With over 6,000 islands, of which only 227 are inhabited, and countless miles of coastline to explore – the longest in Europe – Greece offers perhaps the most idyllic charter yacht cruising grounds in the world. Bursting with cultural appeal, historic relics and diverse character, the Greek Islands offer a life-time of cruising delights and memorable experiences for your luxury charter yacht vacation.
There are five main areas, each one unique and each with its own beauty, appeal, historic charm and plethora of sandy beaches, tranquil coves, fascinating ports and traditional lifestyles to experience.
The most famous island group is the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea comprising of some of the most idyllic islands. Pristine sandy beaches with shimmering azure water, white and blue architecture, picturesque chapels, local people who still live the traditional ways and offer a warm, hospitable welcome to visitors makes the Cyclades a treasure trove of experiences.
The name "Cyclades" refers to the islands forming a circle (the name in English means: "circular islands") around the sacred island of Delos. According to the Greek mythology, Poseidon, God of the sea, was furious at the Cyclades nymphs and turned them into islands.
And here are a few of our favourites islands:
Mykonos takes its name from the grandson of Apollo. Greece's most glamorous and popular island, Mykonos is a whitewashed paradise in the heart of the Cyclades. Despite its popularity, there is a simple, traditional side to life here. For the luxury charter yacht guest, there is ample diversity to experience. Whether you are looking for night life, celebrity spotting and entertainment, or wishing to explore the island's history and traditions, Mykonos surpasses expectations.
A UNESCO world-heritage site, Delos is replete with ancient history, just a few miles away from cosmopolitan Mykonos. Delos is the birthplace of the immortals. In ancient times, the myth of the god Apollo, god of light, and goddess Artemis were born on Delos, making Delos sacred.
Today, Delos is a significant archaeological site. No other island on earth hosts as many monumental antiquities from the Archaic, the Classical, and the Hellenistic periods. Delos is as history buff's dream and just as compelling for the average visitor seeking to immerse themselves in Greek culture.
Great poets have sung its praises during Santorini's 4,000 year history. Crescent-shaped Santorini (or Thíra), is the precious gem of the Aegean and one of the must-see for charter yacht guests. It is actually a group of islands consisting of Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni in the southernmost part of Cyclades.
The whole complex of Santorini islands is still an active volcano (the same as Méthana, Mílos and Nísiros) and probably the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea.
There are not many places in the world where you can enjoy exquisitely clear waters while perched on the rim of a massive active volcano in the middle of the sea! Santorini is also blessed with seaside treasures: deep blue waters and beaches with white, red or black sand or volcanic pebbles, spectacular rock formations and impressive lunar landscapes.
Firá is the picturesque capital of the island, perched high up on the edge of the Caldera. Together with Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni located high above on a cliff, they make up the so-called "Caldera's eyebrow", the balcony of Santorini, which offers an amazing view of the volcano.
Other famous smaller villages are Akrotíri and Méssa Vounó, with their famous archaeological sites, Pýrgos, Karterádes, Emporió, Ammoúdi, Finikiá, Períssa, Perívolos, Megalohóri, Kamári, Messariá and Monólithos: some of them cosmopolitan and others like time has stood still and Greek traditional life is preserved untouched.
A visit to Santorini is the ultimate gastronomic experience, as the island is a true culinary paradise. Traditional ingredients include cherry tomatoes, red peppers, white egg plants, fava, caper and "hloró tyrí", a special kind of fresh goat cheese found on the island, and the island is famous for its exceptional wines produced from grapes grown in the volcanic soil. Assyrtiko, Athyri, Aidani, Mantilaria and Mavrotragano are just some of the distinctive varieties that you can taste at the island's famous wineries, many of them with their own restaurants and museums.
The site of the 1988 movie "The Big Blue", Amorgòs, is considered one of the most impressive Cycladic islands, boasting marvellous beaches with azure waters, caves, diving spots, scenic bays and ancient footpaths through steep rocky terrain.
Inhabited since the Protocycladic Era, there are some significant archaeological finds in the area, Amorgós has a long cultural history and tradition. Step off the beaten track and immerse yourself in the traditional way of life, where hospitable locals take pride in sharing their culinary and cultural identity.
On Ayia Anna beach, there are two amazing bays, one of which is home to the church of Ayia Anna. The beach is pebbly, with rocks and caves, crystalline waters and is ideal for snorkelling.
Enjoy the stunning view of the Monastery of the Virgin Mary Hozoviótissa carved into the steepest rock of Mt. Profitis Elias. Mouros Beach with its rocky landscape and secluded caves is also impressive.
With its unrivalled natural beauty, beaches with crystal clear waters, Byzantine footpaths connecting traditional villages and breathtaking landscapes, Páros is one of the best-loved charter yacht destinations in Greece.
Parikía (Parikiá), the capital of Páros, is a beautiful Cycladic village with whitewashed houses and neoclassical mansions. A well preserved 13th century Venetian castle offers an amazing view of Parikía and there are many other attractions, including the 6th century church of Panayia Ekatontapyliani, also called Katapoliani with its Byzantine Museum, as well as an Archaeological Museum nearby.
With rustic villages such as Náoussa, Léfkes and Márpissa and sun-drenched beaches, like Chrissí Aktí, Santa Maria and Poúnda, Paros offers the charter yacht visitor a fascinating fusion of ancient and modern lifestyles. Hiking, watersports, a myriad of cultural festivals and even canoeing around the island are all activities charter yacht guests can enjoy.
One of most peaceful islands of the Cyclades, Irakleia offers a quiet place for complete relaxation. The peaceful streets and lack of tourists are a tonic for charter yacht guests who call in. The two main settlements of the island are Panagia or Chora. The island's port is in Agios Georgios.
For those who love diving, the island has a fascinating dive spot abundant in sealife. While there are relatively few mod-cons, the island has a heliport and its restaurants have a plentiful array of local dishes on offer: fava, cheese and thyme honey, goat, lamb, and pork, all farmed locally.
For further details of charters in Greece and the luxury charter yachts available there please contact the specialist team at the Luxury Charter Group now.