Greece is a country where the brightest gems can be often found in the most unexpected places. Even its most remote corners, what one could call ‘the hidden Greece’, has plenty to offer to the visitor who is eager to sail the extra mile for a glimpse of beauty. Just three examples to visit with a boat hired via Click&Boat: Samothrace in the northeast Aegean Sea, Parga in Western Greece and Karpathos and Kasos in the Dodecanese.
Samothrace, the Island of the Underworld Gods
The Aegean sea is full of hidden gems waiting to be discovered by the avid sailor. The world-famous Cyclades islands are popular among most holidaymakers, but perhaps at the expense of not less attractive destinations in the northeastern Aegean Sea. Take for example Samothrace, an island close to the Greek-Turkish border where Europe meets Asia.
You can start your trip to this gem of hidden Greece from Thessaloniki, the country’s second biggest city and itself worth visiting for a weekend city break. From there you can sail through the peninsula of Chalkidiki and cruise straight to Samothrace. You can also spend a day or two on your way to Samothrace on Limnos or make a short detour to visit Agios Efstratios, a tiny island where you can find some of the best fish food in Greece. Alternatively you can sail to Samothrace from Kavala (or Keramoti nearby). Samothrace is best known for the statue of the Winged Victory of Samothrace, found on the island in 1884, which today greets the visitor at the entrance of the Louvre Museum. In ancient times, Samothraki was deemed a special place, being home to the cult of the Underworld Gods. Their mystical vibes are still present in the lush vegetation of the island, its rivers, ponds, creeks and most of all the famous falls of Fonias and Kremastos. The latter wash graciously onto small lakes – natural swimming pools of green and turquoise waters that will you make you fall in love with this unique island.
The main mooring spot in Samothrace is Kamariotissa on the west coast of the island. Another option is the small harbour of Loutra (or Therma). Circumnavigating the whole island, sailing from Lakomma on the south to Perasmata on the east, will not take you more than two or three days. A visit to Chora, the picturesque capital of the island with a medieval castle, is also a must. Finally, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Sanctuary of the Underworld Gods in Paleopolis.
Parga, an Ionian Gem
Western Greece and particular the coast facing the Ionian Sea has a unique character, owed to a history that is somehow different from that of the rest of the country. Occupied by Venice for a big part of its history, the town of Parga has inherited a whiff of Italian elegance in its ways, best mirrored in the medieval castle towering over the hill where the town is located. Although a popular tourist resort among Greeks and Italian holidaymakers in the summer, this treasure of hidden Greece is not yet on the map of mainstream sailing destinations, possibly because of its lack of yachting infrastructure. Its port is smallish, while for big yachts, the only option to dock is Ormos Valtou, the beach on the west of Parga. But this is also what makes Parga attractive to the curious seaman who is always on the lookout for new adventures. As for beaches, Sarakiniko, next to the picturesque village of Agia is probably your best option. Not far from the town’s port is located the islet of Panagia, home to a small chapel. And if you want to sail the extra mile, the cities of Preveza, Sivota and of course Kavos in Corfu are just a stone’s throw away.
Karpathos and Kasos, Two Pearls of Hidden Greece
Karpathos is a narrow piece of land, right between Rhodes and Crete in the southernmost part of the Aegean Sea. Admittedly, Karpathos is isolated from the rest of the Greek islands and its weather can be extremely harsh, which makes it an unusual destination for yachts. But this also why the island is one of the few parts of Greece that preserves intact its traditional character.
If you are visiting on a boat, you can dock in Pigadia on the south or Diafani on the North. At the village of Olympos you won’t find any Greek gods, only descendants of the island’s Doric inhabitants (cousins of the ancient Spartans) who occiassionaly wear traditional costumers and speak in the dialect of their forefathers. The island’s beaches are ideal for kitesurfing and other water sports, as the meltemia winds of the Aegean Sea are at their strongest here. Hiking lovers will enjoy a trip on Mt Kalilimni, standing at 1,188 meters, while the island is also home to several bays and coves to explore.
Not far from Karpathos is another gem of hidden Greece, the island of Kasos. An arid place with a rocky landscape, typical of the Aegean Sea, it will blow your mind with its unspoilt beauty. You can dock in Emporio or Fri (the capital of the island) and circumnavigage the island or explore the barren islets that surround it. For fans of speleology, an excellent sightseeing attraction is the ancient cave of Ellinokamara where you can spot remains of the worship of ancient Gods As for beaches, we recommend Helatro on the south and Armathia, both idyllic and fairly popular in the summer and early autumn.