Written by Missy Johnston
Join your yacht in Samos, Greece, considered a Northern Cycladic Island. Once the birthplace and home of Pythagoras, Samos is known today as an up market, cosmopolitan island with several port towns, including the lovely Pythagorion. The Greek Goddess Hera is said to have been born on this island in the village of Heraion, where today lie remnants of the Temple to Hera. Visit the Tunnel built by Eupalinus, a famous Hellenistic Engineer. This tunnel, which was once part of an ancient aqueduct system and in use for conveyance of water for over 1000 years, was considered one of the Eight Wonders of the Ancient World and was constructed with fascinating precision. On the western side of the island is the Cave of Pythagoras, where the famous mathematician once hid from his political detractors. Cruise to the nearby island of Arki, where if the fishermen went out that morning, very fresh fish is served in the island Taverna. Overnight.
Bell Towers of the Monastery of St. John
Cruise to the island of Patmos, a significant island in Christian Religious History. The island of Patmos is claimed to have been the home of John the Apostle while writing the “Book of Revelations”. The Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse have now been named as a UNESCO World Heritage Sites. In 1983 the island was proclaimed a Holy Island by the Greek Government. Patmos has remained an island of pilgrimage for those of various religious beliefs.
Skala is the main harbor and main town on the island, and the best location if arriving by sea to visit this island. It is hard to pass up a visit to the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, no matter what your religious beliefs might be, as an important part of world history. Perched on the very top of the island, the Monastery of Saint John the Theologian can be seen from any vantage point on the island. Originally built with fortress walls to protect the monks from marauding pirates, the monastery looks much like a castle complete with battlements with an opening from whence to pour boiling oil down on invaders. The Cave of the Apocalypse, where John the Apostle is said to have written the Book of Revelations, is now surrounded by the Monastery of the Revelations, with the sacred grotto on a lower level. A Monk is stationed inside the monastery to guide visitors to see this sacred grotto. Overnight.
Petros the Pelican Mykonos
One of the most cosmopolitan of all the Greek islands, Mykonos has an international reputation and quite justifiably attracts many tourists from all over the world. The capital Chora, with its colorful harbor in which little fishing boats nest happily side by side with luxury yachts, presents quite a different picture from that of the majority of Aegean island towns.
One of the most charming districts of Chora is Little Venice with the picturesque houses of the island’s sea captains, built right on the rocks lashed on by the sea. The mascot of the Island is a Pelican, called Petros, which can be seen trying to bite tourists at the port. Cocktails and dinner on board. After dinner perhaps enjoy some of the very active nightlife in Mykonos. Overnight.
Delos Mosaic Villa Floor
Photo Credit Missy Johnston
In the morning cruise to Delos, which was the religious capital of the Ionians in 1,000 BC. Greek mythology recounts how Leto, one of Zeus’s lovers, gave birth to Apollo on Delos, god of physical beauty and the fine arts. By 454 BC the Athenians had overtaken the Ionians, forcing Delos to pay taxes and provide ships to Athens. Delos’ greatest period was in the third to fourth century BC, when the tiny island had a population of 20,000 and was the chief financial center and slave market in the Mediterranean. Foreigners from Rome, Syria and Egypt built homes and coexisted tolerantly, despite the variety of religious beliefs.
Visit the excavated ruins, such as the Avenue of the Lions, the theater, and many one and two-story houses with mosaic floors, like the House of the Trident. A flight of steps ascends the island’s summit, Mt. Kynthos, the birthplace of Apollo. As a visitor, you can admire most of these finds wandering around Delos sanctum and visiting the island’s archaeological museum.
Relax with lunch on board and perhaps a refreshing swim before cruising to Paros, the third largest of the Cycladic Islands after Naxos and Andros. Gently rolling hills surround the center and southeast of the island, which is occupied by endless vineyards. Paroikia (or Paros), the island’s capital and port, stands on the site of an ancient city. There is a picturesque and ruinous Venetian castle and the courtyards of the houses of the town – all of them painted white – are full of hanging pots of basil, jasmine and honeysuckle. Walk around the village before cruising to Langeri, a secluded sandy beach, or Drios beach, which happens to have a fabulous fish taverna where you may want to have dinner. Anchor overnight.
Leave early with breakfast underway, for the 55 mile cruise to Santorini. As you approach Santorini, it’s easy to imagine the cataclysm that gave birth to this astonishing Greek Island that has become such a popular tourist destination. Your yacht edges between bare islands of volcanic rock and the crescent shaped remains of the volcano. Santorini, with its sheer black cliffs rising 200 meters out of the sea, consists of three islands: Thira, Thirasia and Aspronisi.
Worth visiting on Santorini are the villages of Oia, Thera and the archeological site of Akrotiri, believed to have been a Minoan City buried by the volcanic eruption that so changed the shape of this island. The excavation of Akrotiri is poorly marked however across from the ticket booth is a Guide Kiosk where Guides that speak English can be hired, which is well worth the expense, to understand this unique site. In Thera is a museum that houses important archeological finds from the excavation.
Cruise to the island of Astipalea, so called due to the butterfly shape of the island. With the picturesque white Cycladic Island architecture, overlooked by a Venetian Fortress, with traditional windmills, Astipalea is a charming island, where visitors are rare. The water is beautiful here so enjoy swimming and water toys. Later in the day, explore the little walking streets of the Chora, where all streets eventually lead to the Venetian Fortress, also called the Castro, which provided shelter for the islanders in the days of pirate raids in the 15th century. Stop at a Taverna for the typical ouzo and octopus at 5:00pm, or enjoy having a drink in a café at an outside table. Overnight.
Nisyros Active Volcano Crater
Cruise to Nisyros Island with its strange volcanic moonscape look. Perhaps visit the little town of Emporios originally built hidden up in the sides of the volcano as protection from pirates, this village is truly beautiful, and a nice spot for lunch. From Emporios, it is an easy walk to the volcano craters, some of which are still hissing and bubbling. Located in Emporios is the famous Monastery of Panagia Kyra which is built at a height of 450 meters above the sea. The view from the monastery is terrific as you can see the entire island and especially the remains of the Venetian fortress. Have a refreshing swim.
Photo Credit Missy Johnston
In the afternoon cruise to Symi, with its beautiful harbor surrounded by Italianate buildings. Symi is a tiny island with wild herbs growing in the countryside, making hiking on this island a fragrant event. Many feel that Symi is one of the nicest of the Greek Islands. Dock stern to in the main harbor, and explore the town around you. At night, this quay comes alive with shops and little cafes, as the harbor is the center of life on this island. Overnight.
Rhodes Walled Old Town Knights Hospitalier
Photo Credit Missy Johnston
Cruise to Mandraki Harbor in Rhodes right next to the medieval walled Old Town built by the Knight Hospitalier, and Templar, to disembark.