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Articles Nine Highlights of the Saronic Gulf

Greece has long been on the hotspot hit list for the superyacht set. With its captivating blend of ancient culture, idyllic islands, and mouthwatering cuisine it has something for everyone.

While places like Zakynthos and Santorini may need no introduction having long been itinerary favourites, the Saronic Gulf has stayed under the international jetset radar, remaining a hideout primarily for Greek royalty, wealthy locals, and island-hopping superyachts.

Mild and green, rather than dry and rugged, with the scent of pine, lemon, and olive trees in the air and plenty of historic sites to explore, the Saronic islands are not to be missed.

An idyllic yacht charter destination, easily accessed via the international hub of Athens and able to be explored within a week-long charter. Often referred to as the Argo-Saronic Islands, they boast more lush vegetation and greenery than the Cyclades Islands and, with warmer sea temperatures offering excellent swimming.

Home to a plethora of bustling cities, laid-back fishing towns, and uninhabited islands, the Saronic Gulf brims with historical beauty, both man-made and natural. Charterers can absorb intriguing cultures and untouched landscapes.

Here are nine of the most unmissable Saronic spots.

1 Nikki Beach Porto Heli

Exclusive and luxurious, Porto Heli is a privately-owned Greek seaside resort that has attracted celebrities to its Peloponnesian shores for many years. It is no wonder then that the achingly cool Nikki Beach chose it as one of their exclusive locations. Porto Heli’s excellent mooring facilities for large yachts (162m Eclipse has been spotted here) mean that Owners and guests can easily hop ashore to enjoy the romantic, laid-back vibes and a cocktail or two at this stylish outpost. Lounge on trademark chic white loungers under white umbrellas while a DJ introduces you to your summer soundtrack.

Nikki Beach, Porto Heli

2 Diving Agistri

The smallest of the Saronic islands, Agistri is known for its tranquil beauty and clear blue waters, which are ideal for diving. Around Agistri and its tiny neighbouring island Dorousa, divers and snorkellers will find a breathtaking realm to explore, from vast caves and walls to submerged fishing boats that now teem with life. For the adventurous, the underwater highlight of Agistri is undoubtedly the wreck of Avantis III. An 80m cargo ship that sank after hitting the rocks around the island in 2004, the Avantis III lies on the seabed, extending from 16m down to 47m, with cool dive sites along its length to suit all abilities.

Woman snorkeling in Agistri Island, Greece

3 Exploring Hydra

With no cars, no bicycles – in fact, no real roads – and plenty of charm, Hydra is the ultimate Greek island experience. Get lost wandering through the winding lanes of Hydra Town, stop for cold beers at local tavernas where gentlemen play backgammon while sipping espressos, and take in stunning views as you climb up Mount Eros, Hydra’s highest peak, to Prophet Ilias Monastery. The pebbly beaches of Hydra tumble into gin-clear waters and there are plenty of bays to anchor off. To pop into town, superyachts can moor stern-to on the concrete strips that have been set out along the rocks.

Hydra Greece

4 Sailing Spetses

Spetses is for those looking for a place filled with refined, quiet glamour. Its pine-covered hillsides and sandy beaches have attracted the likes of Marilyn Monroe and Elizabeth Taylor, and the cobbled streets of its historic old harbour town hide a myriad of boutiques, traditional tavernas and quaint, white-washed houses. In late June, the town comes alive with vogueish visitors and sailing enthusiasts for the Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta. Participants and spectators can expect three days of sailing celebrations as classic Aegean schooners, small lateens and contemporary classics all compete in the picturesque Peloponnese Channel.

several Old classic wooden racing sailing boats during a Classic Boats Regatta in Spetses island in Greece

5 The Amphitheatre Epidavros

Of all the incredible ancient sites in Greece, the amphitheatre at Epidavros is one of the best. The perfect acoustics in this 4th century BC theatre mean that the 15,000 spectators can not only hear performers from anywhere at the venue but can even hear a pin drop. For a truly unique experience, you can stand in the middle of the stage and speak; your voice will echo around the ancient walls, and you will hear yourself, as though coming from your inner thoughts. Visit during the summer festival (June 1 to August 24) to attend a variety of plays and concerts in the amphitheatre, sitting in the same seats as thousands of ancient Greeks.

Epidavros Amphitheater in Greece

6 Volcanic Hikes Methana

One of the Saronic Gulf’s best-kept secrets is the volcanic Methana peninsula, surrounded by the blue Aegean and connected to the Peloponnese mainland by a narrow road. There are 32 volcanoes on the peninsula and hikers will be rewarded with other-worldly lava landscapes, epic views across the Gulf, fascinating archaeological sites and small settlements. Stop at the beautiful hillside village of Kameni Hora for a snack or head into Methana town to enjoy its famously therapeutic hot springs, spas and volcanic beaches.

The volcanic peninsula of Methana in Greece

7 Relax and unwind Kythira

Also known as Tsirigo from the time of its Venetian occupation, Kythira is a boho, go-slow gem that sways gently to its own rhythm. Nestled between the Peloponnese and Crete, this island is steeped in history and myth, referred to in Homer’s Iliad and known as the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite. From Venetian castles and Byzantine monuments to architecture that evokes the charm of both Mani and Crete, Kythira offers an irresistible blend of culture, activities, and relaxation. Spend your days lounging on pristine beaches, immersing yourself in the leisurely pace of island life, or engaging in adventurous pursuits like canyoning through creeks, rappelling down cliffs, and swimming inside caves. The island’s 300 square kilometres are shared by just 3,000 inhabitants, allowing for a truly serene escape.

The famous old monastery of agioi theodoroi in Kythira island, Greece.

8 Adrenaline Fuelled Adventure Kyparissi

Known as the most beautiful port in Greece, Kyparissi is accessible only by a challenging mountain road or superyacht tender. This rugged landscape lends itself to adrenaline seekers with scaling a razor-edge cliff before abseiling down to earth on the agenda. Your reward? A panoramic view of your yacht lying in the blue bay beyond. Wake up to views over Kyparissia Castle. Thinking of hiking up to this towering fort? Prepare yourself with a Peloponnese breakfast of xerotigana honey pastries, lalagia donuts, and pressed grape juice. Then relax. Part Mediterranean, part Ionian, the sea around Kyparissi is stunning. Lagoudis Beach is a kitesurf go-to. Kalo Nero Beach welcomes more turtles than tourists. And your private yacht is home to more toys than any resort for miles around.

The village Kyparissi and the beach Megali Ammos in Lakonia, Greece

9 The Acropolis And Ancient Agora Athens

The Acropolis and the ancient Agora are renowned worldwide as magnificent archaeological monuments in Athens. The Parthenon temple on the Acropolis is widely considered a key landmark of early Western civilisation. The city also retains a vast variety of Roman and Byzantine monuments, as well as a smaller number of remaining Ottoman monuments projecting the city’s long history across the centuries. Athens is home to two UNESCO World Heritage Sites – the Acropolis and the mediaeval Daphni Monastery. The site of the ruins of the Temple of Poseidon on Cape Sounion is a popular day excursion for visitors to Athens, with sunset over the Aegean Sea, as viewed from the ruins, being a sought-after spectacle. Don’t miss visiting the museums hosting unique treasures of Greece’s cultural inheritance—the Archaeological Museum, Military Museum, and Byzantine Museum.

Panorama of Athens with Acropolis hill, Greece

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