The West Med is a firm favourite of yacht charter itineraries, and there are two spots which are particularly prized; Corsica and Sardinia, otherwise known as the stunning Emerald Islands. A mere 11km away from each other, they are often lumped together as identical, yet each has its own distinct personality that is worth getting to know. Here, we investigate the unique traits that distinguish these much-lusted-after destinations.
Corsica: Corsican cuisine is very distinctive and makes great use of the local resources, including sun-soaked fruit and vegetables and aromatic olive oils. It is a meat-heavy diet so vegetarians may struggle slightly, but being French there are some incredible cheeses on offer, such as the deliciously mild Brocciu. Specialty dishes include sanglier tiani, a wild boar stew, and the grilled ‘sandwich Corse’, a perfect beach-bite filled with charcuterie and cheese. All in all it is a very rich diet; not for the faint hearted but ideal for those with a passion for excellent food.
Sardinia: A yacht charter in Italy may conjure ideas of wood fired pizza and exquisite fresh pasta dishes. Whilst these are staples, Sardinia has so much more to offer, from outstandingly fresh seafood to delicate pastries. Start your meal with a Sardinian octopus salad before sampling culurgiones – a home-made pasta dumpling filled with creamed mint and potato. Then, for dessert – and there is always room for dessert here – choose a seada, a fried dessert pastry stuffed with lemon-scented cheese and topped either with warm honey or sugar. You certainly won’t go hungry…
Corsica: The island has done a fantastic job at preserving its past, making it a must-visit for history buffs. This has not gone unnoticed by UNESCO, who have declared its Gulf of Porto a World Heritage Site. Particularly worth visiting is the Scandola nature reserve with its red cliffs and abundance of wildlife, and the enchanting fishing village of Girolata. Other incredible points of interest include the Genoese Citadel of Calvi, home to the foreign legion museum, and Aléria, the remains of the Roman settlement which was once the capital of the island. Step back in time as you experience Corsica’s ancient delights.
Sardinia: Sardinia is filled with draw-dropping natural beauty. Always wanted to see the Grand Canyon but don’t fancy trekking all the way to America? Then you will love Gorropu, the European-slash-Italian version, smaller but of equal magnificence, and surrounded by myths of supernatural creatures dwelling within. And with so much opportunity for travelling on the water Sardinia truly is the perfect place for a yacht charter in Italy. Sail out to Grotte di Nettuno to visit the so-called Caves of Neptune one day, then spend the next in pure relaxation at La Pelosa Beach, arguably Sardinia’s most beautiful beach with its calm turquoise waters and soft sugar-white sand.
Corsica: Restaurants and cafes are at the heart of Corsica’s chilled yet charming evening scene, but there are late-night options for those who seek them. If you worked up a thirst visiting the Citadel, you will be glad to know that you don’t have to travel far to your next watering hole, with the elegant Chez Tao restaurant located within the ancient building and providing the perfect place to be for celebrity spotting. If bar-hopping is more your speed, head to Bonifacio for an impressive selection, with the option of clubbing in nearby Porto Vecchio after they close up. Try Le Pointe de Vue for a friendly atmosphere and panoramic views as you dance the night away.
Sardinia: Sardinia’s varied nightlife includes classic coffee houses, backstreet wine bars and glitzy nightclubs. In vibrant Alghero the streets are filled with bars of every description, including the trendy Caffè Libarium Nostrum, offering incredible cocktails and stunning views over both sea and city. For next-level nightclub glamour pay a visit to Porto Cervo, or if this is too flashy for your tastes, sail your Italian yacht charter up to Santa Teresa Gallura for the open-air nightspot of Estasi’s, where chart music rules the decks. There are options for every type of night owl in Sardinia.