Boat Rental Greece
With more than 16,000km of coastline and 1,000 islands, Greece is one of the best sailing destinations in the world.
In this article, we will show you all you need to know when it comes to boat rental in this wonderful part of the Mediterranean. Firstly let's look at what you need to do when it comes to hiring a boat in the beautiful Greek waters.
Chartering a Yacht in Greece
Where it comes to chartering a yacht in Greece, there's not much to worry about. If you don't have the right qualifications to do a bareboat yacht charter then there are Captained and even fully crewed boat rental options.
There are a variety of boats to Rental too - you could wish to rent a catamaran, a monohull yacht, or a motor cruiser. 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
You can fly direct to Rhodes from a number of airports and 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
You can fly direct to Thessaloniki. 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.
There are direct flights 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 Rent in Greece
Broadly speaking there are two seas in Greece - the Aegean centered on Athens and the Ionian Sea with Corfu and Lefkas as the main centers.
There are five broad sailing areas in Greece too.
The North Aegean Sea and the 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 island hopping. Mykonos also has a great mix of nightlife and excellent food.
The Ionian Sea
These islands including Ithaca, Kefalonia, and Corfu have easier sailing conditions for your yacht charter much of the summer, thanks to the moderate sea breezes.
From uninhabited islands to serious party towns, there are as many options for a boat rental holiday in Greece as you could possibly want. In the Dodecanese islands to the NE of the Greek islands, if you want to party all night then head for somewhere like Kos. To have a couple of days to get over it you can sail for the uninhabited island of Armathia in the same island chain and explore its famous Marmari Beach to completely chill out.
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.
Best Towns To Rent A Boat 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.
This city is the biggest sailing center of all, with access to the Saronic Gulf and Cyclades Islands. Alimos is the best jumping-off point for a yacht charter in the Cyclades though there are great opportunities to rent a boat out of Laviron Marina on the south of the Athenian Peninsula. If you wish to head west into the Saronic Gulf. Athens is also also a useful base from which to charter a yacht.
For chartering a yacht in the Dodecanese you should consider traveling to Rhodes Town and you can sail from there.
For the Northern Aegean sea and the Aegean islands you should consider hiring a boat out of there.
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
This is one of the main access points to the Ionian Islands due to its more southerly location when compared to the above, typically you fly into Preveza and catch a taxi or bus from the airport.
Types Of Boats To Rent
Below is a list of potential charter or rental options to consider for boat rental in Greece:
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 for staff to tenders and various toys in a boat garage.
You could go for a catamaran 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 rent 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 a luxury yacht charter
If a blast around the bay on a comfortable, fast cruiser is your idea of fun you can rent a RIB. These range in size from 5 meters 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.
You can charter a Gulet in Greece on a fully-crewed cruise with just your family and friends together on a traditionally rigged sailing boat. This 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 rent 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 rent one while chartering another yacht, typically you don't require a license for this type of option and Captained options are also generally available.
Captained or Bareboat Rental
You don't need to know how to sail to rent a boat in Greece as you can go for a Captained boat rental where the Captain can get you wherever you want to go or if you're more confident and have the relevant licenses you can go for a bareboat rental. Captained charters are available on nearly all boats as an optional extra.
A Captained 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 Captained boat rental for your sailing holiday, the Captain will also know some of the best places to go to meet your needs. Want lots of quiet sandy beaches for a barbecue? How about the best Taverna in the area? The Captain 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.
Bareboat Rental Greece
Bareboat rental costs a little less and you are left to your own devices. For more experienced sailors this can be a chance to break free and sail wherever you wish. Thousands of families and friends do bareboat charter holidays as a sailing holiday every year and have a memorable time as they do so.
Do you need a license to rent a boat?
If you are on a bareboat rental in Greece you need to have certain sailing qualifications, the most common ones are listed below:
If you are from the UK you can charter a yacht with any qualifications including or above the RYA Day Captain level
International Certificate of Competence (ICC)
If you are from the EU you can use an International Certificate of Competence or other, recognized national sailing qualification to charter a yacht
ASA 104 Bareboat Sailing Qualification
If you are from the United States you can rent 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 rental, at least one of your adult crew should have some proven sailing experience too.
If you are on a Captained boat rental 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 the future.
Best Times To Rent A Boat 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 color the land. The sea retains the sun's warmth so October can be cooler outside but it will still comfortable to go swimming.
Sailing Weather In Greece
Where it comes to the 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 Rent 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 onboard 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 Captained yacht charter you should remember to tip the Captain on the boat for their work in helping you explore the country. You will be expected to supply the Captain 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 harbors. There are even remnants from the ancient Minoan civilization 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 centers 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.