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Battle of the Yacht Charter Destinations: Greek Islands Vs. Balearics

Sarah Nadler | December 1, 2023



Denison charter brokers debate the best charter destinations.

A luxury yacht charter offers an unforgettable vacation to a unique destination, with the ability to travel to locations that may not be as reachable with other modes of transportation. Two such charter destinations are the Greek Islands and the Balearics.

A charter specialist can help you find the best charter option depending on your preferences and number of guests. Charter Specialists Molly Playfair and Caroline Antlett have each debated the advantages of chartering a yacht to Greece and the Balearics, respectively. Read on to discover why each of these destinations can be the perfect choice for your yacht charter vacation.


1. Beaches & Water

Beach at the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain
Beach at the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain

Molly’s Pick: Greece

Greece has the longest coastline in miles of any country in the Med (approximately 8,500 miles). That is the 11th longest coastline in the world.  So there are a lot of beaches to choose from. There are around 1,000 islands of varying sizes in Greece, and just over 200 of these are inhabited–this means Greece is best explored by boat.

In terms of the best beaches, this always slightly depends on who you ask…but the Ionian islands are famous for their lovely beaches and super clear water (namely Kefalonia and Zakynthos).

With so many secluded and small beaches (that are sometimes not easily accessible by land), it’s easy for captains and crews to do a private beach set up for a lovely lunch or dinner while on charter, which isn’t as easy elsewhere in the Med.

yacht charter: ACQUA | 108' Ferretti 2020

Featured yacht charter: ACQUA | 108′ Ferretti 2020

Caroline’s Pick: The Balearics

Situated off the coast of eastern Spain, the Balearic islands comprise a sun-kissed archipelago of islands, dominated by the four largest and best known: Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera.

Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands, has 262 beaches alone. However, the more rustic island of Menorca has more beaches than Mallorca and Ibiza combined. You will be spoilt for choice from long expanses of white sandy beaches, such as Es Trenc in Mallorca or Formentera off Ibiza, to small coves tucked inside dramatic cliffs. With many of these stunning coves accessible only by hiking or boat, even in high season your yacht will be able to find less populated corners of paradise. A favorite secluded bay of Molly’s is Cala Varquez in Mallorca, where hikers and boaters are rewarded with crystal-clear waters reminiscent of the Caribbean. Take your pick from snorkeling in and out of the rocky coves, cliff jumping for the more adventurous, or simply relaxing in the shade of the local pines.

All the islands boast world-class beach bars and restaurants, however, you will also find the more local-styled chiringuitos. For those looking to be immersed in nature, hike the coastlines or explore by kayak. Es Murta in Ibiza is home to a rehabilitation center for horses where they will take you riding through the forest, then onto the beaches and even swimming with the horses in the sea.


2. Food & Wine

Traditional Cretan Dorada fish with Greek salad, Kissamos, Crete, Greek Islands, Greece, Europe
Dinner on the Greek island of Crete, Greece

Molly’s Pick: Greece

When people think of Greek food, they tend to think of the famous Greek salad, mezze, feta cheese, grilled meat and fish, and so on. Unlike France, for example, Greece doesn’t particularly have a well-known fine dining food scene historically. That said, there are also nine Michelin-starred restaurants in Greece, all of which are in Athens, so you can enjoy some of these before or after your charter. There are some fantastic dining options all over Greece, ranging from high-end eateries in places like Mykonos to your local taverna on the beach–and Greek hospitality, in Molly’s opinion, is second to none. All the yachts for charter in Greece have Greek crews, so they are really in a position to show clients the best local restaurants. 

Molly always advises charter clients, instead of just ordering their usual wines, to allow the chef or chief stew to buy in some Greek wine for the charter–there are truly some excellent wine options nowadays. 

Yacht charter: O'EVA | 197' CMN 2009/2023

Featured yacht charter: O’EVA | 197′ CMN 2009

Caoline’s Pick: The Balearics

With almost 40 Michelin-starred restaurants across the islands, if fine dining is what you are looking for, you have it in abundance. From Zaranda in Mallorca, Es Tragon in Ibiza, and Smoix in Menorca, you will find gastronomy both traditional and inventive.

The local food and wine of the Balearic islands are also a delight for all the senses. Famous for wine, olive oil, salt, almonds, Iberico ham, and seafood, you will find family-run casas offering simple yet quality fare. The iconic Sa Foradada still makes their famous paella over wood fires as you sit cliffside looking down at the famous ‘hole in the rock’. For those looking to cool off, you can nip down the stairs to jump in the sea as you wait for your food to be ready.

Caroline cannot recommend enough exploring some of the local vineyards. With efforts in recent years to bring back local grapes to the islands, you will find a very high quality of rich deep reds strengthened by the callet and mantonegro grapes, full-bodied whites with a rich flavor imparted by the Giro Ros variety, and light verdejo is a classic of the islands.

A favorite shoreside activity of Caroline’s is to explore the local markets, stop for a cava and oysters at the fish bar inside Mercat Olivar, or pass to the smaller yet charming Mercat Santa Catalina, where you can buy your fish and seafood and then they will cook it as you wish–there and then. Both these markets can be found in Palma de Mallorca. For the meat lovers, be sure to try the Iberico jammon and sobrasada. The wild boars eat the acorns in the forests and it gives a richness and depth of flavor to this meat unlike anything else. Caroline recommends enjoying sobrasada the local way, fried on bread with local honey from the Tramuntana mountains.


3. Culture

Beautiful street in Valldemossa with traditional flower decoration, famous old mediterranean village of Majorca. Balearic island Mallorca, Spain
Village in the Balearic island of Mallorca, Spain

Molly’s Pick: Greece

Greece is one of the oldest civilizations in the world. It gave us democracy…and we are still using its ideas in mathematics, art, science, sports, and, of course, language today. So many of the temples and sites are very well preserved, making Greece the perfect holiday destination for those who like a good bit of rubble gazing. Charter specialists can organize fun tours including something like a mythical treasure hunt for the younger members of the group.

In terms of the living culture you will experience while onshore on the islands, it’s laid back, family-orientated, traditional in parts, but always with the overriding wonderful Greek hospitality Molly mentioned. She promises clients will not be disappointed…and once people do one charter in Greece, they tend to keep coming back.

yacht charter: MARIE |179' Vitters 2010

Featured yacht charter: MARIE |179′ Vitters 2010

Caroline’s Pick: The Balearics

Despite their close proximity to each other, the islands of Menorca, Mallorca, Ibiza, and Formentera offer a wide variety of cultures. Ibiza, historically known as the wild child of the bunch, has, of course, a strong culture of concerts, clubs, and parties, however, it also has its relaxed “shy side”, where you will find a strong community of artists and music lovers nestled within hillside hamlets. Make sure to go to Benniras beach in the north of Ibiza at sunset and watch the locals dance to drumming. Mallorca is best for history buffs, with the island’s story going back several thousand years, when both the Greeks and Romans had an interest there. You will find ruins of Roman forts, chambers, and roads, although the island began to really develop after the Moors’ arrival in the 10th century. Dominating the skyline when looking from the sea, the Cathedral of Palma de Mallorca began construction in the 13th century, starting with a strong gothic design, but over the following 300 years it took for construction to be completed, it merged with more “modern and contemporary” designs. Around the cathedral, you can explore the Arab baths and walk the cobbled streets of the old town, imbibed with history deep into the stones. Across from Ibiza, you have her little sister, Formentera, where the culture is less historic and more artistic. There, you can immerse yourself in the boho-chic world of fashion, music, ceramics, and art.


4. Nightlife

Nightlife in Greece
Nightlife in Athens, Greece

Molly’s Pick: Greece

One word: Mykonos.  

There, you’ve got masses of beach clubs to choose from–one of the best is Scorpios. There’s also Jackie O’s and the famous Nammos, as well as many more! It’s not just Mykonos, of course, but the nightlife there is world-renowned.

yacht charter: ARISTARCHOS | 131' Nautor's Swan 2006

Featured yacht charter: ARISTARCHOS | 131′ Nautor’s Swan 2006

Caroline’s Pick: The Balearics

If your idea of nightlife is dining in beautiful restaurants under twinkling lights up in the mountains or by the sea, all the islands can offer you this. If your idea of nightlife is seeing the top DJs and musicians in the world performing live, then Ibiza is your mecca. Summer 2023 saw David Guetta, Robin Schulz, Calvin Harris, and so many more performing on the white isle. With chic beachside bars that merge effortlessly from lunch into dancing into the night on the tables to world-famous nightclubs, you can dance the night away until the sun rises on the next day in paradise.


Interested in chartering a yacht for your next luxury getaway in the Mediterranean? Contact a Denison charter broker for more information.


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