Sailing the Eastern Mediterranean in summer is paradise thanks to an incredible choice of routes, archipelagos and, of course, megayacht charters available from June to October and beyond.
From the Adriatic to Croatia, the Greek Ionian Islands to the Aegean Islands, with the Cyclades and the Dodecanese taking the starring role, all the way to the Turkish coast, our exclusive luxury megayacht cruises in the East Med offer a uniquely fascinating mix of experiences and impressions.
The archaeological sites, authentic fishing villages and crystalline bays in the area have always dazzled pleasure sailors and navigators alike.
Trust Equinoxe Yachts to help you make the very most of the season and enjoy a genuinely relaxing cruise. For summer 2017, we have a wide selection of luxury crewed yacht charters and cruises with routes and stop-offs designed to guarantee you enjoy each particular location at the height of its splendour regardless of whether you want to take in jet set islands or simply luxuriate in the tranquillity of a bay fringed by ancient olive groves and cypresses.
Extending out into the midst of the myriad tiny islands that dot the Croatian coastline, the Istrian Peninsula is a strikingly enchanting destination with lush green bays and history-steeped villages where the local architecture and cuisine speak volumes about the past. Fish, of course, is the star of the show on all the menus.
The Istrian coast and northernmost Croatian islands are cool and verdant, while the Kornati archipelago is rocky and low-lying with a distinctly Greek flavour and a promise of its magic too. If you adore sailing, we have Dharma, a sailing megayacht of 29 metres which will be spending her July and August between the Adriatic and the Greek Ionians. Another excellent choice is Whitefin, a gorgeous 28-metre classic yacht offering five-star charters in the Adriatic and Croatia in August.
A unique experience that can also whisk foodie sailors off to shores experiencing a genuine gourmet revival as the local produce – most notably the astonishingly fresh raw seafood – is being rediscovered and given the respect it is due at last. But there is much more besides. Let your sense of adventure run free, venture a little further and you can uncover some absolute culinary gems. Stari Kastel, for instance, is a restaurant in Buje, just a few kilometres from Portorose, where chef Nicola Tradianovic does a fantastic modern take on the traditional local dish of octopus baked in a cast iron pot.
The contrasts between the Ionian and Aegean Seas are as clear ashore as on the water. There is a distinct shift as you sail from the very light breezes of the Ionian with its verdant islands and aquamarine seas into the kingdom of the Meltemi and the rocky Cyclades. There you will lose your heart to the crystalline waters and kore, precariously-perched ancient little villages where mules are still used by the locals to get about. The windiest of the many islands in the Cyclades fan out in the Aegean between Athens and the Dodecanese archipelago and nearby Turkey. Some of the smaller islands in these “windy” Cyclades are gems. A case in point being the miniscule Sifnos, where it is well worth stopping off for a delicious meal at the Taverna Nero &Alati, a fine example of how Greek cuisine, regarded so sniffily by foodies until just a few years ago, is now a genuine and very pleasant revelation to pantry-obsessives. The kind of people that when they do decide to take a break from navigation and sit down to a meal ashore, demand the very best produce.
Sailing in this particular area of the Mediterranean this summer is the 39.5-metre motor megayacht (luxury megayacht?), O’ Pati. She can deliver you to the anchorage at the foot of the Monastery of Saint John on the island of Patmos or to Kekova in Southern Turkey where the ruins of an incredible Byzantine town lie partly sunken beneath the waves. Genuinely breathtaking stuff.
That is the Aegean but the Ionian Sea, explored by Odysseus and eulogised by Homer, who, according to Herodotus and Pausanias, wanted to be buried on Ios. Legend, history and myth mingle as you sail a sea where temples overlook many of the bays, most notably the Temple of Athena and Poseidon at Cape Sounion, south-west of Athens. There are also fortress islands of the likes of Rhodes and Corfu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, not forgetting Cephalonia and its spectacularly-located Venetian Castle of Assos. Not forgetting either the pristine beauty of the Lagana beach at Zante, the “Zacinto” mentioned by Italian poet Ugo Fosco, where the warm waters attract loggerhead sea turtles to nest and lay their eggs on the beaches. A heady mix of nature, history and poetry, islands, beaches and ancient villages….not forgetting the magic of places like the Shipwreck Bay, a favourite destination amongst seafarers and reachable only by sea. One of the most beautiful beaches in all of Greece, this cove owes its fame to the wreck of the Panagiotis, a ship that ran aground on its white sand in 1980 while transporting contraband tobacco. It is now a favourite with curious pleasure boaters who love the idea of an early morning swim after a night at anchor in a bay where only the lucky few ever get to see the sun set.
As you sail eastward, island by island, aboard Equinoxe’s exclusive yacht charters Homer’s Ulysses will gradually come alive to you until you are immersed in a magical voyage within a voyage. It will feel like time has stood still as you arrive into the likes of Vathy with its Venetian style houses on the island of Ithaca. There you’ll moor in the port eulogised by the poet as “a harbour, sacred to Forkis, the Old Man of the Sea, on the island of Ithaca”. The real joy will be recognising Homer’s meticulous description: “Two high points jut out and protect the bay, closing out the terrible waves of the violent winds; while within the ships are without moorings”. And so Homer’s great Odyssey will be your closest companion as you sail – likewise the Meltemi, the golden sand, dinners in the local tavernas and gourmet restaurants of Sifnos and Milos. And if you have to call to Athens, don’t miss the Funky Gourmet, the only restaurant in Greece to hold two Michelin stars.