Greece Yacht Charter
Search Over 300 Yachts In Greece For Your Luxury Charter Vacation!
Athens is the capital and largest city of Greece, set in the Attica Municipality and peninsula that encompasses the entire metropolitan area of the city and projects southward into the Aegean Sea. Athens is one of the world’s oldest cities and the historical capital of Europe; as such it is loaded with historical monuments, priceless antiquities, archeological excavations, museums--alongside all you’d expect of a major cosmos in today’s world--and some of the most beautiful coastal beaches in the world. As the defining city of Ancient Greece, Athens has an abundance of preserved examples of 5th century landmarks, such as the world-renowned hilltop citadel of Acropolis and nearby colonnaded Parthenon temple of mythological Athena, patron of Athens, giving today’s generations a glimpse into ancient culture and history.
The Acropolis Museum and National Archaeological Museum display sculptures, vases/urns, jewelry and many more priceless artifacts from Ancient Greece. Close by is the Ancient Theatre of Dionysos dating to the 5th century BC and the Areios Pagos, the most ancient law court of the world! The commercial, political and religious center of ancient Athens is the Ancient Agora, a concept adopted by the Romans.
Sprawling metropolitan Athens consists of neighborhoods and suburbs.
The historic Plaka neighborhood located on the east side of the Acropolis has been inhabited since antiquity. For a journey back in time, one can walk through the narrow maze of streets to see mosques and homes built in the Ottoman Period of Turkish occupation and the neoclassical period (19th century. A Roman Agora with its Tower of Winds (1 BC), Hadrian’s Arch--the AD 131 symbolic entrance to Athens, and Hadrian’s library are examples of Roman admiration of Greek architecture and culture.
No end of tavernas, cafes, bars, and shops in Plaka. Monastiraki has the characteristically Old Athens features of narrow streets and small buildings; the city’s traditional bazaar is held here. Close by is the Psyrri area, the city’s nightlife center with bars, tavernas, “ouzeris” and clubs for a lively evening scene. With over 2500+ shops of all sorts spilling over from Ermon Street, the traditional commercial neighborhood is the focus of this historical center. Athinos Street is known for food products commerce and the Municipal Market for meat, fish, and vegetables. Kotzas
Square is in the commercial Psyrri area. Other picturesque neighborhoods are Makriyanni, Ano Petralona, Theseion, Kerameikos and Metaxourgeio. The trendy Gazi area of Technopolis (converted former gasworks) has become a cultural center with museum, contemporary art, concert venue, shops featuring works of local Greek artists. Tavernas, cosmopolitan eateries, bars and clubs surround the Gazi Square.
Downtown Athens is distinguished by two main central squares—Syntagma and Omonia that are linked by Stadiou Street and Panepistimiou Avenue and lined with some of Athens most beautiful Neoclassical buildings. The Greek parliament building is on Syntagma Square with the Monument of Unknown Soldier directly in front. The beautiful 40-acre National Garden begins at this Square and ends with the late 19th century Zappeion Mansion. Nearby is the Presidential mansion (1897) and further on is the Panathenaikon Stadium, site of the first Olympic Games of modern times, held in 1896.
The southern suburbs of Athens are located on a 35-mile coastal stretch of the Saronic Gulf and known as the Athens Riviera, developed to attract tourism to this area of beautiful beaches and mild year-round climate, with a mean annual temperature of about 67-degrees. Only about 10 miles from downtown Athens, it is the perfect “island ambiance” escape without having to take a ferry.
Wide seaside promenades are wonderful for walking and bicycling along the beaches. Large shopping centers and nightclubs are especially lively during the warm summer season when Athenians and international visitors flock to this area that extends from the southernmost point of Attica, Cape Sounia to the Port of Piraeus. The Maroussi suburb features the Olympic Athletic Center facilities where the majority of the 2004 Athens Olympics were held. Kifissia is noted for its beautiful villas and spectacular mansions.
The tip of Sounia is the location of the Temple of Poseidon and the 5-star Cape Sounio Hotel and nearby luxurious Grand Resort Lagonissi, a favorite for wedding receptions. The glamorous Island Club Restaurant is built on a large rock on the sea’s edge. Cruising yachts can dock within walking distance of the restaurant and local nightclubs which are perfect entertainment for yacht charter guests.
Vouliagmeni is the “star” of the Athens Riviera with its natural beauty, great location and features. The ultra-luxe Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens with 3 private beaches, 3 swimming pools, 5 tennis courts, all the watersports facilities and a large spa and 8 different restaurants, is located near Astir Beach in Vouliagmeni. Astir Beach is the place to spot celebrities and relax on your reserved sun lounger. Astir is a “Blue Flag” beach (designated for its clean water) and one of Athen’s best beaches with top-notch services, but consequentially has a higher entrance fee. Further down is Krabo Beach, a stylish restaurant/beach bar with celebrity appeal.
Another favorite beach in the Vouliagmeni suburb is Megalo Kavouri near the tip of the western coast featuring both “organized” (entrance fee) and free beach areas. Beach paddle ball (raketes) is a Greek national sport, and many beachgoers enjoy playing at the beach, similarly to the way volleyball is played in Florida and other American beaches. Lake Vouliagmeni is a “rare geological formation” fed by a mysterious underground saltwater current and thermal hot springs and is known as a natural spa for its warm mineral waters and beautiful pine-tree surroundings.
In the evening, the rock walled area is lit up and soft music wafts over the still lake waters. There are many world-class restaurants in this premier town. Glyfada, sometimes compared to Miami, offers a chic urban ambiance, with palm trees, endless cafes, trendy bars, restaurants that feature Hispanic-style dishes, and shopping boutiques just a short walk from Asteria beach.
Of the many superb marinas on the Athens Riviera, one of the most beautiful is Flisvos Marina located in Palio Faliro, filled with large yachts over 100-ft. Edem, a long sandy beach between the districts of Palio Faliro and Alimos, is the closest beach to Athens. The beach area is a popular place for both Athenians and visitors to enjoy the view, get an ice-cream, relax with a glass of wine or ouzo, shop or bicycle along the wide seaside promenade.
Further along the coast is the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Cultural Center (SNFCC) that houses the Greek National Opera and National Library of Greece. Surrounded by a landscaped park with walking paths and a playground, the Lighthouse offers great views of the Gulf of Faliro and the Acropolis. All along the Attica coastline are many exquisite beaches, some “organized” (entrance fee) and some free, offering every option for relaxation and recreation, shopping, attractions, fine dining and nightlife, making the Athens Riviera a great itinerary for charter cruises.
Piraeus Harbor, located on the Saronic Gulf of the Aegean Sea, is the chief seaport of Athens and one of the largest in Europe and the world. It is a major destination of cruise ships and international shipping’s largest and most important container and vehicle delivery terminal in the Mediterranean. Ferries to the myriad of Greek islands depart from this port. Arriving visitors can connect with taxis, buses, the Hop on/Hop off bus to go anywhere in nearby Athens, the Greek mainland and Europe.
The earliest history of this port can be traced to 490 BC when Athenians realized the strategic value of this deep-water harbor and made it a military port, complete with shipyards and fortifications. Wars and political changes over the years impacted the use and condition of the harbor, but modern history has again recognized its strategic value, proximity to Athens, and since the late 1890s, developed it into the major European gateway port Piraeus is today.
Piraeus is the setting off point for charter cruises in the Aegean Sea; itineraries are offered for traveling the Athens Riviera and Greece’s mainland coast, while other itineraries offer sails among the 3000+ Greek Islands off the country’s coast. The United Yacht Sales Charter Team will be delighted to welcome you aboard one of the fine yachts available to cruise the Aegean and give you the freedom to select your own custom itinerary for the luxury cruise of your dreams.
Chartering a yacht in the Greeek Cyclades Islands
The Cyclades Islands are located in southern Greece between Athens and Crete. 24 of the 34 islands in this group are inhabited and as picturesque as a postcard! White-washed buildings with bright colored trim (doors, window frames, staircase railings, etc.), orange, purple and fuchsia bougainvillea, narrow winding alleys, historical churches and other ancient buildings, fishing boat-lined waterfronts, shops, cafés, restaurants, tavernas and beautiful beaches make these islands a delight to cruise and visit. Some of the most visited islands are Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Paros and Antiparos, Syros, Folegradros, Serifos, Sifnos, Anafi, Andros, Milos, Naxos, Amorgos, Kythnos, Tinos, Ios, and others.
One of the most popular islands in the heart of the Cyclades is Mykonos, notorious for hard-partying glitterati, fashionistas and international trend-setters that dance the summer nights away in the massive dance clubs to the beats of world-renowned DJs and while away summer days at the cafés, bars, boutiques and beach-party scene. Celebrities mingle with college students and families vacationing during “summer break.” According to legend, the island is named for mythological Apollo’s grandson. A row of landmark 16th century windmills sits on a hilltop above Mykonostown, a picture-perfect town on the shore, lined with boats and the typical whitewashed buildings that dot the hillside.
The capital city of Hóra offers fascinating examples of Cycladic architecture with its narrow marble streets, cubist whitewashed houses accented with colorful doors, window frames and bright bougainvillea. Explore for “hidden” churches like Panagia Paraportiani and other landmarks (Town Hall, castle above the harbor). Another point of interest is Panagia Tourliani, a 16th century church and monastery. Archaeological, Folklore and Maritime Museums abound with historical artifacts and narrative.
Enjoy shopping and browsing the ultra-luxe Matoyánni Street with its world-class boutiques, specialty stores, cafés, and fine restaurants and other charming streets of Hóra. Stroll along the waterfront with its fishing fleet and yachts that stud the shoreline that is patrolled by the current legendary “Pétros the Pelican.” Alefkántra (Little Venice) is the 18th century district of Mykonos with the stately Captains’ mansions, built with balconies overlooking the sea.
Relax with a coffee or ouzo at a waterfront café and take in the view of the 16th century windmills on the hilltop. Enjoy the beautiful beaches of Mykonos—Paradise and Super Paradise are the liveliest; beaches on the northern coastline are quieter. Mykonos is also known for its watersports, especially windsurfing. Scuba diving is also popular, especially in September when visibility is greater in the calm, warm waters. Great restaurants offer local Greek specialties such as kopanistí, a soft pepper-seasoned cheese that is unique to the Cyclades islands.
A short distance from Mykonos is the small but significant island of Delos that is a UNESCO World Heritage protected archaeological site and the mythological birthplace of twin Hellenistic gods, Apollos and Artemis and was antiquity’s most sacred island.
Santorini (aka Thíra) is the southernmost island of the Cyclades and the largest island of a small crescent archipelago formed by an active volcano that built the islands’ rugged cliffs and caldera (underwater crater) by a series of powerful eruptions beginning in the 16th century BC. The last major eruption was 3,600 years ago, destroying the local early civilization settlements, uncovered in modern excavations at Akrotiti. Surrounded by crystal clear blue waters, Santorini, with its dramatic cliffs and romantic villages, has become a favorite global destination for weddings.
Explore clifftop terraced villages with cubist, whitewashed buildings linked with steps, brightened by flowers and interspersed with blue domed rooftops and windmills, offering an unparalleled view of the Aegean Sea and the volcano. Firá is the capital of the island, set high up on the edge of the Caldera, and along with villages Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni, form the Caldera’s “eyebrow”—a balcony-like projection with a breathtaking view of the caldera.
Many other villages are famous for archaeological sites; some are cosmopolitan and lively; others are peaceful, surrounded by vineyards. Several varieties of grapes are cultivated in the volcanic soil and famous Santorini wineries offer tastings, and a museum. Another local specialty is the goat cheese, hloró tyri. Other traditional local produce, like white eggplant, cherry tomatoes and capers, can be enjoyed in the local cuisine for a satisfying gastronomic experience the island is known for. Santorini has become a very popular upscale vacation and partying destination making the summer season very busy. Visitors can relax on beautiful beaches with white, red or black sand or volcanic pebbles and a view of the extraordinary volcanic rock formations.
Folegandros is one of the most amazing and lesser known islands in the Aegean. Stop by for a taste of the delicacies offered at the traditional tavernas. Syros, the capital city of the Cycladic Islands, is known for its sandy beaches and lovely whitewashed towns. Antiparos is a gem of an island in the heart of the Cycladics, just one nautical mile from Paros, featuring golden sandy beaches, coves and the Cave of Antiparos, a natural attraction.
The northeastern part of the island features a Venetian Castle. Paros is a popular tourist destination, third after Santorini and Mykonos, known for its exciting nightlife, centered in the quaint village of Naoussa with nightclubs catering to a range of styles. Naxos is the largest of the Cycladic Islands and was the center of archaic Cycladic culture. This verdant, fertile island is farmed for a variety of produce featured in its excellent local cuisine, along with fresh seafood. It is one of the most beautiful islands with the white sand beaches of its western coast, whitewashed cubist houses with blue doors and window trim, and medieval Venetian mansions.
Although not as well-known as Paros, Santorini and Mykonos, Naxos is not to be missed, featuring its landmark marble gate of Portara, Kouros statuary, the monastery of Panagia Drossiani and the hilltop castle, Kastro, dating to the 13th century in the capital town of Chora. Enjoy hiking paths for sightseeing and visiting quaint local villages.
Ios, a hilly island with cliffs that drop dramatically to the sea below, is located about halfway between Santorini and Naxos and Mykonos. It is also a well-known party destination, though appealing to a younger, college-age crowd in the summer break months. Mylopotas Beach is one of the longest stretches of golden sand beach. Development of this beautiful island is being carefully managed to preserve its natural beauty and character.
Kythnos is a low-key island in the western Cyclades of rolling hills and over 70 beaches, some inaccessible by road. Ancient stone walls and stone huts crisscross the hilly terrain of this island that is easily accessed from Athens and ideal for sailing or yachting. The marinas at Loutra and Merihas, the main port, draw some international excitement during the summer. Protected anchorages include the leeward cove of Agios Stefanos and the bay of Fykiada; most beautiful anchorage is the beach of Kolona.
Kythnos is known for its tradition of ceramic pottery and the one current workshop specializing in the ancient methods in Hora, has been awarded by UNESCO. Loutra is also known for its thermal springs and is the site of one of the first hydrotherapy spas of Greece, founded in the 19th century. The island has many festivals and religious celebrations that help maintain the traditions of the island’s culture.
Chartering a yacht In The Greek Dodecanese Islands
The Dodecanese are a group of 12 large and numerous smaller islands located in the southeastern Aegean Sea and eastern Mediterranean Sea between the Cyclades Islands and the coasts of Turkey. The Dodecanese are known for medieval castles, Byzantine churches, sandy or pebbly beaches surrounded by crystal clear waters, and ancient archeological sites in the sunniest corner of Greece.
Rhodes is the largest of this island group, and along with Kos, is the most cosmopolitan. As a strategically located gateway to the Aegean with well-protected harbors, Rhodes was an important trade route stop and as such needed to be well-fortified. Both Byzantine (Eastern Roman Empire/Constantinople 330AD to mid-1400s) and Ottoman (Turkish-Islamic mid-1400s to Greek independence in 1821) influences are evident in the architectural styles of the many landmarks and monuments, such as the Medieval Street of the Knights. Rhodes has many preserved Medieval treasures; not to be missed is the UNESCO World Heritage site of the Old City with its massive walls, gates and towers and the awe-inspiring Palace of the Grand Master.
The ancient harbor of Mandráki that is overlooked by 3 windmills, and wonders of nature—Seven Springs, Valley of the Butterflies, Rodíni Park with its trademark peacocks, are just a few of the many attractions of Rhodes. Explore Kritnia and Monólithos’ well-preserved castles. Lindos, Ialissós and Kámiros are ancient former powerful cities, with breathtaking panoramic coastal views from the acropolis. Kallithéa and Ialissós are popular beach resorts on Rhodes.
As the cosmopolitan third largest island of the Dodecanese group, Kos features luxurious hotels and a lively nightlife as well as quieter spots, many interesting cultural and natural attractions for sightseeing, and an extensive bicycle-only network of routes. Archaeological site, Asklepion Kos, a shrine to mythological god of healing, Asclepius, is the site of the oldest tree in Europe; a plane tree (platanus) about 2,500 years old, where legendary “Father of Medicine” Hippocrates taught his students and examined patients! Hippocrates founded the renowned ancient School of Medicine and hospital that continued into the 6th century. Nearby is the scenic village of Ziá with the typical whitewashed, blue trimmed houses and narrow cobbled lanes lined with tavernas, shops, cafés and domed orthodox churches.
Set along a dense cedar forest on the slopes of Mount Dikaios, Ziá offers sweeping views down to the coast. Visitors to Kos will enjoy beautiful sandy beaches with turquoise waters, wide tree-lined roads, parks, Old Town city squares lined with shops and cafés (Freedom, Platánon, Eleftherías and more) and many Byzantine landmarks. Kos Town harbor features Neratziá, a 15th century castle with battle tower; just south of the castle are the Ancient Agora ruins, the site of the largest archaeological dig on Kos with finds dating back to the 4th century.
Karpathos is considered by many to be the most beautiful of the Dodecanese with its unspoiled natural terrain of mountainous pine forests—great for hiking; streams, vineyards, olive groves, rocky caves, and uncrowded beaches, such as Kyra Panagia and Apela, with crystal clear waters. Located in the southern Aegean between Rhodes and Crete, Karpathos is relatively off the main tourist circuit. Picturesque villages, such as Olympos, Menetes and Othos are alive with cultural traditions, especially during Easter week filled with folklore, carnivals and traditional Greek costumes.
Kálymnos is the island of sea sponge harvesters in the northern Dodecanese and a world-class rock-climbing destination; the International Climbing Festival is an annual event in May. The island consists of 4 chains of mountains and rocky cliffs with very narrow valleys between them, making them ideal for climbers. Besides its interesting terrain, Kálymnos has a rich history of many cultures from archaic to Persian, to Greek, Roman, Byzantine empires, early Christian church age, raiding Arab pirates, Ottoman, Italy and finally, Greece in 1948.
The island features many early Christian churches and ruins of medieval fortifications and castles. Archeological excavations have unearthed many high-quality sculptures and artifacts displayed in the Archaeological Museum of Póthia. Fishermen dragged ashore a 4th century BC bronze statue from the seabed in 1994, a find worthy of a world-class museum, now restored and on display at the Museum as the “Lady of Kálymnos.” The harbor town of Póthia is one of the most populous of the Dodecanese (after Rhodes Town) and still has a small sponge fishing fleet along with traditional cafés, tavernas and shops. Architecture reflects the many influences of the millennia. Its rugged and irregular coastline offers the allure of remote beaches to cruising vessels.
The lesser known, unspoiled islands of Leros and Pserimos are great for recreational activities; with walking paths through pine forests and for viewing Byzantine ruins, swimming (Plaka, Potha, Paradise beaches), scuba diving, spearfishing, kayaking and more. Leros is known as the Island of Artemis, the Hellenistic goddess of forests and hunting and features pine forests, olive groves, freshwater streams, azure waters for scuba diving WWII wrecks, centuries old castles and the Italian architecture of its capital town, Agia Marina the most popular tourist resort of the island. The Byzantine fortress of Bourtzi is at the entrance to the port and above, on the hilltop of Apitiki, is the famous Castle of Panagia with wonderful views of the harbor and open sea.
Patmos is the “Island of the Apocalypse” where John the Apostle of Jesus Christ, wrote the Biblical book of Revelation in the Theologian Apocalypse Cave. During the Holy Week of Easter, Patmos is the site of religious and spiritual celebrations and a popular destination of Christian pilgrims and tourists for the sheer beauty of the preserved medieval settlement, Hóra with its maze-like narrow alleys and stone-built houses. Built like a fortress, the 11th century monastery dedicated to St John overlooks pretty, whitewashed hillside houses of Patmos capital town, Hóra.
The island of Symi/Simi features the 18th century Monastery of Panormítis dedicated to Michael the Archangel, one of the most significant monasteries of the Dodecanese Islands. The harbor at Symi Town is framed with elegant, colorful neoclassical houses. Symi has beautiful beaches and rugged mountainous terrain with cliffs that drop to the sea. Marathounda Beach is known for its free-roaming goats! Symi offers the traditional cafés and tavernas along with cosmopolitan fine dining. Be sure to sample the island’s signature dish of Symi shrimp. Petalo, an all-day establishment in Yialo, features a waterfront deck for lounging on thick cushions, dining and sipping cocktails or taking a dip in the sea! The annual Simi Festival held in summertime features classical music, dance and art.