Most people head to the Mediterranean for a mix of history, great food and beautiful scenery, and Greece effortlessly delivers on all of these points. Visitors flock here to enjoy the piercing blue waters accented by lush green hills dotted with little white houses. So it seems like a no-brainer to explore the islands by getting off dry-land and travelling by boat.
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Booking a cruise around the Greek Isles is an easy way to see multiple islands, and there are also a number of charter companies that allow visitors to rent a yacht for the week. If someone on board has sea legs you can sail it yourself, or enlist the services of a captain/tour guide. Prices start at about €900 for a week onboard a yacht with two bedrooms, and go up to around €3200 for a newer boat with more bedrooms.
The price includes things like linens and towels, but you must buy all of your own food and drinks beforehand. Sidenote: this can be quite an experience in Greece, where they don’t seem to have shopping carts. It’s also unlikely you’ll get air conditioning, which can make for some hot nights in the middle of summer. All the more reason to jump in that cool water, though!
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There are a number of different routes you can take from Athens, since there are so many islands. I travelled through the Saronic Gulf, which is southwest of the capital. We visited five different islands including Poros, scenic Spetses, Aegina and Hydra. Hydra was definitely one of my favourite stops, and is a popular choice for travellers as was evidenced by the double-parked boats at the pier.
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The town is perched on a dramatic, craggy cliffside, affording incredible views of the water below. A celebrity getaway, Hydra has some shopping and a number of restaurants, and its charm is maintained by the fact that the only way to get around is by walking or hitching a ride on a donkey.
If you’re lucky enough to spend time sailing through Greece, be sure to get the captain to turn off the motors at some point, so you can enjoy the peaceful quiet of the sea. Dangle your feet over the edge of the boat, and beat eat the heat by hitting a swimming spot—you’ll likely be the only ones there!
You can finish off your trip with a quick jaunt through Athens. We stayed in the Poseidon Hotel which is close to the yacht marinas and located along the seafront. It also has a rooftop pool, which is a great way to cool off after a dusty day of sightseeing. You can jump on a bus across the street and head downtown, where you can explore the Platka (a popular market) before heading up to the Acropolis. Open daily, it will set you back €12 to get in, and give you access to the Parthenon, archeological museums and the slopes.
Snap a few shots of the ancient citadel, then turn your lens onto the city below.
You really can’t go wrong with any itinerary to Greece, but sailing through it will allow you to easily see a number of diverse islands—and you’re guaranteed a great tan.
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