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See this historic, maritime nation made up of 4,500 island jewels set in five different cruising areas. Each region is geographically different and the islands all have their own myths to tell, but all offer golden sandy beaches and the relaxed, warm hospitality only found in Greece. A Greek charter offers so much more than a charter in other destinations - it is a cultural, journey through the cradle of western civilization.
Greece the cradle of western civilization is an historic maritime nation made up of five different pristine cruising areas:
Ionian Sea: An area famous for calmer sailing conditions, miles of beaches and forested shaded coves. Islands include: Paxi, Lefkas, Kefalonia, Ithaki, Zakinthos and other smaller islands.
Saronic/Argolic Gulf: South of Athens this region offers quintessentially beautiful Greek islands, with terracotta tiled roofs and bougainvillea cascading down the sides of buildings. Known for some major historical sites, this area offers calm protected waters surrounded by the majestic Peleponnese Mountains. Islands include: Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses and a multitude of quaint fishing harbors set along the sloping green mainland.
Cyclades: The Cyclades is the largest cruising area in Greece and is made up of 220 islands. Home to sacred historic sites, cosmopolitan towns, miles of beaches and the clearest waters on earth; this volcanic archipelago is truly the pride of Greece. Islands include: Amorgos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kythnos, Mykonos, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Syros and Santorini.
The Dodecanese islands are a blend of tiny fishing harbors, small coves and more well-known islands. Visible from the coast of Turkey and steeped in history and more contemporary Greek commerce the Dodecanese forms the boundary between east and west. Islands include: Kalymnos, Kos, Patmos, Rhodes, Samos and Symi.
Sporades: What sets this lesser known group of islands apart is the striking contrast between the emerald sea, the sun bleached stone and the thick green pine forest. For their sheer beauty two of the Sporades were used for the shooting location of the film Mamma Mia. This chain of islands is also known for its endangered seals and unique marine life. Islands include: Alonissos, Skiathos and Skopelos.
Athens Eleftherios Venizelos International airport.
Star Alliance partners fly daily from North America directly to Athens. Air Canada and American Airlines have regular scheduled departures.
If you are flying from the UK or other destinations in Europe then Aegean Airlines or Easy Jet offer direct flights to either Athens or Santorini.
Once in Greece, domestic flights are available to most islands via Athens with www.aegeanair.com or by ferry. Ferry schedules and tickets are available at: www.ticketsonline.gr/. Ferries leave from the port of Pireaus and are mostly high speed catamarans. To get to Piraeus port from the airport take bus X96 which runs every 30 minutes and costs approximately 5 Euros.
There is a Greek National Tourist Office/Kiosk (GNTO) in downtown Athens on the southwest corner of Syntagma Square (to the left of the AMEX office and the McDonald’s on Fillelinon Street).
The crime rate is very low in Greece but be aware of pickpockets especially in crowded subway trains or city buses. Avoid people suggesting a good restaurant and please report any overpricing by restaurants, taxis or others services to the Tourist Police at telephone number: 171. Keep a restaurant name and receipt or a taxi cab number and call from your hotel or from the yacht when you arrive to make a complaint report.
There are no travel visas or vaccinations required by North American or European visitors to Greece. Guests traveling from outside North America or Europe or not holding valid US, Canadian or European passports, must check with their nearest Greek Embassy/Consulate. It is advisable to check that your tetanus shot is up to date. All islands have medical clinics or smaller hospitals but with limited staff and equipment transportation to Athens is the norm for more serious injuries and illness. It is advisable to purchase medical and cancellation/interruption insurance when traveling abroad on adventurous holidays.
The Euro (€) is the currency in Greece and it is better to get Euro in Greece than at home. Traveler’s checks are no longer used. The most convenient way to get Euro funds is by using your debit card at the ATM machines located as you exit the airport, or from exchange offices at the airport. ATM cash machines are available on almost all islands. Credit cards can be used for shopping at most islands but are not always accepted in smaller restaurants - the touristy restaurants on the sea front tend to accept but off the beaten track less likely. The most well known are MasterCard (EuroCard) and Visa. AMEX is lesser known.
Voltage on shore in Greece is 220V, 2-pin European plug so adapters and power converters (110 ~ 220) may be required for your electronic devices. Many cameras and telephones are 110-220V compatible but check your device. The power supply aboard yachts is 12V DC by cigarette adapter but most yachts can also offer 220V AC when plugged to shore. Not all ports have shore power and generators may not run if the ship’s batteries are charged - it is at the skipper’s discretion. Blow dryers and hair curlers are not recommended but can be used at some ports where there is shore power. The best way to charge cell phones, ipads, electric razors and video camera batteries is in local cafes and restaurants on shore and it is a very common practice in Greece. Generators are prohibited in harbors at night by law, and at happy hour out of courtesy because of noise and fumes. There is limited or no air-conditioning on charter yachts. unless specifically requested at time of booking.
Provisions, ice and happy hour snacks can be purchased at supermarkets on most all islands. Ice cubes can be found at island super markets and ice cream shops. Laundry can be dropped off at numerous laundry services in the islands. A shopping bag sized load can cost 10-15 Euros. There are shower services at the Athens marina, but shower services for yachtsman are not common in island ports.
There is digital phone service on all islands and calling cards are available at cigarette kiosks for between €3-20. These cards allow calling home directly from phone booths by following the prompted instructions. Wi-fi services are now available at almost all islands in restaurants and coffee shops.
Appetizers and main dishes often arrive at the same time as Greeks are accustomed to many small meze dishes. When eating in a Greek restaurant, it is customary to look into the display case and see what is fresh for the day. Seafood such as calamari, octopus and swordfish is inexpensive but larger white meat fish like grouper and lobster is sold by weight and can be pricey (ask for the price/weight of the fish before ordering). Local tavernas average around Euro 20–30/person but can be more depending on your order.
There is always a service charge (approx 1 to 2 Euro per person) for sitting at a table in Greece, which includes bread and cutlery - but this service charge is not a tip. If good service is delivered then a 10% tip is welcome.