When people talk about superyachts for charter, the conversation inevitably turns to the western Mediterranean — to ports such as Antibes, in the South of France, where so many large yachts dock that there’s a marina quay known as Billionaire’s Row.
Greece, by contrast, has had a different reputation. Even a decade ago, it was known for smaller and older yachts plying its islands, from Santorini to Rhodes.
In recent years, that has changed, and some new entries into the Greek charter market are poised to attract attention this summer.
One of the biggest is O’ptasia (shown at top right), a 278-foot Golden Yachts build that was scheduled to be delivered in May. She’ll take 12 guests in a layout built to accommodate 24 on private owner’s cruises, with 11 staterooms including a 1,000-square-foot owner’s suite. The VIP stateroom is more than 900 square feet with an adjoining cinema — the kind of superyacht space that charter clients would be more accustomed to finding along the French Riviera.
And while the Greek charter market continues to add new and larger yachts, the islands themselves remain filled with ancient ruins and historical sites. On Rhodes, in the Dodecanese archipelago, the medieval old town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, with stone walls built in the mid-1300s and an acropolis excavated starting in the early 1900s.
Such sites to explore, along with sandy beaches and warm waters, are what have made the Greek islands so popular for charter. And this year, after touring ashore, guests can return to vessels that yacht-spotters think of as new wonders of the world.
Things to Do in Rhodes, Greece
Take a walk: The old town in Rhodes is a medieval city inside a 2 ½-mile stone wall. UNESCO calls the old town “dense with monuments,” and there’s no need for a plan when walking around. Just wandering the winding alleyways is part of the fun.
Catch some rays: Rhodes has numerous sandy beaches, including some known for good windsurfing breezes.
Head to nature: Butterfly Valley, from June to September, is filled with countless colorful wings to photograph.