Yacht Charter Greece

Greece is one of the best yacht charter and boat hire destinations in the world, blessed with thousands of scattered islands, each brimming with its own unique history. Search to find your ideal yacht, with or without a Captain and Crew, or read on for more inspiration

4.7

Rated 4.7 out of 5 from 90 reviews

    Temperature

    High season temperatures range - the Ionian is generally milder (high 20s C), while the Aegean side, can get fiercely hot, well into the mid-30s C. A/C needed!

    Average Winds

    The winds vary across the different regions. Generally in peak season, the calmest region is the Ionian, while the Cyclades are the windiest group, ideal for more experienced sailors.

    When To Go

    The Greek sailing season runs April to October – the best weather is from May to September, except July and August, when the islands can get busy, and winds strong!

    Currency

    Greece, like most Mediterranean yacht charter destinations, is part of the eurozone, and so the Euro is the only currency you'll need when in Greek waters.

Best towns to start a yacht charter in Greece

These are Borrow a Boat's pick of the top charter towns across the sprawling Greek archipelago, from Corfu to Rhodes. Select from sailing yachts, catamarans or motor yachts and enjoy quaint fishing villages, ancient Greece ruins, rich cultural and foodie scenes, and glorious sailing weather!

Also Discover

Types of boat to hire

Yachts and cats rafted up cyclades

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

Wherever you go, you're sure to enjoy secluded bays, your pick of sandy beach, and some of the best sailing available in this jewel of the east Mediterranean.

Aerial-view-of-cape-sounion-Greece

The Cyclades and Saronic Gulf

The cradle of Western 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.

Why sail here?

  • Ancient ruins and historic UNESCO sites
  • Exhilarating sailing for expert sailors
  • Picturesque cultural hubs & exciting nightlife
  • Famous islands including Mykonos, Santorini, Hydra and Spetses

The Cyclades are generally the windiest Greek island group, and is home to the legendary summer Meltemi wind, which can reach 40 knots in August and provides some exhilarating sailing for experienced bareboaters, but can be quite ferocious. We do not advise beginners to go to the Cyclades in the summer.

Beginners, families and less experienced sailors are better off sailing the Saronic Gulf and enjoying a relaxing week aboard. Thanks to the shape of the Attica peninsula, the Saronic Gulf is much more sheltered from the NE Meltemi, but can still offer some fun sailing to beautiful islands like Hydra and Spetses.

These sailing areas off the Athens peninsula displays 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.

Alimos Marina is just a 45 minute taxi ride from Athens International Airport, and has over 1,000 charter yachts ready to explore the Saronic islands. At the southern tip of the Attica peninsula, Lavrion Olympic Marina and Lavrion Main Port are each just a 30-minute taxi from the airport and perfect for Cyclades yacht charters.

You can also fly direct from the UK to Mykonos or Paros, if your charter starts in the Cyclades islands themselves.

Browse yachts in the Cyclades

sailing boats anchored off Dodecanese

Dodecanese Islands

The Dodecanese islands are the most SE Greek islands, just off the alluring Turkish coast.

Why sail here?

  • Consistent NW sailing wind
  • Great for intermediate/advanced sailors
  • Mix of Ottoman, Turkish, Venetian influences
  • Longer sailing season than the rest of Greece

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.

The Dodecanese sailing area benefits from the best of the prevailing NW winds, whose force has usually softened by the time it gets this far south, creating pleasant medium breezes for daytime sailing.

The sailing season is also longer here than any other part of Greece - spring arrives early, and the season can last into November, with the air temperature still in the 20s C in October.

You can fly direct to Kos or Rhodes from the UK from a number of airports.

Explore the Dodecanese

Meganisi-Ionian-Greece

The Ionian Sea

These lush, sheltered islands including Ithaca, Kefalonia and Corfu have easy and relaxing sailing conditions for your Greece yacht charter for most of the summer, thanks to the moderate wind.

Why sail here?

  • Easy, rewarding sailing in flat waters
  • Light winds perfect for families and beginners
  • Short distances between beautiful islands filled with bougainvillea
  • Simple transport links and hundreds of boats to choose from

It’s famously claimed that you can set your watch to the wind in the Ionian, with barely a breath in the morning, gradually building to a mild afternoon sea breeze, with the best sailing conditions between 11am and 5pm, before the wind fades around sunset.

The Ionian's dense greenery means the land heats up slower, which creates less breeze than the more barren, windier Aegean.

The shape of the southern Ionian, sheltered by its largest islands (Lefkada and Kefalonia), also means that you’re almost always sailing in flat water.

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.

There are direct flights from the UK to Corfu and Zakynthos. Getting to Lefkas marina 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

Discover the Ionian

Agios-ioannis-skopelos-sporades-greece

The Sporades

A collection of lush, traditional, laid back Greek islands clustered in the north Aegean, a yacht charter in the Sporades is like taking a step back in time.

Why sail here?

  • Explore a National Marine Park
  • Visit Skopelos, setting of Mamma Mia!
  • Gin-clear water, great wind and beautiful beaches
  • Meet dolphins, monks seals and humpback whales

The Sporades islands are arguably Greece’s most beautiful sailing area, with abundant forests, uninhabited bays and colourful houses adorning the waterfront hills.

Tucked up in the armpit of Greece, the Sporades are on the whole much more flourishing and less windy than the Cyclades, with medium winds perfect for family sailing.

Visit remote Skopelos (famous setting of Mamma Mia!) and Alonnisos, a forested, hilly island with beautiful winding dirt roads that makes Skiathos look like bustling Kos.

The Sporades is blessed with abundant wildlife, and you're likely to see dolphins, monk seals and maybe even a humpback whale during your holiday!

Hire a boat from Volos or Skiathos to explore the Sporades island group, Northern Aegean sea and the Pagasetic Gulf

Discover the Sporades

Kos, Greece

Why Charter in Greece

Greece yacht charters offer unrivalled choice of bareboat, skippered or fully crewed yacht charter options, with a full spectrum of wind, cuisine, nature available across the six primary sailing areas.

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 famous katabatic Meltemi winds in the Aegean can be limiting too, especially in August.

Bareboat, skippered yacht or crewed 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.

When using Borrow A Boat you can filter all boat searches to be with or without skipper depending on what you are looking for, and below we cover some of the main points to consider for your boat hire

Yacht Charter Ibiza

Bareboat Yacht Charter Greece

Bareboat charters offer qualified and experienced sailors the ultimate freedom to explore where they want, when they want.

You are the captain, you plan the route, and you are ultimately responsible for the safety of the boat and all of your crew.

For skilled sailors, a bareboat charter is lower cost and gives more privacy for you and your charter guests.

Many sailors prefer to helm the boat and choose their own course, and provided you have the knowledge and relevant qualifications you can skipper (typically up to 54 feet/16.5 metres in length) yourself.

If you want to sail without a skipper (bareboat yacht charter) then you will need relevant qualifications like RYA Day Skipper/International Certificate of Competence (ICC) or the ASA 104 Bareboat certificate.

Browse Bareboat Yachts

Skippered lagoon 46

Skippered Yacht Charter Greece

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.

Browse Skippered Yachts

Sleek-motor-yacht-in-Hydr-Saronic-Greece

Crewed Yacht Charter Greece

A fully crewed yacht charter provides absolute luxury. The captain and deck crew are responsible for handling the navigation of the yacht, while the interior crew look after your every need, preparing gourmet meals and refreshing drinks and providing the highest level of service to help you enjoy a spectacular holiday.

Sample local culture and entertainment alongside organised activities or simply relax in luxuriously appointed cabins and salons, before exploring dive and snorkel sites in your limousine tender.

Your captain and crew will take care of all navigation, organisational, catering and housekeeping. Leaving you and your guests free to relax knowing that you will receive first-class service and attention from embarkation to the day you leave.

Our unrivalled network of global yacht brokers ensures we have access to an extraordinary range of luxury yachts and superyachts - of every size and fitout.

We take care of every detail of your charter and ensure that you and your party's requirements are fulfilled.

Browse Crewed Yachts

Sivota-Lefkas-Greece

Do you need a licence to charter in Greece?

If you are on a crewed charter, gulet or skippered yacht charter you do not need a license to sail a yacht. This is also the case when you are renting a small motorboat without a cabin for a day trip around the local islands or beaches.

You do need a license if you are on a bareboat yacht charter, here are some examples of sailing qualifications:

International Certificate of Competence (ICC): This is issued on request by your European sailing authority and you should automatically qualify with certain national sailing qualifications.

RYA Qualifications: If you have the following qualifications you will be able to take a bareboat charter out of Greece, these include Day Skipper (sail or motor endorsement), Coastal Skipper or Yachtmaster.

American Sailing Association (ASA): The ASA 104 Bareboat certificate is commonly accepted.

US Sailing: The International Proficiency Certificate is widely accepted and The Bareboat Cruising Certificate is also accepted in many cases.

Corfu-Ionian-Greece

Best times to hire

The Greek yacht charter vacation season runs 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.

Our favourite months for Greece yacht charters are June and September

Symi-Dodecanese-Greece

The Climate

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.

Catamaran-in-Mykonos

How much does it cost for a Greece yacht charter?

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.

Other boating destinations you might like

Frequently asked questions
Is boat hire in Greece Legal?

In Greece yacht charter is one of the premier tourist activities and as long as you and the boat owner meet local and international laws and regulations that come with boating then yes, it is perfectly legal.

What kind of boats can I hire in Greece?

You can hire almost any yacht that is licensed for charter you like, these include monohull yachts, catamarans, superyachts, luxury motorboats, ribs and day boats . If you are not qualified or confident you can ask for a skipper and crew to sail it for you for an extra fee.

What should I consider when hiring a boat?

You need to consider your budget, where you want to go, what sailing qualifications and sailing experience you have and how long you want to go sailing for.

What are the best times to hire a boat in Greece?

This depends on what you want. Do you want the hustle and bustle of party towns at full throttle? July and August will be the busiest times. Do you want to avoid the worst of the heat? It can pay to go in May or June. Outside the school holidays it is much quieter and cheaper.

Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a boat in Greece?

In booking the boat hire you will have to pay some of the charter fee upfront, this is typically 50% in advance. As part of the insurance requirements you will usually have to pay a returnable damage deposit to cover any damage you cause.

What happens if my hire boat breaks down?

If you are at sea and cannot repair the issue yourself then you should call the authorities (Coastguard on VHF Ch16 in most cases or MAYDAY only in life threatening emergencies). If you have a mechanical fault at the dock, at anchor or at a buoy then you will have the contacts of the charter company to phone - speak to them and they will help you out.

What should I think of before I hire a boat?

Do you have the qualifications and confidence to sail a boat on your own? If not then consider a skippered hire. Where do you want to sail? This will inform you what companies to go with and where you sail from. What time of year do you want to go? This will inform you what sort of clothes to bring - warmer for off-season and cooler for peak season.

Do I need a visa to visit Greece?

If you are you are from a country within the European Union then you will not. People from many countries like Switzerland, Norway, Canada, the USA, New Zealand and Australia will also be allowed into Greece for a short time without a visa. Do check with the Greek Embassy website in your country before you book.

Let us help you to build the perfect trip