The Saronic Gulf and Peloponnese peninsula tend to play second fiddle to more famous destinations in Greece which is surprising, considering their proximity to Athens. If you’re looking for outstanding natural beauty, oodles of culture, traditional villages devoid of mass tourism and uncrowded coves, then you couldn’t set your sights on better spots. Whilst many in the yachting scene believe charters in the Saronic Gulf and Peloponnese are for those who’ve already sailed the most famous islands in Greece, we believe this area offers an iconic and comprehensive introduction to this marvelous country and all it has to offer.
Yacht Charters in the Saronic Gulf
There are many reasons the Saronic Islands are idyllic. Firstly, they’re incredibly luscious, with pristine forests offering an array of hiking trails for those who love on-land explorations on foot. Geologically distinct, these verdant islands are much greener than their southern neighbors, which are volcanic, rocky and dramatic. In the Saronic Gulf, charming fishing villages dot coastlines, trendy bars and restaurants abound and the waters are warm and calm. The islands’ protected locations make them ideal for early or late-season Greece yacht charters and is the primary reason we feel they’d make ideal destinations for first-time yachties.
Only an hour’s fast sail from Athens, the Saronic Gulf Islands are also perfect if you’re short on time or prefer to see more, do more and sail less. Shorter distances between islands translate to more time spent swimming, snorkeling, playing with your private yacht’s water toys and exploring those gorgeous villages on shore.
Salamina –The closest island to Athens and the largest of the Saronics, Salamina (Salamis) is arguably the crown jewel of the gulf, offering a taste of everythingGreece has to offer. Drenched in ancient history, Salamina Is home to archeological treasures, traditional monasteries, museums, art galleries, tavernas, dreamy sandy beaches and a bevy of bays that are ideal for water sports.
Aegina –A very popular spot for day-trippers from Athens, Aegina offers great bicycle riding routes, wonderful cultural delights and fabulous seafood restaurants, along with a distinct authenticity that’s lacking in more popular spots. Perhaps it’s too close to Athens for many foreign tourists to consider and it could also be the fact that Aegina itself doesn’t really boast idyllic beaches. Whatever the case may be, this most Greek of all Greek islands has managed to retain its cultural essence and, for many, this is reason enough to plan a visit.
Agistri –Agistri is where Aegina holidaymakers head to when they wish to spend a whole day on a stunning beach. This island has plenty! Aside from a few charming villages, Agistri is mostly agricultural: farming and fishing are the island’s main activities. For visitors, this means an abundance of hiking, bicycle and horseback riding excursions.
Hydra –Step onto Hydra and you’ll be stepping into an ancient world of cobbled streets, stone architecture and idyllic scenery. The island is vehicle-free and blissfully romantic, with a smattering of seaside villages home to fashionable restaurants and bars that attract a discerning yachting crowd.
Poros – Verdant forests tumble down the coast of Poros, a tiny speck of Saronic beauty that’s popular with yachting families and anyone looking for a quieter, nature-filled day spent exploring the arresting coastline.
Spetses –Home to one of the oldest ship-building yards in all of Greece, Spetses boasts magnificent ancient mansions dating back to Medieval times, when the island was a very prominent trading hub. Host of the famous Armata Festival held at the end of September each year, Spetses still basks in its illustrious naval reputation despite the fact that, nowadays, it’s revered as a laid-back destination that’s a dream for a relaxing break.
Yacht Charters in The Peloponnese – For Outstanding Offshore Attractions
The Peloponnese Peninsula (a bonafide island since the building of the Corinth Canal) extends like a hand in the southern region of Greece. For outstanding scenic landscapes and breathtaking anchorages, you’ll be hard pressed to find a rival, anywhere in the Mediterranean. Yes, the Peloponnese really is thatbeautiful.
Laid-back fishing villages adorn the coastline of this picturesque spot and the inland attractions – some of which are among the most famous archaeological sites in Greece – will lure you ashore every day, no doubt. Traversed by a dramatic mountain range, this incredibly beautiful ‘island’ offers a multitude of contrasting scenes, traditional towns and local cuisines.
Here are some of the most outstanding ports you’ll want to include in your Peloponnese Yacht Charter:
Nafplion –Greece’s original capital, Nafplion is historically enriched with a cache of ancient Greek and Venetian architectural marvels, as well as plenty of traditional tavernas and cafés.
Kyparissi –A favored holiday spot for the late Princess Diana, Kyparissi is a dreamy spot for a secluded rest. The white sandy beach is framed by verdant pine forests and the small laid-back village is just the ticket for a refreshing frappeon a hot summer’s day.
Monemvasia –A stunning Medieval gem, Monemvasia is a visual feast. Volcanic cliffs frame a spectacular mix of architecture dating back thousands of years. There’s a lot to see, buy, eat and do here, so make sure not to rush your visit.
Elafonisos –Sensational sandy beaches lapped by turquoise seas are the main calling cards of Elafonisos, a small castaway island off the western coastline of the Mani Peninsula, perhaps the most magnificent of the Peloponnese’s four, southward pointing ‘fingers’. You’ll need to plan a longer yacht charter to reach this part of the peninsula but if there’s just one valid reason to do so, Elafonisos is it.
Pylos –Choose to circumnavigate the Peloponnese on a yacht charter and you’ll have some astounding spots to discover on the western side of the peninsula. Pylos is case in point: a historic village home to a striking hilltop castle (Palokastro) as well as beaches and bays only accessible on foot or (lucky you) by boat.