We highlight our favourite ‘off the beaten path’ treasure islands to reach by yacht, starting with Greece and ending in Croatia. These islands blend history and sailing to provide an enriching experience.
Chartering a yacht is the best way to access coves in these secluded and hard-to-reach locations. For example, the volcanic hot springs on the island like Caldera. Experience the dramatic landscapes with 360-panoramic landscape views day and night.
1. Agios Nikolaos, Crete / Rust-hued Paradise
Agios Nikolaos Marina is the most popular marina for sailing cruisers in Crete. The town sits upon the three hills partially upon the ruins of the ancient city of Lato pros Kamara. Voulismeni Lake is surrounded by rust-hued rock formations and verdant vegetation. According to Greek Mythology, Athena and Artemis bathe in its waters.
There is an abundance of churches to explore. The Venetian castle’s romantic ruins perched upon the hill crowns the island. The destructive earthquake of 1956 struck the castle and great parts of the fortified settlement collapsed into the sea; and now the castle looks beautifully ruined.
Agios Nikolaos, Crete. Image credit: Rebecca Sharples
2. Corfu / Sun-soaked Ionian Islands
Corfu is surrounded by the Ionian Sea, which is known for its warm waters, ideal for swimming laps, playing on sea toys or just floating around like a lazy jellyfish. The island is synonymous with the beginning of Greek mythology. As you stand in the sun-soaked cobbled streets you can envisage gods, goddesses, heroes in the winding medieval lanes. The porcelain white sand, azure-clear waters and rugged mountains are as much part of its allure as the historic architecture. You can berth your boat at Gouvia Marina, which is the largest marina in the northern Ionian.
The old town in Corfu is fortified with history. A must see is the UNESCO-listed fortress comprising three forts. Its green-shuttered neoclassical streets display a multitude of historical influences including Corinthian, Roman, Byzantine, French, Russian and British.
3. Santorini- Greece / Volcanic-Beauty
Seeing Santorini’s sights and sunsets from the water is a spectacular experience. Swim off the boat straight into the Aegean Sea. Santorini is characterised by white-washed pillars and blue-topped domed buildings. It is easy to see why it is one the most photographed destinations in Europe. Santorini’s volcanic history has led to the formation of unique beaches unlike anywhere else in Europe. Expect- black sandy bays and volcanic beaches made up of black, red and white lava pebbles.
Ensure to visit Red Beach- a volcanic sand beach set among chilli-red cliffs. The rare sight is a geological lover’s haven.
Cruising by Kamari beach is extraordinary. Atop Kamari, are the ruins of Ancient Thera, which date back to the 9th century B.C. Down the ancient high street you will find Greek temples, Roman baths, Byzantine walls, and a church. You can expect historical sights aplenty here, visit Kefalos castle, dating from the 15th century, the Monastery of Agios Ioannis, the Basilica of Agios Stefanos and more. The highlight is Akrotíri, which provides a window into how Santorini would have operated before the volcano erupted. Walk through the clay buildings and archaeological gems.
One of the benefits of visiting Santorini by boat is that you can float towards the island Caldera, a blip of an island, to experience bathing in the hot springs.
Santorini. Image credit: Dan Wechter Unsplash
4. Korcula, Croatia / The Emerald Isle
Sailing in Korcula waters offers a different perspective of the stunning coastline of the Island. Korcula is one of Croatia’s best kept secrets. The island gets its name’s sake ‘Emerald Isle’ because it is full of dense pine forests. For quiet coves and small sandy beaches head to the south of the island. Part of the island’s attraction is the laid-back atmosphere which is more relaxed than Hvar.
According to a legend, the island was founded by Trojan hero Antenor in the 12th century BC. Interesting archaeological sites include the Vela Spila (Big Cave) and Jakas Cave near the village of Zrnovo.
The old city is brimming with ancient ruins. Visit the bell tower in St Mark’s Cathedral at top of the hills to provide panoramic views of the island next to the sea. Locals are proud to be associated with explorer Marco Polo, who is reputed to have been born here.
5. Hvar, Croatia / Sailors-Reach
Hvar is at the epicentre for sailing routes across Europe, drawing nautical nomads from all corners of the globe. It really does have it all- parties, sunshine, serenity and history. The island is equal in spirit and history. Hvar was conquered by the Romans, who had left a rich heritage of country mansions on the island. The Grapčeva cave is located on the south of the island and is the most significant prehistoric site in the Adriatic. Interestingly, the oldest depiction of a boat in Europe painted on pottery was discovered in this cave.
Sail your own odyssey with TJB Super Yachts. To find out more, please get in touch with TJB Super Yachts’ team of experienced brokers.