Greece is a blessed country with more than 10.000 miles of coastline and some 1.500 islands, Greece caters to all tastes. The ideal sailing ground for yachtsmen, Greece offers a wide variety of island groups to suit all tastes. It is a country of white – washed houses, colourful fishing villages, crystal clear waters, sandy beaches, waterside taverns and a cultural paradise offering numerous attractions. The Greek islands make up 20% of the total area of Greece, an ideal yachting area, creating a coastline of more than 15000 kilometres. The climate along this coastline is Mediterranean in character: mild moist winters and dry hot summers. The long charter season starts as early as March when air temperatures rise. July and August peak in high temperatures and sun hours – the high season for chartering! In Oct/Nov frontal systems – followed by cool air masses – start entering the East Mediterranean from the north.
The Cyclades & Dodecanese
One of the most cosmopolitan of all the Greek islands, Mykonos, has an international reputation and quite justifiably attracts a large number of tourists from all over the world. Amongst them many intellectuals and well-known artists prefer Mykonos for their vacation. The capital Chora, with its colorful harbor in which little fishing boats nest happily side by side with luxury yachts, presents quite a different picture from that of the majority of Aegean island towns. One of the most charming districts of Chora is Little Venice with the picturesque houses of the island’s sea captains, built right on the rocks lashed on by the sea. The mascot of the Island is a Pelican, called Petros, and has been called Petros since time immemorial, obviously many re-incarnations since the first edition. It can be seen trying to bite tourists at the port.
Delos was the religious capital of the Ionians in 1,000 BC. Greek mythology recounts how Leto, one of Zeus’s lovers, gave birth to Apollo on Delos, god of physical beauty and the fine arts. By 454 BC the Athenians had overtaken the Ionians, forcing Delos to pay taxes and provide ships to Athens. Delos greatest period was in the third to fourth century BC, when the tiny island had a population of 20,000 and was the chief financial center and slave market in the Mediterranean. Foreigners from Rome, Syria and Egypt built homes and coexisted tolerantly, despite the variety of religious beliefs.
Paros is the third largest of the Cyclades after Naxos and Andros and has developed into an important center of tourism in recent years. Gently rolling hills surround the centre and southeast of the island, which is predominantly agricultural and is occupied by endless vineyards, and lock within themselves the famous Parian marble.
As you approach Santorini by the sea, it’s easy to imagine the cataclysm that gave birth to this astonishing Greek Island that has become such a popular tourist destination. The boat edges between bare islands of volcanic rock and the crescent shaped remains of the volcano, today’s Santorini, with its sheer black cliffs rising 200 metres out of the sea. Santorini consists of three islands: Thira, Thirasia and Aspronisi Besides the interesting architecture of the houses in Thera, it is worth visiting the two cathedrals (the Orthodox and the Catholic) and the Monastery of the Dominican nuns. The Catholic monastery of Panagia of Rodari which was built in the area of Skaros where the medieval capital of the island used to lie surrounded by a strong fortress on the edge of a steep hill and the Venetian building Gizi are worth a visit. Santorini has magnificent beaches. Out of the ordinary “tropical style”, the island has to offer unique places to swim. Beaches where the sand is black, red, or white, the sun is hot, and the sea is deep blue and crystal clear.
Samos’s location played a great role in its development. It lies in the Eastern Aegean, very close to the coast of Asia Minor, in the heart of Ionia, almost midway along the sea route that links Greece with Anatolia, the Black Sea, Egypt and the Eastern Mediterranean. The capital, Samos Town or Vathi, is built on the verdant slopes that surround the island’s deepest bay. It has retained its individual appearance, with its attractive neo-classical houses, old mansions with pastel facades.
Patmos is of volcanic origin and has a much-indented coastline. An isthmus only a few hundred meters wide, on which the island’s harbor lies, separates the north end of the island from the southern half. The “Jerusalem of the Aegean” is one way of describing Patmos or Patnos, as it was referred to in one 5th century inscription. It was here that St. John the Theologian was exiled between 95 and 97 A.D. and was inspired to write the Book of Revelation or Apocalypse.
The island of Kos is famous as the birthplace of Hippocrates, the father of medicine, Kos is also known for its lovely, gentle scenery. It is both lush and fertile, with an abundance of springs and streams, gorgeous beaches and a marvelous climate.
According to Homer, Simi contributed three triremes (i.e. warships) to the Trojan War. Simi’s reputation for shipbuilding survived from that remote period down to the end of the 19th century, when the island had some 30,000 inhabitants, prosperous as a result of commerce and sponge fishing. Today it builds only fishing boats and small ‘caiques’ and the population does not exceed 4,000 – most of them engaged in fishing or sponge diving. Apart from the peace and typical Aegean island beauty which Simi has to offer, there is a Byzantine castle above the town containing a church, dedicated to Our Lady, with fine murals. Near the church are the remains of an ancient temple of Athena. However, the best known sight of the island is the Bay of Panormitis with the Monastery of St. Michael, dating from the 18th century. The carved screen inside the church is covered with votive offerings in gold and silver. The monastery of the Archangel Michael Panormitis is one of the island’s most famous landmarks, built in the early 18th century overlooks a beautiful bay. The entirety of Yialos, the main port of Simi, has been declared a protected architectural treasure, and for good reason. This pristine port with its extraordinary array of neo-classical mansions is a large part of why Simi is known as “the jewel of the dodecanese.”
Rhodes is the third largest Greek Island and, officially, the sunniest place in Europe. The city is among the finest, not only in Greece but also in the whole of the Mediterranean. It is situated at the island’s most northerly point and ringed by sea on the east and west. Rhodes (Rodos in Greek) combines the cosmopolitan character of a contemporary city with the picturesque of a medieval town, giving the impression of having been untouched by the passage of time. Rhodes has a many of sites to offer its visitors, listed you will find the three most important: The ancient city of Rhodes was built amphitheatrically, before the port of the modern city, in 408 BC by Ippodamus. The roads were decorated with statues, the most beautiful being the statue of Ploutos. In the city stood magnificent temples, the most prominent being the temples of Helios and Isis. Ancient Kamiros, brought to light by excavations in 1929, was one of the three powerful ancient cities of Rhodes. It was called “The Greek Pompeii” because nobody knows how the city was deserted and buried underground. The magnificent Venetian Castelllo Castle dominates the traditional village of Kritinia. Built by the knights in the 16th century BC on a precipitous cliff to fortify the western coast of the island.