Whether you’re celebrating retirement, a promotion, a reunion, surviving 2020, or perhaps the best reason of all: “I have always wanted to go there and now the nest is empty and I can”, travel is a great way to celebrate a milestone in your life. And a private yacht charter in the Greek Islands is about as celebratory as you can get! You can visit a stunning chain of islands without having to worry about accommodations, activities, and transportation. Charters let you discover hidden spots and idyllic beaches that are often only accessible by boat, and each day brings a new port with something different for everyone to enjoy.
Here’s everything you need to know to get started:
What is a Yacht Charter?
Chartering a yacht can take a couple of different forms. Basically, you are renting passage on a small ship to visit islands, beaches, and charming seaside towns. But there’s so much more to it.
Chartering a yacht gives you freedom and flexibility, a luxurious vacation, and a chance to maximize your time while still enjoying a slow island pace.
[Photo Credit: Chiara Bonetto via Unsplash]
Most yacht charter itineraries let you choose which spots you’re most excited to visit within a specific group of islands. Best of all, if you find a spot that is so idyllic that you want to spend an extra hour soaking it all in, or realize that this particular island just isn’t for you, a yacht gives you the flexibility to make those changes “on the fly”.
There are three main types of yachts to choose from for your voyage:
Motor: a motor yacht is more like a 5-star hotel on water. These yachts tend to be stylish, sporty, and speedy. They’re perfect for zipping between islands and covering more ground (water). They are usually a bit more spacious which makes them perfect for bigger groups.
Catamaran: These two-hulled vessels tend to be more stable on the water and more luxurious than other sailing yachts. With a little more space, you can expect larger cabins, decks, and lounges. Catamarans often have a full crew with a captain, chef, and gourmet meals included.
[Photo Credit: Patrick Lalonde via Unsplash]
Sailing Yacht: monohull sailing yachts are a bit smaller than the others. They also tend to be more susceptible to changing weather conditions, so sometimes your itinerary may literally depend on where the wind takes you. Sailing yachts give you a sense of adventure, a connection to the water, and a chance to immerse yourself in the myth and mystique of the seas. Sailing yachts typically come with a skipper who will steer you safely from port to port and offer a lot of local knowledge and lore about each spot.
Why is Greece the Perfect Charter Destination?
With more shoreline than anywhere else in Europe, the Greek Islands are the perfect place to explore by sea! There are roughly 6,000 islands to choose from (only 200 of which are inhabited) giving you a wide range of options. With superb food, stunning scenery, clear waters, and a balance between exciting nightlife and taking it easy, there’s plenty to love!
The postcards don’t lie — and seeing these gorgeous places in person you realize that a photo doesn’t even come close to what the islands offer. Plus, seeing the Greek Islands by yacht allows you to find the most peaceful and secluded spots. It’s easy to escape the crowds and celebrate with only your closest friends.
[Antiparos, The Cyclades Photo Credit: Dimitris Kiriakakis via Unsplash]
Whether you’re exploring ancient ruins, stopping at a local olive grove, hiking to stunning vistas, relaxing on golden sand, or diving under the waves for a bit of snorkeling, Greece offers activities for every kind of traveler.
Where Should You Go?
Everywhere you cruise you’ll be awed by the spectacular scenery of Greece. Whether you’re looking for nightlife in Mykonos or some peace and quiet on the Ionian Islands, each island has its own flavor and uniqueness.
The Grecian islands are separated into 6 different groups: The Dodecanese, The North Aegean, The Sporades, The Saronic Gulf, the Ionian Islands, and the Cyclades. For your first yachting experience, we recommend focusing on one of the latter three groups.
The Saronic Gulf: These islands are the most accessible from Athens and have been the preferred destination for wealthy Athenians for centuries. With charming alleys, meandering staircases, 19th-century mansions, and secluded beaches, these islands perfectly combine elegant social life with a slow-paced island atmosphere. Their closeness to Athens may seem like they’re ideal for day-trippers, but the stunning beaches are often only accessible by water. This makes them a perfect spot to experience via yacht charter.
[Hydra, Saronic Gulf Photo Credit:Despina Galani via Unsplash]
The Ionian Islands: Also known as the Eptanisa islands, there are seven main islands in this group. Being so close to Italy, you can see the influence of 400 years of Venetian occupation. There are traces of the Italian language, music, and colorful houses. The seas aren’t too windy and they boast incredible swimming spots, best explored from a yacht. These islands are ideal for those looking for relaxing ports, traditional villages, and an all-around peaceful getaway. The most famous spots include Corfu, Paxos, and Zakynthos.
[ A church inside an Old Venitian Fortress on Corfu, The Ionian Islands Photo Credit:Alexander Mils via Unsplash]
The Cyclades- The largest island group, these 2,000 islands (33 of which are inhabited) are located in the center of the Aegean Sea. They have been important trading posts since the Neolithic Age and are steeped in history– with plenty of ancient ruins to explore. The Cyclades offer you the most classic Greek Island experience, with whitewashed buildings, blue domes, pink bougainvilleas, and clustered villages atop mountainous terrain. From the cobalt blue sea to the bleached-rock landscape you’ll feel you’ve sailed into a postcard
[Oia, the Cyclades Photo Credit: Clement Souchet via Unsplash]
Characterized by charming towns and breath-taking views you’ll also find the Cyclades offer luxury boutique shopping and incredible restaurants. Even with the popularity of Santorini and Mykonos, the island group still has some hidden gems – found with the local guidance of your in-the-know skipper. The Aegean also can usually be counted on for gentle winds and low rolling waves — perfect sailing conditions.
[Paros, the Cyclades Photo Credit: Despina Galani via Unsplash]
What can you expect on a private yacht charter?
You’ll have flexibility without having to worry about making every tiny decision.
Why not enjoy breakfast before sailing to a new port where you can swim and enjoy the sea? Relax on the boat or snorkel followed by a traditional Greek lunch. You could sail a few more hours before arriving at a new port to explore, shop, and dine. While you’re sailing, perhaps try your hand at the helm or else let the skipper worry about it and take the time to relax, nap, read, or just enjoy the incredible views. When you arrive at an island port, your skipper can give you the lay of the land and direct you to the best local spots to eat, drink and enjoy.
Ready to let go of responsibilities and enjoy the magic of sailing around the Greek islands? If you’re ready to start planning your celebratory yacht charter, let us know!