Take a second and close your eyes. Picture you and six of your closest friends sailing on the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean . Now picture you eating the freshest seafood, dancing with white sand in between your toes, and creating memories that will last a life time. Sounds pretty epic dream right?
Well what if I told you this epic dream became a reality for me this past summer as six friends and myself embarked on a journey of a lifetime; The Yacht Week. We signed up with the company after a couple of glasses of wine one cold winter night and there was no looking back. Six months later we were on a flight for the journey of a lifetime.
Over the next seven days we would visit islands I had never heard of before, but came to love; Alimos Poros, Port Heli, Ermioni, Dokos, and a true hidden gem Hydra. Each one unique, each one beautiful, each one unforgettable.
Since returning from my trip, a lot of people have asked me about the experience. Was it worth the money? What was it like? Would I do it again? The list goes on, hence why I decided to share some of the experience with you here. I wanted to highlight some of the amazing moments, some lessons I learned, and also how to prepare for the trip.
Let me start off by saying The Yacht Week is definitely worth the money because of the following highlights of the trip I wanted to share with you.
- Discovering Hidden Gems: When I first looked at the Yacht Week route, I was a little concerned because I had never heard of any of the islands. However, during the trip I discovered some of the most amazing places that I would never have dreamt of visiting on my own.
The highlight of the trip for me was actually our last stop, Hydra. The town is built on the slopes of a hill around the port which was stunningly beautiful as we approached the island. The amazing thing about Hydra is that there are no cars or motor vehicles. The best way to get around town is either by foot or donkey, and we definitely did both. The donkeys took us up some of the slopes for some breathtaking views of the sea below. at night we enjoyed a sea side feast as we watched the sun set. Only one word to describe Hydra; Magical.
- ATV Rides in Paros: There was a lot to see and do in Paros. Paros is a traditional village meaning a lot of the buildings have to be constructed the same way and so there were pretty blue domed homes throughout the island. It is also famous for it’s golden beaches which we danced the day away at the Retro Party. The highlight on this island though was definitely the ATV rides. You can get around the entire island in about two hours and you will see unique scenery from the water front to the more trees it was a gorgeous ride.
- Gyros and parties in Ermioni: Ermioni is home to the infamous Rivera party, where everyone dresses up in their chicest outfits and dance from day to night at an amazing bar right on the beach.
My favourite part of this island though had to be the food, particularly the gyros. Right where you dock for the night is the most delicious gyros restaurant and it is open late so you can get some post dancing food.
- The Raft Circle: I am not going to lie, I was a little disappointed when we visited Port Heli and Nikki Beach. Overpriced food and drinks and not much else to do on the island. The saving grace though was before setting out for sail the follow day, a bunch of the boats joined in a giant circle. We got out our floaties and jumped in the middle for a few hours of music, drinks, and floating around with our new friends. It was pretty spectacular.
- The Regatta: We all lead busy lives, so our Regatta theme was a very last minute effort. We went with full moon party and got a bunch of neon paint and flower crowns. The good thing is, Regatta isn’t just about your costumes, it is about how much fun you are having and we sure had fun. We danced, sung, and partied the entire race. And guess what? We actually won the Regatta which means we got a pretty awesome prize!
- Sleeping under the stars: We didn’t really think about how hot it would be in Greece in the middle of August. We also happened to be there during a heat wave so we resorted to sleeping on the deck and so did a lot of other crews. It was pretty fun being outside on the water falling asleep under the stars.
- Making memories that will last a lifetime: I am honestly not sure that I can top this trip. I got to sail around Greece, discover beautiful islands, swim in the middle of the ocean, ride a donkey, join a circle raft but the best part is I made some amazing new friends, and shared this amazing experience with some old ones. We will always be able to share these memories together.
Know before you go
There are a few things I wish I knew before setting sail, and so I wanted to share those with you so you know what you are getting yourself into ahead of time. In advance, you are welcome!
- Splurge on a larger space and air conditioning: I know that Yacht Week is already expensive, trust me it pretty much broke my bank, but if I knew then what I know now, I would of paid the extra money for a boat with air conditioning. It was so hot the entire week that it was unbearable to be inside the cabins even with multiple fans.
- Splurge on a hostess: You are on vacation, the last thing you want to be worrying about is making meals and cleaning up after. Also, the hostess’ have a lot of experience so they know exactly what you will need. Make sure to plan that into the budget. Shopping for food cost us about $120 each.
- Yes it will cost more than you think: Our skipper told us that one of the biggest complaints is that it is more expensive than people originally thought it would be. Food, port costs, bottle serves etc. does add up. Plus you are responsible for your skipper and hostess’ meals. Just be prepared to be spending a few extra dollars.
- Airbnb the last night: You have been on a yacht for a week, with no real shower, no real bed, no air conditioning (for us this last time), none stop parties. You are exhausted. Unless you want to be woken up at 7am to leave the next day, go and get an airbnb. We found a beautiful spot in Alimos and it only cost us about $15 per person.
- A happy skipper is a happy boat: The nicer you are to your skipper, the nicer he will be in return. You are one big happy family on this boat so make sure to treat everyone with respect. Our skipper went out of his way to make sure we had the best possible time, ate at the best restaurants, went to the best spots. Mainly because we treated him like part of our crew. Also they are working for tips so be kind and tip your skip!
What to pack
Packing for Yacht Week can be a little tricky because well, how many of us have lived on a sail boat for a whole week. Here are some key items to bring.
- A soft duffle bag: The yachts are small as is, the last thing you want to do is try and find room for a big hard top bag. Make sure to bring a bag that you can fold and store easily.
- Sunscreen: I can’t even tell you how much sunscreen we went through as a crew, you are going to need lots of it.
- SPF Lip Balm: You want to protect everywhere, it is hot!
- Clothes: As for what clothes to bring don’t forget about the theme parties, you need a Retro theme, a Chic Rivera theme, and costumes for your Regatta. On top of that bring some bathing suits, cover ups, 2 shorts, and about 3 tops, sandals, walking shoes, and a nice dress. Make sure that everything you buy is quick drying. I lost one of my favourite tops because I had to leave it outside to dry and it blew away in the wind.
- Country Flag: Great way to get into the spirit and also to find your boat after a party
- Don’t bring your floaty: You can buy them in Alimos, no point in bringing one on the plane with you.
- Good Speaker: You want to be the loudest crew at the Regatta
- Earplugs: Since we slept outside mostly, it could be noisy with all the crews in one area.
- Multi-port charger
- Waterproof cases
- Battery Powered fan: Trust me this was a lifesaver
- Sea Sick Pills: I am lucky I don’t get sea-sick, but if it is a possibility for you, make sure to have some handy. The waters can be a little rough.
Well there you have it, my guide to Yacht Week. I can honestly say this was an incredible trip and if you are on the fence about it, take the plunge. I believe our crew is even working on a second trip.