If relaxed sailing to remote areas, quiet anchorages and peaceful evenings are not your idea of the perfect sailing holiday and you like to live on the wild side, there are plenty of alternatives; and you can sail right into where the action is!
Both Croatian and Greek islands annually make the world Top Ten lists for party islands; they are also excellent destinations for chartering a boat. The combination offers a realm of possibilities for sailing from island to island, party to party on the world’s most beautiful beaches.
Whether you are a regular party animal or just looking to blow away the cobwebs, charter a boat and sail your way to beach and pool parties, open air clubs, full–moon and no-moon gatherings with the incredible Mediterranean scenery as a backdrop. Getting there is half the fun!
Mediterranean nightlife starts out late with cocktails at sunset, dinner in a traditional tavern, followed by drinks and, if the fancy takes you, on to the clubs till morning. Music is varied with the supreme party spots attracting internationally renowned DJs. Clubbing in the Med caters for all tastes from simple beach bars to glamorous super-clubs.
Let your hair down in the Cyclades, Greece
One of the finest areas in Greece to charter a boat and island-party hop is the Cyclades. This island complex is home to Mykonos, Santorini, Paros and Ios - all top party islands, attracting a global tribe of party people – you will not be disappointed.
Charter a boat from Mykonos with your favourite people and drinks; the party is just getting started in one of the world’s most breathtaking party destinations. Sailing around Mykonos will give you the opportunity check out the numerous beach bars, most of them lying on the famous Super Paradise Beach. Paraga Beach is nice and mellow during the day until about 4pm when the Kaluha Beach Bar kicks off and keeps it up until the morning light. Don’t forget to pop in to Scandanavian Bar and Paradise Club where headlining DJs rock the house. Besides the wild beach party scene, Mykonos has many a peaceful bays to relax and recover in, as well as fascinating ancient sites for quieter days.
Sailing southwards, Paros is an upcoming party island, good for a stopover with its strip of bars and clubs along the Naoussa and Parikia promenades. Fairly low-key, you can take your pick from lounge bars, traditional cafes, listen to some jazz or dance in the clubs; head over to Pounda Beach for the crowds and beach party scene.
Next up is Ios, often toted as the Number One Party Island in Greece. First "discovered" by backpackers in the 1970’s, on the so-called hippy trail, these original partiers laid the foundation for the ultimate party destination that is modern day Ios. Now, with a fully developed mass-tourism infrastructure, people from all over the world gather on its white sandy beaches to dance the night away under glorious orange sunsets. During the day the streets of the villages are relaxed with a distinctive Greek atmosphere; at night it comes alive and its summer festivities are known as some of the craziest in the world. Good clubs to look out for are Aftershock, Slammer Bar, Flames Bar, Sweet Irish Dream, Disco 69, Blue Note and Scorpion Nightclub. Most famous of all is Mylopotas beach, the original party beach, where the renowned Far Out Beach Club resides.
No island party guide would be complete without listing Santorini, the southern-most island of the Cyclades and possibly Greece’s most famous island. The allure of this volcanic island is second to none. Half moon shaped, uniquely beautiful; multi-colored cliffs rising out of the sea, scattered with whitewashed houses. Sailing up to it is really something to behold. It’s the perfect place for sundowners on your charter boat, before heading out to boogie the night away at clubs like Enigma and Koo Club in Fira.
Trendy Casablanca Soul is the place to go for live funk, soul and dance music and on the opposite side of the island, in the beach villages of Kamari and Perissa, are beaches lined with a seemingly endless chain of open-air beach bars, crowded and loud!
Although the parties are not as wild as Mykonos or Ios and there may be a dress code at some of the bars, you are sure to have a sensational time.
Dancing down the Dalmatian coast of Croatia
The Dalmatian coastline of Croatia is one of the most popular European vacation spots these days. Beaches against a backdrop of mountains, a scattering of islands and its excellent cuisine has made it so. Ideal sailing conditions and more than a few party places and music festivals every week in the summer put it firmly on the map for young and old party people alike.
The island of Pag, in the Northern Adriatic is known as the ‘new Ibiza ‘by the in crowd. Its barren, rocky and dramatic terrain makes it the perfect backdrop for a clubbing Mecca. Charter a boat from Zadar, Sukosan or Biograd na moru and sail on up to the port of Novalja, then hit the famous Zrce beach, where it’s all going down, known around the world as one of the best beaches for summer parties. The massive, open-air clubs right on the beach, like Papaya, Aquarius, Kalypso, Euphoria and Noa heave with revelers in full swing in summer months, drawing internationally renowned DJs.
Zrce Beach is also home to first-rate European music festivals. The Hideout Festival offers 5 days and nights of electronic dance and house music with a line-up of over 100 DJs, afternoon pool parties ,beach parties, boat parties and after parties all bursting at the seams, until the sunrise.
Besides the Hideout Festival, there is also Fresh Island Festival in July bringing leading hip-hop, rap and RnB artists to Zrce Beach over 3 days. Later on Love Week brings back electronic music for another 7 day festival - it doesn’t get any better than this!
Rab Island is an up-and-coming party destination in Croatia. The island lies directly to the north of Pag, and while the smaller island lives in the shadow of its bigger and more famous neighbour, it is carving out its own niche with festival goers and global party people.
Sailing south towards Dubrovnik, another island popular with the up-market clubbing set is Hvar. With its reputation as a premier party town, often referred to as the new ‘St Tropez’, its glamorous reputation attracts party people from across Europe, celebrities and Europe’s elite. Summer nightlife in the bay town of Hvar, dominated by its 13th century walls and Gothic palaces is a glitzy and vibrant affair. Many types of entertainment are to be found among its marbled streets. Parties last all night long, at its famous clubs, like Carpe Diem, Club Aquarius, Pink Champagne and the Nautical Bar. One of the hottest spots in Hvar is the Hula Hula Beach Club, which hosts beach parties from 5 pm to sunrise. There are also a number of cultural and historical landmarks to see between all the celebrations.
Each year, the Worldwide Ultra Music Festival comes to Croatia with Ultra Europe taking place in Split and Ultra Beach on Hvar Island. Chartering a boat from Split, Trogir or Kastela you could do both festivals by boat and enjoy this global electronic music festival phenomenon.
The After Party
A good place to sail for after that is Brac, north of Hvar; a less glamorous and pretentious place where you will get a glimpse of authentic Croatian island life, for a more chilled out time.
On the south side, Bol has a range of nightclubs and cocktail bars where you can mingle and party from dusk till dawn. There are also beach parties held here at selected times during the summer. While Bol doesn’t have the reputation of Pag or Hvar for partying, it’s popularity as a stopover point for yacht charters, keeps things lively and puts it on the map for sailing party destinations.
…and when the party is finally over
You may want to find a few of those quieter anchorages for some much needed rest and recovery.
By Merryn Wainwright