The Ultimate Guide to The Yacht Week Greece
I can hardly believe it is already time to start thinking about the Yacht Week Summer 2018 but the routes were recently announced and bookings open November 1st so it is time to start planning!
This summer I was crazy enough to go back for round II, this time in Greece. They consider it to be mid pace (compared to Croatia’s fact pace) and “fit for the sun seekers” (compared to Croatia’s “for the all-nighters”). It offers a lot of day parties, beautiful sunsets in jaw-dropping locations, and the world famous Nikki Beach party!
Last year I wrote the post Everything You Need To Know About The Yacht Week giving an overview of how The Yacht Week works. To my surprise, I had a handful of friends go to the Croatia one this summer and they still had a lot of questions - ones specific to that exact route. So I am going to go into detail about the exact itinerary I had this year at The Yacht Week Greece. If you haven’t already, make sure you read Everything You Need To Know About The Yacht Week as it has important information you will need to know.
Note: routes will vary due to a variety of factors, both in destinations and in order of destination. The info below is just an example, showing the details of our specific week (summer of 2017, week 28).
The photos below are not taken by me and are courtesy of The Yacht Week. Since they graciously hire a photographer for each event it is the one week of the year that I can forget I own a camera. The photos are watermarked by each photographer and you can find each of them here: Michael Vanarey, Sam Allard, Alex Broadstock, Louis Agace, Matthieu Khalaf, Sune Chee. Go check them out!
DAY 0: ATHENS
Before the Yacht Week begins on Saturday, you must fly into Athens. You will want to do this by Friday night at the latest. Unlike Split, Athens is incredibly spread out and roads are pretty bag so getting to your marina could take a long time if you do not stay near it. You basically have two logical options: either you (1) stay in the center of Athens so that you can get out and explore Athens that night with the rest of your crew or (2) stay near your marina so that your cab ride is cheaper and you can rest that night instead (the calm before the storm!). Each time I've gone to the Yacht Week I have made plans to meet up with my crew that night so it makes sense to plan where you will stay with them.
DAY 1: LAVRIO
I'm going to be totally honest here - day one is not a ton of fun. I am not saying that to be a downer but so that you know you don't arrive and begin some magical party. Day one is check in day. In Athens there are two different marinas and they are not at all near each other since Athens is very spread out. Sometime between 1 and 4pm you will head to your check in venue to check in (duh), meet your skipper and the rest of your crew. If you are smart you will have a hostess and from here you will go with him or her to grocery shop. If you do not have a hostess you will have to do this on your own.
That evening we had dinner around 8 and left for a welcome party at Cavo Pouda at 10pm. This welcome party was for boats that were docked at our marina only, meaning only half of the people that we would be with for the week were there. This was a bit of a bummer since we had two boats and were at two different marinas.
Sometime before 3am we hopped back on the transfer bus and slept on the boat in the marina. Yes, that is as weird as it sounds and no, you do not leave Athens or sail at all on day one.
DAY 2: POROS
Early in the morning on day two we set out for Poros, home of the largest port on the route. The voyage from Lavrio to Poros was about 4.5 hours and many people continued to sleep on the way (or started to sleep since many people got home around 7 am when we were leaving). Upon arrival we walked around a bit and grabbed lunch at one of the restaurants along the water.
At 3 pm the "Tropical Retro Party" at Love Bay began, and to get to it we had to hop in a water taxi. What is "Tropical Retro”? It is basically Hawaiian attire. Love Bay has a beautiful beach and you basically spend the afternoon here drinking, playing volleyball, wading in the water, meeting next friends, etc. Sometime before 7:30 we headed back via water taxi.
That night we had dinner at some spot right in front of where we docked and it was delicious. The after party that night was at Malibu Bar, a club, post-dinner starting around 11pm.
DAY 3: ERMIONI
Day three is Ermioni, home of the famous Yacht Week White Party (now called "Riviera Chic"). Erimioni is a very small but beautiful town. On the way over our skipper, Diego, very graciously took us to a bay with a few other boats to swim around for a bit. Our hostess Nic also cooked us a delicious meal to enjoy in the sunshine!
When we arrived we docked and hung around town for a bit (iced coffee!) before getting ready for the “Riviera Chic” party. The party started at 5 pm and Cava Bianco, a beautiful venue right on the water! It’s also located just a minute away from boats, making it easy to go back and forth if needed for any reason. Table service is available here and I would recommend booking it.
Sometime later we grabbed dinner in town before heading back out for a bit.
DAY 4: PORTO HELI
Day four was a real crowd pleaser because it was both regatta day and Nikki Beach day! More details on regatta day below.
After the regatta we headed to Porto Heli where we formed a line raft for the evening. This means that the boats are rafted together in the middle of the water, i.e. not docked, and that to get to land you must take a quick water taxi.
At 3 pm the Nikki Beach party began so we headed over there via water taxi for some fun in the sun. Definitely splurge for a table here - it is well worth it. Also go as early as possible to really maximize your time! This venue is heavenly.
Nikki Beach the hotel offers rooms at an extremely reasonable price point, so the guys on our boat decided to book a room for the night there. After the party we all headed to the room to recoup and catch the sunset before heading out to dinner. The after party that night was at the Nikki Beach Pearl Rooftop and taxis back to the boats ran until 3 am.
DAY 5: DOKOS
Day five was yet another insanely magical day because it started with a circle raft. What is a circle raft? It’s that magnificent thing you see in all of the marketing photos, where the boats all come together to form a circle… raft. I have to throw this in for all of my skipper friends: forming the raft takes time and a lot of coordination. Grab a beer, relax in the sun, and don’t complain about waiting : )
Once the raft was formed we jumped in with our floats and mingled with the rest of the crews. This is a great time to make some new friends! We also had lunch during the circle raft and Nic made us SUSHI if you can believe it. Yes, handmade sushi inside of a hot, swaying yacht kitchen. She is amazing.
From there we headed to Dokos, “a secluded island with a population of only 18 people, who are Orthodox Monks and sheep herders!” per The Yacht Week app. We once again rafted together, this time a short swim from shore, and spent the rest of the afternoon just hanging out. Some people floated around while others who were willing to brave the heat hiked up to the top of the island (they said the view was gorgeous).
Around 7 pm everyone met for (free!) sunset drinks and then spent the rest of the night boat-hopping. This night you do not leave your boat, you party on the raft.
DAY 6: HYDRA
Hydra is likely the one spot along this route that you have heard of, as it is a popular destination for non-Yacht Weekers too. We headed there bright and early to avoid the traffic jam in the ultra-small Hydra marina and so we could spend as much time as possible exploring Hydra. Hydra is spectacular, filled with cobblestone streets, boutique stores, and marina-lined restaurants. It is entirely wheeled vehicle-free but you can ride a donkey if you want!
Due to the hot weather, even with AC on the boat it was pretty unbearable so most people got a hotel room for the night in Hydra. After exploring and grabbing lunch we headed to the hotels to get ready for one of the most important evenings of the week!
Sunset Restaurant, apparently voted by many publications to have “the most beautiful view in the world”, was our dinner spot for the evening. It was a big family dinner including all of the crews together. First up was a sunset happy hour full of drinks and many photos, followed by a delicious Greek dinner and a lot of wine! After dinner was an awards ceremony hosted by TYW Crew prior to the after-party at Omilos just a short walk down the road.
DAY 7: LAVRIO (ATHENS)
Day seven is a horrible, horrible day because it means it is your last night together which you will without a doubt be devastated over. The sail back to Lavrio was the longest of them all and we ended up hitting some rocky weather on the way back!
Again, due to the crazy hot weather we decided to grab hotels for the night and check out of the boat early. You can either do this or sleep on the boat in the marina. If you plan to sleep off the boat, check out Airbnb before the week starts. There were many cheap options big enough for our entire crew but they were unfortunately sold out by the time we checked!
The closing party that night was at Varkiza Resort in Yabanaki and it was gorgeous (as always). It’s a pretty laid back resort right on the beach full of bean bags and other things to lounge on while drinking and saying your good-byes.
If you don’t know what a regatta is then thank goodness you landed here prior to TYW. A regatta is a boat race, and regatta day is one of the most important days of The Yacht Week!
The winning crew of the regatta is based on 3 things:
- The best group costumes
- The best sailing (gotta have some teamwork!)
- Overall vibes onboard
Make sure you and your crew decide on a costume theme prior to the week starting, and don’t forget to also pick up something for both your skipper and hostess!
OVERALL THOUGHTS ON THE YACHT WEEK GREECE
The Yacht Week Greece is an amazing experience and something I could not recommend more. It was indeed a little more laid back than the Croatia version, but still filled with endless amounts of fun in one of the world’s most beautiful settings. Almost all of our crews (2 boats full) had done Croatia prior and almost everyone agreed that they preferred Greece.
If you have any questions about The Yacht Week in general or this route in particular, drop me a comment below! I am happy to help.