Imagine you and your friends on the deck of a luxury yacht sunbathing. The salty breeze feels refreshing. The calm sound of the sea hitting on the vessel helps you relax. Later when it gets very hot you take a dive straight from the deck to the crystal clear waters of the Mediterranean Sea. Who could argue that this isn’t his/her dream holidays? Are you picturing yourself in this scene? Are you yet intrigued to sail your way through the Greek islands this summer? If so, here is everything you need to know about yachting in Greece and some of the best spots you should visit.
Why should I choose Greece to go sailing?
Greece is popular as a summer destination for multiple reasons. The country of the Mediterranean has amazing waters and beautiful locations and sceneries. The sun kissed coasts are more than welcoming to explore them with a luxury yacht. Greek landscape shows great variety. The barren landscape with the whitewashed cube shaped houses of the Cyclades is the absolute contradiction when you come across the vast green forests of the Ionian Islands and the colorful settlements by the light blue of the sea. There are so many amazing places you can explore. Greece is surrounded by water and the only way to get to see the most of it, is by going on an island hopping with a luxury yacht. There are marines that are safe anchorages to dock your yacht and spend the night there. The villages and the towns by these ports are very lively during summer time.
When should I rent a yacht in Greece?
The sailing season in Greece starts in early April and ends in the beginning of November. However, the high season is between the last week of July and the first week of September. It is important to know everything about the weather conditions and the temperatures during the time you wish to go on sailing in Greek seas. Let’s start from the high season that is more likely to visit Greece. From July until September the sailing areas and the marines especially the ones in the Ionian Islands and in the Saronic Gulf will probably be more crowded. When it comes to the weather you should better be cautious if you choose to sail in the Aegean. The Meltemia winds are strong and sometimes can be a nuisance for you.
Moving on, it is quite fascinating to rent a yacht in Greece during April, May and June. In this way you will have the chance to see the Cyclades having an abundance of flowers and greenery as while the summer is approaching they will eventually turn dry. If you want to spend the days in the Ionian Sea then you should note that by this time the Maistro or Maestral already delivers steady and reliable winds. It can remind you of the Meltemia winds in the Aegean but this time of the year they aren’t strong yet. Moreover, sailing during September or October can be advantageous as well. If you want to avoid the mass of the tourists then this is the ideal time to visit any island complex you want. Still you can enjoy the steady winds in the Ionian Islands but in the Aegean there will be no Meltemia.
How should I sail my way through Greek islands?
There four ways to explore the Greek seas. If you want to have the most out of this amazing experience you should take under serious consideration which one suit you better. First we have the skippered way. As you may already know this means that the yacht is rented with a professional skipper/captain. He is responsible for maneuvering the yacht. A skipper is fully qualified, experienced and capable of dealing with everything comes up in the open sea. He/she knows the local waters and the weather conditions. Plus it will be like having your personal guide as he/she will take you to the best bars, taverns and beaches. All you have to do is enjoy the days under the bright sun and the life on deck. Another option is to rent a crewed luxury yacht. Not only will you have a captain to steer your yacht but also a whole team that will be in charge for everything you may need while you stay on boat. The team will keep the cabins and the cockpit tidy, they will prepare the meals for you and they will make sure that the experience on deck will be memorable!
The third option is for the adventurous ones! If you have a sailing license and you want to be more active while sailing then you can go sailing bareboat. You and your company will be completely independent. You will have the purest sea experience. That would be a very interesting and fascinating story to tell afterwards. Whatever style you will choose to sail in Greece you can also arrange to join to a flotilla. There will be a lead yacht with the flotilla leader who organizes the schedule of the trip, in which marines you will moor and inform all vessels about the weather forecast. Sailing along with other vessels means that you have company all the time and it is ideal for large groups.
Where should I go sailing in Greece?
Greece is the ideal destination for sailing in the Mediterranean. It has many island complexes. Each one of them has a unique character and it will lure you to return again and again to explore more places. Dandelion coastlines, dreamy waters and graphic marines are waiting for you to explore them. Let’s weigh anchors!
Sailing in Cyclades
The charming islands with the barren background and the white washed houses with the light blue doors and windows are more than welcoming for you and your yacht. If you choose to sail in Cyclades it is guaranteed that you will be excited by the sceneries you will come across, the cosmopolitan character of the islands and the amazing beaches. As you sail you will always be accompanied by dolphins and seagulls. It is hard to narrow down the list of the must-visit spots in the “land” of Meltemia. We will try to give you just one small hind and some food for thought and then you decide what islands would like to visit. First we have Mykonos the island of the winds that is bursting of tourists who come here to experience the crazy nightlife. Mykonos is a famous jet set destination and has many private marinas and in the high season its coasts are full with luxury private yachts. Do you want to party even more? Then go straight to Ios! Endless beach parties and amazing beaches make the place ideal to explore it by boat. Another extremely popular destination is Santorini. Imagine witnessing the famous sunset of Santorini from the privacy of the deck of your private yacht. Sail with tailwind to Naxos with the sandy beaches choose any coast that will caught your eye and drop anchor. Little Cyclades, meaning Koufonissia, Donoussa, Schinoussa and Iraklia are four tiny gems hidden in the heart of the Aegean.
Undoubtedly, you have heard about the Snow-White of Cyclades, Paros. It is a cosmopolitan island with rich history, picturesque corners and great beaches. Once you get there visit Antiparos also. The little brother of Paros is offered for relaxing holiday and gives to the visitor the pure experience of the island life. Moreover, for natural leeward heavens, peculiar landscapes and deep blue waters weigh anchors to Milos, Serifos and Sifnos. Don’t forget to put on the top of your list the beach with the lunar landscape in Milos called Sarakiniko and the area called Kleftiko that will you leave you speechless. Don’t miss visiting Amorgos to witness the beautiful monastery of Panagia Chozoviotissa that is visible only by the sea. With your yacht you will have a front seat to see the plane white building emerging from the abrupt cliffs. Last but not least add Syros to your bucket list. The Duchess of Cyclades has amazing architecture and cosmopolitan beauty. The beaches also are amazing and many of them are safe anchorages.
Sailing in the Ionian Islands
Going on the western side of the Greek mainland, sailing there is an amazing experience. On the contrary of the plain white background of the Cycladic scenery, the Ionian Islands are far more colorful. Corfu, Lefkada, Ithaca, Kefallonia and Zakynthos are distinguishing for their lush green forests, amazingly blue waters and the rich architectural culture of their towns and settlements. Let’s start with the ultimate family friendly summer destination: Corfu. The town is amazing with picturesque corners everywhere. You can’t get enough of this beautiful place. The coasts of Corfu are known for the extraordinary bays and crystal clear waters. It is a very loveable destination for yacht owners from all over the world. Southern of Corfu there is Paxi and Antipaxi. Take your time to explore every little bay in the dandelion coastline and swim in the transparent waters. Let’s go to Lefkada, the homeland of the famous beaches Porto Katsiki, Egremmni and Kathisma. Tourists from all over the world visit Lefkada to witness the otherworldly blue color of those beaches. Dropping anchor here is rather advantageous as you have a better view of the beaches and you also avoid the mass of the tourists.
Now we are sailing to Ithaca, the kingdom of Odysseus. Ithaca is composed by lush forests and light blue waters. The scenery is totally mesmerizing. This dramatically- beautiful island is not that popular as are the other Ionian Islands. However, its looks make it unique. The environment will help you relax and enjoy quiet holidays. Next to Ithaca is Kefallonia. The place that attracts the sailors due to its beauty is Fiskardo. Myrtos beach is considered to be as one of the most beautiful beaches in Greece. Last but not least, you can also visit Zakynthos. The island has a big harbor that makes it ideal for yachts. Around the island there are many beaches that you can explore with your luxury yacht, including the world famous Shipwreck Bay. As you sail in Zakynthos watch out for the rare turtles Caretta-Caretta that lay their eggs in the beaches, especially in Laganas.
Sailing in the Argo-Saronic Gulf
Having Athens as a base you can also set sails for the little islands close to Athens. They are literally little gems spread in the Gulf. Just a few nautical miles from the hustle and bustle of the Greek capital you will moor in paradise. Aegina is the place where every tourist can feel the original pulse of Greek mentality. It is used to be a great naval power. Sounds like a really good idea to go sailing here. The marines in Aegina are full with luxury yachts. The main town is cosmopolitan full with narrow streets waiting for you to discover each unique corner. In the centre you can find all kind of shops, restaurants and cafes. For a more relaxing sailing experience you should go to Agistri. Agistri is notable for its natural beauty. Two ideal beaches for those who have a yacht are Aponissos and Chalikiada. Aponissos is the highlight of Agistri. It has incredible crystal clear waters. The pebbled bay is surrounded by pine trees. Another island that is popular among the yacht owners is Poros. It has some beautiful beaches perfect for relaxation and sunbathing. Love Bay is probably the most beautiful beach in the island. The bay is small but it is like a real paradise on earth. You will swim in crystal emerald waters and above your head you will admire a forest of pine trees. Another recommended beach would be Monastiri, a small cove protected by green cliffs. The clear waters here make the place ideal for scuba diving.
We shouldn’t avoid mentioning the Hydra, the island with the unspoiled character and the aristocratic vibe. The coastline of Hydra is rocky and is full of small bays with crystalline waters. Some beaches are only accessible by boat. Thus having a private yacht is a great advantage. The beaches of Hydra are ideal for relaxation and they give generously to the visitor moments of serenity. Next to Hydra and just two hours away from Athens there is Spetses. Likewise Hydra, in Spetses no motor vehicles are allowed except scooters. The place is charming and quiet. Neoclassical houses and cobblestone streets are the elements that make Spetses picturesque. Tourists who choose to experience sailing holidays in Greece often come to Spetses.
Sailing in Sporades
In the northern part of Greece, north Aegean the island complex called Sporades is waiting for every yacht owner to explore them. Skiathos attracts the younger crowds while Alonissos and Skopelos are more quiet. Skiathos is known for its intense nightlife and the beach bars that host great parties. Some of the most picturesque beaches are Lalaria and Koukounaries. Lalaria beach is accessible only by boat and has an amazing landscape. It is a place with huge white cliffs rising out of the clear deep blue sea. The coast has perfectly smooth round white pebbles and that is the characteristic that made Lalaria famous. The most crowded beach on the island is Koukounaries. It is noted by the pine trees spread everywhere. It is considered as the most unspoiled natural beach of the Mediterranean and is protected environment.
Skopelos and Alonissos have amazing natural beauty. They are almost untouched by the mass of the tourist and they are offered for visitors that love a serene environment. You will love sailing through the crystal clear waters and around you will enjoy the lush green forest of pines. The colors are astonishing. You will feel like you are in paradise. Kastani beach in Skopelos is the perfect example of the general view of the island. You should definitely plan to spend a day there with your yacht. In Alonissos a must visit place is Agios Dimitrios beach. The bay is pebbled and the waters are emerald. All around you the hills are green and the pine trees that reach the beach offers natural shadow. Do you picture yourself on your yacht in the middle of this extraordinary bay? If so, it’s about high time to set sails for Sporades!