Luxury Yacht Charter
The Cyclades Islands, Greece.
The Greek Cyclades islands are among the most requested of all Mediterranean yacht charter destinations. The names Mykonos and Santorini may be well known, but by visiting the lesser-known gems, you can cruise the Greek Cyclades without having to get tangled up with the plethora of yacht flotillas that cluster in the tourist hot-spots.
Here Fiona Williams of Indigo Bay Luxury Yacht Charters gives us an insight into the joy of carving your own bow-wave while being looked after by expert crew. If top class hospitality, quiet professionalism, compelling stories, plenty of laughter and food from the gods are on your holiday wishlist, read on to be inspired.
THE YACHT PHANTOM, the superb Lagoon 620, slick and sophisticated with a pale grey hull, lives up to expectations as her professional crew of three waits to greet us in Alimos Marina, Athens. I have been invited to join a week’s charter in the Cyclades islands of Greece. It may be the beginning of October, but the temperature is 27°C, the skies are blue, and the sun is blissfully warm.
The yacht was sold to the owner by Ancasta in 2018 and arrived in Athens in May 2019, fresh from delivery after her launch in Bordeaux a few days earlier. Bought with charter in mind, she is fully equipped with five guest cabins and all the leisure kit that’s required to keep a multitude of guests happy. For her three permanent crew – Captain Theo, Mate George and Chef Dionysios – there is a midship bunk cabin and crew accommodation in the forepeak.
Day 1. MILOS
Milos is a unique island of luminous geological forms, quiet coves, divine beaches, authentic seafood tavernas and fascinating history – the Venus de Milo was found here. This unspoilt island is, fortunately, one of the most overlooked. Smooth, sculpted white rock at Kleftiko surrounds vibrant turquoise water, black volcanic outcrops and tiny painted Syrmata houses with the waterline lapping at their doors.
The deep and protected bay of Poliegos, with its shimmering water is perfect for paddleboarding, lunch and a swim. Later, as we breeze along under full sail at 10 knots, we are joined by by a big pod of dolphins who skim and jump ahead of our hulls for an hour. Two hulls are definitely better than one for dolphin fun! By evening we are tied up to the dock at charming Apollonia and stroll ashore for mezze and local delicacies at an excellent seafood taverna.
Day 2. FOLEGANDROS
The next day we set sail for Folegandros, a little gem of an island with just 750 inhabitants. A taxi to the medieval town of Chora on top of the hill is a must. Winding, cobblestone streets with whitewashed houses and tumbling flowers inter-connect three small squares with traditional bars, restaurants and a ‘village tree’ at its centre, under which people gather to hear the local news and discuss important events. Above it all, stands a church overlooking the circle of islands stretching below.
Day 3. IOS
Once a haunt of Byron and his bohemian crowd, this bustling port is lined with colourful fishing boats and pleasure yachts, and the atmosphere is welcoming. A walk up countless steps to the Chora (the main town of any island in Greece) takes us through a tangle of tiny pedestrianised lanes leading through a maze of little houses, shops and bars and up to the top from where the blue-domed church commands a magnificent view out over the Cyclades.
Day 4. IRAKLIA
Today, Captain Theo suggests we have a barbecue. Working our way west to Iraklia and the stunning Aliminia bay, we are greeted by golden rock edges and topaz blue water. Protected from the prevailing northwest breeze, the water is like a mirror – perfect for paddleboarding and water sports. A crescent beach with a matching moon provides the ideal place for a fire and barbecue and a few songs under the stars.
Day 5. KOUFONISIA
Glistening water beckons us in for a leisurely swim before we weigh anchor and set sail into the Aegean. We enjoy breakfast underway to Paros with a detour to Koufonisia and Mikro Koufonisia - low lying islands with mile upon mile of unspoilt beaches and crystal-clear lagoons.
By early evening we’re tied up in the port of Naoussa in Paros. A riddle of streets, houses and shops clutter into the charming old fishing village. Lapped by the sea, restaurants at the rim are bright with blue chairs and white walls. A few steps inside the labyrinth of the village, we lose ourselves among the higgledy-piggledy lanes with bougainvillaea spilling over painted doors, art galleries and chic boutiques. Music draws us to a tiny triangle meeting place with a willow tree at its centre and an excellent cocktail bar.
Day 6. KYTHNOS
Kythnos is an island boasting magnificent beaches, numerous white churches, and a history that goes back to the Mesolithic era. The village of Loutra is blessed with hot thermal springs with proven healing powers; try the spa experience or wallow in the warmth of the stream that flows into the bay. The quay is framed by quirky little bars and tavernas, and the residents are welcoming.
We slide into a perfectly unspoilt bay to the west of idyllic Kolona beach, Fikiada – a natural, long spit of sand joining Kythnos to a tiny, uninhabited island. Above us, wild flowers cloak the hills while sheep roam the ancient ruins. Watersports of all kinds, yoga on the sand and exploring by kayak fill the day. Sunset cocktails on the beach and a gourmet dinner back on board round off the perfect evening.
Day 7. KEA
A beautiful sail from Kythnos to Voulakari in Kea. Nestled on top of the hills just a short taxi ride away is the ancient Chora. A robed priest with a group of villagers sits outside the village square’s café beckoning us to join them for a tsipouro brandy and a little gossip. We follow the wildflower lane to the magnificent Lion of Kea carved into the rock. Donkeys and farmers meander the same route – there is no room for cars here.
LUXURY YACHT CHARTER PACKAGES
This itinerary is just one excellent example of how to spend a week sailing the Greek islands. Bespoke charter means the weeks are not set and the possibilities are endless – from the Ionian in the West to the Dodecanese in the East, we can work with you to create the perfect charter itinerary for your party. You choose how long you’d like to sail for and where you’d like to explore.
Our crewed catamaran charter fleet ranges in size from 45’ to 100’, motor and sailing yachts anywhere from 50’ – 200’+. We represent the finest selection of yachts all over the Med and also specialise in the Caribbean and other worldwide destinations.
To charter PHANTOM or to discuss different itineraries, alternative yachts or any other requirements, please contact Fiona on 07971 707851 or email: