Caribbean Sailing Vacations by Ed Hamilton

Greece. The Saronic Gulf Islands

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The Saronic Gulf Islands are right off the coast of Greece near Athens—which makes them an excellent archipelago to explore if you’re also interested in visiting the world-famous city. Our experts can help you arrange for land tours before your charter even begins, allowing you to visit the Parthenon and other historic sites for days or even an additional week beyond your yacht charter itself.

            When you are ready to step onboard your chartered yacht, you can often meet it in the port of Piraeus, which is adjacent to Athens and wholly convenient. From Piraeus, it’s just a few hours’ cruising time before you are in the Saronic Gulf Islands themselves—and seemingly a world away from the hustle and bustle of downtown Athens. Some of the more popular islands for yacht charters include Aegina, Poros and Hydra, with Hydra having one of the most picturesque harbors among any island, anywhere in the world.

            Aegina is one of the closest islands to the mainland and thus lures a good number of Athenians to its beaches and restaurants every summer. You can join the locals along the shoreline or walk inland, where you’ll find the island’s acropolis, known as the Temple of Aphaea. While not as large as the acropolis in Athens, Aegina’s is architecturally similar and used to be part of a holy triangle of temples that included the mainland acropolis. Thus, when you visit Aegina by charter yacht, you can see a similar archaeological relic—without the mass tourism crowds you’ll find in Athens.

            The next stop on your charter yacht’s itinerary may be Poros, a picturesque island where your yacht will “back in” along the marina quay, allowing you to step ashore and visit the shops, cafes and restaurants with shaded tables offering views of mainland Greece across the water. Café is a verb on this island, where a good afternoon may include sitting over drinks for several hours, doing nothing more than chatting and watching the foot traffic meander past your table. The relaxation level is divine.

            Consider saving Hydra for the end of your charter itinerary, as the harbor is so picturesque that it can be difficult to top in terms of scenery. You can get fantastic souvenir photographs by walking up any of the island’s stone pathways to the top of the mountains that surround the harbor. Just watch out for mules and donkeys, as they are the only form of transportation allowed on the island. Please give me details of suitable yachts.

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