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Old 09-03-2017, 23:08   #1
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Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

Hi everybody!
I'm planning on sailing with my Scottish BF this spring/summer/fall in the Med. From southern Spain we'll go to the coast of France, the islands of Italy, and down to Greece and Croacia. Besides worrying about the Schengen agreement, I have found info about the crowds and prices in the Med in summer quite alarming. Any advice on how to obtain free or low cost anchorages? Areas to seek out? Beautiful places to avoid huge crowds? Thank you!
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Old 10-03-2017, 01:33   #2
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

Besides the above what planning have you done? the trip you mentioned above is over 3,500nm. Your sailing season is maybe early April to say early Nov. and if you are going to see anything you can't do it. We have spent 2 1/2 years doing what you want to do in one.
And you will have to deal with Schengen - no ifs ands or buts. It is not the ports that will get you but the airport when you leave. Spain France Italy and Greece are all Schengen. You might be able to get around it if you sail for say 89 days in Schengen and then leave by going to non Schengen like Tunisia via ferry or plane and stay a day or so then come back. your argument is that the 1st 90 days is for the 6 months prior to your departure and this 90 days is for the next period. Have we overstayed - yes. But we have not flown out of any Schengen country but had our passport checked in Italy after we sailed into Venice after Croatia. And we had over stayed in Italy and had customs question us when we checked out late in the fall and all they wanted to know was "non Schengen" and when we said yes they stamped our passports. There is a bit of noise about the US citizens requiring a visa to visit Europe which will probably not go anywhere but some officials may make it harder on US citizens. By the way the last time we overstayed was in Italy and we have so many stamps in our passport from Schengen and non Schengen (inland travel) that it is hard to tell when we were in our out.

As for crowds - yep in spots you will have them. We have sailed from Gib to Cartagena and it was ok. The Balearics are a bit crowded but not to bad if you stay out of marinas. We sailed Tunisia to Sicily and up to Corsica and over to Rome and down to Messina and across to Albania and up to Croatia and Venice and down to Malta and back to Tunisia and that took 6 months. We sailed Tunisia to Sicily to Albania and down through Greece across to Athens and through the Greek Islands and that took 6 months.
You really need to spend some time looking at ports of call, miles, weather ect and decide what you want to do. The Med is a lot bigger than you think.
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Old 10-03-2017, 10:35   #3
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

I'm afraid you'll struggle to find many 'free or low cost anchorages' until you get to Greece.

There are very few anchorages at all along the Spanish or French coasts - you're mostly in small harbours or marinas. The Italian islands are hugely popular and therefore usually packed during the season and expensive - sometimes very expensive (though there are a few anchorages if the weather is settled).

Croatia has some anchorages where you can get away from crowds and save money, but most of the popular ones are now buoy fields where you pay by the night, so the free ones aren't usually the best sheltered or most attractive.

Sorry if this rains on your parade a bit, but if you want lovely scenery, relatively uncrowded coasts and low-cost or free anchorages you need to get to the Eastern Med sooner rather than later - the less touristy Greek islands and then maybe on to Turkey if the political situation doesn't alarm you.

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Old 10-03-2017, 10:45   #4
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

You can start by looking at this site:

☸ Guide Méditerranée - Tous les ports de plaisance et mouillages de Méditerranée par ceux qui y sont passés

It is in french, but you got all harbours and moorings with maps.
The information is posted by actual cruisers.
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Old 11-03-2017, 09:20   #5
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

This is the eglish version
☸ Guide Méditerranée - Every harbours and moorings of the Mediterranean Sea by those who went there
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:07   #6
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

I agree with previous contribution - far too ambitious, and a recipe for not seeing anything. Virtually no free safe anchorages in Italy, and very very expensive. So go around Sicily, either way, then free anchorage for a good rest in Syracuse. Then straight north-east to Corfu, possibly stopping at Maria di Leuca. But nix Croatia. Super crowded and super expensive. Work your way down the Ionean, slowly, and at the worst crowd time, August, find yourself in the fingers of the Peloponnese - no crowds. Then safely eastward via Crete, or island hopping (avoiding Santorini = Oxford St. at X-mas) to Turkey. There, anchorages of the best kind - long lines ashore - in abundance.
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Old 11-03-2017, 10:44   #7
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

I opened a post here for contributions about inexpensive / free moorings.

Buy a greater anchor, and offer a bottle of wine to a fisherman in commercial harbours.

I hate marinas..
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Old 11-03-2017, 13:09   #8
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

Hi
What a lot of negativity
Last summer (April to September) we cruised from Gibraltar to Greek Ionian and back. Anchored for free 6 nights out of 7. And had time to see lots.
Blog at lionelandelsie.blogspot.com if it helps.
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Old 11-03-2017, 13:09   #9
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

I think I may say that I know the Balearics (Ibiza, Mallorca, Menorca) quiet well.
For instance, I sailed around Ibiza fifteen times already. I haven't spent a single day in a marina (outrage expensive - Ibiza Mariana: 270,- €/night for 44 ft boat) there. These islands are great for anchoring. Dream beaches and "calas" in abundance.
I will be there again this summer for a few months, cause I love this place.
Look out for me. You'll find me at anchor.
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Old 11-03-2017, 15:03   #10
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

Hi, I spent a few years in and around Croatia before I sailed back to New Zealand . I applied and got a residence permit which was not that complicated and took about 3 weeks. I think the cost was about Euro 100
I needed a tourist health insurance , a police report and proof I had enough money to support myself and I had no problems from then on . Good luck
Glenn
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Old 11-03-2017, 15:03   #11
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

We sailed from Brittany around Spain and up to the south of France as we had a deadline (necessary but a bad idea!), then Balearics and back to Barcelona in three months, and found ourselves constantly on the move, having to go in weather that was really uncomfortable, and missed some beautiful places, so I'd recommend slowing down a lot if you can. Because we were newbies to Europe and cruising we weren't particularly skilled at finding good anchorages, and spent a LOT on marinas. Bilbao, 240 euros for one night alongside a pier in a boring part of town stands out particularly as being a total rip but we were desperate.

The next year we sailed from Barcelona to Cannes, Corsica, Sardinia, along the Italian coast and all the Aeolian islands ending up in Greece, and only used marinas if we felt like an easy walk into town, the kids wanted some land time, or we needed to refuel, water or get something fixed. Probably an average of 60-70 euros a night for a 48ft catamaran.

Generally no problem finding anchorages and much better for swimming! Just plan ahead with the weather, buy a pilot book for the area and you'll be all good. We found crowding not a problem at all really, except in super touristy spots like Panarea, Ponza, Taormina, but it probably depends on your expectations. Dreaming of going back in July....Croatia this time, should be interesting!
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Old 11-03-2017, 16:24   #12
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

Hi Chuckr,
My understanding of Schengen is that you can only stay 90 days in ANY 6 month period.
So the start / stop time is not fixed but a variable sliding 'scale' that includes your stay period. It is not consecutive fixed periods. I used to think you could get 2x90 day periods by entering an EU country, which starts the clock. leave, then 90 days from the the end of that period come back in. At the end of that time the next 6 month period starts and you get another 90 days. The ANY 6 month rule stops that.
My experience in Italy is that they did not stamp my passport on arrival…so….
they just want the tourist dollars. I think the Dutch have a similar arrangement.
I found the Greeks less forgiving…remind me who need tourist dollars the most!
Correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 11-03-2017, 19:44   #13
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

The truth about med anchorages is, that you cannot find on many coasts every 20 NMs an anchorage. But as example: I sailed from Portuga to the Côte d'Azur (more or less the middle and Eastern part of the French South coast. I was singlehanded and I had not to enter one single Marine before the final destination.
If you are on a budget is it also often possible to anchor near the entrance to a Marina and going for shopping with the Dinghi ashore. If you kindly ask you may leave the Dinghi during your not to long shopping excursion in the Marina. Or nay be you fill the Diesel (Gazole in French) Tank.
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Old 11-03-2017, 23:35   #14
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

Quote:
Originally Posted by JAYEN1 View Post
Hi Chuckr,
My understanding of Schengen is that you can only stay 90 days in ANY 6 month period.
So the start / stop time is not fixed but a variable sliding 'scale' that includes your stay period. It is not consecutive fixed periods. I used to think you could get 2x90 day periods by entering an EU country, which starts the clock. leave, then 90 days from the the end of that period come back in. At the end of that time the next 6 month period starts and you get another 90 days. The ANY 6 month rule stops that.
My experience in Italy is that they did not stamp my passport on arrival…so….
they just want the tourist dollars. I think the Dutch have a similar arrangement.
I found the Greeks less forgiving…remind me who need tourist dollars the most!
Correct me if I am wrong.
That matches my understanding. They look at the prior 6 months. It can only have up to 90 days in the Schengen. They closed the leave for a day loophole.

Likely won't see an issue in a port but once you go to fly out they will likely catch you.

As others have said, that's a lot of miles to cover in a short time period at what is basically a brisk walking pace.

There are anchorages but you will have to plan them out, taking longer hops where things are expensive and longer stays where they are cheaper.
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Old 11-03-2017, 23:40   #15
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Re: Newbie in the Med concerned about crowds and prices

We paid less than 1000 euros to stay in excellent marinas throughout Italy, Montenegro and Croatia during a five month stay last summer. 95 percent of the time we anchored for free, no problems. Schengen... no problems. Free beautiful anchorages... no problem.

Lot's of poor internet advice regarding these issues on this forum. I'll be in the same area for six months in 2017... no problems, no high priced marinas.
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