Yacht Charter Athens
Guide To Sailing In Athens
One of global civilisation's oldest cities, Athens is a fascinating city with history and culture at least as deep and fascinating as that of Rome.
History from 3,000 and more years has never really ignored Athens, from its regional domination as a city-state many Millennia ago to Rome and then subjugation by the Ottoman Empire until recent times.
Athens is a city of immense depth and breadth that could really only be understood with years of scholarship and exploration. Ancient ruins such as the Acropolis sit side by side architecture that has been built through the ages. Greek cuisine of flavours influenced by different ages and times and a laid back attitude that can bewitch the visitor as soon as they arrive until long after they leave.
As a seafaring nation, Greece has long had an influence on the maritime world. Shipping magnate Aristotle Onassis is a 20th Century example of the country's trading power that stems from as far back as Minoan times long before history was properly written. An Athens yacht charter can follow routes taken by millions over thousands of years and today you can enjoy the now or the past of whatever age of civilisation you seek.
Explore Athens By Renting A Yacht
The Greece yacht charter industry is one of the oldest and best-established on the Mediterranean. The facilities are very good and infrastructure - and even many Greek island economies - built around it. You can get out to the DodecaneseIslands, Ionian Sea and the Argolic Gulf, all of which have great yacht charter infrastructure.
Whether on a bareboat, skippered or crewed yacht charter, an Athens yacht charter can start at Alimos Marina, just 20 minutes from the city centre. If you can, do spend a day exploring the main city before you head off - hit the Acropolisand nearby Marathon if you can as well as exploring the rest of the city.
A luxury yacht charter out of Athens can involve one of a number of ultimate destinations. Close-by to the southeast of the city, and best accessed from Laviron, the Cyclades Islands (pronounced 'kickladeez'), to include Paros, Naxos, Andros, Kinthos and Kea have ancient ruins from the days before Rome. They are extremely popular among yachtcharterers and you will find all manner of things from party towns to museums as you go.
The Saronic Gulf is to the northwest of Athens. Out of Alimos Marina, an island or coast-hopping sailing holidaywhere you can sail offshore to the Saronic Islands of Poros, Aegina, and Agistri as you explore this region.
How To Get To Athens
More than 80 airlines fly into Athens Airport from all over the world.
Getting to Alimos Marina or Laviron Marina from there will involve either a bus, private hire minibus or taxi. It is cheaper but far slower by bus to the marinas, but for a party of 4 it could pay to go by taxi to the marinas as at €45 per trip this amounts to just €11.25 per head. Though quicker by taxi to both marinas it can take 45 minutes - or far more in heavy traffic.
Marinas In Athens
There are two major marinas serving Athens - Alimos and Laviron. Both have large boat rental fleets that include luxury yacht charter, catamaran, motor yacht and monohull sailing yacht charters to suit a range of budgets from the very small to extremely large.
Max Length 60m (196.8 Feet)
Max Draught 5m (16.4 Feet)
List of additional services: Water, Shore Power, Fuel, Laundry, Waste water collection, Garbage/recycling, Doctors surgery, Pharmacy, Bar, Restaurant, Weather forecasting and Shipyard
Olympic Marina, Laviron:
Max Length 40m (131.2 Feet)
Max Draught 10m (32.8 Feet)
List of additional services: Water, Electricity, WiFi, Laundry, Waste water collection, ATM, Shipyard, Taxis, Bar, Restaurant, Market
Suggested Sailing Routes From Athens
The Cyclades Islands and Saronic Gulf are the primary destinations for those on an Athens yacht charter. Alimos Marina is a major charter yacht hub and is better than Olympic Marina Laviron for this, while Laviron is better suited to the Cyclades Islands.
7 days - Alimos Marina - Saronic Gulf - Spetses: With the very popular holiday island of Aegina as a first port, you then head SW across the gulf to Epidauros with its ancient ruins. Hydra is your next port of call with no cars allowed there and donkeys still the heavy transport mode of choice. Spetses itself played a major role in the recent Greek War of Independence, and still has the ruins of a Russian naval base. Island and coast-hop your way back.
7 days - Olympic Marina - Southern Cyclades: Kea is just a short hop from Laviron and can be done the evening you board the boat. There are a number of safe marinas and anchorages there so don't worry about being late! Mykonos is one of the best known Greek islands - do visit Little Venice where the sea goes right up to the buildings' walls. The nightlife is off the scale too! Loutra in Kynthos has hot medicinal springs and great coves for sea swimming.
14 days - Laviron to Santorini: The volcanic island of Santorini is one of the most famous sights in Greece short of the Acropolis. Heading out through the southern Cyclades islands including Paros, Mykonos and Aegean jewel of Ios, you will arrive in Santorini before turning west towards Folegandros, Serifos and Kynthos before returning to port.
Best Times To Hire A Yacht In Athens
The sailing season runs from late April to October with July and August being the busiest months for yacht charter. This is ironic as July and August can be the worst times to sail! Both extremely hot air temperatures and often hazardous Meltemi winds can make for big winds sailing when you honestly just want to hide from the heat.
The sea is cooler - often quite chilly - at the beginning of the sailing season but there is rainfall in Spring. As the days lengthen you will still see green fields and flowers in May and the winds can be quite benign too. Combined with the crowds being smaller, this suggests that May to early June are the sweet spot for an Athens yacht charter.
Come September and October the seas are still like a warm bath. However there are often water shortages on the islands and everything looks parched.
Sailing Weather In Athens
April to mid June: There is rainfall and the temperatures build steadily from the mid-teens to the mid 20 degree C range. There are sometimes gentle southerly winds, thoough these are replaced by ever stronger N-NW Meltemi winds that are rarely hazardous but make for exciting sailing at times.
Late June-August: You'll be unlucky if you see any rain, though it could be welcome in the summer heat! Temperatures are from 30s with recent hot days exceeding 40. The northerly Meltemi winds can be fierce and can hit F7 for a solid few days.
September-October: The seas remain warm and the Meltemi eases. These months can be the best time of year to sailas the temperatures are often in the comfortable low to mid 20s.
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.
What are the Marinas in Athens?
Alimos Marina is the larger of the two marinas with a number of yacht charter companies working out of it. Use this for the Saronic Gulf, though you can explore the Cyclades too. Olympic Marina in nearby Laviron is half the size but better equipped, and is good for a Cyclades sailing holiday.
When are the best times to hire a boat in Athens?
May to June are the best times of year to go on a sailing vacation out of Athens thanks to the comfortable heat and gentler sailing conditions. Most islands have water supplies too. July and August are fiercely hot and the Meltemi winds can be fierce, but even so are the most popular months for a boat rental in Greece.
Do you have to pay a deposit when hiring a Yacht in Athens?
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 in Athens?
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.