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There can be no better way to explore the famous — and not-so famous — islands and destinations Greece has to offer than by superyacht. The Greeks have always had a deeply rooted affiliation with the sea, and Greece offers a particularly versatile yachting experience, as the country’s myriad of islands to explore presents such different personalities.
From the windmills and idyllic white-washed houses of the Cyclades, to the olive-tinted landscapes and blue waters of the Ionian islands, it can be quite easy to see why Greece is an increasingly busy superyacht destination.
Together with some insight from Lucy Ritchie, charter broker at Fraser, we explore what makes Greece such an essential adventure to experience on a yacht.
Greece has a Mediterranean climate with plenty of sunshine, mild temperatures and a limited amount of rainfall. Due to the country's geographical position, its rugged relief and its distribution between the mainland and the sea, there is a great amount of disparity in Greece's climate.
Summers in Greece are usually very hot, and in July and August temperatures usually reach 30 to 35°C, but sometimes even 40°C and more. Due to the country's unique geography, Greece has a unique range of micro-climates and local variations.
The Meltemi, also known as the North Winds, are strong dry north winds that blow during the summer yachting season in the Aegean Islands. The winds start during the middle of May right through to mid-September – and some claim until October. It starts in the afternoon quite strongly, until the early evening when it dies down.
The Meltemi Winds are a large reason yachts in this area like to start the day’s cruise in the mornings.
Entering and cruising in Greece is pretty straightforward, and largely the same as many other EU destinations, although there are some more interesting pointers to note:
Lucy recommended Spetses to us as a must-stop destination on a charter, telling us, "Depending upon the time of year and what your desires are, Spetses is a real gem. An island with no cars, it gets a bit busy in high season but in May/June it is delightful with great shops and romantic restaurants to be enjoyed. A honeymooners paradise, watch the sun setting from the romantic viewpoint as the dolphins frolic around right in front of you!"
Mykonos is an island in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea. It's popularly known for its summer party atmosphere and is located right in the middle of the Aegean, making for a convenient base from which to explore the less touristy, more remote islands and coves Greece has to offer.
If you’re looking for your own secluded beach on a deserted island, look no further than Rinia. Visitable only via private boat as there are no public services to the island, and with nothing on the island other than a few ancient ruins and farmers’ huts used by locals to tend to their crops, there are almost zero tourists here at any one time. With no hotels or amenities, those that do visit typically only do so for a few hours.
This amazing Greek island has lots of small picturesque villages and vineyards, and is a top scenic destination in the Aegean Islands. Many villages have beautifully restored buildings which offer visitors the opportunity to experience Greek life in a truly authentic way. It’s also a top destination for swimming and diving in crystal blue Greek waters.
Lefkada is still one of the most accessible and popular of all the Ionian Islands. It has a warm Mediterranean climate and steeped in antiquity. Fringed by many beautiful white sandy beaches Lefkada is ideal for superyachts to moor. Take in the spectacular views when you drop anchor for an unforgettable vacation. It’s connected to the mainland by a floating bridge and a long causeway, quite an exciting experience.
With a volcanic landscape, cultural attractions and a wonderful haven for superyachts, Santorini is the place to be. It’s now the destination for many travellers who want something a little different when on vacation. With stunning panoramic views, this heaven on earth Greek Island makes dreams come true.
Lucy had a clear favourite when it came to anchorage spots, telling us, "For me, the best kept secret is a little bay on one of the uninhabited Islets of Hydra not far from Poros. You can waterski, paddleboard walk ashore and climb up to the mountainous peaks. I also definitely recommend speaking to Greek captains – most of them have spent their whole lives cruising around these Islands and each one will have a special little cove unknown by most. Definitely ask your captain, there’s so much to discover."
Boasting the blue seas of the Saronic Gulf as its backdrop and only six kilometres away from the historic centre of Athens, Flisvos Marina provides easy access to many cultural and entertainment attractions available in the rejuvenated Olympic city, making it a perfect destination for a yacht visit in the Mediterranean.
Flisvos Marina is Greece’s only exclusive marina to offer large-scale mooring capacity for vessels up to 180m, so it is an ideal base for larger superyachts.
A recommended port of choice from Lucy, she told us, "Opposite the Port of Nafplio there is a whole strip of bars and restaurants. There is also an amazing Fort that you can walk or drive to – the views are stunning!"
Offering plenty of superyacht moorings and located opposite the famous Peace and Friendship stadium, this busy marina is located just 9km from the centre of Athens and offers a huge array of core marine services including a helipad to enable direct travel to the marina by air.
As an ideal base location for a cruise of Greece and a worthy destination in its own right, Athens Marina makes Athens a fantastic spot for a superyacht.
Rhodes Marina is an elegant marina near the medieval town, with modern facilities for all visiting yachts, functioning as an excellent base traveling all over the Aegean and the Mediterranean sea. It also provides a shipyard and a dry dock, and the ultra-modern control tower ensures constant monitoring and integrated management of the marina 24 hours a day.
Gouvia Marina, located just 6km from Corfu with berths for yachts up to 80m LOA, is an ideal yachting hub complimented by 3,500sqm of facilities, including a range of shops, restaurants, bars, cafes and a supermarket.
Previously referred to as a natural link between the Adriatic and the Mediterranean Sea, Gouvia Marina is an idyllic yachting location. Amongst shallow, sandy beaches and colourful harbours, Northern Corfu is crowned by cliffs and rocky coastlines; a perfect location for underwater exploration.
Lefkas Marina is situated among a group of 24 islands renowned for its turquoise water and endless, white sandy beaches. It has the capacity to host 620 yachts up to 45 metres long – with electricity and fresh water available at each berthing point.
Zea Marina is a vibrant superyacht marina in Athens, near the main port of Piraeus. With fully equipped facilities and an array of services on offer to vessels up to 150 metres, Zea Marina is a preferred superyacht destination in Greece.
The marina has a mooring capacity of 670 yachts up to 150 metres with an 8-metre draft, on both permanent and floating pontoons. Zea Marina provides electricity and fresh water at all its berths, as well as a waste removal service.
The marina was previously renovated for the 2004 Olympic Games, underlining its prestige among international visitors.
Then stop waiting! With its wealth of options in entertainment, locales and atmospheres, Greece should go unvisited by no discerning charterer or yachtsman. You can find a Greece yacht charter with Fraser, or visit our yacht charter business listings.
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