In many ways, Bodrum is the gateway to the Greek Aegean Islands. The nearby Gulf of Gokova is wonderful sailing, as is the Gulf of Hisonaru. In addition, Kos lies just a short distance due east of Bodrum. The crystal-clear seas are stunning and with days of sun throughout a yachting season, all the ingredients are in place for a lovely yacht charter holiday. If you add the lovely coves, great cuisine and hospitable locals, a real experience awaits
The Dodecanese Island of Kos has become one of the most popular islands in the region, arguably second behind only Rhodes. Its rich history includes the impressive fortress, the Castle of the Knights of Saint John close to the Town harbor, the ancient plane tree under which Hippocrates taught students and the Asklepion (his ancient sanatorium). Old Corinthian columns still gather weeds by the roadside. The purpose- built marina is just a short distance south of the ferry port. Kos Town has numerous restaurants, tavernas, cafes and shops and ‘’night owls’’ will find things stay open until late.
Pserimos lies between Kos and Kalymnos, just a few nautical miles north of Kos near to the Turkish Coast. It is small, only about 15sq kms and only 100 people live there full-time. Fishing is still important but increasingly tourism is a major contributor to the local economy. Visitors are often day trippers from Kos or Kalymnos. There are daily trips throughout the holiday season. Pserimos provides a chance to get away from organized beaches for a day, something that yacht charters can do every day of course. It can get busy but the beach is wide and deep, with plenty of sand and shallow warm waters. It is also a well sheltered spot. Beachside tavernas and cafes provide plenty of refreshment opportunities for those at the beach for a few hours. The harbour is small but it provides berths for yachts. There is little in the way of attractions to see but there are some interesting walks along treeless trails to other small coves on the island.
Agia Marina, Panteli and Platanos combined together form the capital of Leros. The harbour is particularly picturesque. The setting is traditional with the houses typically Greek and some mansions extend up the hillside. At the entrance to the harbor, the Byzantine fortress of Bourtzi stands impressively while there is also a castle on the top of the hill overlooking the town from where the views are stunning in all directions.
Lipsi in the Dodecanese has yet to get much tourism, and what there is often comes from nearby Leros. The result is a real feel of Greece. It is a relaxing place, fairly quiet and with beautiful beaches and clear waters. Lipsi has some tavernas and shops but it is not really a place for stocking up.
Skala is the main town of Patmos island. Built around the harbor, it grew rapidly in the 19th Century with wealthy families deciding to make it their home. Two landmarks to look out for while you are there are the ancient acropolis and the Church of Agia Paraskevi.
Ikaria island in the North East of the Aegean Sea is found between the islands of Samos and Patmos. Greek mythology says that Icarus, a mythical figure with wax wings, flew too close to the sun so his wings melted and he fell to earth, drowning in the sea. The island takes his name and has a rich past. It includes the time when the Romans and Byzantines lived here. Many interesting archaeological remains can be seen on the Island. The Castle of Koskina was built in the 11th century A.D by the Byzantines and it sits in a prominent position on the summit of a mountain peak. The Church of St. George is inside the Castle. Drakano Fortress is another example of the island's past. In this case, the fortress was built by the Athenians around the time of Alexander the Great. Its role was as an observation point to watch for movements in the seas. The fortification is made of limestone and stands 44 feet high. Other interesting places for tourists are the ruins of the Byzantine Odeon in the village of Kampos. It was a place where noblemen went for entertainment music, dance and drama. The Roman Baths at Therma are another attraction for visitors who formerly used the waters to hopefully cure themselves of their ills. An earthquake stopped the flow of water with much of the old city slipping into the waters. These days, you can see the remains by snorkelling. However, there is still an active hot spring which pours into the sea and where temperatures permit, with the mixing of the hot water with the sea, you can enjoy a healing experience. An ancient temple of Artemis, dating from the 6th Century BC, is located at Nas while simply taking in the lovely natural environment of Ikaria is another pleasure. The forests are of pine and oak with plenty of trails to follow. With many lakes and rivers to augment the forests, there are few more naturally beautiful islands in the Aegean.
Mykonos is among the best-known places in Greece, famous for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, stunning architecture and of course its nightlife. It is included in many popular yachting itineraries around the Cyclades Group of Islands. ‘’Little Venice’’, so called because of the Venetian architecture, and the beaches are popular places to spend your time on the island.
Paros Town has a population of about 3000 and it is the commercial and cultural centre and capital of Paros. The town has built around the port, typical Cycladic architecture with white washed flat roofed houses. There are plenty of bars, restaurants, tavernas and cafes on one side of the coast road with the beaches on the other. The port’s entrance has a large whitewashed windmill which is very much the trademark of Paros.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Islands and acts as such. The main city is Hora which offers many shopping chances and tourist facilities. The cobbled streets are steep so wear comfortable footwear if you start to explore. Away from Hora, there are still quiet beaches, quaint villages and ancient gems. Agriculture remains important on Naxos where you will never be short of something to do.
Agios Georgios on Irakleia is the Island’s biggest village but has just over 100 full-time inhabitants. It owes its name to the Chapel of St. George in the village itself. There is also an ancient castle while the sandy beach is also an attraction. There are some shops and tavernas though it may not be the best place for re-stocking.
Koufonisia is actually two islands: Pano Koufonissi which is the inhabited one with tourist facilities, and Kato Koufonissi totally uninhabited but worth a visit for the beach. They lie between Naxos and Amorgos and offer is a great place to relax. Walking and cycling are popular activities for exploring the fantastic beaches some of which are actually nudist areas. Chora is the main settlement for tourists to find accommodation, taverns and shops.
The white windmills of Katapola are an easily recognized feature of this is port on Amorgos. Katapola is in the northern of the island and is typical of the region; traditional blue and white houses and a major landmark, the old Venetian castle. Other ancient ruins of the City of Minoan are located above the port. There are plenty of tavernas and shops in the town.
The town and Astypalaia Island take the same name. The settlement stretches inland up the slopes from the port and the old Venetian Castle stands dominantly over the Island; it is certainly its major landmark. A member of the Cyclades Islands, the architecture is typical of the Group; white washed houses of course. Windmills take advantage of the breezes, located on the top of the hills.
Vathi stretches from the port area up the hills behind. A traditional small fishing port, the colourful boats dock in the harbor when not at sea and there are also boats available for day trips out into the Aegean. The region is fairly dry and vegetation limited but the cuisine, often with fresh fish, is wonderful. Tourists will find tavernas and shops in the village.
Turgutreis, on the South Coast of Turkey, is one of the main resorts on the Bodrum Peninsula. Its location is wonderful; mountains, islands and citrus groves. It faces west so it is a special place for watching the sun go down. There is a good variety of shops, bars and restaurants as well as a contemporary marina with modern boutiques and waterfront restaurants and cafes. The beaches are impressive with a long stretch of coarse sand dipping down into shallow water; perfect for children.
The 500 metre stretch of soft golden sand at Karaincir equates to a great place for families. The warm waters are inevitably calm in the many weeks of the holiday season. There are several different water sports on offer as well as banana boats and pedaloes. You can simply relax if you wish and take in the sun. Sun loungers are available as are refreshments throughout the day.
At the end of a charter holiday, and following a hearty breakfast, guests leave their charter yacht with wonderful memories of their time at sea. If they have yet to see what Bodrum has to offer, they should certainly do so before returning home. There is a well-developed tourist infrastructure with plenty of nice restaurants, bars and lively nightlife. By day, Bodrum Castle and the adjoining Museum of Archaeology is certainly the main attraction though the inland part of the peninsula has many things to see and do.