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Every year, Greece’s islands are a popular yacht charter destination for tourists which are strewn over two very different seas; the Aegean and the Ionian. These islands are grouped into “families” that share similar looks, culture, history and climate, offering a different charter experience across the Greek islands. There are 7 main Greek island groups. We will focus here on the most visited ones on a yacht.
These are the classic Greek islands of countless posters, films and postcards: White-washed villages, sugar-cube houses, blue domed churches, these islands are often the repositories of most of Greece’s best preserved island traditions and deserve their iconic status. Treeless, mountainous, barren, usually very windy in high summer, they enjoy reliable sunny weather early and late in the charter season. The “meltemi”, which is the prevailing north wind in high summer, can get very strong indeed. It is known as the island doctor for its bracing and cleansing effect, and it comes in three strengths: the Kapelata – blows your hat off, the Kareklata – blows chairs over, and the Trapezata – blows tables over. Mykonos and Santorini are the King and Queen of these islands. Photogenic, hip and picturesque. Late and early season are great here as the weather is calmer and there is enough life until late in the season for things to be open. The beaches are usually sandy, the light dazzling, the colours vibrant, and the food is good.
The Dodecanese islands are located on the south-eastern side of Greece, between the Cyclades and the coasts of Turkey. A less popular charter destination than the Cyclades and with a very different style, these Greek islands stand out for their Medieval architecture and the peaceful beaches. These islands have a long and rich history, with traces from classical Greek times through Byzantium, the Crusaders, Venetians and Ottomans. Being a remote outpost of Greece, the islands have their own cultures that are often very different to that of mainland Greece.
With near perfect sailing conditions and a real flavour of the Orient, a luxury yacht charter in the Dodecanese Islands provides guests with an every exciting trip with relaxing anchorages and a unique cultural and cuisine experience.
The Ionian Sea is full of gentle, fertile, mountainous and beautiful islands on the west coast of Greece facing Sicily, often referred to as the forgotten side of Greece. These islands have a shorter summer season and have wetter winter months than the Aegean islands, but the result is the green landscape that greets guests on a yacht charter cruise. These are the islands to go to if you don’t like the wind. However, for the most spectacular food, the most fascinating history and the most varied and dramatic scenery, the Ionian islands simply cannot be beaten.
The calm water and sensational swimming and watersports attract charterers as much as the rich local culture and history, fine dining, vibrant nightlife and boutique designer shopping. There are some sandy beaches, but mostly the coastline is comprised of clear, pebbly coves and limestone cliffs and grottoes. Italianate villages with tiled roofs and pastel coloured houses framed with cypresses, olive groves and pine trees. These islands were part of the Venetian empire for 400 years and have an Italianate charm that is unlike the rest of Greece.
Greek Purists do not consider these to be true Greece, as they have a definite character of their own which is not the image of sugar-cube houses and windmills that the Greek Tourist Office promotes, but they still love to come and enjoy the greenness and the fabulous swimming in crystal clear, translucent water. The Ionian Islands are one of the most sought out destinations in the Mediterranean for a luxury yacht holiday, thanks to their warm, gentle breezes and the close proximity of the islands to each other, allowing guests to adopt a relaxed approach and enjoy a week or two of blissful inter-island cruising.