The perennial appeal of the Greece luxury yacht charter grounds can be attributed to wonderfully warm weather, scenic and secretive locations from childhood myths and legends, and myriad beaches skirted by clear blue seas hiding treasures below. There are so many options that it can be hard to know where to begin, so here is our choice of the seven most beautiful luxury yacht charter destinations where culture and adventure go hand-in-hand.
The brilliant green forests that sit atop the high, fortress-like white cliffs of the Ionian Islands look like a place where nymphs and satyrs would make themselves right at home. Over summer, it’ll be the sensational beaches that you make your own residence for afternoons sunbathing and playing on the water toys, then sunset dining and stargazing under unpolluted skies.
Savour the serenity at destinations such as Arkoudillas Beach and follow the pathways to the views at the ruined Monastery of Panagia. At the other end of the island, Corfu Town has an extensive collection of museums with subjects spanning from antiquity to the present day. If this is not enough to slake your desire for culture, take a stroll around some of the numerous impressive landmarks, amongst them the Old Fortress complete with lighthouse and Byzantine art collection.
Other nearby attractions include the archaeological gems situated in Butrint National Park in Albania across the water, and the island of Othonoi to the northwest. Here, the otherworldly beauty of Aspri Ammos Beach is the location of Calypso’s Grotto from Greek legend. It’s the perfect place to make your own summer stories.
It’s difficult not to add several Ionian Islands to this list, however Lefkada has earned its place for its gorgeous white sand beaches stretching all the way down the western side of the island, plus plenty of secretive anchorages to be found all the way around the coast. The clear blue shallows are wonderfully warm in summer to give the feeling of slipping into a bath. Snorkel around the lagoons, keeping an eye out for octopus, and let your Captain take you to the best fishing spots to catch your own dinner. Lefkada Town at the northeast tip of the island has a large collection of museums to learn more about life in times gone by, as you stretch your legs on a scenic walk about town.
The Saronic Islands are surprisingly underdeveloped considering their proximity to Greece’s capital, and the region is often passed over by tourists in favour of more famous islands farther out. Car-free Hydra is an easy cruise from Athens by motor yacht or under sail, and it feels like a step back in time. Take the hiking paths to viewpoints and monasteries, followed by sunbathing and watersports around one of the pebble beaches in a secluded bay. The majority of attractions are clustered around Hydra Town, and once you’ve satisfied your curiosity, you can cruise off to the bountiful fishing spots to catch your dinner while savouring a cocktail along with the views.
This volcanic island in the Cyclades is a must-see attraction for many reasons, not just the scenic blue and white buildings at the island capital, Fira. Take the hiking trails from Fira to Oia, visit Ancient Thira, the Santorini Arts Factory and the ruins of Akrotiri. Once you’re done exploring what the land has to offer, you’re ready for the true beauty of Santorini – hidden below the sea.
The island of Nea Kameni is the peak of the mostly submerged caldera, and its coast is popular with snorkellers and Scuba divers alike due to its excellent biodiversity and unusual lava formations. Labyrinthine structures and caves will tempt more experienced divers, while the wreck of the 34m/112ft SANTA MARIA 18m/59ft is also a great way for beginner divers to get more experience around an engaging site.
If it’s an active lifestyle you seek with parties lasting long into the night, Mykonos is the place to be. Mykonos boasts an impressive number of modern art galleries and luxury shops and boutiques nestled into its traditional streets for some personal pampering in a picturesque setting. Dance to the beats of international DJs once night descends, then wake to a new anchorage and a quiet sandy beach far from the crowds.
Go big game fishing and receive a tasty reward for your success, and take the afternoon to snorkel and Scuba dive in arresting underwater seascapes. Around the small island of Prasonisia, the shallows dip from 5m/16ft down to 18m/59ft and feature ancient amphora in crystal clear water as the unconcerned marine life drifts by. Experienced divers should bring along their cameras for the well-lit rock formations in the Dragonisi Island Caverns, and the wreck of the ANNA II has become an impressive artificial reef covered in sea sponges and swarming with tiny fish.
Close to the Turkish Riviera, also known as the Turquoise Coast, Rhodes is best known for the Palace of the Grand Master of the Knights of Rhodes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Wander through the streets to absorb the local ambiance and discover museums, fortresses and art galleries as you go. The restaurants and cafes give plenty of opportunity to rest your feet while tasting local delicacies, and at if you still have energy after sundown head to the cocktail bars and clubs.
The warm clear waters are home to turtles, rays and dolphins for rewarding wildlife encounters. Snorkellers and Scuba divers can look forward to a variety of scenic swimming spots, including the intact wreck of the GIANNOULA K at Plimmiri. It’s possible to explore the upper decks and engine room of this vessel, which lies at a maximum depth of 22m/72ft. The caverns within the Pentanissos Islet create another impressive site for more experienced divers, however if you would prefer to stay high and dry, sun worshippers have myriad beaches for an afternoon at rest.
The southernmost island in the Cyclades has it all: Ambrosial beaches, towering mountains that descend into verdant valleys and gorges, the remnants of an ancient civilisation and prosperous seaside towns for shopping, art, cuisine, culture and events to entertain day or night. Chania, Rethymnon and Heraklion are the main settlements to command your attention, while other areas of the coast are home to beautiful, secluded anchorages such as Vathi Beach, and the Neolithic Matala Caves.
Use your cruising freedom to visit Gavdos, a place with little to offer but the wonders of nature. Whether you want to free yourselves from social media or show off the gorgeous holiday hotspots, the unspoiled beaches can be your playground for as long as you desire. Paralia Beach has golden sands and glassy emerald waters, and as a point of interest, Trypiti is the southernmost point of Greece and Europe.
As is the case with Santorini, Crete conceals its greatest sights underwater. Agios Nikolaos and Elounda are exceptional for snorkellers and scuba divers alike, with reefs attracting loggerhead turtles and a variety of other marine species, ceramic vases from the Neolithic period, a sunken Minoan city and aircraft wrecks from WWII. See the marine life at Schinaria, go to Chiana for some easy and picturesque snorkelling spots, and more advanced divers should not miss the opportunity to enter the exceptional Elephant’s Cave at Akrotiri. Past the ominous stalagmites and stalactites, the fossilised remains of extinct elephants lie upon the floor. Warm up in the Jacuzzi or on the sunbeds back on board with the knowledge that you have seen sights few are even aware are there.
Learn more about the motor yachts and sailing yachts available in the Greece luxury yacht charter grounds, and secure your preferred vessel soon to avoid missing out on the popular summer season.