With the equinox past, the days getting longer, and spring in the air in the Northern Hemisphere, our minds are turning to sunnier climes, and where better to head this Mediterranean summer than the sun-drenched Cyclades Islands in Greece.
The Cyclades offer many options for the superyacht charterer from anchoring in secret bays and coves to stepping ashore to cosmopolitan islands with first-class restaurants and beach clubs. From taking the time to enjoy a really leisurely lunch ashore to chatting to your family and friends late into the night after a bespoke dinner party on board, it’s the little moments and the attention to detail your crew provide that make a summer yacht charter different from a normal holiday. Boasting an ideal and reliable climate, a huge variety of cruising options and with plenty of superyachts to choose from, the Cyclades are a great choice.
Embark on your Greek Odyssey
Athens is an ideal stop off point for a charter through the Cyclades. Spend a few days exploring historic sites such as the Acropolis and the Panathenaic Stadium, home to the first modern Olympics in 1896. Then cruise on over to your first anchorage off the mountainous island of Kea. Kea is where wealthy Athenians spend their weekends. There are no long stretches of sandy beaches on the island, but instead scores of small coves, most of which are only accessible by boat making for a very private experience.
Continue anticlockwise around the archipelago to the island of Sifnos. Step ashore to the cosmopolitan port of Kamares, climb to the medieval hilltop village of Kastro, or anchor off the unspoiled beaches of Vathi and Platys Gialos.
Best for... culinary delights
Sifnos has a reputation for its culinary scene, with traditional dishes made using the freshest of ingredients cooked in traditional wooden ovens.
Following a peaceful night at anchor, cruise southwest to Milos. As you make your approach, head up on deck to witness the spectacle of colour displayed on the cliff faces. Milos is best known for its varied and impressive beaches (all 70 of them) and the hot springs that bubble around this volcanic island. Spend a leisurely day exploring the sheltered bays, dropping anchor to enjoy watersports in the calm waters, before heading to the harbourside restaurants in Pollonia.
Best for... culture
Milos has catacombs second only in historical significance to Rome’s, as well as the remains of an amphitheatre and other ancient ruins in Plaka.
Although the cliffs and its sunsets keep up Santorini’s reputation as one of the most romantic places on earth, the past few years have also seen its culinary scene explode. Foodies will delight in the numerous fantastic restaurants tucked away within the town of Oia’s whitewashed streets, while wine lovers will enjoy sampling the island’s local wines. The boho-chic Andronis Arcadia attracts the cool crowd who come to dance to the beats spun by the resident DJ. It also offers superb Greek cuisine at its Opson Restaurant and sublime treatments at the Evexia spa. Another recent addition to the culinary scene is De Paul, housed in a former monastery in the capital of Fira. These are just a few of the latest additions to the island, joining old stalwarts the likes of Homeric Poems, the Alati Restaurant at the Vedema Resort, and the clifftop restaurant at Santorini Grace.
Best for... sundowners
Cruise across the caldera, stopping to swim in the hot springs, before admiring the spectacular Santorini sunset.
Fit for heroes
Cruise north, dropping anchor in Papas Bay on the quiet island of Ios. Take a stroll along winding paths through ancient olive groves, or simply enjoy the secluded bays by kayak and paddleboard.
Early morning, weigh anchor and cruise for Paros. A firm favourite on the cruising map, the waters surrounding Paros provide ideal conditions for wind and kite surfing conditions. Come evening, the traditional fishing village of Naoussa is worth a visit as it comes alive, with a buzzing atmosphere in its tavernas and bars.
Best for... watersports
There are dozens of great beaches dotted all around Paros. Chrissi Akti beach has just under a mile of golden sand located on the southeast coast. It has an offshore wind and so, like many of the beaches on Paros, is a popular spot for windsurfing. Santa Maria is another famed beach with clear water and shallow sand dunes and is another popular windsurfing beach.
The Greeks have been holidaying in Mykonos since the 1950s, but it was when Jackie Onassis and Aristotle Onassis gave it their seal of approval during the 1960s that it became a must-visit summer destination for the jet-set. Their influence lives on in the islands plethora of beach clubs and restaurants, all of which attract A-listers and the superyacht set who come here to experience the boho-vibe.
Take the tender ashore for a long lunch at Nammos on Psarou Beach. The Greek alternative to St. Tropez’s Le Club 55, Nammos is considered the gold standard of Mykonian chic and, although ostentatious, in mid-summer it is the place to see-and-be-seen for your average Greek Shipping heir. If, however, you prefer something a little more laid back then Scorpios is one of the best beach clubs on the island, if not the archipelago. Head ashore to relax on the driftwood day beds as soul-jazz tunes fill the air. In the early evening Caprice is considered the place for sunset cocktails accompanied by chilled music beats. If guests in your charter party are looking for a refuge away from the party scene head to Aegean Poets; located above Psarou Bay, the restaurant is one of the finest on the island.
Best for... glamorous nightlife
Explore buzzing Mykonos Town, a winding maze of whitewashed streets and home to some of the island’s best bars and restaurants, with cuisine ranging from Japanese fusion to seafood and traditional Greek fare.
Off the Grecian grid
Continue on to the lesser-known islands of Delos and Syros, stepping ashore firstly to explore the sacred grounds of Delos, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the supposed birthplace of Artemis and Apollo.
Then continue soaking up the sun for your final day on board as you cruise in a leisurely fashion to the nearby island of Syros. Step ashore to the island’s main town of Ermoupoli and enjoy a final mezze before cruising back to Athens and disembarking.
The great appeal of a superyacht charter is that it is bespoke, incorporating all the elements that are important to you. Most itineraries throw together a bit of everything – relaxation on board, excursions ashore, watersports, shopping and exploring the natural habitat of your destination. If you are interested in something in particular – be it cuisine, culture, sport, history or wildlife, for example – simply call your Burgess charter expert who can tailor your itinerary to incorporate the best of what you love.