Christmas on a yacht
It’s getting close to that magical time of year again. When the weather cools, mulled wine starts making its way onto cocktail bar menus and everything comes with a festive twist. Holly adorns shopfronts, light displays illuminate high streets all over Europe and depending on your climate, walking past snowmen becomes a regular part of your commute. It can only be Christmas. But for those who are not fans of tradition, the whole thing can feel a bit repetitive. Even for people who love the festive season, it can be good to try something new – after all, change could make for the best Christmas yet. If you’re feeling the need to break out of your yuletide customs, a private yacht charter might be just the thing. The ultimate escape, Christmas on a yacht can be just as festive, or just as radically different, as you wish. Below, we explore three fantastic options for enjoying an onboard Noël.
Europe’s party capital may not seem the obvious choice for a family holiday, but there is so much more to these sunny islands than Ibiza. What’s more, the winter season is when the islands are free from party tourists, meaning that everywhere is less busy and you’ll be much more likely to be able to get seats at some of the more exclusive bars and restaurants. However, as always with Christmas, it’s worth booking in advance to secure a spot in the run up to the big day.
Christmas spirit runs particularly high in Menorca and Mallorca, where festive lights and flea markets line the streets. Mallorca is the ideal spot for picking up last minute presents and browsing holiday decorations for the boat – visit the Puerto Portals markets and prepare to be charmed by the quirky atmosphere, or take a trip to Palma’s main square, where the traditional Christmas and Kings Fair sells everything from hand-knitted scarves to confectionary.
Meanwhile, if you are lucky enough to cruise over to Menorca for the start of December, don’t miss the turning on of the lights by the legendary ‘Illumet’ elves, a traditional event which takes place on the first Sunday of the month. Christmas on a yacht brings you the opportunity to explore all of the Balearic Islands and experience their festive charm first-hand.
On Christmas day itself most places will be closed, however this provides the perfect opportunity to cosy up on the yacht and tuck into some spanish yuletide delights, with a delicious dinner prepared by the onboard crew. Feliz Navidad!
Christmas on a yacht in Greece is pure magic, with the added bonus of a warmer climate than most of Europe. The temperature averages around 12°C and promises regular sunshine, with sea temperatures around 17°C – perhaps meaning the braver members of your party will still be up for a Christmas day dive off of the swim deck!
In the build up to the day itself, there are plenty of ways to get into the spirit. Greek bakeries are piled high with cinnamon delights, wafting these delicious aromas out onto the streets. Ornamental boats illuminated with fairy lights are on show throughout the islands, a Greek decoration that dates back to the old national tradition of women and children making small boats at this time of year to honour St. Nicholas.. In Athens, ice skate outside the magnificent Athens Concert Hall before cosying up with a festive cocktail (or two!) at one of the city’s many fantastic bars.
On the 24th and 25th you will be delighted to find that many restaurants are still open – Christmas day in Greece, though cherished, is a lot less planned in advance, meaning many enjoy their big family meal out at one of the local eateries. These restaurants cater to a variety of cuisines, including of course the traditional roast. Whether you choose to enjoy your Christmas dinner alongside high-spirited locals or with just your closest family aboard your yacht, it’s sure to be a merry one.
When you Christmas on the French Riviera, you should always expect a glamorous affair. However, this does not mean it will not be void of all those typical festive traditions – quite the opposite!
Nice really gets into the festivities, with an entire Christmas village that runs from the 1st of December through to the 1st of January. Here, children will delight in meeting Papa Noël, while 60 chalets offer a range of homemade and one-of-a-kind trinkets, a tasting area invites you to stop and sample treats, and an ice rink provides the perfect place to hone your skills.
If you want to get out of the city for a more rustic Christmas, there’s nowhere better than the little village of Lucéram, where inhabitants decorate for the yuletide period with over 450 nativity scenes. Only a 30 minute drive from Nice, you can follow the ‘Creche trail’ to see all the unique nativity scenes, taking in the major sites of the village as you go.
From there, cruise along to Monaco, where your Christmas day table will include a Pain de Natal, a traditional sweet hazelnut loaf, and foie gras – after all, what’s Christmas without a little indulgence? Again, the choice of whether to eat on or off the boat is yours, with each offering a delectable feast. Some restaurants will be open, with the Monte-Carlo Bay Resort offering an unlimited rosé champagne buffet on the big day. However, champagne is also sure to flow freely on the yacht on this merriest of all occasions.
Wherever you fancy visiting, Christmas on a yacht is definitely worth doing at least once in your life… why not make it this year?