The Sporades Islands
Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos, and a myriad of smaller uninhabited islands scattered in between them. A fantastic clear water – sailing park in the North Western Aegean sea, adorned with fir and pine trees that touch the sea, miles of sandy beaches, tiny remote inlets, and the characteristic white washed traditional dwellings in the mountain villages.
Exciting underwater museums where you can dive amidst ancient shipwrecks. Dolphins and the not so rare among these waters, Mediterranean monk seals play around the bow of your yacht and accompany you as you set out on your adventure.
As a modern day Argonaut, you can set sail from the modern port city of Volos, once known as Iolkos from where Jason and his merry band of mythical heroes began their journey to retrieve the Golden Fleece.
Before you embark, pay a visit to the life size replica of the famous Argo, which is located at the entrance of the modern port.
Relive the more modern, Mama Mia myth on Kastani beach, or in the picturesque Damouchari cove, among the many locations in the Sporades where the blockbuster movie was shot.
An island for every taste, the lively walkways of Skiathos, lined with night spots and boutiques, await you for exciting evenings on the town. The narrow alleys of Skopelos bring back memories of another Greece, before the tourism boom. Local children play hide and seek, while their black clad grandmother sits at the doorstep, her knitting glasses half way down her nose. The colorful window sills of the serene old town on Alonnisos open up to one of the most spectacular sea views in all the Aegean, allowing the scent of fresh baked bread to fill the open square.
The Ionian Islands
The grand islands of Corfu, Paxoi, Lefkada, Ithaca, Cephalonia, and Zakynthos, not to mention a cluster of smaller desolate islands that you can hide away on, enjoy the sun and the cool breeze.
The Ionian island archipelagos is one of the oldest and most historical cradles of Greek civilization, with Ithaca, home of the infamous Odysseus being right at the center. Located off the western shores of mainland Greece, the 600 year Venetian occupation has left a very distinct influence on the culture, food, music and architecture of this region, creating a very special “shade of Greece”.
Wandering the maze of colorful alleys of Corfu, you might think that you are in the Navona district of Rome. The wines of Cephalonia rival those of the Tuscany valley, and everywhere the sweet scent of fresh basil adorns the unique pasta and meat dishes, recipes handed down from generation to generation.
As natural extension of the Dalmatian coastline, one is immediately seduced by the cool, turquoise waters, the fir covered mountain tops. Gentle slopes covered in vineyards and orchards, give way to breathtaking cliffs. Miles of pearly beaches line the coasts, colorful villages nestled away under the shade of the tall pines.
Immortalized in myths and modern cinema, you can explore the ruins of Odysseus’ castle on Ithaca, or visit the locations that served as the backdrop for the popular romance “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” in the town of Sami.
Your taste for adventure will be quenched by scuba diving in the countless caves off the coast of Zakynthos, long walks in the natural parks of Cephalonia, or base diving at the famed Navagio beach.
The Saronic Islands
Salamis, Aegina, Agistri, Poros and Hydra, a popular weekend getaway for Athenians and a beloved sailing destination for international visitors. The proximity to Athens, as well as other important sites on the mainland, makes this island cluster an ideal destination for sailors that want to combine their love of the sea with historical exploration.
This central region of Greece boasts tiny, but mighty islands that have played an important role in the fierce wars that the Greek fought against the Persians in antiquity, as well as the Ottomans in more recent history. Salamis, the backdrop of one of history’s most important naval battles in 480 BC.
Hydra and Spetses, the bases of powerful sea faring families, that gave their wealth, fleets and lives to the independence of Greece in 1821 and onward. The fortunes amassed by international commerce, still very visible in the unique and luxurious architecture, give these islands an enchanting, old world charm.
A sailing adventure from Athens, must begin with a pilgrimage to the temple of Poseidon, the mighty sea god. From his temple, perched on a cliff at the tip of the Attica peninsula, he watches over these islands, and the vast Aegean. The impressive ancient theatre of Epidaurus, only a short drive from the sleepy cove below, where you can tie and cool off after a day of exploration.
The largest of these islands, Aegina, boasts a very special culinary culture, attracting foodies from near and far.
The enigmatic temple of Aphaia on its’ highest mount.
Hydra, sought out by the beatniks and hippies of yesteryear, remains as romantic as it was when Leonard Cohen chose it to settle on and write his ballad to Marianne.
Further in the Argolic Gulf, the picturesque city of Nafplion, with quaint open squares, fascinating boutiques and sidewalk cafes, dressed up with vibrant bougainvillea which bloom year round.
Sheltered from the strong northern winds by the Attica peninsula, the Saronic islands is you nautical, cosmopolitan, romantic and historical playground almost all year round.
The Cyclades Islands
Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Syros, Milos, Ios, Kea and many other lesser known gems that comprise the crown of the Aegean Sea.
Scattered in a circle, hence the name, between the mainland of Greece and the vast island of Crete, this archipelagos is for many, the epitome of European sailing.
The steady Meltemi winds that sweep through the Aegean, have carved out a more barren, rocky landscape than that of the Ionian, but they have also blessed the inhabitants with a cool northern breeze that counters the blistering Mediterranean sun.
From the cosmopolitan island of Syros, once capital of the newly liberated Greece, with the aristocratic homes and the lively walkways frequented by more locals than visitors, to the remote windswept cliffs of Folegandros, the Cyclades are the most popular of the Greek isles, for sailors and island hoppers.
The town of Mykonos, lined with sidewalk cafés and trendy restaurants are the setting for decadent parties that never end. The vast olive groves and orchards of Naxos, where the finest local food in Greece is produced, span from the tip of Mount Zas, all the way down to the long sandy beaches to the south. The secluded Koufonisia islands, cut off from the modern world by miles of crystal blue waters. The majestic volcanic cliffs of Santorini, where colorful dome churches cling, is your final destination. A marvel of nature, where you can rest after your Aegean adventure, and enjoy the exploding sunsets that have made the island famous worldwide.
The Dodecanese Islands
Rhodes, Kos, Symi, Leros Patmos, Astypalea, Kastelorizo, Karpathos, Kasos and many other smaller and uninhabited islands comprise eastern-most regions of Greece. Tucked away, close to the coast of Asia Minor, sheltered from the northern Meltemi winds, these islands are perfect for late season sailing in September and October and beyond.
Each island with very unique landscapes, and each with a unique story to tell.
The majestic island of Rhodes, a once important stronghold of the crusaders of 1300’s and 1400’s. Like being transported into the middle ages, you can walk along the cobblestone walkways that comprise the maze of the medieval town, and visit the castle of the Grand Master that lies in the town’s center, all sheltered by the moat and the tall fortifications.
The long sandy beaches on the southern shores of Kos are a popular playground for those seeking relaxation under the sun. You will be enthralled by the ever intriguing island of Patmos, where the Apostle John wrote received his revelations, and you will be enchanted by such picturesque and quaint port towns on island like Symi and Chalki.
For those seeking more off the beaten path islands, a visit to islands like Tilos, Kasos and Astypalaia will bring you images of faded old postcards.
To stretch your legs from days at sea, a long hike up the imposing mountains of Karpathos will reward you with the exquisite views and a delicious meal at one of the few but lively family tavernas that serve traditional pastas and savory pies stuffed with mytzithra cheese.
The more adventurous will want to make a stop at Kalymnos, which has become the world’s favorite rock climbing destination.