Bonifacio Walled City
Written by Missy Johnston
Cruise Corsica and Sardinia, in this one week yacht charter itinerary. It is the juxtaposition of two different countries with two different cultures that adds special magic to this one week yacht charter itinerary of Corsica and Sardinia. Start in Bonifacio, Corsica, topped by a medieval walled village perched picturesquely on the white chalk cliffs of southern Corsica, While cruising Corsica and Sardinia, include the Costa Smeralda with Porto Cervo, and the Maddalena Islands for a lovely one week luxury yacht charter.
Bonifacio, Corsica including Sardinia, the Costa Smeralda and the Maddalena Islands
Sunrise on Lavezzi Island
Day 1: Board in the protected harbor of Bonifacio. For a thousand years, this ancient citadel town has defied gravity from her high perch on the edge of a chalk peninsular that guards the southernmost tip of the island. After boarding head out to the nearby Lavezzi Islands for a refreshing swim and to anchor for
This little archipelago only has one lighthouse and two cemeteries where the 750 crew of the Semillante are buried, a boat which sank in 1855. The island’s coves are a favorite with boat-lovers and its fine sandy beaches offer a taste of paradise. Enjoy the beautiful waters while you relax and unwind on board. Overnight in a quiet anchorage.
Day 2: Enjoy relaxing in the Lavezzi Islands, and in the afternoon cruise to the Bay of Ajaccio, on the south western side of Corsica, anchored by the town of Ajaccio on the northern coast to overnight in Ajaccio Harbor. This town, first established by the city state of Genoa in the 1400’s is the birthplace of Napoleon Bonaparte. A busy little town with the old citadel right next to the main harbor, the old city buildings, with an Italianate feel, ring the main quay. Visit ashore, and explore the little streets and shops. In the old town is a museum in the original family home named Casa Buonaparte that can be visited either on arrival or in the morning before leaving. There is also a wonderful local market nearby for early risers before leaving in the am. At night this town comes alive with nightlife.
Porto Cervo, Sardinia
Day 3: In the morning, after a short cruise south to the northern shore of Sardinia, arrive in Porto Cervo, the very chic village that anchors the Costa Smeralda. The Aga Khan built this resort coastline that takes full advantage of the rocky cliffs, protected beaches and stunning blue sea. Since then, the region has become one of the world’s most exclusive retreats. In town, the Stella Maris Church boasts the ‘Sad Madonna’ painted by El Greco. This Church is a modern whitewashed design created by the Roman architect, Michel Busiri Vici, who also created the grotto-design shopping arcade in the town centre containing lots of exclusive boutiques. There are several very well-known restaurants for lunch ashore, or have lunch on board after exploring the shops.
Waters in the Maddalena Islands
After lunch head out to the Maddalena Island area, located inside the Straits of Bonifacio along the northeastern coast of Sardinia. Budelli, Caprera, Razzoli, Santa Maria, Santo Stefano and Spargi surround La Maddalena Island. This group of small rocky islands has been inhabited since prehistoric times. After lunch head over to Budelli, one of Italy’s most enchanting beaches that is famous for its pink sand produced by the coral shattered by the raging sea. Today, it is a highly protected island. The best mooring places are the almost deserted little beach of Cala d’Arena (south-eastern point) and the Spiaggia Rosa (Pink Beach). These islands are famous for their beautiful crystal clear warm calm waters in varying shades of blue and green. Overnight.
Spargi Island, La Maddalena Island
Day 4: Enjoy the Maddalena Islands in the morning and in the afternoon head over the Costa Smeralda of Sardinia to head over to Cala di Volpe, where the chic hotel of the same name is located. Cala di Volpe is a deep shallow bay, and is surrounded by beautiful sandy beaches. The Cala di Volpe Bar is a great location for a pre-dinner cocktail. And around this area are very chic restaurants, and clubs for nightlife, including, Phi Beach, a great spot for sundowners on the beach amongst the rocks, and the famous Billionaire Club. While out, the yacht can cruise to Porto Rotundo to overnight.
Day 5: This is a great area, where all of the highlights are very close. After an evening out, it is a quick cruise back to the Maddalena Islands, again for fun in the sun. Visit the fishing village on the main island of Maddalena, and then find a lovely anchorage in which to relax and enjoy the waters, that many compare to the British Virgin Islands.
Alghero Stairway to Grotto
Just as popular in ancient times as now, wrecks of Roman ships can still be seen along the bottom and offer a great snorkeling adventure. And these islands are loved not only by the yachtsmen, but also by dolphins, who can often be seen cavorting amongst these islands and coming up to play in the wake of your yacht with a smile and a twinkle in their eye. The Maddalena Islands are a pristine playground that very few are aware of, offering miles of beaches, isolated anchorages and beautiful clear waters. Overnight in quiet or head back for another evening of chic nightlife along the Costa Smeralda.
Day 6: An early cruise will have you head down to Cala Yacca to anchor for lunch and a swim. Continue on through the Fornelli Passage, passing by the Island of Asinara, a penal settlement. Arrive in the afternoon at the flourishing fishing port of Alghero. It consists of a picturesque and well-preserved old town enclosed in a stout girdle of walls, outside of which the new town sports a grid of parallel streets filled with hotels and restaurants. The town is very Spanish in flavor having been invaded by Pedro IV of Aragon in 1354. The narrow cobbled streets of the old town are lined with flamboyant churches and wrought-iron balconies, boutiques and cafes, as well as the workshops of craftsmen working the famed coral of Alghero. Around the town the coast offers many secluded bays, small inlets bordered by pine forests and high, jagged cliffs washed by the emerald green sea. Inland luxuriant vineyards produce some of the most aromatic wines on the island. Overnight.
Day 7: In the morning enjoy the local coves for swimming. After lunch head back to Bonifacio and enter the small protected harbor by sea, enjoying the fabulous view of Old Bonifacio clinging to the top of the southern chalk cliffs of Corsica. The Bonifacio area has been inhabited since prehistoric times, with settlements around the natural well protected harbor in the chalk cliffs right at the narrowest part of the channel between Corsica and Sardinia, called the Strait of Bonifacio. Today, remaining from the various civilizations that have lived in the area over a multitude of centuries, a walled medieval city sits perched on the top of the chalk cliffs, built to guard the harbor. The original walls date back to 824 when the Holy Roman Empire gave the area to the Margrave of Tuscany, Boniface II, to defend. The walled Old Town of Bonifacio remains on eroding chalk cliffs high above the active harbor of Bonifacio.
The harbor area is a busy little fishing village, with many cafes and tavernas along the quay, however be sure to walk up to the walled Old Town of Bonifacio to explore the many little winding streets and enjoy the view from the top of the chalk cliffs across to Sardinia.
Day 8: Disembark in the am in Bonifacio.