winter yachting destinations

The Ultimate Guide to Winter Yachting Destinations

As winter sets in across the northern hemisphere, many of us look to escape to sunnier climes. We all know that places such as the Caribbean enjoy beautiful weather from December through to March, but where are the most exciting spots to visit and what type of holiday can each destination offer? Below, we’ve researched all of the most enchanting winter yachting destinations to provide you with the ultimate guide.

Winter yachting destinations: Where is the best winter escape?

The Bahamas

The Bahamas are always a favourite destination for yacht charter guests in the winter season, and this year is no exception. Offering gin-clear waters, white-sand beaches, and blissful relaxation, the Bahamas is the ultimate escape… There are even swimming pigs to share your adventure with! The Abacos are still in recovery after Hurricane Dorian, but the rest of the Bahamian islands remain remarkably untouched and are open for winter sailing.

Winter is a fantastic time to visit, both in terms of weather and opportunities for activities and events. In December, temperatures average 26°C/78.8°F, dropping slightly in January, February and March to a very pleasant 24°C/75.2°F.

Planning your visit around Christmas? You’ll be delighted to find that all the inhabited islands in the archipelago are fully decorated for the festive season, and offer fun activities for the entire family. Not to mention traditional Bahamian Christmas fare such as various conch dishes, black cake, and garlic pork.

winter yachting destinations


With less than from 15,000 residents, Eleuthera is bliss for everyone who seeks seclusion from their winter sailing holiday. At the same time, there is plenty to do for those who aren’t content with basking in the sun with a book. You can head to the historic capital city — Governour’s Harbour — on a Friday to eat fish fry, sip painkiller cocktails, and enjoy music and dancing.

Eleuthera is also home to some of the Bahamas’ best beaches… Its breathtaking pink-sand beaches are something you will never forget.

winter yachting destinations

The Exumas & Long Island

Animal-lovers will likely have already heard tell of Pig Beach in the Exumas, where visitors can swim amongst friendly sea pigs. An absolute must while in the Bahamas, the Exumas are located not far from Long Island. Here, adventure awaits with the opportunity to dive with sharks and into one of the world’s deepest blue holes. For those who prefer to stay on land, Lucayan Indian Cave makes for an exciting afternoon. Beaches are also virtually empty here, meaning there is plenty of space to play games on the sand while your crew cooks up a sizzling beach BBQ.

Indian Ocean

For those looking for something slightly different, another incredible winter yachting destination is the Indian Ocean. This area holds a slightly more exotic intrigue for many yachting clients, with destinations such as the Maldives and the Seychelles often the most popular, but with plenty more off-the-beaten-track spots to explore. In December, this region has a delightful average high of 30°C/86°F. There’s a very slight decrease over the winter months to average 28°C/82.4°F.

This part of the world offers incredible diving and snorkeling. Fascinating species such as hammerhead sharks are prevalent in these waters. It’s a quieter alternative to the classic Caribbean charters.The Indian Ocean promises peaceful anchorages and a sense of truly getting away from it as you hop between secluded islands. With the Seychelles to the west and the Maldives to the east, and everywhere in between to explore, the Indian Ocean is a breath of fresh air.


In the Maldives alone there are over one thousand islands to explore, making it the ultimate spot for winter sailing. If you’ve always dreamt of escaping to a romantic deserted island this is your chance. Spend time frolicking in the waters of turquoise coves, grabbing a snorkel to see exotic sea life up close, or have your yacht crew pull out exhilarating water toys to get your heart racing.

winter yachting destinations


The Seychelles is a slightly more boutique experience, with just over 100 islands scattered across the Indian Ocean. However, visitors will fall in love with its verdant tropical forests, lively Creole culture, and unique cuisine spanning everything from coconut curry to breadfruit.

Northern Europe

Perhaps not the place to go if you are seeking sun on your winter sailing trip, Northern Europe is nevertheless a breathtaking destination to explore in the colder months. The main draw is the Northern Lights or aurora borealis, which are a must-see in any yachting destinations calendar. Sometimes referred to as ‘the greatest show on Earth’, this dance of green light across the sky is one of the most spectacular natural phenomena. The only way to get a chance of seeing the Northern Lights is by being in the right place at the right time… There’s no better place than this.

This winter sailing destination also offers opportunities to enjoy a husky sledding experience across the snow, take a festive reindeer tour, go snowmobiling, or bathe in natural hot springs – Northern Europe is a true winter wonderland. Remember to wrap up warm though when you step off the yacht! Depending on when in winter you visit and where you go, temperatures will range from subzero to around 5°C/41°F. You can. expect a thick layer of snow on the ground throughout the season.

Tromsø, Norway

Known as Norway’s gateway to the Arctic, Tromsø’s location makes it a likely spot for sighting the Northern Lights. It’s especially great if you are visiting between September and April. Plan your trip from the last week of January to the first week of February to take part in the annual Northern Lights Festival. It’s an international celebration of international music and dance under the stars.

Reykjavik, Iceland

The Icelandic capital is worth visiting for many reasons, just one of which is the aurora borealis. As one of the most accessible places in Europe to see the Northern Lights, it is a yacht charter hotspot… Head out a little from the Old Harbour to get incredible views unfettered by light pollution. Again, head here between September and April for the best chance of spotting them.

While in Reykjavik, there are also a number of cool cultural sights you can explore. From the Hallgrimskirkja, the largest – and arguably most dramatic – church in the country, to the National Museum of Iceland.

If this guide has inspired you to book a winter sailing trip, why not browse yachts for charter today and start planning your escape.

Sarah Clayton-Lea

Co-founder of Big 7 Travel, Sarah created the company through her passion for championing the world's best food and travel experiences. Before her career in digital media, where she previously held roles such as Editor of Food&Wine Ireland, Sarah worked in the hospitality industry in Dublin and New York.

Contact [email protected]

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