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Which Greek island is right for you?

By Mairead Finlay   26 May 2021

Streets sing with color, hilltops fizz with green and aquamarine waters abound with glimmering vitality: Greece’s islands have enduring superyacht appeal. Whether you seek isles that are buzzing, refined or endearingly remote, these Mediterranean jewels work like a balm for any itinerary.

Hydra

Best for: Unbridled escapism and the slower rhythm of daily life

Island group: Saronic Islands

Stairs melt into whitewashed walls and nameless streets are canopied by velvety, magenta blooms

When donkeys are the de rigueur form of land transportation —cars and bikes are prohibited — the tone of the diminutive isle is undeniably set. Sheltered Hydra is the ne plus ultra of barefoot bohemia, where a constant throng of yachts gently nod along at its seafront, but its celestial calm is never truly compromised. Attracting artistic luminaries for decades, you'll realize why when you arrive: life passes in a sun-drenched dream here, with little required of you but to swim, sip, and wonder.

Stairs melt into whitewashed walls and nameless streets are canopied by looming bougainvillea in velvety, magenta blooms. Ancient acropolises and villas amphitheatrically line the harbor in a caramel-colored haze, perfumed by a citrussy breeze. Endless gazing in Hydra is indeed par for the course. 

Hydra, Greece
Hydra streets
Port in Hydra

Be whisked away on your tender to loll on isolated beaches like Agios Nikolaos, Limnioniza and Nisiki:  a mélange of sand and pebble ensconced by a thick blanket of ultramarine. Given Hydra's protected yet minuscule port, Mandraki Bay garners most larger yachts' attention, as does Molos Bay in the west. Alternatively, vessels can moor on one of the many buoys strewn along the island's coves.

After a day of diving off burnished rocks or hoisting jet skis onto the waters, let warmed feet meander towards a beachside taverna for a peppy revival and order a piquant retsina (local wine infused with the resin of Aleppo pines). Continue festivities onboard with the silhouette of Athens lingering as a silvery blur in the distance.

Mykonos

Best for: Dawn-til-dusk parties, iconic hedonism, gorgeous beaches

Island group: Cyclades Islands

Mykonos at night

Legendary beach clubs in Mykonos include Nammos and Scorpios

Sybarites are enamored by Mykonos. Days alternate between basking onboard or on icing sugar sands and shimmying in a tangle of bronzed limbs at an uber-chic bar. Dropping anchor along the banana curves of Ornos or Psarou Bay (both sheltered by the sometimes temperamental Meltemi wind) put the superyacht set at center stage for revelry.

Choose from a bonanza of beach clubs in Mykonos. The most-coveted include the exclusive Nammos resort complete with its own designer shopping village, and Scorpios, for bohemian bacchanal at its finest: a honeyed collection of bamboo cabanas, rattans and terracottas.

For unadulterated hedonism under apricot skies. Super Paradise Beach Club or Cavo Paradiso's raucous party scene beckons. Elsewhere, clink champagne flutes at Queen of Mykonos, an upmarket bar located on one of the island's most moneyed streets. 

Psarou bay greece
Mykonos, chora

Mykonos has a veritable honeypot of beaches. Families flock to Lia, the beau monde convenes on Paraga, whilst guests looking to steer clear of both make their way towards Agios Sostis. If your charter is more kayaks than cocktails, try gin-clear Panormos Beach. For something a little zippier, try Agrari or Elia Beach, known for their windier climes ideal for jet skis and windsurfing.

Weave moments of serene repose and cruise Rineia, an islet a mere six nautical miles from Mykonos, populated only by a few hundred sheep, cattle and a handful of maquis-lined paths. Take pleasure in being one of the rare few to reach this sliver of unfettered, herb-fragranced paradise, where amethyst waters meet a Bahamas-like scatter of sands. For more sedate souls looking for respite from the throbbing beat of the main city, it's heaven.

Make sure to mention Rineia when booking your yacht charter, as a special license will need to be arranged beforehand in order to moor and stay the night. 

Kefalonia

Best for: Exquisite beach and island-hopping

Island group: Ionian Islands

Garlanded by a string of islands (including the Odyssey-famous Ithaca) Kefalonia abounds in photogenic and ethereal charm that yacht charters will adore. Eye-poppingly blue Myrtos Beach is a notable standout, cradled by cliffs covered in a cloud of pines, meeting a milky white pebble crescent. After a day's sunbathing, slink into your pool of bubbles on deck with canapés and a tipple at the ready, and watch the sunset cast its fiery glow. 

Myrtos beach Kefaloniakefalonia floral street
Kefalonia Fiskardo

When underwater frolicking tires, the Venetian fishing villages of Assos and Fiskardo await

For more secluded beaches (and better snorkeling spots) the mellow waters of dinky Dafnoudi (inaccessible by car) or nearby Emblisi Beach are glorious. Koroni and Lefka Beach also see many Loggerhead sea turtles congregate on their shores, enjoying the solitude found on this southern tip.

When underwater frolicking tires, the Venetian fishing villages of Assos and Fiskardo, daubed in a confectionary stucco, await. Anchor overnight at nearby Foki Bay and take a tender towards the center for a seafood tapestry of lobster, scampi, and fried calamari at Tassia.  A vision of Santorini-blue seating by the port, the humble restaurant was the very first to open in the village and has attracted the glitterati for decades.

Read more: Escape to the Ionian Islands Yacht Charter Itinerary

Symi

Best for: Achingly pretty scenery and archeological ruins

Island group: Dodecanese Islands

Symi Greece

Symi is Greece's Villefranche-sur-Mer, with its main port strongly resembling the French Riviera in both beauty and ambiance. A soaring sight awash in a dreamy, neoclassical sea of ice-cream colored villas and the odd flash of a cypress tree, its lustre never ceases among yacht charter guests. On land, this view also happens to be an expedition in itself: more than 500 steps are coiled through the cliffs, leading to a crumbling acropolis at the peak.

Yachts can first slide into Symi's large central bay for an aesthetically pleasing kick, stepping ashore to peruse its designer boutiques. Refuel with a rosé-fueled feast onboard or a hearty mezze platter at the seafront.

Symi is Greece's Villefranche-sur-Mer, strongly resembling the French Riviera town in both beauty and ambiance

And of course, like most Greek isles, Symi has beach cachet. Spend a joyously untaxing afternoon sampling a selection of them by tender, like one would a fine wine. Gorgeous Marathounda and Disalonas elude the crowds (but do attract the odd grazing goat) and can only be reached by boat. For uncovering sunken villages visit Nimborio, and to explore watery Edens in the deep blue, Agios Georgios Dysalonas, Pedi Beach and the islet of Saint Marina are where you will see a cornucopia of marine variety. Think a kaleidoscopic circus of seals, turtles, seahorses and shimmering parades of mackerel and tuna.

Alonissos

Best for: Isolated beauty and world-class diving

Island group: Sporades Islands

An azure twinkle, Alonissos's only melody is the soft whistle of olive and fig trees

Aerial view of Alonissos
Alonissos beach in Greece
diving in greece

A remote, azure twinkle, Alonissos's only melody is the soft whistle of olive and fig trees, whilst on its multitude of bays and coves the footprints are likely to be yours alone. 

Yacht charter guests must visit Agios Dimitrios Beach: a delightful speck of swooshing pebbles, and the protected cove of Kokkinokastro, with its splendid shades of cinnamon extending from sand to roaring cliff. And for scuba diving aficionados, you are in luck: all of Alonissos's waters are part of a protected marine park. Floating through palatial towers of flowering coral and curious groups of golden groupers or scuttling lobster is simply magic. Several uninhabited islets surrounding Alonnisos are the refuge of turtles, monk seals and dolphins too, and well-worth discovering.

Anchorage wise, opt for Mourtia, Gylfa, Votsi or Tzortzi Bay. You can also moor at its main marina in Patitiri. The latter is the epicenter of the island: a vibrant bevy of tavernas, cafés, and bobbing fishing boats, accompanied by a honeysuckle and apricot-lined backdrop. And only the faintest of winds ripple through these waters. 

Untouched by mass tourism, blissful seclusion certainly defines Alonissos. 

Booking a yacht rental in Greece

For guests looking to book a yacht charter in Greece this summer, we strongly advise that you consult your chosen yacht charter broker as soon as possible. 

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