experience - Sailing the Greek Islands
Written by Matt Barrett
Whether you are an accomplished sailor, want to hire a skipper, or join a group of like-minded travellers, a sailing trip through the Greek islands is one you will never forget.
Most charters begin on the coast of Athens, and the distance between islands is so short that even non-sailors needn’t worry about long hours at sea. From the port of Lavrion it is just under two hours before you are on the island of Kea.
The yacht harbour of Vourkari has several fish tavernas (restaurants), cafés, clubs, and shops, while the capital of the island, Ioulida, is on the top of a mountain with a view all the way to Cape Sounion and is closed to automobile traffic. A walk through the town will lead you to the stone path that takes you to the 6th-century stone lion that the island is known for.
Two hours later you are on the island of Kythnos in the small port of Loutra, famous for its healing hot mineral baths. It is another short journey to
From Sifnos you can continue on with the western Cyclades and see the amazing coast of the mineral-rich island of Milos with its strange rock formations and spectacular beaches, or you can cut back towards Paros, known for its nightlife and windsurfing. From Paros it is a short sail to Syros,
Instead of sailing back to Athens, you can end your trip here and explore Santorini, staying at one of the impressive cliff-side hotels and watching the sunset, before taking the high-speed ferry or flying back to Athens.
When a massive volcanic eruption blew out the centre of Santorini in around 1,500 BC, it created an enormous crater which the sea rushed to fill in. Known as the Minoan eruption, it has been speculated that this catastrophic event destroyed the mythical city of Atlantis which had stood there. Classical philosopher Plato told that the city, once a prosperous power of the ancient world, angered the gods with its ambition and was swept under the sea in the space of a day and a night. Archaeological findings suggest that before the eruption, a developed, marine-based society had indeed existed there. These days there are whitewashed towns and cities perched on the edge of the crater, called the caldera, with spectacular views of sunsets over broken pieces of the original island and the new volcanic islands that have appeared in the centre. It is these views, the excellent wines made from grapes in mineral-rich soil, the black-and red-sand beaches, and the restaurants, shopping, and nightlife that make Santorini arguably the one essential Greek island.