Group: Forum Members
Over the 10 years we were in Europe, there were times I would have given body parts for a dual passport (one of which was EU). If heading to Northern Europe from the Azores, many stop first in Ireland and then continue on. If you have the time there is a ton of wonderful cruising between Azores and Stockholm.
Almost all of it, however, is in areas that do not get you out of VAT territory. Exceptions (please check all of this for yourself as this is too important to leave to casual advice) include the Channel Islands which I used on a number of occasions. We used the CI for both a wonderful place to cruise and for VAT purposes on a number of occasions. Buy fuel, go to the marina, etc and keep all receipts, keep all official paperwork, etc.
Norway is another option that takes you out of VAT (they have their own VAT, I believe). Another option is to push on into the Baltic and visit St. Petersburg. This takes planning ahead, but the distances are not as great as might be thought at first blush. All are definitely out of the way, though.
As for over-wintering spots, I am a CCA member. Please contact me off line for some CCA members who are cruising that area who have left their boats here and there who might be helpful.
My best, Dick Stevenson, s/v Alchemy