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Yacht Charter Greece

With more than 16,000km of coastline, over 1,000 islands and countless beautiful beaches, Greece is one of the best yacht rental destinations in the world. Not to mention the quaint fishing villages, ancient ruins and rich culture and food scenes, or the glorious sailing weather!

Where it comes to chartering a yacht in Greek waters, there's not much to worry about. Experienced sailors with the right licences can embrace the freedom of a bareboat charter, where they hire the boat without a skipper. If you don't have the right qualifications to do a bareboat yacht charter then there are skippered and even fully crewed options.

There are a variety of boats to hire too - you could wish to hire a catamaran, a monohull yacht or a motorboat charter . There are about as many options for yacht hire in Greece as there are sailing holiday budgets.

You will be limited as to how far you take your vessel, largely by the time you have on board. You will have to remember the local weather conditions - the Meltemi winds on the Aegean and the Maistro on the Adriatic can be limiting too.

Getting to Greece

Dodecanese Islands

You can fly direct to Rhodes from the UK from a number of airports also in the summer season you can also fly to Dalaman Airport in Turkey and take a taxi to either Fethiye or Marmaris before taking a ferry to Rhodes though this route typically takes around 2.5 hours

Northern Aegean

You can fly direct to Thessaloniki from 12 airports in the UK. You can also fly direct to Skiathos in the summer months.

Cyclades Islands and Saronic Gulf

Alimos Marina is just a 45 minute taxi ride from Athens International Airport where you can reach the Saronic Islands. North of Athens is the island of Skiathos which has several yacht charter locations, as has Lavrion to the south of the Greek capital. You can catch a shuttle bus or taxi to get to Laviron Marina.

Ionian Sea

There are direct flights from the UK to Corfu and Zakynthos. Getting to Lefkada involves flying into Preveza (PVK) and then taking a bus or taxi to the island - this is about half an hour on a good day. There are bridges so no need for any ferries

Best Areas To Hire in Greece

Broadly speaking, the Greek islands are scattered across two large seas - the Ionian in the NW and the Aegean in the SE. These are then divided into six primary sailing areas:

  • North Ionian
  • South Ionian
  • Saronic Gulf
  • Cyclades
  • Sporades
  • Dodecanese

The Ionian's main charter bases are Corfu (north) and Lefkas (south), while the huge Aegean is split into smaller regions - the Saronic Gulf, Argolic Gulf and Cyclades, centred around the Athens peninsula; the Sporades, where you charter from Skiathos or Volos; and the Dodecanese, which have Kos and Rhodes at their heart.

The North Aegean Sea and Dodecanese sit close to Turkey and are heavily influenced by the Ottoman Empire to the east.

The Cyclades and Saronic Gulf

This sailing area is closer to Athens and where will see lots of evidence of Athenian relics here with this area offering a mix of coastal sailing and Greek island hopping. Mykonos is also which has a great mix on nightlife and excellent food.

The Ionian Sea

These islands including Ithaca, Kefalonia and Corfu have easier sailing conditions for your Greece yacht charter much of the summer, thanks to the moderate sea breezes

From beautiful island to serious party towns and the iconic shipwreck beach, there are as many options for a boat hire holiday in Greece as you could possibly want.

Dodecanese islands

The Dodecanese islands are the most SE Greek islands. Kos and Rhodes Marina are home to most of the region's charter yachts bases, from where you can head north to Kalymnos and Leros, or south to beautiful towns like Symi.

There are party towns, quiet anchorages and relaxed villages to be found throughout the Greek mainland and islands. You just need to passage plan to get the most of what you want from your sailing itinerary.

Best Towns To Charter a Yacht In Greece

Where it comes to hiring a boat in Greece you will want to rent a boat according to where you wish to go.

Athens

The cradle of civilisation, Athens is the biggest sailing centre in the Mediterranean Sea, with access to the Saronic Gulf and Cyclades Islands. If you wish to head west into the Saronic Gulf, Alimos is a useful base from which to charter a yacht, while Lavrion Main port and Lavrion Olympic marinas on the south of the Athenian Peninsula are the best jumping off points for a yacht charter in the Cyclades island chain.

Kos / Rhodes

For chartering a yacht in the Dodecanese you should consider travelling to Rhodes Town and you can sail from there.

Thessaloniki

For the Northern Aegean sea and the Aegean islands you should consider hiring a boat out of there.

Skiathos / Volos

This island has several yacht charter locations and is to the north of Athens so useful for chartering in those locations

Corfu Town and Zakynthos

Both of these options are useful for renting boats in the north of the Ionian Sea and then have access to the Ionian Islands - Marina Gouvia on Corfu is superb for a northern Ionian yacht charter holiday.

Lefkas (Lefkada)

Lefkas Marina is one of the main access points to the southern Ionian Island group due to its more southerly location when compared to the Corfu. Lefkada is among our most popular greek yacht charter locations, especially for skippered charter, families and inexperienced sailors. Typically you fly into Preveza Airport and catch a taxi or bus from the airport.

Types Of Boats To Hire

Below is a list of potential charter or hire options to consider for boat hire Greece.

Motor Cruisers

With little else to worry about than the engine getting you there, most of the focus of a motor yacht is on luxury. On larger, crewed superyacht charter or luxury yacht charters you could have everything from a chef and waiting staff to tenders and various toys in a boat garage.

Catamarans

You could go for a catamaran hire with all the comforts you need - and ample sunbathing space for those times when you're not sailing. Ideal for families and groups of friends, you get what you pay for - the more luxurious the yacht the more it will cost with larger catamarans typically being a crewed yacht charter.

Monohull sailing yachts

If fun sailing is one of the reasons you want to hire a sailing yacht then you can go for a monohull sailing yacht charter that suits your budget. These can range in budget from 100 Euros a day for a bareboat charter to more expensive crewed options with aluxury yacht charter.

RIB

If a blast around the bay on a comfortable, fast cruiser is your idea of fun you can hire a RIB. These range in size from 5 metres to 20 and can even have a day cabin for hiding from the weather on the larger RIBs. Costs will be appropriate to size, comfort and length of use.

Gulet

Yacht Charter in Greece at the best price, +35,000 Boats worldwide. Sailing Yachts or Boat Hire with Or without A Skipper from £40/day for a day/week or more! Chartering a Gulet is a very good way of relaxing for a week or two, and being shown the very best that Greece's waters, islands and cultures have to offer. You need absolutely no sailing experience or skills to enjoy this, typically just turn up and the crew will do everything from there. There are also flotilla options available here if you have very large groups.

Speed and Day Boats

Just want a little fun on the water for a half day or full day? Then you can hire a speed or day boat for as little as €40. This can be a bit of waterborne fun on a land-based holiday or you can hire one while chartering another yacht, typically you don't require a licence for this type of option and skippered options are also generally available.

Skippered or Bareboat Charter

You don't need to know how to sail to rent a boat in Greece as you can go for a skippered boat rental where the skipper can get you wherever you want to go. If you're more confident and have the relevant licences, you can go for a bareboat rental. Skippered charters are available on nearly all boats as an optional extra.

A skippered yacht charter or crewed motor yacht will cost you a little more but you get the peace of mind of having someone aboard who knows the waters and can get you safely to all the destinations you want. Where it comes to a skippered boat hire for your sailing holiday, the skipper will also know some of the best places to go to meet your needs. Want lots quiet sandy beaches for a barbecue? How about the best Taverna in the area? The skipper will know all this as well as where to land for the best afternoon, grazing on meze ('Greek Tapas') and ouzo. A crewed charter is one of the best ways of whiling away a baking Greek day.

Yacht Charter & Boat Hire Greece

Yacht Charter in Greece at the best price, +35,000 Boats worldwide. Skipper options available, no booking charges and all done with the minimum of fuss.

Do you need a licence to hire a boat

If you are on a bare boat rental in Greece you need to have certain sailing qualifications, the most common ones are listed below:

RYA

If you are from the UK you can charter a yacht with any qualifications including or above the RYA Day Skipper level

International Certificate of Competence (ICC)

If you are from the EU you can use an International Certificate of Competence or other, recognised national sailing qualification to charter a yacht

ASA 104 Bareboat Sailing Qualification

If you are from the United States you can hire a yacht using an ASA 104 Bareboat sailing qualification.

Professional level sailing and merchant mariner qualifications are accepted too.

Before you book, do check with the boat owner whether they will be insured for your qualifications to avoid problems further down the line. Where it comes to bareboat hire, at least one of your adult crew should have some proven sailing experience too.

If you are on a skippered boat hire then you often won't need any sailing qualifications at all and can just enjoy the ride, perhaps while getting some miles in your logbook to go for a bareboat sailing qualification in future.

Best Times To Charter a Yacht In Greece

Depending on your budget and dependents you can go sailing any time between April and October. As such it depends on when you are free through the year. Most people rent a boat during the summer school holidays, point to note here is the waters will be busier as this is high season

The Meltemi wind on the Aegean can be feisty in August but down on the Ionian the weather is quite stable throughout the summer months. Outside of the school holidays it can be cheaper to rent a boat and the waters will be less busy.

One month to consider also is April when the land is in full bloom, the pastures are green and the flowers colour the land. The sea retains the sun's warmth so October can be cooler outside but it will still be comfortable to go swimming.

Sailing Weather In Greece

Where it comes to climate not all of Greece is the same all the time.

In summer on the Ionian Sea the Bora wind starts as a zephyr in the morning and builds to a nice Force 4-5 in the afternoon before calming again in the evening. If you want some great day sailing on deep blue waters then this can be just the fun you dreamed about at home.

On the Aegean it can get fiercely hot in the summer months with temperatures regularly getting well over 30 degrees C.

At the same time the north-easterly Meltemi wind can blow up to a Force 7 on the Aegean day and night. As a general rule it starts building from a light breeze at around dawn and reaches peak strength at around 13:00, only easing at around sunset, making for some exciting sailing conditions downwind but lumpy and wet when beating. In this area as a general rule, people prefer to leave the dock early in the morning to avoid the wind at peak strength

If very hot weather isn't your thing, then do consider going in Spring or Autumn when the temperatures can be far warmer than Northern Europe but still more comfortable.

How much does it cost to hire boats in Greece?

Depending on the boat you're renting and the time of year you can pay anything from €700 a week to well over €20,000+ a week. These aren't the only things you need to consider when renting a boat.

Marinas will often charge around €20+ a night (but often less) and you will also have to pay to moor on a buoy in some anchorages. You will also need money for fuel for the vessel through the trip. Many restaurants have their own pontoons, allowing you to moor for free if you have booked a table ahead. There are also plenty of opportunities to anchor just outside of marinas if they are full.

Along with food on board you'll typically need a budget for eating out. Greek food is world renowned and all types of budgets are catered for from great local taverna in a holiday town to a premium end meal at a Michelin-starred restaurant.

On a skippered yacht charter you should remember to tip the skipper on the boat for their work in helping you explore the country. You will be expected to supply the skipper with their food too.

Explore Greece By Renting A Boat

Where it comes to boat or hiring a charter yacht, you can find your way around a huge variety of cultural, historical and hedonistic locations. Above ground you will often see, smell and taste Ottoman Empire influences including meze - the 'Greek tapas' that is served in nearly every bar. France and even Russia have had their impact on the country, and all these in only the last 200 to 300 years.

Today you will find Kos, Corfu, Mykonos and Athens are famous the world over for their fun loving culture and lots of sailors will include them on their sailing itineraries.

The Cyclades have a lot of ancient Greek remnants from temples to ancient harbours. There are even remnants from the ancient Minoan civilisation that was there long before the Athenians. These islands have their own cultures that have been influenced but not entirely changed by the different empires that have waxed and waned across their seas. Many were very rich trading centres in their own right over the centuries.

The Sporades Islands are just to the north of the Athenian peninsula and are an accessible and fun destination for a sailing vacation. The film Mama Mia was filmed on the main island, Skopelos.

The National Marine Park of Alonissos in the Northern Sporades islands has some of the best marine life in the whole of the country. Seals, dolphins and a range of fish abound and at the right time of year you may even see turtles swimming past.

The Ionian Sea has seen trade for many Millennia and you will see influences from all over the world both present and past. Corfu has a strong British influence and was made famous by naturalist Gerald Durrell in his book, My Family and Other Animals.

Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when hiring a Yacht or Boat?

The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.

Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht?

​You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.

What happens if my Yacht breaks down?

If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.

What should I think of before I hire a Yacht or Boat?

You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.

What Qualifications Do I need to hire a boat or yacht?

If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What should I consider when hiring a Yacht or Boat?

The main points to consider are what is your budget, have you got the necessary sailing experience and qualifications to manage the boat if it's not going to have a skipper, whom you are taking sailing, where exactly you wish to go and what will the weather be like on the proposed dates of your trip.

Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht?

​You will typically pay 50% up front on booking the yacht hire and the balance on arrival. You will either pay a security deposit with your credit card on departure or can get insurance covering damage in advance. In some cases (such as the recent Covid situation) charter companies may be more flexible but this depends on the individual charter companies themselves.

What happens if my Yacht breaks down?

If you are at sea and in danger, call MAYDAY on VHF Ch16 or ring the coast guard on your phone if you have reception. If you have a mechanical fault and can make it to or are on a mooring you will be able to phone a help line number given by the boat charter company.

What should I think of before I hire a Yacht or Boat?

You should consider do you have the experience to handle the yacht charter or boat hire before you book and where do you want to go along with what the weather will be like. Bring warm weather and cool weather clothing if it looks like the weather can be cool as well as warm and remember at sea it can be cool on most evenings.

What Qualifications Do I need to hire a boat or yacht?

If you want to sail without a skipper then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC)/ASA 104 Bareboat certificate or the US Sailing Certificate. For small 'day boats' or if you choose to have a skippered on board your yacht charter you typically don't require licences.