Greece due to open for the height of the summer season
With 6,000 islands and islets, of which only 227 are inhabited, a yacht charter in the Greek Islands offers infinite cruising possibilities. Once the current travel restrictions are lifted, make sure you plan the ultimate holiday in this gem of a destination.
This corner of the East Mediterranean to which all western culture owes a debt, is a place that wears its heritage with pride while moving elegantly with the times, combining the classical with the contemporary to beautiful effect, and all beneath cloudless, sapphire skies.
From the old-world charm of the sugar-cube towns and villages that speckle the coast between towering cliffs and staggering sea arches, to the lush interiors whose pine-clad hilltops beckon, and the ancient sites rich in Greek mythology, it’s a land just waiting to be explored.
“Wisdom”, as Socrates so eloquently put it, “begins with wonder” so why not start planning your Greece dream yacht charter holiday with us today.
“Happy is the man, I thought, who, before dying, has the good fortune to sail the Aegean Sea” wrote Nikos Kazantzakis, celebrated Greek writer and philosopher, and we daresay on your Greek charter holiday you’ll find he had a point.
These stunning islands in the South Aegean are the most popular and well known of all of Greece’s island groups.
Each island has its own magnetism and charm, but wherever you drop anchor you’re guaranteed to find peaceful pearl-white villages with flashes of colour, endless views of blue seas, all-day sunshine, stunning landscapes and friendly locals – not to mention delicious cuisine.
The name ‘Cyclades’ means ‘encircling islands’, and these islands are so named because they form a rough circle around the sacred island of Delos, the legendary birthplace of Artemis and her twin brother Apollo, which is crammed with ancient treasures.
In this island group in the south-eastern Aegean you can see the result of a culture shaped by Byzantines, Italians, Greeks, Romans, even medieval crusading knights, and it was here at the World Heritage Site of Patmos, where St John wrote the bible’s Book of Revelation over 2,000 years ago.
The Dodecanese is the embodiment of the Greek Islands of our imagination – secluded coves, charming villages, history-steeped ruins, welcoming tavernas and, of course, the impossibly blue Aegean Sea, make Greece’s most southerly isles a perfect cruising destination.
These islands strung out along the west coast of mainland Greece still bear the marks of centuries of Venetian occupation in the Italianate style of housing and the local cuisine, giving them a slightly different feel to their eastern counterparts.
It is also the ultimate destination in Homer’s Odyssey, and once here it’s easy to see why the Greek hero spent 10 years trying to reach his island home of Ithaca, which still retains much of its natural beauty.
The island of Kythira, meanwhile, birthplace of Aphrodite, is set apart from the other Ionians and is less touristy and more traditional as a result. If dazzling white sand beaches backed by soaring cliffs is your vision of Greek charter holiday perfection, then this is it.
Take the blue seas, sandy beaches and lively tavernas required for a Greek charter holiday, add atmospheric ancient sites, brooding medieval castles, dramatic mountain peaks, pine-covered hills and a glorious absence of crowds and you have the Peloponnese, the southern peninsula of Greece.
The well-heeled and cosmopolitan resort of Porto Heli is the nucleus of what’s considered the Greek Riviera, a hub of exclusive restaurants and hotels popular with local celebrities and visiting yachts.
For more seclusion, wander the medieval tangle of alleys at Monemvasia, or bliss out on the beach paradise isle of Elafonisos.
Well placed for those who want to explore the many ancient sites of Athens, and relatively crowd-free, this small clutch of islands offers some of the most authentic sailing destinations in Greece.
Use it as a base to flit between city and sea, and don’t miss sites such as the classical temple of Aphaea, one of the architectural wonders of Ancient Greece.
The yacht crowd and wealthy Athenians often beeline for the car-free isle of Spetses further south in the Saronic Gulf, to chill out at one of the open-air cinemas or follow in the A-list footsteps of Marilyn Monroe and Ingrid Bergman at the Poseidonion Grand Hotel. Away from the fashion pack, the island’s interior offers excellent hiking.
These scattered isles in the Aegean are known for their wooded hills, sandy beaches, transparent waters and secluded coves.
Just four of the 24 isles are inhabited and boasting no fewer than 65 beaches – most of them sandy – Skiathos is the most developed of them all. A long-time favourite with Hollywood A listers, this beautiful island has bars, beaches and evening beats in abundance.
Just west of Skiathos, the larger island of Skopelos ticks all the Greek island boxes: sparkling coves, verdant hills, domed white churches, olive groves and a pretty harbour town.
The largest of a scattering of islands at the eastern end of the Sporades, Alonnisos is wilder and more undeveloped than its western neighbours. Thick with pine forests, oaks, fruit and olive trees in the fertile south, the island’s north in contrast is steep and rocky, the scent of wild oregano and thyme hanging in the air.
12th June 2020 |