Greece offers almost 6,000 islands and islets to explore on a luxury yacht charter and, as only 227 of these are inhabited, many of these islands and their beautiful beaches are accessible only by boat. Endless possibilities to explore a combination of cosmopolitan, yachting hotspots, ancient history, and secluded bays and islets are presented by five main island groups, all unique in their beauty and charm.
Scattered across the Aegean Sea to the southeast of the mainland, the 220 islands of the Cyclades form the most popular cruising area in Greece. Within easy reach of Athens, the archipelago is renowned for the white-washed, cuboid houses that tumble down hillsides to meet glittering azure waters. Itineraries can encompass jetsetter hotspots such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros and Naxos, as well as more peaceful islets and bays. The best time to charter a yacht in the Cyclades is June through to mid-July as the waters are subject to strong winds at other times of the year.
Lying to the south of Athens, between the north eastern coast of the Peloponnese and the peninsula of Attica, the Saronic Islands boast calm, protected waters suitable for year-round sailing. Plus, just a two hour’s sail away from the capital, these islands are perfect for day yacht charters. Steeped in ancient tradition and natural beauty, the understated island-chain’s main attractions are Hydra and Aegina but the idyllic gems of Angistri, Poros and Spetses are equally as impressive.
The crescent-shaped archipelago of the Dodecanese Islands is located in the south east of the Aegean Sea, just off the Turkish coast. Across its 12 large islands and 150 islets are seemingly no-end of Byzantine churches and medieval castles, and the climate ranges from temperate to dry tropical, with an extended dry summer period. Well-known islands to visit on your private yacht rental here include Rhodes and Kos, while the more peaceful offerings of Leros and Pserimos are ideal for getting off the beaten track.
Comprised of seven main islands located on the western coast of Greece, the Ionian Islands offer lush landscapes of verdant pine forests and olive groves not seen on the other Greek islands. Calm and predictable sailing conditions, and miles of beaches make this area perfect yacht charter territory. Although split into the north and south islands, the whole island-chain can be taken in on a two-week charter itinerary and one of the highlights is undoubtedly Corfu.
Laced across the northwest of the Aegean Sea, just off the east coast of Greece, the Sporades have been nicknamed ‘the emerald of the Aegean’ thanks to its rich vegetation and the vibrant blue-green hue of its waters. The 24 islands are an authentic charter destination for those looking for seclusion, natural beauty and a taste of traditional Greek culture. The summer months are warm and dry, and the cruising conditions are fantastic for private boat rentals. Not to be missed is the bay of Koukounaries on Skiathos, Alonissos’ monk seal national marine park and Skopelos – where scenes from hit movie Mamma Mia were shot.
Planning your Luxury Yacht Charter to Greece
No matter what Greek island chain you wish to explore by luxury yacht, your charter vacation is sure to begin out of Athens Marina in Faliro Bay. The best superyachts of the region are permanently based here and, although some private crewed yachts are available to pick up in your intended cruising grounds, your choice will be severely limited. Similar to other destinations in the Mediterranean, Greece’s charter season reaches its peak during the months of June, July and August but to escape the crowds and experience cooler yet still pleasant temperatures, it is well worth undertaking your yacht rental holiday in May, September and October.
Chartering a Private Yacht in the Greek Islands
For more information about renting a private luxury charter yacht in the Greek Islands please contact your preferred Yacht Charter Broker, who will be able to help you plan your dream itinerary, combining your party's needs with recommendations about the best time to visit this idyllic destination.