8 day itinerary
Dotted through the south-eastern waters of the glimmering Aegean Sea, this collection of 12 islands, surrounded by countless tiny uninhabited ones, is an enticing mix of ancient culture, mesmerising beaches and charming traditional fishing harbours. Discover the Greek Islands, unplugged.
Join your charter yacht in Rhodes Town and settle in with a welcome cocktail. The island of Rhodes has been inhabited since around 4000BC and has had many different identities and cultures. The old town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage site. Visit the Archaeological Museum in the former Knights Hospital. Explore the Knights Quarter. Walk along the Street of the Knights or simply wander through the maze of twisting alleys and absorb the history. Find a typical taverna for your first taste of Greece.
ISLAND OF COLOUR
Wake up in the colourful port of Gialos on the island of Symi. Climb the Kali Strata – 500 stone steps past the brightly painted mansions and chapels leading to main square of Ano Symi. Be ready for the Instagram-moment views. After lunch explore the many coves and beaches on the island for swimming and watersports. Visit the Monastery of the Archangel Michael. At sunset, stroll around the port’s bay area lined with traditional fish tavernas. Choose your favourite or return to the yacht for a gourmet meal.
Nisyros has a still-active volcano - but it has been dozing for 130 years. Climb up it to wander around the 10 hydrothermal craters. Visit Emporio on the edge of the caldera. Go to the Volcanology museum in Nikia village on the other side with its pretty main square of pebble mosaic. Explore the black sand or pebble beaches. In the evening, head to Mandraki, in the shadow of the monastery of Panagia Spiliani. Have drinks at Ellanax, an elegant bar by the water before going to Eirini tavern for good Greek fayre.
Kos has 5000 years of history and cosmopolitan character. Famously the birthplace of Hippocrates, walk in his footsteps at the Asclepeion – the Temple of Healing - where he is said to have trained. Cycle routes over mountains or around the coast and cool off with a swim. Visit Nerantzia castle in the harbour of Kos Town with panoramic views from the castle walls. Be pampered at the Artemis Hammam and Spa in Tigaki. Have lunch at the Agios Theologos beach in Kefalos Bay and laze on the beach until sunset.
The affluent island of Kalymnos made its fortune from sea sponges and its legacy can be seen in the old mansions and sea-god statues. Buy your own natural sea sponge from the stalls on the harbour. Go diving or head to any one of the beautiful beaches, lapped by water covering every shade of blue and green you can imagine. Photograph the more unusual red roofed churches on Kalymnos. The island is a rock climber's dream and is home to the International Climbers' Festival.
MYTH AND LEGEND
With its myriad of small coves and bays Leros, is ideal for a day on or in the water. Kayak to pretty seaside villages. Paddleboard to hidden coves and islets. Go diving on the many shipwrecks around the island or snorkel the reefs. Experience the absolute tranquillity in the pine forests and hills - once the hunting grounds of the goddess Artemis. Visit the many historical sights such as the castle of Brouzi and Panayia. End the day in a typical fish taverna on a beach or have a quiet dinner onboard.
The beautiful island of Patmos is unspoilt. It is designated a "Holy Island" by the Greek Parliament and a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Take the tender to Psili Ammos beach, only accessible by boat. See the grotto where it is said St John had the visions recorded in the Book of Revelation. Visit the monastery in his name. Walk down to Skála, the island's port. Find shops to explore and restaurants to sample: try Tsipouradiko with tables on the sand or stylish Ginger Gastrobar for elegant gourmet food and great cocktails.
IN GOOD COMPANY
Wake up on the final day of your holiday on Samos. Birthplace of mathematician Pythagoras, philosopher Epicurus and astronomer Aristarchus, it has an impressive pedigree. Squeeze in a quick visit to the Archaeological Museum or doing some last minute shopping in the lively capital of Vathy before heading to the airport for your onward flight.