Ah, the blue, blue Aegean. This sunkissed sea that marks the boundary between the Turkish Riviera and the Greek mainland is home to some of Europe’s most paradisiacal destinations. Take eerie, enthralling Delos with its ancient ruins, or partymad Mykonos. Think of Rhodes’ enticing tavernas and beaches, or the wild hills of laidback Symi. It’s all picture perfect stuff!
Dotted with the crumbling ruins that once stood proud as the epicentre of the greatDelian League (the precursor to the mighty Athenian Empire), Delos is certainly one for the history buffs. A tiny pinprick of an island right in the heart of the Cyclades, its backcountry is a place of craggy limestone rocks and sun scorched scrub. It’s virtually uninhabited too, save for a few local fishing folk occupying the homes of the archaeologists who once lived and worked the soils here. What wonders they found!
The Terrace of Lions, the columns of the House of Dionysos, countless mosaics, temples dedicated to Apollo – the list goes on.
This undisputed jewel of the Aegean sits just a short jaunt across the scintillating waters from the bustling beach strips of Marmaris and Bodrum (Turkey’s yachting and partying hotspot on the sea). That makes it an obvious stop off on LBW’s summertime YachtLife Mediterranean tours, although the locale is only half the story. Expect shimmering beaches of pearly white sand lining the south shore, a rugged backcountry of eucalyptus and olive and towering temples, an enthralling medieval old town, tagged by UNESCO and raised by the Byzantines, along with countless tavernas and raki joints touting uberfresh fish, deep fried octopus and salty feta cheese alike. Nice.
A ouzoin fused cocktail of heady clubs and sleepless seaside bars, gorgeous beaches like Psarrou and pine backed Paraga, whitewashed towns where Venetian windmills loom over sunsplashed al fresco nightclubs, and jet setter restaurants butting right up to the edge of the salty sea, Mykonos rarely fails to impress. During the summer, the island can become overrun by sunbathers and holidaymakers, while Matoyianni Street pulses with energy. But no matter how busy, it’s hard to distract from the beauty of those rugged, shrubs potted hills and alabaster white beachfronts!
Santorini is perhaps the single most photographed spot in the entire Aegean. It’s easy to see why. Actually the rim of a colossal underwater volcano, the island itself is a wonder to behold; soaring in vertical walls of metamorphic rock from the cerulean blue of the sea below. Unfortunately the topography means beaches are few and far between. But the beaches ain’t the draw! Not when the impossibly romantic whitewashed towns of Oia and Fira are on the menu, their narrow alleys concealing earthy tavernas and glowing brilliant under the Greek sun.
Symi offers a laid back, chilled out break from the bustling fishing towns, the party strips and historic hotspots elsewhere in the Aegean. In fact, we come here on YachtLife Med precisely because of the island’s lethargic character. Start with a jaunt through the gorgeous, kaleidoscopically coloured harbour of Symi town itself, painted in yellow, red and Greek blue as it rolls down to the edge of the sea. Then, hop on a purring scooter and make for the hills, flitting between Symi’s highland ridges and the seemingly endless offering of secluded coves and beaches along the shore!
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