5 Superyacht Owners' Favourite Greek islands


Greek shipping magnate Harry Vafias has been cruising the Greek archipelago since he was about five years old. Vafias reckons to have visited about half of the almost 2,000 islands, so we asked him to give us the insiders guide on when and where superyachts should visit...


Mykonos is my all-round winner, because it has the best of all worlds. It has the prettiest set of beaches in Greece,  with more than 20 fantastic strips of golden sand. And these beaches cater for all tastes: family beaches such as Lia, trendy beaches like Psarou and quiet beaches such as Agios Sostis. Mykonos is also in the middle of the Aegean, so if you want to go west or east, it’s very convenient. Again, if you want to go out there are both cheap (try Bandana) and expensive restaurants (Nobu is here) with cuisine from all around the world. Two or three bays are big enough for large yachts to moor, notably Ornos and Psarou. Of course the islands is also famous for its nightlife and has a reputation as one of the best party destinations in the Mediterranean.

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Rinia is more of a niche island — it’s very small and situated just south of Mykonos. It has only two or three small bays that big yachts can use, but it’s got very good protection from all kinds of weather, because the bays are quite deep. It has some of the cleanest seas, and a huge fantastic sandy beach that’s shallow for a long way out. There is nothing on the island apart from a few ancient ruins, and the huts that farmers use when they arrive by boat to tend their livestock and land. There are no restaurants or tavernas, so you can have your dinner on the beach in complete solitude. It’s only 45 minutes from Mykonos by boat, so if you need a couple of days with a change of pace, go to Rinia, relax and enjoy the quiet and the beach. When you get bored you can quickly get back to Mykonos.

Picture courtesy of  Lemonakis Antonis/Shutterstock.com


This is actually a pair of islands, close to Naxos and south east of Mykonos. They have the benefit of Rinia’s quietness and privacy, but with a few small hotels and tavernas. The upper island has some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean, along with beautiful, natural seawater pools.

The small rustic restaurants, like Fos Fanari and Finikas, serve only fresh fish caught by the local boats. It’s not very crowded because there are a limited number of ferries and the two or three hotels are tiny. This is a great place if you want lovely sea to swim in, fantastic beaches, lots of fresh lobsters and fish — and relative privacy. There’s a big bay for yachts up to 50 metres to anchor.

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Chios is my family’s ancestral home. It’s in the east of the Aegean, close to Turkey. It’s the fifth-biggest of the Greek islands, and you won’t find the same profusion of great sandy beaches as on the top three islands. There are still lovely places to swim, such as Maura Volia and Karfas, and the water is amazingly clean, although colder than normal because it sits in a stream of colder water. Instead, you’ll find fantastic medieval villages and the 11th Century Byzantine monastery of Nea Moni, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, as well the castle and great museums. A lot of history is on this island, and if you like old civilisations, monasteries and medieval villages, visit, grab a scooter and have a look.

Chios also has a big airport, so you can send the boat ahead and join it by air. Very few foreign tourists are on the island, but lots of Greek visitors — avoid the hordes of English backpackers! Again there is fantastic fresh food, and it’s much cheaper than Mykonos for lobster because they don’t have so many high-end tourists or big yachts visiting. And finally, you can combine the trip with a charter down to Turkey.

Picture courtesy of Marcin Krzyzak/Shutterstock.com


Not actually an island, but I include it because it has recently become very popular. Vouliagmeni is a coastal town about 13 miles south east of Athens. This is the nicest place to swim if you live in Athens, and the water is clean. It’s possible to moor in the bay with a fantastic view of the Astir Palace Hotel, the largest hotel complex south of Athens.

This is some of the most expensive real estate in Greece, so very exclusive, and many yachts visit for a couple of days’ break, before or after Athens. It’s convenient if you have business in Athens: you can commute every day from the yacht to the city, with a helipad in the Astir Palace Hotel complex. It doesn’t feel like you are in the capital city, but on an island. It has a lovely sandy beach with great restaurants, especially in the hotel complex, and you can use all the services they provide.

Picture courtesy of Eq Roy/Shutterstock

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