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The Beginning of History

Athens to Athens. Each of the Saronic Gulf Islands offer a unique feel and culture, which makes them ideal for exploring on a luxury yacht charter.

Greek Island Life at Its Best

From Athens, boasting millennia of magnificent history, to island chic in Spetses. From Aegina, one of man’s first colonised island to the medieval fortress of Monemvasia. From Greek island tranquility on the car-free Hydra to the forested hinterland and gastronomic treasures of Poros.

Athens

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The birthplace of democracy, Athens boasts three millennia of magnificent history. Famous philosophers Aristotle, Plato and Socrates debated their way along these ancient city streets. Today the city is flush with iconic ancient ruins, including the world-famous Parthenon.

But it’s not just history buffs who revel in the Greek capital, Epicureans are in for a treat too. Wander through the colourful spice stalls and fishmongers within the Varvakios Agora (Athens’ Central Market), or head to Spondi, Greece’s top restaurant and wine cellar for over a decade. This double Michelin-starred spot serves contemporary dishes like sea urchin, shaved fennel and citrus yuzu.

Poros

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Poros was originally two rocky specks, but a seismic eruption in 273BC created naturally stunning anchorages backed by volcanically rich forests. Mooring space for the world’s largest luxury yachts renders Poros Town a prominent port of call. Yet sandy island coves like Love Bay host only a beach bar apiece, with a just fridge for Mythos lager and a freezer for ice.

Mirror-calm seas make Poros a top spot for paddleboarding and windsurfing. More adventurous guests can undertake a crew-led hike into Lemon Forest, a hilly wilderness of 30,000 citrus trees. For archaeologists, the ruins of Olympia and Argos are within reach.

Hydra

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No Greek island mixes timeless tranquillity and contemporary cool with such panache. Both construction and cars are banned on Hydra. Guests keen to explore the vast island’s herb-scented interior may choose between two wheels and two legs. With zero light pollution, evenings are best whiled away with a glass of ouzo and a stargazing app.
An amphitheatre of Italianate mansions surrounds Hydra harbour. These marble quays have long been favoured by Athenian intelligentsia and wealthy captains. The opening of galleries Slaughterhouse and Workshop placed Hydra on the contemporary art map. According to the New York Times: “It’s not uncommon to see donkeys carrying crates of valuable artwork up bumpy paths to the art spaces”. Catch visiting buyers and browsers alike on Limnióniza Beach.

Nafplion

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If only the tavernas of Nafplion could talk. This former capital of Greece is among the country’s most handsome ports. Its sailors became Jason’s Argonauts, while others fought in the Trojan War. Such noble history translates into three castles, a dozen forts and museums aplenty. During your Saronic islands yacht charter be sure to sail past the smallest battlement, Bourtzi, which occupies its own tiny island in the bay.

Only the nearby Greek ruin of Argos may be able to tempt you away from Nafplion’s elegant streets. This 7,000-year-old town once rivalled Sparta, before its amphitheatre and temples crumbled back to earth.

Spetses

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Spetses vies for the title of the chicest island in Greece. Wealthy Athenians have tied up in its ancient stone marina since time immemorial. For a taste of town, gaze through Chanel sunglasses at your glass of Domaine Hatzimichalis, a favourite vintage of the FT’s Jancis Robinson. It’s truly that cool.

The other allure of Spetses is its solitude. The island has no cars, so if you want to call on a friend for lunch, you sail instead with your charter yacht. For a postprandial snooze on a deserted shore you’re spoilt for choice. We heartily recommend Xylokeriza, a beach as difficult to reach as it is to spell.

Monemvasia

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This is a magical place. A massive rock rises dramatically out of the sea and on top there is a fortress. However, the real attraction is the Medieval town with its narrow, cobbled streets and winding stairways which lead to a warren of stone houses with walled gardens and courtyards, and the main square dominated by an old cannon and the cathedral.
A walk around the Castle Town is a travel to the past, while the sea view from the castle top is breathtaking.

Porto Heli

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Porto Heli is the harbour of choice for Greece’s yachting elite. It’s simple to see why. This perfect crescent of protected port is a blissfully short sail from almost every outpost in the Saronic Island chain. Blue-blooded yacht charter visitors detox at the local Aman resort, then retox at Nikki beach. In Porto Heli, Souvlaki and Gyros are considered parvenu; menus here purvey rock samphire and sea urchin roe. Porto Heli is synonymous with Spetses, the chic Greek Island bobbing across the gulf. Moneyed Athenians have long tied up for pine-backed beaches and seafront strolls. Pack a copy of John Fowles’ the magus for a thrilling introduction to its sparkling island life.

Aegina

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Homo sapiens had it right. One of man’s first colonised islands and the perfect anchor for your Saronic gulf yacht charter is Aegina, whose waters were as translucent 5,000 years ago as they are today. Say kalimera to Marathonas, a 4km ribbon of sandy beach. Plus Souvála, a pebble cove with therapeutic shallows that has soothed tired sailors since ancient times.

Aegina reached its trading heyday in 500BC. Wealth and power built the Temple of Aphaia, a mini-Parthenon unchanged since then. The island’s volcanic interior yields enough pistachios, almonds and figs to sustain the heartiest of hikes.

Athens

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Like Rome, Athens is a living museum. The past comes alive on the city’s labyrinthine streets, snaking up to the Acropolis. The most important ancient historical monument in the West, the Acropolis towers over the city. Experience it up close and wander the modern museum beneath, home to artefacts from 5BC.