6 days discovering the North Aegean on a luxury yacht

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Limnos

If you are chartering a superyacht in Greece then you should consider visiting the North Aegean. The area tends to be slightly off the main tourist routes, which means coastline is less crowded, the towns less rowdy while the water quality, scenery and history is just as spectacular.

Chartering in the Dodecanese islands or exploring the Cyclades by superyacht may be better known options but the North Agean offers some of the best beaches in Greece combined with lively ports and cultural sites to enjoy.

Day 1: Limnos

You can fly to Limnos (sometimes called Lemnos) direct from Athens, or London Gatwick (seasonal.)

The port of Myrina is worth exploring on foot; numerous shaded alleys and roads reveal small shops, pleasant cafes and a castle. Inland there are some excellent ruins and a museum that explains the many layers of history to be found here, from the present right back to Stone Age times. The island also features in many ancient myths – it was reputed to be the site of Aphrodite’s first infidelity – and later an island solely populated by women, who gave Jason’s Argonauts quite a welcome. There are many good beaches here, and being slightly off the tourist trail, you’ll find few crowds.

Picture courtesy of Ian Kourt/Shutterstock.com

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Thassos

Thassos is the most northerly of the Greek islands and is still relatively unspoilt. It’s a great location to simply unwind and relax, with good opportunities for snorkelling and fishing. Anchor off the quiet bay of Aliki for a beach barbecue. Onshore the main town of Limenas showcases some fantastic ancient Roman and Greek history – with well-preserved temples on the acropolis.

Picture courtesy of Vucicevic Milos/Shutterstock.com

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Lesvos

This island nestles closely against the Turkish mainland and is the largest of the Eastern Aegean islands. The lively port of Mytilene is overshadowed by an impressive Genoese castle. The island has a long history and was partly made famous by the poetry of Sappho. So it’s not surprising that there are many interesting archaeological and architectural sites from monasteries to Roman aqueducts to visit. There are numerous safe anchorages as well as two ‘inland seas’ connected to the Aegean by narrow straits to explore.

The lovely port of Agios Fokas provides access to the vast sandy Vatera beach. And there are many other beaches and quaint villages to explore: Agiassos has many fine potteries and art shops in which to pick up good souvenirs.

PIcture courtesy of Salparadis/Shutterstock.com

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Chios

This 31-mile-long island also lies close to Turkey and like Levos has an extremely rich history. The main attractions here are the ancient villages, some like Pyrgi featured highly decorated houses and archaeological sites. The 11th Century Byzantine monastery of Moni Nea is a World Heritage Site and one of the ‘three great churches of Greece.’

There are beaches too: Mavra Volia is unusual in that it is made of perfectly round black pebbles that contrast with the crystal clear sea. Emporios is another black beach, with a sharp drop off to deep water.

Picture courtesy of bernanamoglu/Shutterstock.com

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Ikaria

Ikaria (or Icaria) is named after the mythological Icarus, who is said to have flown too close to the sun and fallen into the sea near here… There are often strong winds in the area and there is just one really safe anchorage on the northeast coast, but if conditions allow, this is a great opportunity to explore this unique mountainous island.

Deep ravines make it more lush and green than many Mediterranean islands – it is said to be one of the most beautiful of all the Greek islands. There are some lovely beaches; with the use of a yacht and tender you can reach the more inaccessible ones and have a secluded cove all to yourself. Other attractions include the hot springs at Therma, the ruined temple of Artemis at Nas – it was largely in tact until the locals plundered it for marble in the 19th century, and the monastery Evaggelistrias.

Picture courtesy of bluecrayola/Shutterstock.com

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Samos

Samos lies just 1.6km from the coast of Turkey, yet is the birthplace of several of Greece’s most famous sons: Pythagoras the mathematician, the philosopher Epicurus, and the astronomer Aristarchus of Samos, who was the first person to state that the Earth revolved around the sun. Perhaps it was the excellent local wine that got their brains going, or maybe they found inspiration in the white sand beaches and clear seas that attract tourists to this day.

Samos is livelier and busier than the other North Aegean Islands, lying closer to the tourist hotspots of the Dodecanese. For those who missed nightlife on the other islands, this is the place to catch up.

From Samos it’s possible to pick up fight connections to Athens, or continue your cruise west and enjoy the Cyclades or Dodecanese Islands.

Picture courtesy of bluecrayola/Shutterstock.com

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