Athens was the birthplace of democracy and modern medicine. The old town is scattered with amazing ancient monuments including the temple of the Acropolis which is still standing after nearly 3000 years. Athens is also the best place to try moussaka, souvlaki and frozen yoghurt.
The ex-volcanic island of Aegina, which sits in the Saronic gulf, is best known for its pistachio nuts. Over recent years, the island is grown in popularity with day-trippers from Athens because it’s a very pretty place to wander around and they have some outstanding seafood restaurants.
Hydra is the most impressive of the Saronic islands. There’s nothing quite like arriving at mythical Hydra by sea – the whole village is built up on the hillside which surrounds the main harbour, making it feel like you’ve sailed into a giant amphitheatre. There are no cars on the island and goods are still transported by donkey.
The private yacht experience
Chartering a private catamaran or yacht for a week is an exclusive and unforgettable experience. With a skipper to show you the ropes and make sure everything runs smoothly, and a hostess to sort out breakfast and lunch each day, this holiday is a relaxing but memorable experience. You’ll hop from island to island visiting secluded beaches and bays, and seeing places that can only be reached by boat. There’s a very laid-back and informal approach to time – as long as you make it to your next destination by sunset, you can take your time. Enjoy some time to explore your overnight stop in a bit more depth before departing or stop off in a hidden spot on the way to your next destination. The skipper will sail the boat and you can get involved with the process as much or as little as you like; this is a fantastic way of learning a new skill whether it’s steering the boat, tweaking the sails or navigating from bay to bay. Or just relax on deck, watch the world go by and enjoy the ever-changing landscapes.
Is this for you?
Sailing holidays are incredibly versatile and suit multigenerational families or groups of friends of all ages. All you need is a sense of adventure, a desire to explore new destinations and a love of the sea. Private yacht and catamaran holidays are great if you like to be active and learn a new skill, do nothing more than relaxing in the sunshine or find hidden coves and bays that other people you know are unlikely to have visited. While we have set itineraries, no two sailing holidays will ever by the same.
What to expect
All charters run from Saturday to Saturday. After arriving and completing the paperwork, you’ll spend the night aboard the boat to find your sea legs before setting sail on Sunday morning. As it’s your own private boat, you can set off whenever suits you. A typical day will include four to six hours of sailing so there will be plenty of time to explore your overnight destination in a little more depth, or leave a little earlier and have more time to anchor off secluded beaches or bays as you sail by. When the boat is underway, you can sit and relax with a book, soak up the sun on deck or get involved with the sailing.
Breakfast and lunch are served on board and will be prepared by your hostess using the food bought by you. At dinner, the boat will be in a marina or anchored a short tendering distance offshore and you can choose between dining at a local taverna or restaurant or making your own meal in the onboard kitchen (known as a galley).
Skipper and hostess
The skipper and hostess will be on board throughout your charter. They are responsible for the safety and steering the ship between marinas, and keeping things clean and tidy, doing the shopping, and preparing breakfast and a light lunch each day.
Our recommended itinerary is a one-week sailing itinerary from Athens:
Saturday: On arrival, you’ll get whisked by private transfer to our yacht marina in Athens. With the VIP check-in service you should be on the boat before 2pm, which will give you plenty of time to get used to life on board a boat, meet your skipper and hostess, listen to a safety briefing, and, of course, relax and enjoy the sunshine.
Sunday: The first day sees you sailing to the now-extinct volcanic island of Aegina, where you'll spend the night at its capital village of the same name, a place now most famous for growing the best pistachio nuts in Greece. The village has such great seafood that people travel here on day trips from Athens just to dine at the restaurants.
Monday: The second day of sailing will involve zigzagging around the Saronic islands and later arriving at delightful Poros. It will almost feel as if you're sailing down the high street of the town as it’s built up on both sides of a narrow channel (with water-taxis helping people to get from one side to the other). As you wander around the town, you’ll find beautiful Neoclassical architecture and pretty town squares.
Tuesday: Day three of sailing in the Saronic sees you heading to Hydra. The town is built around the marina like a giant amphitheatre. It will feel like a step back in time from busy Athens as there are no cars here, and they still use donkeys to transport goods along the dusty island paths.
Wednesday: The volcanic island of Methana is the end point for the fourth day of sailing, and, with 30 different craters, is about as volcanic as islands come (though the last eruption was 230 BC). Take a hike up one of the craters to get an astounding view of the Saronic Gulf. Alternatively, relax Ancient Greek-style and take a dip in the healing waters at one of the geothermically heated spas.
Thursday: On day five, you’ll sail northwards (with the option of stopping off at the idyllic ‘paradise beach’ on the uninhabited island of Moni for a lunchtime dip) to the sleepy fishing village of Agistri, on the pine-covered island of the same name. It’s fascinating to explore the narrow streets of the main village where the oldest houses have been owned by the same families for many generations. There’s still a good range of bars and tavernas serving local dishes.
Friday: It’s time to point the nose of the boat back towards Athens, passing Aegina on the way. Athens has a multitude of attractions – from the temples of ancient Athens to the array of superb beach clubs just up the coast from the marina.
Saturday: Today, say farewell to the boat, skipper and the hostess. You’ll disembark at 9am and take a private road transfer back to the airport.
The sailing season runs from April to October, with charters typically booked for one week or more, from Saturday to Saturday. Prices vary throughout the season with peak prices in August, and the best value sailing available in May and October.
Tailor made cruises
These week-long sailing holidays can easily be added to a land-based holiday at one of our featured hotels or resorts. Speak to your Personal Travel Expert to find out more.