Mediterranean Sailing Holidays There are many cruise and sailing options that offer you the wonderful sights and beautiful landscape of the Western Mediterranean Sea. Popular stops include Malta, Italy, Sicily, Tunisia and Spain. Many cruises actually make a stop on the island of Mallorca, the main island of the Balearics, which has a large expat community, but often overlook the other two main islands, including Ibiza and Menorca. However, cruises weren't quite for me. I felt I wasn't ready for the large cruise ships quite yet and the large crowds that come with it once you hit the shore. And as for which island, I wasn't quite keen on Ibiza, which has more of a late night mentality, with casino's and clubs located throughout. Though it is a stunning island, and there are some private yacht charter trips that go from Ibiza to nearby Formentera within a day, which in fact is quite a relaxing route. One can view Ibiza's coastline and cliffs and get away from the crowd, finding a cove where you can anchor your yacht for the afternoon. Still, for the best combination of both, Menorca is still my top choice out of the Balearic Islands. Even with more flights available to Menorca from Gatwick this year than previously, it still felt like Menorca had that calmer easy-going feel to it. Gentle, relaxed and tranquil year round, Menorca is the right combination for all types of visitors. From the relaxed sunbathers to the eager deep seas divers and watersport enthusiasts, attracted by the local cuisine and scenic coastline, it has the best of all worlds, but particularly the one where I want to detach from the faster paced life back in the city. And even the nightlife carries a different vibe, such as "The Caves of Xuroi", which is located halfway down the cliffs above the sea of Cala'n Porter, where the dancing goes well into the night. There are many offers that package holiday villas along with sailing holidays or private yacht charter services in Menorca, however, from experience it works best to perhaps pick and choose from each category individually. With single day excursions barely over a hundred euros per person, independently owned local companies such as Go Nautic can not only provide a good price (even by today's exchange rate standards), but also add the benefit of local experience. It always helps to have someone who knows the nooks and crannies of the coastline and where the best kept secrets are. And of course, a touch of hospitality is always welcome, and having the daily yacht charter excursions include a delicious three course meal, with drinks included was a nice touch. Few yacht charter services offer a catering service of this quality, and if you contact them in advance, one can choose various dishes in their menu. Should you want it all to yourself though, they also offer weekly charter trips that can take you around the Balearic Islands, which include Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza and Formentera. Come to think about it, I guess you actually can have it all. Mark Smith is a travel journalist who explores the far reaches of the earth, by sea of course. From urban delights to remote islands, he reviews the wide range of nautical travel available. This month he looks at Yacht charter holidays and Sailing in Menorca and will be focusing on the top Mediterreanean hotspots through the year.
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