If you’re looking for a holiday adventure that exudes freedom, then why not take to the biggest and bluest playing field in the world: the sea. One of the greatest benefits of choosing to spend your holiday on the water is that you can explore many exquisite locations all in a single trip.

Whether you’re new to sailing, you’re an experienced captain, or you’d rather have a crew sail for you – there’s a sailing holiday out there to suit everyone. Leave the stress, noise, and confusion of the world behind for a few days, weeks, or even months, and immerse yourself in the calm of the big blue.

1. Flotilla holidays

If you have little sailing experience but you still want to get out on the water, then a flotilla holiday could be just what you’re looking for. You’ll be on one of several chartered yachts that are all following a lead yacht along a set route. Not only will you reap the social benefits of travelling in a group, but you’ll also have help and support only a shout away if you need it.

Flotilla holidays typically follow gentle routes that’ll allow you to relax and appreciate your surroundings – you’ll also get to stop off at some beautiful locations and enjoy meals with your fellow sailors. Popular flotilla locations include Greece and Croatia for stunning scenery and a wide variety of routes.

2. Independent yacht charter (or “bareboat” sailing)

For the confident sailor, what better way to spend your holiday than sailing through the sparkling Mediterranean sea, with the wind in your hair and the sun on your skin?

If you already have sailing qualifications (Day Skipper Practical Certificate or an International Certificate of Competency) then there’s nothing to stop you from hiring a yacht yourself to explore the sea at your own leisure. Having your own boat means that you’re free to discover areas off the beaten track, like smaller bays and harbours which are inaccessible to large flotillas or cruise ships.

Once you’ve decided you’re going to be in the driving seat, the only other question is: where to?

3. Luxury-crewed yacht holidays

Do you love being out at sea but don’t want to feel the pressure of having to sail the boat yourself? Well, the good news is that you can still have a holiday to remember with a luxury-crewed sailing experience.

It’s the ideal sailing holiday for anyone who wants to have the thrill of adventure without sacrificing comfort. It’ll feel like you’re staying in a luxury hotel – the only difference is, you’ll float through paradise enjoying a panoramic view of wild blue yonder.

With a crew on board, you’ll get the best of both worlds – the chance to try your hand at sailing, sunbathe on deck, or take part in a range of activities such as dolphin-watching and paddleboarding.

Sound too good to be true? Then why not climb aboard?

4. Cruises

If you don’t fancy doing any sailing yourself, but you love being out on the water, then cruise holidays are a great way to get around. Being on a cruise ship is like staying in a floating hotel, meaning you’ll get to enjoy the luxury of cruising from place to place while you’re chilling by the pool, or enjoying yourself at the bar.

You’ll usually get to enjoy several beautiful locations for a few days at a time without the usual disruption that travelling around can bring. You might go to sleep in one place and wake in another – with plenty of fresh ground to explore! Cruise ships are an exciting, yet relaxing way to get around some of the most stunning places in the world.

If you’re interested in booking a cruise, then why not take a look at Fred Olsen cruises? Fred Olsen offers intimate, luxury cruises that travel from the UK to hundreds of destinations across the globe. And better still, Rest Less members get a 5% discount on all trips.

Final thoughts...

So if you want to man your own boat and sail off the beaten path, or you’d prefer to sit back, relax, and watch the calm surf go by, there’s a sailing holiday for you. Whether you’re a qualified sailor or a complete beginner, you’re sure to have a trip you’ll never forget.

For more holiday inspiration – both at home and abroad – why not visit the travel section of our site? Here, you can find anything from 6 of the best UK road trips to 9 of the best holiday destinations outside of the UK. And for more nautical travel, you might want to have a look at our article, 7 of the best kayaking destinations in the world.

If you’re new to sailing and you’d like to find out more, then you might find it useful to read our beginner’s guide to sailing.