We’ve all envisioned ourselves exploring the ancient ruins, pebbly beaches, bustling tourist spots and secluded inlets of the Greek islands, but picture this: You’re not surrounded by dozens, if not hundreds, of other cruisers; instead, it’s just you, your closest family and friends, your own itinerary, and a private skipper and crew guiding you the entire way. This, friends, is a chartered-yacht vacation, and the dream can very easily become your reality.
The Moorings has spent over 50 years at sea perfecting the luxurious yacht-charter vacation. They offer not just one Greek-islands excursion but two—both crafted for the traveler who values a relaxing getaway that’s also an adventurous, authentic vacation experience. Choose Athens Zea if you’re hungry for adventure, history, heavenly food, lots of walking tours and views on views on views. Looking for a quieter, more laid-back journey? The Corfu itineraries are here to serve up pristine beaches, more heavenly food, quaint coastal towns, watersports activities for the whole family and more views on views on views. Oh, and did we mention wine? You’ll find that on any itinerary you choose, and either itinerary you go with, you can’t go wrong.
Located just 35 minutes away from the airport, your journey will begin at Marina Zea, The Moorings’ base on this itinerary. The marina is situated just outside of Athens, so if you have some time before or after your journey, you can explore the many cafes, restaurants and shops that make up this modern yet ancient capital. Better yet, grab an Uber and drive 10 minutes up the road to see the Acropolis: a must-see on any Greek vacation.
Once The Moorings introduces you to your dedicated skipper and crew and you get acquainted with your maritime home away from home for the next seven days, you’re off on your journey around the beautiful Saronic Gulf. Both sail and power itineraries last at least a full week and circumnavigate the gulf, returning you to Marina Zea at the end of your trip.
This itinerary is perfect for the adventurous traveler. At most stops, your boat will dock right up to the seawall of a town, the shoreline peppered with white or pastel-colored homes and structures. And unlike staying in a resort, you’re literally part of the scenery as you coast into your mooring.
Opt for a yacht charter, and you’ll visit places like Hydra and Cape Sounion Bay. Hydra is a must-see, off-the-beaten-path, historically cosmopolitan destination where cars aren’t allowed. That’s right—make sure you’re wearing your Fitbit because this beautiful city is only accessible via walking, bicycle or donkey if you’d prefer to go the ultra-traditional route. Situated within its picturesque shoreline are countless bars, beaches and restaurants serving traditional Grecian food. Make sure to stop and marvel at one of the historic mansions that line the streets. Also called archontika, these beautiful homes were built in the 18th century by wealthy shipowners and are just a piece of the unique architecture you will find.
You can’t complete your Athens Zea vacation without an excursion to Cape Sounion Bay. Home of the famous Temple of Poseidon built in 440 B.C., Cape Sounion Bay is perched on the cliffs of the Attica peninsula and offers breathtaking views. Feast your eyes on the temple’s ancient marble ruins from the comfort of your yacht or choose an excursion ashore to see them up close.
Want to go a little further? The Moorings’ power-yacht itinerary takes you to places like Nafplio and Epidaurus. In Nafplio, visit the Vouleftikon, the beautiful domed building where the first Greek Parliament met in the 19th century—or take a break and sunbathe on one of the city’s many sandy beaches. The town of Epidaurus is home to the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus. Built in the 4th century B.C., this theater is famous for its ability to bounce even the slightest whisper off its stands.
Looking for some relaxed, open-water tranquility? The Moorings’ Corfu itineraries may be your ideal choice. Corfu is located at the westernmost tip of Greece, and the itineraries provide access to the stunning Ionian Islands. Corfu has an old-world charm and rustic feel, coupled with an astounding landscape and warm people. You will feel just like a Grecian as you moor along the shoreline of these small islands and venture ashore to explore its winding streets.
Whether opting for a sailing yacht or power yacht, your Corfu journey will begin in Kalami Bay, a former fishing village lined with pebbled beaches. Hop ashore and visit Kalami Beach Taverna, located right on the beachfront, overlooking the bay. This family-owned restaurant serves homemade Greek dishes and makes their own olive oil from olives they collect right off the trees. Plus, the fish is freshly caught each day.
A cruise to the bay of Lakka is a coveted stop on any sailor’s list. The Bay is home to Paxos and Antipaxos, which are known for their turquoise-clear waters, acres of vineyards and olive groves, and of course, more views. These islands are tiny, remote and quiet—Antipaxos is inhabited by maybe only 100 people—but you are sure to fall in love with their unique Grecian charm and winding paths interspersed with flocks of fluffy sheep.
A power yacht can take you to Kefalonia, the largest of the seven main Ionian Islands, which is surrounded by towering mountains that will leave you breathless as you approach by water. Anchor in Agia Efimia and visit Melissani Cave, a subterranean cave lake with dancing blue waters and hundreds of stalactites that you can explore by small boat. Lit lovers will want to cruise a little to the northeast and visit Ithaca, the famed home of Odysseus and an ideal spot to travel ashore, rent a motor scooter, and explore the blend of historic and modern architecture that line the streets.
The Only Way to Explore the Greek Islands
Exploring the Greek islands—or any destination—by yacht charter is the most unique, immersive and efficient way to get the most out of your trip. Coasting up to a shoreline on your chartered yacht makes you feel like you’re one of the locals rather than a suitcase-toting tourist checking into a hotel. You pull up, and you’re immediately a part of the scenery—and trust us, everyone wants to be you. Traveling by yacht means it’s not necessary to rent a car or budget time to get to and from your resort, and your belongings travel with you as you go (unless, of course, you’re spending some time ashore, then leave it with the crew). Plus, you can visit tons of hard-to-reach destinations in which you probably wouldn’t be able to fit on a regular trip. This type of vacation offers you complete and total flexibility, coupled with a knowledgeable and caring crew that knows the ropes (pun intended) and gets you there safely.
If you aren’t one of those readers who has already jumped over to book a yacht-charter vacation, here’s how you can get started: