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 dream Greece yacht charter holiday with us today.
Most of Greece has a Mediterranean climate, meaning that it is typically hot and dry during the day in summer (June to August) with balmy evenings, and wet and mild in winter (November to March). Though this does differ in the more northerly regions of Greece, which have a more Alpine climate.
For this reason, the main charter season in Greece runs from late March to September, with the high season running from July to August, when there are average daily temperatures of between 25°C (77°F) and 27°C (81°F), though highs of over 30°C (61°F) are common.
Many people prefer to charter a yacht in Greece outside the high season (April to early June, for instance) when it is still warm but not stiflingly hot.
Anyone who’s anyone knows that Santorini, that most dramatic of isles where whitewashed buildings topped with vibrant blue domes rise from the lip of a caldera like an offering to the gods, is the place to be seen.
However, Mykonos is where most hedonists head to, and whether you whizz over by tender or arrive by helicopter, there are plenty of lively beach clubs, such as Nammos, where you can sink sundowners in good company.
Food across the Greek Islands has stepped up a notch over recent years. There are upmarket restaurants in Santorini of course but real foodies know the isle of Sifnos is the place to be.
There are so many sights to see in the Greek Islands it can be hard to know where to begin but with a yacht charter, Greece becomes so much more accessible. There are countless coves and bays where you can drop anchor and swim in azure waters in peace or for more of an epic adventure, explore the extraordinary Drogarati Cave in Kefalonia, which is some 150 million years old.
Alternatively, jump in the tender and make shoreside visits to islands drenched in history, such as Delos, the cradle of the gods, where you can walk amid antiquities of the Archaic through the Classical and the Hellenistic periods.
For an old-meets-new vibe, head to Hydra, a no-car island where traditional tavernas have been joined by cool new restaurants, galleries and clubs. With the right yacht rental, Greece is yours for the taking.
“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.
What is the currency in Greece?
Greece is part of the European Union and its currency is the Euro. While most restaurants and exclusive resorts will accept credit cards, it is worth carrying some cash on you, especially if you are planning on visiting any of the more remote islands or establishments off the beaten track.
Language spoken in Greece
Greek is the national language of Greece, though English, German, French and Italian are often spoken by staff in resorts.
Time zone in Greece
Greece abides by the Eastern European Time Zone, which is Greenwich Mean Time +3. As a member of the European Union it also observes the Daylight Saving Time rules so its clocks go forward by an hour in spring and back an hour in autumn.