Sailing in the Mediterranean is an experience like no other. Due to its endless supply of warm sunshine, turquoise waters and picturesque islands – heading out on a journey in this part of the world provides you with truly unforgettable memories. While there are many fun activities to include on a Med sailing trip perhaps the most underrated adventure of them all is rock climbing. Combining this extreme sport with the simple pleasures of boat life offers travelers the perfect blend of adrenaline and relaxation.
Although, it can be hard to find a tour operator that champions both the sail and climb components. Luckily, we have uncovered a great one for you called Vertical Sailing Tour. Across four spectacular destinations (Sardinia, Mallorca, Kalymnos and the Amalfi Coast), Vertical Sailing Tour takes you to some of the wildest places in Europe to get your nature fix. Not only do they specialize in sailing and climbing but also other exciting outdoor pursuits such as bouldering, canyoning, paragliding, skiing and trekking!
Led by founder Lorenzo, the team consists of professional boat skippers and certified mountain guides – each of whom are passionate about the wilderness and customer satisfaction. On a Vertical Sailing Tour, you are taught how to sail out at sea and how to rock climb on land with hands-on lessons. Everyone from beginners to experts are encouraged to go since the climbing can be tailored to each individual skill level. And there is no better way to go from one jaw-dropping crag to the next than on a sailboat!
Sailing the Mediterranean’s Islands & Coastlines
The sailing takes place on a 45-55 ft sailboat or a 38-45 ft catamaran. Each vessel comes equipped with four or five cabins, two or three bathrooms, a living room, kitchen, and an outdoor cockpit with a table and benches. Most of the cabins have double beds, giving couples the ultimate sense of comfort and privacy. But it’s not just couples or groups who are catered for. Solos can also book with confidence as these tours make it easy to form friendships – whether it be new climbing buddies or travel companions!
Usually, between eight and 11 people participate in each tour. Larger groups can be accommodated on the tailor-made trips by utilizing up to three boats. No sailing or live-aboard experience is required because the skipper looks after everything. However there are a few expectations that everyone should adhere to like helping to cook and clean, keeping the boat tidy, using a moderate amount of electricity and respecting each other. None of these things are difficult since the comradery out at sea is always strong.
For those who want to learn how to sail, you will be pleased to know there are plenty of opportunities to do so on a Vertical Sailing Tour. The skipper can run you through all the essentials of captaining a boat: sails, wind, waves, maps, navigation and more. If you already possess these skills, the skip will be more than happy to give you a turn sailing the vessel on your own. For many, the sailing portion of the tour is the most rewarding part as you cruise around untouched islands or a stunning stretch of Med coast!
The Climbing Component to Vertical Sailing Tour
Imagine pulling up to a secluded bay with a towering cliff face a stone’s throw away and starting your climbing adventure within minutes (no long walks required). That is the main advantage with Vertical Sailing Tour. Newbies and pros alike will love the variety of cracks on offer at each destination. Having the support of a master mountain guide with you at all times means you will be able to leave the tour full of climbing confidence – knowing the maneuvers and techniques necessary to reach new heights!
Even if you have never climbed before, you can still join in on the action. On the other hand, experienced climbers can test their limits on their way up 7c routes! No matter which grade you feel most comfortable on, there will always be a partner in the group who can accompany you – and if not, the guide will be right by your side to make you feel safe the entire time. As a general rule, the team at Vertical Sailing Tour only selects climbing crags which have several different routes available for every ability.
This ensures that no one is excluded from the day’s climb. That being said, none of the activities during the tour are mandatory in any way. If one of the crags seems daunting, you can always relax on the boat or venture to the beach to work on your tan (or enjoy a nice walk). Another alternative is to go fishing while the group climbs. Nothing compares with catching your own dinner! It goes without saying that there is more to the Mediterranean than rock climbing and on each of the tours below we show you why.
Upcoming Trips (2023) with Vertical Sailing Tour
Sardinia is a fascinating island located in the Mediterranean Sea, known for its dazzling beaches and wild hinterland. The crystal-clear waters surrounding Sardinia – ranging from deep blue to emerald green – make it the ideal place to go sailing. Certain sections of the coastline here boast jagged cliffs and unique rocks where adventurers can immerse themselves in epic climbs. From the granite found in the north to the limestone of the south – nothing compares to scaling the rocks of this unique Italian island!
Throw in the cultural charms of quirky architecture, unheard of languages and sublime seafood, and you have yourself a rich tapestry of experiences to delve into. Your week-long journey with Vertical Sailing Tour commences in Portisco, before cruising at sunrise the next day to the wild island of Tavolara. The group then heads up the highest peak of the island on the extraordinary Via Ferrata degli Angeli. At the top, you will get uninterrupted views of Sardinia on one side and the blue Mediterranean Sea on the other.
Afterwards, the boat waits anchored at Spalmatore di terra – regarded as one of the most attractive beaches of Sardinia. You then have free time to relax and swim in the inviting waters. The following day takes you to Cala Gonone, which is considered a paradise for fishing, and to Cala Fuili where the anchor is dropped and lunch enjoyed. From there, you disembark and explore a canyon that begins on the beach. There are over 200 routes to choose from at the canyon and one hike will be selected for this activity.
The next day sees the group climbing some phenomenal crags above Cala Gonone, with the highlight being Millennium Cave! As the tour continues, you arrive at Pedra Longa to do a few multi pitch climbs right above the sea. This evening anchors in a gorgeous bay in front of the Guglia di Goloritze nature preserve. And it’s here that the climbing adventures peak at the formidable Aguglia di Goloritze – a rocky needle that rises from the beach up to 140 meters, featuring 11 different routes rated from 5c to 7b+.
Capping off the voyage is visiting the sea cave of Grotta del Bue Marino, and sailing to Molara to explore pristine bays and granite boulders. The trip then finishes where it started back in Portisco. The last available dates for 2023 are as follows: 17 June and 9 September. With the 2nd of September date already booked, you better be quick in order to secure your place on this dream Sardinia sailing and climbing tour. Sardinia’s natural beauty and cultural delights will certainly captivate you in more ways than one!
Mallorca is a distinct climbing destination due to the deep water solos that you can experience here. No harness, quick-draws and rope will be relied upon on the limestone cliffs – just your instincts and the soft waters of the Mediterranean to catch you if you fall. The odyssey with Vertical Sailing Tour takes you to the most renowned deep water solo crags in the world and along some of Spain’s most beloved coastlines. You embark from Palma de Mallorca, and then set off to several incredible sailing and climbing spots.
Highlights include: deep water solos in Cala Ferrera, climbing routes at Cala Varques, taking on the Cova del Diable and Torre del Serral dels Falcons, heading to the Portocolom lighthouse to find suitable climbs and to Cala Sa Nau for climbing holes of any dimension, and lastly to the natural arch of Es Pontas made famous by Chris Sharma! Approaching these crags by boat gives you direct access, making it easy to come and go as you please. The tour departs on the 22nd of July, 2023 – just a few short months away now!
Every year the unspoiled Greek Island of Kalymnos attracts a plethora of climbers from around the world. With a western flank featuring skeletal crags set over blue waters, Kalymnos is nothing short of a mecca for the climbing community. This island became famous when The North Face held a climbing festival here and ever since it has been considered heaven for climbers. Perfect limestone rocks, fine smooth slabs, photogenic overhanging tufas and accessible walls for beginners – Kalymnos has it all!
Your week with Vertical Sailing Tour gives you access to many of the popular crags while diving head first into Greek culture – popping inside local tavernas, hanging out with the local fishermen and marveling at magnificent monasteries. The meeting point is on the Dodecanese island of Kos before sailing to Telendos. Since Telendos is only reached by boat, you will be one of just a handful of climbers who get to scale its perfect crags. Here exist routes of all grades to warm up for the week.
The next day swings by Arginonta where you anchor and have over 1,000 sport climbing routes at your fingertips. These range from grade 4 to 9 – so advanced climbers can push their boundaries to the max. Later, the group ventures to Sikati Cave which is a natural hole resembling a meteor and to Palionnisos to pitch on red limestone. The final stop is Vathis where even more caves and cliffs are on offer. With the 13th of May and 23rd of September (2023) dates full, your last chance is on the 30th of September!
The Amalfi Coast needs no introduction for travelers, however it might not be the first place that comes to mind for climbers. This is a shame because the array of rocky cliffs, caves and natural arches located between the villages are absolutely gorgeous! Highlights of this week with Vertical Sailing Tour are the crags of Punta Campanella and the sea stacks of Capri, in addition to sampling classic Italian food and doing a bit of sightseeing. Two dates in October, 2023 are still available to be booked.