In July 2021, HSH Prince Albert II opened Cala del Forte, a seashell-shaped marina in the town of Ventimiglia, eight nautical miles east of Monaco. Italy’s newest yachting harbour boasts 178 berths welcoming superyachts up to 70 metres in length. Cala del Forte’s location on the Franco-Italian border also promises first-boat-there access to secret beaches, cetacean sanctuaries and the world’s most glamorous ribbon of coast.
While brand new, Cala del Forte is a mirror of many western Mediterranean marinas built before. It also serves as a model for new yacht hubs popping up between Monaco, Malta and Montenegro. Their commonality? These roughly 200 marinas offer experiential moorings in serene seas, with an emphasis on authenticity and action. In Cala del Forte’s case that means farmers’ markets, inland hikes, one-of-a-kind wine supplies and a high-tech lift that elevates sailors to Ventimiglia’s historic centre. Enjoyed your mooring? At Cala del Forte owners may take out a concession until 2094, the longest in the western Mediterranean.
D-Marin Tribunj in Croatia is another case in point. This summer the marina became the latest acquisition of D-Marin, whose port operation portfolio is crowned by Dubai Harbour, the largest marina in the world. D-Marin Tribunj offers boutique accommodation, knockout restaurants and mooring alongside a timeless village that’s straight out of Game of Thrones. Better still, the marina is within striking distance of two watery National Parks: Krka, where you can boat and bike around a waterfall fairyland; and the Kornati Archipelago, 140 island gems floating atop an Adriatic aquarium. D-Marin Tribunj also markets itself as a wintering and yacht repair hub, while superyachts should dock six nautical miles away at sister marina D-Marin Mandalina, a dedicated luxury hub, with Tesla charging stations and 70-metre mooring facilities.
Some claim the islands of Corsica and Sardinia, which share 800 beaches and 3,000 kilometres of coastline, cry out for upgraded marina facilities. We say, ask your steward for a glass of spumante and look on the bright side. Granted, superyachts requiring technical assistance or special provisioning should sail to Port Vauban or La Spezia in mainland France and Italy. Instead Corsica and Sardinia possess plenty of of cute mini-marinas tucked into medieval ports. Like Port Saint Florent, a RIB ride away from Plage Saleccia, one of the Top Ten beaches in the world. Or Marina dell’Orso Poltu Quatu, nestled into granite cliffs beside the Maddalena Islands. Or Porto di Cavallo, an A-list marina on a sandy speck midway between Corsica and Sardinia.
One of the biggest and best marinas east of Monaco is Porto Montenegro, a superyacht hub that pairs summer regattas with winter snowboarding. Access to duty-free fuel and 300 kilometres of Montenegrin shore. Shopping from Valentino to Vilebrequin. Plus epic adventures, from wine tasting by paddleboard to helicopter tours to kitesurf islands. You need never leave the marina after all.