Mykonos & the Aegean
- 8 DAYS -
Let yourself be wooed by the Aegean, the bluest blue sea in the world, sailing around some of its emblematic islands each with its own unique character and discovering other, better hidden, destinations among them…
Leaving from one of the Marinas in Athens you sail past Cape Sounion and the Temple of Poseidon that stands guard over the Aegean and head towards Kythnos for your first swim in Cycladic waters. This is the moment to become acquainted with the arid, rocky scenery with random green spots where thyme and caper bushes and the occasional fig tree grow. It’s a landscape you will be seeing for the next week, as the Cyclades are renowned for their rocks and their brilliantly blue sea that contrasts with the luminous white of the villages and the small churches that sit perched all over the islands.
From Kythnos straight to Mykonos, possibly the most famous Greek island (bar maybe Santorini)! It maybe exalted for its nightlife, as a jet-setters’ destination since the 60’s, but its beaches are also fabulous and its shopping quite incredible. Lose yourself in the winding cobbled alleyways of Matoyiannia and discover wonderful little boutiques, amazing Greek designers side by side with their international colleagues, along with bars and restaurants.
On your way from Mykonos to Antiparos, a small island that only was developed into a high-end destination, with a fair number of local and foreign glitterati spending their summers here, you will experience the serene magnificence of Despotiko. Divided from Antiparos by a shallow strip of turquoise water that forms almost a lagoon, this uninhabited island is home to an ancient Temple to Apollo; an ongoing dig has brought to light a multitude of significant findings in exceptionally good condition. The walk up to the site from the beach takes under 10 minutes– it is not officially open to the public but you may catch a glimpse of the team of archaeologists and students working on the statues…
Having spent the night on Antiparos enjoying its lovely ambience, handsome visitors, great restaurants and bars, you have probably opted for a leisurely morning onboard… A refreshing dip in the uniquely blue waters of Polyaigos will energize you. This island, inhabited only by wild goat –from where it gets its name, as “aiga” is the ancient Greek word for goat- has the bluest waters in the Aegean, a hue that you will not encounter anywhere else. Milos, right next door, is a much larger island that has some of the most stunning natural scenery and beaches in the Cyclades and its main village, Plaka, is perched atop the tallest hill and offers a breathtaking sunset.
There is no better way to bid the Cyclades farewell than with a swim at Kleftiko, where the incredible white rock formations create a sparkling blue pool; it can only be reached by sea and in good weather but hopefully you will be lucky enough to see it! From here you sail to the island of Kythira, off the southernmost tip of the Peloponnese. Its dark beauty is a stark contrast to the blond looks of Milos; here the beaches, mainly pebbly, descend steeply into deeper, blue-green waters. The fishing ports of Kapsali and Avlemonas are both quaintly beautiful; the former is more artsy and sports cute art galleries and gift shops.
Elafonissos is an earthly paradise of sand dunes and turquoise water, best enjoyed from the comfort of a boat since human intervention has unfortunately not treated it too well… Still, its natural beauty is breathtaking. After a leisurely swim you head to the Byzantine fortress-city of Monemvasia to walk around its cobbled streets and fortifications and experience its mystical atmosphere. If you get too hot you can always dive straight off the rocks into the deep blue sea.
Time for some jet-setting action in the cosmopolitan island of Spetses! But before stepping ashore in the Old Harbor or Dapia, enjoy another leisurely day swimming in Zogeria, one of the loveliest coves on the island where pine-trees reach down to the water’s edge. If you happen to have read The Magus by John Fowles you will immediately feel at home as this is where most of the novel takes place. In the evening do what everyone does: take a leisurely walk along the seafront, explore the boutiques in the narrow cobbled alleyways or take a horse-drawn carriage to the Old Harbor where most of the bars and nightclubs are.
On your way to the quiet heaven of Hydra, take the time for a refreshing dip at Dokos, an uninhabited island with sparkling blue water but no real beach. The first glimpse of the port of Hydra is always breathtaking no matter how many times one has experienced it. Traditional stone buildings are amphitheatrically built around the harbor climbing up the slopes of the rocky mountain; among them some stunning majestic mansions that were the homes of the rich merchants of Hydra that historically was a naval and commercial power, despite its small size. The island is entirely pedestrian, with cobblestoned streets and around 500 donkeys that serve to transport cargo up the steep hills. Be sure to wear comfortable shoes – no heels!- before stepping ashore!
Another dream holiday is about to come to an end but not before you have your morning swim in one of the spots to the right of the port; platforms have been built into the rocks to create bathing areas. There are no beaches close to town so the idea is to dive off into the deep blue and then climb out to enjoy an iced coffee and a magnificent view.
On the trip back you could sail through the straits of Poros to enjoy a glimpse of this picturesque island town and then straight back to the Marina in Athens – until the next time!