It is easy to see why Greece is such an enduringly popular yachting destination. Dive into crystal clear waters of sapphire, turquoise and blinding aquamarine. Explore rocky cliffs and lemon groves, shipwrecks rusting on powdery white sand beaches, and striking ancient temples. Discover whitewashed villages and windmills and dive mountain ranges beneath the sea. Pass the time in rustic tavernas and Michelin star restaurants, luxury spas and glamorous boutiques.
There are around 2000 Greek islands, each with a proud history that stretches back to ancient times when the gods were thought to play their merry havoc with the lives of the humans below.
So, how do you choose between the islands? How do you chart your course?
When it comes to deciding which islands to visit, there are three major island chains that deserve your consideration as a luxury yacht charter destination.
Anchor your yacht below the vast cliffs of the ancient volcano of Santorini, a whitewashed village perched high above. Shop in luxury boutiques, take a donkey path to an isolated beach, or drink a cocktail by an infinity pool that shimmers and falls away into the Aegean Sea far below. On Mykonos, walk among the windmills and along famous sandy beaches, then hit the high end restaurants and glamorous clubs that make this island a mecca for superyachts in the summertime. If you want to walk among the gods, set your course for the deserted island of Delos, the mythical birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. In ancient times this was sacred ground, on which no-one was allowed to be born, or to die. Today, this island is an outdoor museum; take a wonderful stroll among ancient sculptures and artefacts that stand strong against the passing of the centuries.
Perhaps you prefer the greener isles and Venetian feel of the Ionian Islands? On Zakynthos visit the utter perfection of the famed Shipwreck Beach, or kayak through the Blue Caves carved out of the limestone cliffs. On Kefalonia, watch an opera performance among giant stalactites in the extraordinary Drogoroti Cave, and visit Melissani Cave, where sunlight streams in onto a captured lake, the blue water refracting in magical tricks of the light. Visit Ithaca island, the famed birthplace of Homer’s hero Odysseus, or enjoy some of the world’s best water sports beaches on Lefkada. Snorkel with loggerhead turtles and eat fresh seafood in a rustic taverna, or visit Byzantine churches and Venetian palaces in Corfu.
The Dodecanese Islands show their past. Close to Turkey, this group of 15 larger plus 150 smaller Greek islands have been passed between nations for millennia, and each civilisation has left its mark. Rich in history and natural beauty, each island has a character and story of its own. Less touristy than the Cyclades or Ionian Islands, the Dodecanese is a magnificent yacht charter destination. The Colossus of Rhodes statue, erected in the city of Rhodes and one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, is simply unmissable. Explore ruined temples and glorious beaches by day, and enjoy the sophisticated dining and club scene as the sun sets over the Aegean Sea. For those who love adventure, climb to the volcanic crater on the beautiful island of Nisyros. The Dodecanese islands are all quiet different in geography; some are arid and flat and others green and mountainous. Set sail between them and enjoy the tranquil coves and pretty fishing villages, the stunning beaches and rugged mountains.
Turkey - The Turquoise Coast
With more than 4400 miles of coastline on the Mediterranean, Aegean and Baltic Seas, Turkey offers some of the most beautiful experiences on earth for a luxury yacht charter.
Packed with history, stunning scenery and a vibrant culture, a yacht charter in Turkey can take you along limestone coasts of deep pine forests and secret coves, to the ancient ruins of Ephesus or a bustling spice bazaar in Istanbul. Enjoy delicious Turkish food, explore Byzantine palaces and dock in award-winning luxury marinas. At this meeting point of Europe and Asia, the ancient and the modern collide in an extraordinary feast for the senses.
On the Turquoise Coast, known for its brilliant blue waters and warm Mediterranean climate, yacht guests will enjoy some of the best cruising that Europe has to offer. Mark Antony is reputed to have given Cleopatra this stretch of coast as a wedding gift, and we can only imagine she would have been impressed. Today, with quiet anchorages, sapphire waters and pretty fishing villages, this stretch of coastline offers ancient ruins and perfect sand beaches. The diving is spectacular, with the rocky coastline riddled with underwater tunnels, caves and drop-offs. One of the most wonderful sites is Afkule I, where caves teem with shrimp and coloured fish and the rock walls glow with colours under the sea. Stop in pretty coastal towns to explore, or anchor in a secluded cove and bake fresh-caught fish on a fire at a luxury beach picnic, with white cloth tables and lanterns set up on the sand.
Among the quiet pines and sheer cliffs, history waits. At Kaunos you will find grand stone tombs and temples built by the ancient Lycians and Carians. The most magnificent line the cliffs of the Dalyan river and you can anchor in Tomb Bay and explore the ruins of the city, where a theatre, baths and old temples are still fairly intact. After a day’s exploring the Turquoise coast you can relax in one of the mud baths or thermal springs that this region is known for - at Göcek, a bay is known as Cleopatra’s Baths, and the secret to her beauty is said to be found in the waters. Stop in Türkbükü, a glamorous port with excellent restaurants, or the world-famous Bodrum, with its crusader castle and busy yacht marina.
Of course, there are many more islands to see, and many treasures to discover. On a luxury yacht charter. Please contact the bluewater charter team for more information on all that Greece has to offer for your next superyacht charter.