of view for those who undertake the hike. Setting foot on the island’s soil will open the door to a unique world, made up of natural beauties and historical discoveries. A true journey through time, history and geology await you!
The anchorage offers good protection from the north-west to east wind and it’s fairly easy to anchor in the bay’s sandbars. In high season, trust Francesco’s comment to make sure you are comfortably installed.
User comment :
“Excellent anchorage. Unfortunately if you anchor in the east near the hill, the tourist ferries pass very close to you as they want to reach the pontoon. On the west side you are out of the way, but the seabed is compacted sand, so you need to make sure your anchor really sinks in. “
Oroboro – sailboat ~ 11.62m
Unfortunately, the Octopus cannot linger too long in the crystal clear waters of Isola Tavorala, but the pictures and comments of the Navilonauts sum up his thoughts nicely :
“Not to be missed during a stopover in the Gulf of Olbia in Sardinia.’’
Cala di Mola
The next stage of the trip is logically in the Tuscan archipelago! These islands off the coast of Italy are a boater’s paradise and a must-see in the Mediterranean. The island of Elba is probably the best known of the archipelago, for which we wrote an article this summer! Check it out for a deep dive into Elba Island’s best stopovers.
We did not mention the Cala di Mola anchorage on our itinerary, which gives us the opportunity to finally do so now.
Nestled in Porto Azzurro bay, this anchorage offers ideal protection to winds from North to South by the East. Facing the imposing Monte Mar di Capenna, you will enjoy a breathtaking natural panorama.
The bottom of the bay does not offer the best holding, due to much debris accumulated over the years. Nevertheless, by positioning yourself well upstream, at a depth of 5-6 meters, you will anchor more comfortably (Navily community tip).
Well anchored, you can enjoy the breathtaking view of the island’s coast, and swiftly organize your shore excursion which will surely live up to expectations! The main perk of Porto Azzurro is that it offers a variety of different stays to its visitors: Historical visits such as that of Fort San Giacomo built by Philip II in 1602, lazy breaks on the fine sandy beaches or lively evenings in the bars to wrap up your day, the program can be very personalised in Porto Azzurro.
Very crowded in high season, it’s no wonder we see it appear on our list, but despite the crowd, it is a stopover of choice for the Navily community!
Cala San Antonio
Our next stopover takes us to the island of Procida. Located off the coast of Napoli, it is one of the top rated anchorages on Navily: La Cala San Antonio.
The anchorage lies in a protected bay offering very good protection from southwest to northern winds by the West. You will easily cast your anchor in a mixture of seaweed and sand at a depth of 5-7 meters.
The typical houses of Corricella create a colourful backdrop to what is already a picturesque anchorage. In the evening, the array of bright colours is stolen by the night but replaced by a village lit-up, transforming the coastline into a twinkling jewel.
Easily accessible by dinghy, the village is a must-visit! Offering a number of restaurants and bars, there is no shortage of options to enjoy the local cuisine.
The narrow village alleys and streets feature colorful houses that are uniquely charming, and quintessential of this authentic fishing village.
An anchorage with a pleasant atmosphere in a picturesque setting, which inspires our community, as this comment from Roland demonstrates:
“For me, one of the most beautiful anchorages in the Mediterranean. A small fishing village like you won’t find so often..”
White Pascha – motor ~ 20.7m
The Octopus, after taking full advantage of the Italian coasts, set sail eastwards towards one of the most beautiful sailing areas in Greece: The Ionian Islands. Our first stop is in Lakka – a very popular anchorage, but not just with Navily users unfortunately…(see further down)
It’s no surprise that this anchorage of Paxos Island is so popular – it’s simply sublime. Located in a natural bay protected from north-west to eastern winds, it features crystal clear waters bordering a natural coastline. You will easily anchor in the large sandbanks of the bay, 5 to 6 meters deep.
Lakka embodies the Greek paradise ‘’par excellence’’. Fine-sandy beaches, transparent waters sheltering a unique aquatic world and a small picturesque village, nothing is missing from this perfect Mediterranean Dream. We could write a book about this stopover, but the many photos published on Navily each speak a thousand words attesting to the charm of this marvellous anchorage.
The only downside to this idyllic setting is the schools of inexperienced charters that storm the place in high season … However, it would be a shame to miss Lakka due to this slight inconvenience and Hervé on Navily seems to have found the solution!
‘’To avoid de charter fleets coming in from Gouvia, it’s better to anchor during the week from Monday to Thursday. We spent 3 days there absolutely free of mind!’’
Hervé on Mathiflo 3 – sailboat ~ 13.45m
Our next stopover, on the island of Ithaca, is a ‘’coup de coeur’’ anchorage for the Navily community!
Kioni, on the east coast of the island, is a boater’s paradise! In an enchanted natural setting, you enter a small natural bay sheltered from winds blowing from the North-East to the South. You can berth for free at the small village pontoon or cast anchor and tie hawsers on the east side of the bay. The wide sandbanks at the anchorage offer very good holding at a depth of 7 meters.
Once installed, you can enjoy the magical setting that lies before you in a quiet and relaxing atmosphere … As long as you arrive early in high season. Indeed, Kioni is a very popular place attracting the crowds in summer. But with an overall rating of 5 out of 5 on Navily, the battle is well worth the effort.
This piece of paradise has a unique charm, perpetuated on land by the village and the warm welcome of its inhabitants. In this picturesque place with old exposed stone buildings, you’ll find quayside amenities (showers and water) but above all, several typical restaurants very popular with the community. Le Calypso, for example, offers revisited Greek cuisine recommended on Navily!
If boaters are not lacking in praise for this anchorage, it is because it offers a simply unique inspiring and rejuvenating experience. Presented as one of the most beautiful anchorages in Ithaca and the Ionian Islands, Kioni has captured the hearts of our community.
“Pure beauty, my favorite place in Ithaca. berthing possible in the marina or on the opposite side using hawsers. “
Vladimir on Lady Flora 1 – sailboat ~ 14.9m
Croatia : A world of thousand wonders
We are now leaving Greece for the last destination on the Octopus’ journey (who is starting to get tired tentacles): Croatia. Increasingly popular in recent years, Croatian waters are full of wonderful places to discover.
Near Split in the Dalmatian region, we find the extremely popular anchorage of Blue Lagoon. As the name suggests, you have the impression of cruising in a Caribbean Lagoon, we have photos to back it up! Located south of the island of Otok Drvenik Veli, it offers great protection from southwest to northwest winds.
Anchoring can be a little tricky in this heavenly place: the seabed is mostly made up of rocks that rise very quickly – beware of collisions. A few sandbanks are accessible as long as there is a place (not easy in high season), but the bay is wide enough to comfortably accommodate a large number of boats.
Stop at Blue Lagoon to marvel at its crystal clear waters, enjoy a lazy afternoon at the beach and have a drink in one of its few bars and restaurants. As often in the region, it is crowded during the day. A high level of activity that can lessen the charm of such a place, but don’t panic, Fred on Navily has the solution:
“ If the mooring is too busy, I recommend exploring the island and its port to the north, a very pleasant walk, a 7 km loop round trip, superb small picturesque village with very little traffic, ticket machine, mini-market, café ”
Fred Safrana – sailboat ~ 12m
An anchorage, which you have to see to believe it’s true. The Navily community approves.
Uvala Stupica Vela - Zirje
To end our tour in style, we catch up with the Octopus at Uvala Stupica Vela, a dream stopover in the Sibenik region.
South of Otok Zirje, this exceptional anchorage is appreciated for its unique setting. A true natural haven offering unparalleled comfort in a wild and peaceful atmosphere. Indeed, the verdant coast bathed in deep blue waters, forms a typical painting beloved by sailors cruising the Croatian coast.
The arm of the sea which enters the land offers very good protection from the winds (except from the South) and many mooring buoys are available for a very good price / quality ratio. Anchoring is also permitted in the shallow sandbanks of the cove.
At the quayside you will find a restaurant serving fresh fish and a few amenities to find supplies. But if you set foot on land, you have to take a walk to the ruins of the ancient castle. A bucolic activity recommended by Swen and Mélanie from Blue Water Travel Sailing on Navily!
”One of my favorite places in Croatia was here in this bay. Wonderful konoba, great food and a must, a hike to the castle. Best of 5:00 p.m. at sunset, it’s unique here!”
A last sunset in wild land to conclude the Octopus’ cruise in the Mediterranean, who will soon swim off to the familiar reefs of Villefranche Bay in South of France. Nested in his Posidonia field, he writes his memoirs while thinking of his epic journey:
‘’Happy he who like the Octopus, Journeyed far and wide…’’
to be continued