Sailing used to be the domain of three types of people; pirates, the super-rich, and the hardcore adventure junkies. Not anymore. ‘Soft-adventure’ sailing trips are becoming increasing popular globally, but especially in Europe. The dramatic coastlines, favourable exchange rates, variety of cultures, languages and cuisines have made Europe a haven for no-experience-necessary sailing adventures. Here are 5 reasons why you need to jump on board, kick your deck shoes off, and set sail for that horizon in 2016.
1. It’s the ultimate hassle-free adventure
Imagine a holiday with no taxis, no checking-in or out, no deadlines, no rendezvous points, no late-night city arrivals, no cramped public transport and no need to go in search of food. Once you’re aboard a sailing boat, life takes a turn down easy street. Use the sun as your watch, the coastline as your map, and the wind as your guide.
2. All-action Admiral or Chief of Chilling
Here’s the best part, it’s totally up to you. Sailing holidays are perfect whether you fancy yourself as a modern-day Christopher Colombus, or prefer to sit back, relax and watch your crew do all the work as you sip leisurely on a martini. We love to get involved and act out our childhood dreams, setting sail for paradise islands and finding buried treasure, but it’s your holiday and so you can do as little or as much sailing as you want.
3. Live the high life
As much as we love the phrase life’s about the journey not the destination, travel days on land can be sweaty, cramped, stress-inducing affairs. Travelling on a purpose-built boat couldn’t be further away from that. You’ll feel a gentle summer breeze, cooling your bronze, sun-kissed skin as you float across the Mediterranean Sea, before watching the sun set over King’s Landing – Dubrovnik to non-Game of Thrones fans – while enjoying a glass of champagne out on deck… you get the idea. Paradise.
4. Travel-sickness-resistant sailing
The Mediterranean Sea in summer is more like a lake and really safe to sail on, even for complete novices. But if the idea of sailing on open water doesn’t quite float your boat – sorry, couldn’t resist that one – then there’s a more sedate option; river cruising. Think an excellent bottle of red, strong cheese, fresh grapes and plenty of sunbathing as you float down the Canal du Midi and you won’t be far off. Choose where you stop, how long for, and hop on and off as many times as you like, and any travel sickness will be a thing of the past.
5. Well within your budget
With favourable currency exchange rates, cheap flights right across Europe, there’s never been a cheaper time to hit the open sea (or river). Whereas sailing was once reserved for those with an entourage of luggage porters, it’s now accessible for anyone with a thirst for sea-bound adventure and a pair of half-decent sunglasses.
Feature image c/o Michael Foley, Flickr