As high summer arrives, the need to escape the stifling heat of the town and get in some well-earned R&R takes hold and a spell on the water is just the tonic needed.
Whether you’re lucky enough to have your own set of sails or are in the market for a hired launch, these are the places which you should consider dropping anchor at this summer.
1. Portofino, Italy
Portofino marina, Portofino, Italy
It’s hard to beat Portofino if you’re seeking the old-school glamour of the Italian Riviera, and it has long been a favourite destination of the good and great.
Located in North-West Italy’s Liguria region, it was founded as a fishing village, and later became a favourite destination for film stars and socialites in search of la Dolce Vita.
The town is famed for its colourful seafront houses, painted in an array of rainbow hues that make it one of the most Instagram-worthy spots in the world. A snap of its stunning Marina and vivid architecture is sure to induce holiday envy amongst your followers. No filter required.
Gianni Agnelli, port style
Dinner at La Terrazza is essential for epicureans, with its skilfully curated menu of locally caught seafood, regional dishes and some of the finest handmade pasta in town. The restaurant is situated in the Hotel Splendido, which has a storied past. Originally a Benedictine monastery, it was pillaged by pirates and eventually abandoned by the monks, before being restored by Baron Baratta in the 19th century who used it as a summer house. It became a hotel in 1901 and has played host to a long line of illustrious names, including Clark Gable, Humphrey Bogart, Gianni Agnelli, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
What else can you wear to dinner, but a garment that was inspired by the very place itself? Our Portofino shirt, which comes in an array of fresh, summery shades is cut from premium Italian linen and makes the perfect style companion to a cream jacket, tailored trousers and a polished pair of chestnut monk strap loafers.
2. Saint Jean Cap Ferrat, France
The glamour of the old French Riviera still abounds in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. Unlike its more glitzy neighbours, Nice and Monaco, it retains a more unsullied, low-key charm, which is why it has been favoured by those in the know for the best part of a century. Hollywood and literary royalty were amongst its greatest fans: David Niven, Somerset Maugham, and Charlie Chaplin all had homes here.
It’s abundant greenery and grand villas set in landscaped gardens make it a truly picturesque retreat and an ideal port of call if you’re the yachting type, or just want to get a more discreet taste of Riviera life.
Brigitte Bardot with Eric Tabarly
If history is your thing, a visit to The Ephrussi de Rothschild Villa is a must. Built by Beatrice Rothschild an heiress to the banking dynasty’s immense fortune this stately home was constructed using an eclectic blend of architectural styles, ranging from Italian renaissance to Venetian. Sitting in landscaped gardens, it is filled with the type of Louis XVI furniture and priceless artworks that any collector would give their right arm for.
Grand-Hotel du Cap-Ferrat, French Riviera
For a truly atmospheric dinner, the La Veranda restaurant at the legendary Grand-Hôtel du Cap-Ferrat should be top of the list. Its alfresco set-up means you’ll be dining beneath 100-year-old Aleppo pines and enjoy stunning views across the Mediterranean. And the food isn’t bad either.
As you’ll be dining outdoors, one of our fine-knit cashmere-silk polos will keep your temperature on an even keel. Just layer it with a lightweight linen jacket, tailored wool trousers, and a nonchalantly draped linen scarf and you’ll look every inch the Riviera resident.
3. Panarea, Italy
Panarea, the second smallest island among the Aeolians, might only measure 3.4 km sq and have a mere 280 residents, but didn’t stop W Magazine describing it as “the epicentre of the chicest summer scene in the Mediterranean”.
It was declared a UNESCO heritage site in 2000 on account of its natural beauty. San Pietro, its main settlement, is mostly composed of picturesque white-washed houses once lived in by fisherfolk, which looks all the more striking against the sapphire and aquamarine sea. Here, cars are banned, making the island feel frozen in time.
If you fancy buying into your own slice of paradise, you have your work cut out. You need to know someone who already lives on the island to recommend you to the residents’ committee before you can even consider buying a vacant house, which of course, are eye-watering expensive. And when you consider that the island’s residents include a Bulgari, a Visconti, an Italian princess and a Belgian prince, it’s little wonder why it’s considered one of the most exclusive destinations in the Med.
If you’re a keen diver, there’s plenty to keep you busy here, with turquoise shallows teaming with sea life and a famous shipwreck to explore: the Lisca Blanca; a British merchant ship that foundered on rocks in the late 19th century. It sits at a challenging depth of 25-45m, and so is only for the truly skilled diver.
After you’ve taken the plunge and dried off, we’d suggest treating yourself to an afternoon cocktail on the terrace of the Raya boutique hotel, but you’ll want to be suitably attired first. The island’s laidback feel, reminiscent of the Sixties, denotes a more relaxed dress code, and our zesty mandarin Panarea shorts inspired by the nonchalance of life on the island are ideal. Combine it with our light-pink linen Versilia shirt and a pair of navy deck shoes and you’ll look and feel cool and collected no matter how high the mercury climbs.
4. Hvar, Croatia
Hvar, located just off of Croatia’s Dalmatian coast is one of the pearls of the Adriatic and a haven if you’re partial to nautical pursuits. Despite its relatively modest size 297 sq. km many nations have vied for control of the island over the centuries, including the Ancient Greeks, Venetians, Austrians and the French, leaving it with a rich historical legacy.
The capital, Hvar Town, has been dubbed the St Tropez of the Adriatic on account of its exclusive mooring spots, uber-cool watering holes and seafood restaurants. If you’re a fan of the fruits of the sea, we’d recommend you head to the island of Palmizana a short boat ride out of Hvar Town for a long, leisurely lunch at the Laganini fish house.
If you fancy getting out of town, an excursion to Napoleon’s fort (build under his orders when the French army invaded in 1806) sits in the hills above town, still keeping watch over it. Although the fort is now no longer in use, it boasts one of the best vantage points across the island, the Adriatic and mainland Croatia.
Summer Lunch Style
There’s also good news if you’re a wine connoisseur Hvar has numerous independent vineyards producing wines rarely seen outside of Croatia. Environmental laws controlling the use of chemical pesticides mean that Hvar’s wines are organic, making them taste all the better for it. Most crucially though, due to the absence of chemicals in the wine, you’ll stand a good chance of avoiding a splitting headache the next day even if you have one glass too many whilst touring the cellars.
While the dress code on Hvar is relatively relaxed, you’ll still want to scrub up after dark. But with temperatures in the summer seldom dropping below 20c in the evening, you’ll want something smart, but airy; our band-collar linen Forte shirt ticks all the right boxes. Opt for a striped or crisp white style and team it with a pair of slim-fit navy chinos and travel bag and you’ll be well set to hit the buzzing bar scene of Hvar Town.