Chartering the Côte d’Azur: a guide to the best yacht charter anchorages

Our French Riviera luxury yacht charters offer more than just a journey; they provide an immersive experience in natural elegance and exquisite comfort.

Opting for a night at anchor rather than staying docked in a port brings several advantages. This choice allows you to enjoy the tranquility of the sea, surrounded by the stunning backdrop of the Riviera under a starlit sky.

Let’s explore the practical and enjoyable benefits of anchoring during your yacht charter:

Why spend a night at anchor?

  • Tranquility: spending the night aboard your yacht can be a unique and tranquil experience. The gentle sound of the waves can lull you to sleep at night, and you can wake up to the beautiful scenery around you.
  • Privacy: when you anchor your yacht, you can enjoy more privacy than when docked in a port.
    You can avoid the crowds and noise of the port and enjoy your own space.
    You can enjoy your on-the-water view from your private yacht charter and have a gourmet breakfast with a sea view prepared to your liking by a personal chef.
  • Cost-effective: spending the night aboard your yacht is cheaper than staying in a port: a berth for one night in Saint-Tropez for a 100 ft yacht in August costs more than 1,000 euros.
  • Scenery: when you dock your yacht, you can take in the beautiful view that unfolds around you while you are at anchor.
    You can enjoy spectacular sunsets and star gazing at night, some of life’s most magical moments aboard a yacht in the Mediterranean.

Discover the best French Riviera anchorages.

Bay of Villefranche sur Mer: serenity and splendor

The Bay of Villefranche sur Mer has been a sanctuary of tranquility since the 5th century: the Greeks and later the Romans used the natural harbor as a stop-over en route to the Greek settlements around the Western Mediterranean.

Villefranche sur Mer boasts one of the most stunning bays on the French Riviera, and it is also one of the deepest natural harbors in the region.

It is not unusual to see a large cruise ship anchored in the middle of the bay.

Its vast, sheltered waters are perfect for those who cherish calm seas and the mild Mediterranean climate. Here, you can unwind in an environment that combines serene views with the luxury of privacy.

Bay of la Scaletta: where authenticity meets elegance

Near Saint-Jean Cap Ferrat, the small Bay of la Scaletta is a jewel of authenticity. Surrounded by splendid pine trees and Belle Epoque villas, it offers a genuine taste of the French Riviera.

The walking trails along the seaside in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat are a great way to discover the area, and one of the trails leads to the tip of the peninsula where you can see Cap Martin, the Principality of Monaco, and even Italy.

Many artists, including Matisse, Chagall, and Picasso, stayed in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, but Jean Cocteau is most associated with the town.

This bay provides excellent protection against western winds, making it a perfect destination for families and adventurers who seek a blend of luxury and natural beauty.

Lérins Islands: a tapestry of greenery and history

A mere one nautical mile from Cannes, the Lérins Islands are a green oasis steeped in history, offering a peaceful escape with a rich heritage.

The Île de Saint-Honorat bears the name of the founder of the monastery of Lérins, Saint Honoratus, who founded an abbey there in the early 5th century.

The Île Sainte-Marguerite is the largest of the Lérins Islands and is known for the legend of the Man in the Iron Mask, the famous prisoner of the Fort Royal on the island.

The Lérins Islands are perfect for those who appreciate the blend of past and present, offering unique insights into the Riviera’s storied history: visit the abbey of St-Honorat and enjoy a walk between the vineyards.

Due to the high crowds, we do not recommend visiting the Lérins Islands in August.

Bay of Agay: the Riviera’s hidden jewel

The Bay of Agay is a hidden gem located 15 nautical miles from Saint-Tropez, surrounded by the impressive cliffs of the Esterel.

It offers a superb setting for anchoring a mid-sized yacht, with the Baumette beach being a must-visit spot. Its tiny red lighthouse, fine sandy beach, and crystal-clear waters will amaze you.

In addition, the Bay of Agay is a great place to enjoy the latest water toys.

Golden Islands – Porquerolles: unspoiled and protected

Porquerolles, part of the Golden Islands, is a well-known Mediterranean natural paradise. As a protected reserve, it offers pristine landscapes and unique anchorage areas.

This island is a sanctuary for marine life and those seeking adventure in unspoiled nature. You can snorkel with giant groupers here.

However, please note that anchoring is prohibited all year round in this area, and within the ZMEL (Zone de Mouillage et d’Equipements Légers), authorized vessels will only be allowed to moor at buoys, except in cases of absolute necessity.

Yachts (between 15 and 30 m) will always have to keep on board a crew able to maneuver the boat if necessary.

Expert tips for a seamless yachting experience at anchor

To ensure a memorable experience at anchor, consider these tips:

  • Choose a stabilized yacht: If you enjoy spending the night at anchor and are choosing a motor yacht, opt for one equipped with a stabilizer at anchor. These systems minimize the vessel’s roll, ensuring maximum comfort at sea and reducing the risk of seasickness.”
  • Weather forecasts are crucial for yacht charterers, especially in the Mediterranean, where weather conditions can change quickly. Talk to your captain about potential storms or high winds to decide whether to stay or move to a safer location.
  • Enjoy the scenery: don’t miss the spectacular sunsets and stargazing opportunities – these are some of the most magical moments on board.
  • Understand the restrictions: knowing the new anchorage regulations for yachts over 24m in France and Italy is crucial to protect the Posidonia and avoid a hefty fine.

Best time to enjoy a night at anchor

The French Riviera boasts some of the best weather in France, with over 300 days of sunshine per year. The best time to charter the French Riviera is between May and September.

The weather during these months is warm and not too windy for a night at anchor. Visitors can enjoy swimming in the Mediterranean Sea and basking in the sun.

Contact us: begin your luxury yacht charter journey

Ready to embark on a luxury yacht charter along the French Riviera?

Contact our brokers to start planning your dream voyage. With our expertise, personalized service, and commitment to excellence, your journey promises to be as unique and unforgettable as the Riviera.

And remember, your yacht charter broker is your ally, guiding you to the best experiences and ensuring your requests, such as themed dinners or surprise events, are communicated and executed with finesse.

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About the author: Remi van der Deure - French Riviera Charter broker.


I am the senior Yacht Charter Broker at Charterminute, a well-known yacht charter boutique in Antibes.

I have served in the yacht charter industry for over 15 years and have gained a strong reputation among my clients, as evidenced by consistent 5-star ratings on Google Reviews and TripAdvisor.

My specialty is organizing corporate yacht charters for startups and large companies during popular events like the Cannes Lions Festival, MIPIM, TFWA, and MIPCOM.

I am also proud to be a member of esteemed yacht broker associations, e-MYBA and ECPY, demonstrating my unwavering commitment to providing exceptional yacht charter services and memorable experiences in the French Riviera.

You can contact me directly at +33 (0)662.465.991 or