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Best marinas for winter berthing in Europe

Yacht owners are looking beyond the busy Côte d’Azur for winter berthing. Today top quality marinas are opening up in places like Cyprus, Croatia and Barcelona, providing owners with a much larger choice when looking to berth their boat.

As the European marina market expands, the choice for boat owners is opening up – and this could see yacht owners saving money as marinas are forced to compete on price.

How to locate the best winter berth for you

Personal requirements and the amount you’re willing or able to spend are the two key considerations when deciding on a location for a yacht's winter berth. Here are a few other issues that should be considered when deciding on your perfect winter berth:

- Is it easily accessible?

- Will you be within reasonable distance of a shipyard in case you need any repair work carried out?

- Are you close to an airport, or at least one you can easily reach by car?

- Does the marina offer value for money?

Ultimately though, it all comes down to personal preference, how you intend on using the yacht during the winter period and what you can afford.

But with the growth of our industry comes an increase in the demand for accommodation. The South of France can’t hold everyone and, because of this, people have been forced to look further afield. Below are some other options that you could explore for a winter berth, along with a few of their pros and cons.

Marina Port Vell – Barcelona

Only opened in the last year, Port Vell really is trying to draw in custom by offering discounted rates on long-term leases for anyone wanting to spend the winter on the edge of Barcelona. And what’s even more enticing, particularly for crewmembers, is the promise of nightlife, fashion, architecture and culture right on the doorstep.

From the practical side of things, Marina Port Vell is located near the MB92 shipyard and an international airport. On the downside, it is a little bit on the pricey side. But that doesn’t mean you can’t still enjoy the area as various other marinas are within a short distance, including Port Tarraco in Tarragona and Vilanova Grand Marine in Vilanova.

Marina di Loano & Porto Mirabello – Italy

Ideal for superyacht owners, Italy is building marinas with the larger yachts in mind. These two are fairly close to the Côte d’Azur and both offer fantastic facilities.

Marina di Loano is within close range to two sizeable airports and Cannes, making it ideal for yacht brokers needing quick access to show a boat. With the practicalities established, let’s move onto the entertaining side of this modern marina. Fancy a swim? Why not visit the stunning clubhouse, complete with a pool and top deck? There’s also a Michelin-star restaurant and a large travel lift. On the other hand, if you’re after some of the best shipyards around, perhaps Porto Mirabello is the better option.

Whichever you choose though, bear in mind that it’s common to come across language and financial barriers in Italian marinas. Not only can it be difficult to thoroughly convey what you’re after – as the majority of staff only speak Italian – but also, prices aren’t set in stone. So what is normally a simple transaction can become quite difficult to navigate.

Grand Harbour Marina – Malta

Perfect for the practical boat owner, Grand Harbour Marina can be found right in the centre of the Mediterranean. Access to this area is simple thanks to the increase in low-cost airlines, but not only that, because of its exciting boating culture, any repair or refit work you require can be carried out quickly and simply.

But it doesn’t just stop there, yacht owners looking for a little culture will be happy to hear that Grand Harbour Marina also boasts fantastic climates and a fascinating history.

Palmarina Bodrum – Turkey

With Turkey becoming a great place for cruising over the past few years, the Palmarina Bodrum means it is now a reasonable destination for winter berthing as well. Officially opened in 2013, the Palmarina Bodrum marina has brought a new lease of life to the region’s superyacht industry in the East Mediterranean.

Situated in a tranquil part of the south-west coast of Turkey, Palmarina is easy to access, closer than Cyprus to the rest of the yachting areas and boasts a rather large facility for refits.

Limassol Marina – Cyprus

While Limassol Marina in Cyprus has a few perks (including the fact it’s still relatively new, it’s got fantastic facilities and beautiful weather), the negatives do unfortunately seem to outweigh the positives somewhat. For instance, there is nowhere close by for any refits or repairs.

So, unless you have a home or a business in Cyprus and you want to keep your boat nearby, it doesn’t really make practical sense to stay there over the winter.

Porto Montenegro – Montenegro

There really are some pros and cons about choosing to spend your winter in Porto Montenegro. Firstly, as the city is virtually empty during the cold season, there’s very little for a crew to do. Not only that, but it’s extremely difficult to access by air in the colder months given the fact that there are fewer flights available. On the other hand though, the flights that are on offer provide very good connections and a real effort has been made by the port to make the area fun for crew.

Amongst other things, activities in the area include mountain biking and wine tasting, and the marina isn’t shy of places to visit either, with more than fifty restaurants, amenities and retail stores on its doorstep.

Wherever you choose to spend your winter this year, it’s undeniable that design and development of marinas really is moving alongside the changing world of the yachting industry. There are so many more options available nowadays and we can only assume that this trend will continue to grow as people searching for cost effective, practical solutions to winter berths are beginning to move away from the more traditional Mediterranean hotspots.

Photos provided courtesy of Camper & Nicholsons Marinas, Marina Port Vell,  Porto Mirabello, Porto Montenegro.