Many of my clients tell me: “Wow, we’ve been dreaming of a Greek Island cruise all our lives and we’d like a week’s charter in the islands and we’d basically like to see everything…!!”
It’s really easy to forget that the Greek Islands encompass an enormous area in the Aegean sea and also the Ionian Sea on the Western side of the Greek mainland.
A week’s Mediterranean charter in the Greek islands is best if you restrict your itinerary to one of these groups, you can maybe do two groups of islands in 2 weeks but, to try and cover too much ground in too short a time is not a good plan.
The main groups of islands in Greece are conveniently grouped as follows
1. The Cyclades group of islands; right in the middle of the Aegean sea and unprotected from the July Meltemi wind, home to the familiar-sounding and popular islands of Mykonos, Santorini, etc. In good weather, they are accessible from Athens (Piraeus) and back in a week. Santorini is further away and better seen by ferry from Mykonos.
2. The Saronic Gulf Islands; Aegina, Poros, Spetses and Hydra and neighboring mainland villages and hot spots. This is an excellent PLAN B if you wanted to visit the Cyclades to check out Mykonos or Santorini and the weather is not favorable. These islands are not as well known but are very popular for local Greeks from Athens when they go on holiday.
3. The Dodecanese group of islands that are close to the Turkish coastline. These are Samos, Kos, Symi, Rhodes and Kastellorizo. Charters taken in this area can zig-zag back and forth between the Greek Islands and the Turkish towns and villages like Bodrum, Marmaris, Gocek and Fethiye. This makes for a very interesting charter with an opportunity to take advantage of the food and culture of two very separate and fascinating countries.
4. The Sporades group of islands, North of Athens and Northwest of the Cyclades, are more protected than the Cyclades in the summer Meltemi months of July and August.
5. The Ionian Group of Islands on the West coats of mainland Greece, some are very well known such as Corfu, Cephalonia (remember the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin”), and Scorpios which was Aristotle Onassis’ private island. This is usually a stand-alone week or 10 day charter with a culture and scenery that is quite different and unique.
6. You can also choose to visit the island of Crete, which due to the distance from Athens, is usually a stand-alone charter that can move you from village to village around this historical island.
Do’s and don’ts: Do select the best time of year for your Greek Island charter – May and June are nice months but the water is still a bit cool. July and August are hot and windy, crowded and expensive and you’ll find half of Europe vacationing in the islands during those months. September is arguably the best month and the first half of October is still OK. Don’t even consider a charter or cruise outside of these months. Don’t try to cover too much real estate during your charter, you’ll spend too much time sailing and less time exploring the different islands.
Do consider a sailing vessel. a nice sailing catamaran is an excellent alternative to a motor yacht and much less expensive. The price of fuel in Greece and all of the Mediterranean cruising destinations for that matter, is very high and can reach up to $8.00 a gallon in some places. If you consider that some large motor yachts consume more than 100 gallons an hour, things can get out of hand.
Most of our sailing catamarans both fully crewed and bareboats, can offer a very rich and fulfilling charter experience. Do contact our specialists for the latest and best yachts in the Greek Islands.