Friday, 17 February 2012 11:46 AM
Going on flotilla sailing holidays is an experience you are sure to love - and one that will provide you with memories you cherish forever. However, when there are so many sun-soaked and beautiful locations to choose from, how do you pick your destination?
Booking a yacht charter in the Caribbean or Mediterranean are particularly popular options, as both these destinations are suited to sailors of a range of abilities and are bursting with cultural and historical attractions.
To help you decide which is best for you, read our guide.
This is one of the most beautiful parts of the world and an enduring favourite with holidaymakers. Indeed, if you think the idea of sailing around exotic islands, topping up your tan, tucking into sumptuous cuisine and snorkelling each day sounds like paradise, there is nowhere better to come.
By choosing a yacht charter holiday in this part of the world, you can spend your days visiting the British Virgin Islands or St Vincent and the Grenadines - and both have much to recommend them.
There are still a lot of isles in these parts that are uninhabited, bar the exotic flora and fauna, so coming ashore to spend a few hours exploring really will feel as though you have stumbled across a slice of heaven.
You can also pack a snorkel and mask, so that you are able to drop anchor when you come to a stretch of coral reef and spend a while exploring beneath the water's surface. There are many beautiful creatures to be spotted here, from marine turtles to brightly coloured fish.
Of course, the local hospitality is also a large draw and you may find spending time in the Caribbean villages and towns is a real highlight of your holiday. Try some of the locally-brewed rum or tuck into the islands' delicacies - you'll discover some of the dishes have quite a kick to them.
Grenada in particular is a good place for foodies to visit, as it is known as the spice island. Alternatively, you can indulge your love of water sports in the coastal areas surrounding the British Virgin Islands, either by kayaking or snorkelling.
Perhaps the best thing about booking a flotilla sailing trip here is that you will be joined by several likeminded holidaymakers. While you are free to spend time alone on dry land whenever you please, you may relish getting to know your fellow sailors at specially organised events like beach parties and barbecues.
The Caribbean is well known for its sun, sea, sand and islands, but this is something a sailing break in the Mediterranean also offers in droves.
This is one of the most popular parts of Europe, which also encompasses areas in north Africa. However, in terms of sailing, arguably the best spots are Greece, Croatia and Turkey.
If you're planning to go flotilla sailing in Greece, you will be rewarded with historical islands where you can stop and go sightseeing, as well as the chance to experience the renowned Greek hospitality.
Kalamos and Vounaki are both good choices for beginners, as each offers easy line-of-sight navigation and gentle breezes to guide you along. Also, don't forget that because you are part of a flotilla you will be able to follow the lead vessel which is crewed by experienced yachtsmen.
Should you be after a more challenging experience, Paxos could fit the bill. Here, you will still be joined by other yachts but the passages through the Ionian Sea can really put your skills to the test. Your efforts will be more than rewarded with the secluded anchorages and pretty villages you are able to stop at though.
Of course, there are more places in the Mediterranean to visit than Greece alone, with Croatia and Turkey two other great choices. Gocek in Turkey is another easy flotilla location where you will be able to explore the Lycian Coast with little difficulty, visiting ancient ruins and dining at local tavernas.
Alternatively, Croatia is becoming one of the preferred destinations for sailing trips, as here you can go island-hopping to locations like Brac and Hvar, as well as visit famous cities, such as Dubrovnik.
So, whether you choose to visit the Mediterranean or the Caribbean, you will not be disappointed - just be sure to book a stay at the other destination next year!