If you’re planning a luxury charter cruise through the gorgeous Saronic Bay, make sure to visit the cosmopolitan and chic Porto Heli. Located in the Peloponnese, this might be the most elite summer destination in Greece - some of the residents are the former King Constantine II and his wife Queen Anne-Marie, often spotted dining in one of the superb waterfront restaurants. But they’re not the only reason Porto Heli has a regal aura. The bay is sprinkled with superyachts, the lavish mansions gleam in the distance, while new travelers casually walk through the streets dressed in white linen haute brands.
The resort town has a small elite airport, welcoming private jets and commercial aircraft, so it can serve as a great starting point for your tour of the Saronic islands. Nearby, you can visit the aristocratic Spetses, the laid-back Poros, or the pistachio-covered Aegina. Gorgeous, privileged, and wonderfully spared from mass tourism, Porto Heli (or Porto Cheli) is a sublime place to unwind, relax and recharge. The Porto Kheli Marina has well over 300 berths for yachts up to 60 meters in size, while Franks Yachtstation, an established Austrian service, and repair company, has another 80 berths ashore and 30 in the heart of the town. The yachting community is strong here, so anything you need is readily available.
Originally a quiet fishing village, it evolved into a playground for the rich and famous after wealthy Athenians started buying summer homes in the 70s. Now, the place is popular as a family-friendly oasis for the members of high society who come to enjoy the turquoise beaches, lavish eateries, and island hopping.
Beaches in Porto Heli
While the town is surrounded by nameless virgin coves popular among yachties for their seclusion and privacy, there are a few organized ones when the rest of your entourage feels like resting in the marina.
Built around a natural harbor, the town beach is the main reason many confuse Porto Cheli for an island. Completely surrounding the coast, the beach is studded with opulent vessels and charming fishing boats that add a glamorous allure to the lovely bay. The sandy beach offers lovely views of the Elli Tower, and you’ll find several cafes offering parasols and refreshments. If you’re coming by boat, you can dock at the leeward side and use one of the water toys provided on board your charter yacht to enjoy some fun and frolics in the azure seas.
A fully organized beach by the Costa village is adored by families for the shallow and completely transparent seas, soft, golden sand, and a tranquil atmosphere. The beach has several cafes and tavernas with parasols and loungers so that you can find some shade and cool off with tasty ice cream. If you prefer to be more active during your beach day, you can practice water sports or volleyball here, while enjoying the stunning environment and lush nature.
Hrissi Akti, or Golden Beach, is just a short cruise away in the village of Agios Emilianos. A mix of fine sand and small pebbles allows everyone to find the perfect place for their summer adventure, while the translucent seas allow you to admire the underwater life without even getting your feet wet. It’s unorganized and completely unspoiled, so it’s the ideal choice for nature lovers and those who try to avoid the crowds.
Halfway between Porto Cheli and Costa village, you’ll find this stunning beach where glittery seas are surrounded by viridescent trees. Very high end, the beach is famous for its soft sand as much as it is for the ritzy cafes and facilities. A tennis court, mini soccer field, and water sports are available for those who like some vigorous activity in between dips.
Limanakia is actually two different beaches, close to each other. One is pebbly and has shallow waters, which makes it ideal for those traveling with little ones. The other has fine-grained sand and electric blue deeper seas, so it’s a popular pick for those who come by yachts and want to enjoy some water sports. Tennis courts are within reach so that you can practice your backhand with friends and family.
Saving the best for last - Nikki Beach in Porto Heli is heaven for sun-worshipers with taste. With two piers, it’s popular among the yachting elite, who come to relax on the Balinese beds, enjoy fine cuisine, swim in the large pool, or simply sip on sundowner cocktails surrounded by stunning nature.
Places To Visit In Porto Cheli
If you’d like to enjoy some on-land entertainment, this exclusive summer resort offers volumes. In the mood for some retail therapy? Visit the Oikosimo fashion store with the best selection of high-end brands and Greek designers, or the furniture shop with the same name, a perfect place to hunt your next glossy decor item, handpicked by the owner. At night, you can watch movies under the starry skies at the open-air cinema, established in 2011. Heli is not a sightseeing spot though - the resort likes to keep a low profile and attracts travelers who come for luxurious relaxation. Instead, visitors hop on their private yachts and explore the surrounding villages that offer a completely different atmosphere and come back at night to enjoy the elegant facilities and bountiful aura.
An enchanting lake offers more than spectacular scenery. Just 5 km from Porto Heli, this lake homes the water skiing competition, the Senior World Cup each year when the serene atmosphere turns into a bustling spot that attracts athletes from all continents. The waterskiing center was established in 1976 and offers lessons for both kids and adults.
The water of this natural oasis is believed to have healing properties, mostly relieving pain from bone impartments, so many come here to enjoy the scenery and reap the health benefits of Ververoda Lake.
The Best Restaurants in Porto Heli
This summer resort has a spectacular offer of both restaurants serving Greek cuisine, as well as multicultural fusion eateries where you can savor specialties from all over the world. Here are our top picks, but Porto Heli abounds in options when it comes to fine dining, so you’ll probably find a few great spots by pure chance.
Veranda del Vino
Offering a comprehensive wine list to choose the perfect bottle to go with your exquisitely prepared seafood, Veranda del Vino is a posh restaurant with an excellent location. Book a table to enjoy the views of the yacht-studded harbor, palm trees, and the sea. Try the wine cocktails, and the sushi lover will be happy to hear they also serve stellar rolls to share with friends and family.
The Drunken Clam
A modern and eclectic restaurant that serves a fusion of seafood cuisines, The Drunken Clam is a must-see during your Porto Cheli adventure. Start with a nice greek fava and continue to try the steamed buns with shrimps, a star of the menu with many culinary specialties to offer. If you need any help choosing a perfect dish, ask the friendly staff or the owner, Angelo, who’s always glad to give guidance and recommendations.
A romantic restaurant set in a shabby-chic garden with a relaxing vibe, Big Blue offers stellar Greek dishes, prepared with a twist. The mille-feuilles of eggplant and moussaka definitely steal the show, while the more adventurous eater should try the peculiar dish made of sea urchin eggs. Whatever you order, you won’t go wrong - the entire menu is spectacular and has many options that cater to all tastes.
If you have a group that can’t agree on what to have for dinner, book a table at Ippocambos, a restaurant with a large menu of completely different food, all cooked to perfection. From sushi to mouthwatering seafood, to modern Greek dishes, this restaurant caters to all tastes. The black codfish with the sticky rice and tuna tartare is to die for, while the black carbonara is out of this world. It’s located right at the waterfront, so you’ll be able to enjoy both delicious food and views of the harbor at sunset.
Salt and Pepper
A lovely restaurant where all the dishes feel homemade, Salt and Pepper offer simple, yet spectacular options that will give you a glimpse into the typical Greek diet. Try the spinach pita, a guest favorite, and the pork steak cooked in onion and orange - the family that runs the place is always happy to help you pair your meal with the perfect wine. Overlooking the coastline and harbor of Porto Heli, this is the ideal choice for those that want to enjoy some quality family time and bond over delicious food and vistas.
Although all these restaurants offer both a hip atmosphere, a luxurious experience, and creative meals, the prices are surprisingly reasonable. During your charter yacht cruise in Porto Heli, you’ll also be able to try casual bites in several iconic eateries. Make sure to stop by Drougas Bakery, where you’ll find great coffee, pastries, sweets, and ice cream to savor on a lovely terrace. It’s one of the first places that opened in Porto Heli and the best place for a short break during your afternoon stroll.