Sailing Guide: Explore the Mediterranean with a Yacht Charter in Greece

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Welcome aboard to a thrilling nautical adventure through the enchanting waters of Greece, a land steeped in history, mythology, and natural beauty. With its rich tapestry of ancient civilizations and a captivating coastline dotted with thousands of islands, Greece beckons sailors from around the globe to embark on an unforgettable journey. In this comprehensive sailing guide, we invite you to set sail on the Mediterranean with a yacht charter in Greece, unlocking the secrets of the Aegean and Ionian Seas, and discovering hidden coves, picturesque anchorages, and vibrant harbor towns. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a first-time explorer, a yacht charter in Greece allows you to enjoy the idyllic climate, favorable sailing conditions, and mesmerizing landscapes. From the historical wonders of Athens to the sun-kissed beaches of the Greek Islands, let us be your compass as we chart a course through the crystal-clear waters of this seafarer’s paradise.

The image shows a couple of sailboats and catamarans anchoring in a bay in Paxos Island

History of Greece

Greece’s history is a fascinating journey through time, influencing civilizations and cultures for millennia. From the ancient Greek civilization, known as the cradle of Western civilization, to the Byzantine Empire and Ottoman rule, Greece’s historical legacy is deeply rooted in its architecture, art, and philosophy. Exploring the Greek Islands by sailboat allows you to connect with this rich history as you visit archaeological sites like the Acropolis in Athens, the ancient city of Delos in the Cyclades, and the Palace of Knossos in Crete. Greece’s history comes alive as you sail through its storied waters and uncover its enduring heritage.

Sailing Conditions in Greece

Sailing in Greece offers a blissful experience for seafarers of all backgrounds. The Greek waters are known for their gentle breezes and well-marked routes, making it an ideal destination for both seasoned sailors and novices. The Aegean and Ionian Seas provide excellent conditions for sailing, with predictable winds and clear blue waters. The Meltemi wind in the Aegean and the Maestral wind in the Ionian are famous among sailors, offering exciting yet manageable sailing adventures. With thousands of islands and a diverse coastline, Greece ensures an unforgettable journey for every sailing enthusiast.

Climate & Weather in Greece

Greece enjoys mostly warm weather. Blessed with typical Mediterranean weather, the summers are generally warmer with temperatures reaching up to 35 degrees. The winters are milder. There can even be snow in Athens at times.
This delightful weather makes it a year-round paradise for sailing. The amazing thing about Greece is that you can even sail well into November, making it an exception in the Mediterranean.
From June to August, the sun shines brightly, inviting sailors to explore hidden coves and beaches, as well as indulge in the country’s rich culture. Renting a boat in Greece during spring and autumn offers pleasant temperatures and fewer tourists, providing a more intimate experience with the Greek islands’ natural beauty and historic sites.

Anchorages & Mooring

Sailing in Greece allows you to explore a world of picturesque anchorage and mooring spots. You can find plenty of secluded bays, sheltered coves, and pristine beaches in Greece, offering idyllic places to drop anchor and soak in tranquil surroundings. From the Saronic Gulf to the Cyclades and the Ionian Islands, each region boasts its unique anchorages, such as the stunning Navagio Beach on Zakynthos or beautiful Little Venice in Mykonos. Whether you seek a peaceful time away from your everyday life or a fun harbor town, Greece’s anchorages are sure to offer you a wonderful experience.

The Marinas & Boat Facilities You Should Know on a Yacht Charter in Greece

The image shows a marina in Lefkada island. In the background you can see the picturesque old town and in the front the marina where a lot of sailboats are anchoring. This is the perfect example for a yacht charter in Greece

Greece boasts a well-established network of marinas and boat facilities along its coast and islands. You can find some more modern marinas with comprehensive amenities, but most marinas don’t come with the most convenient equipment and are more associated with traditional fishing harbors that offer a charming ambiance instead. There are plenty of options to choose from, depending on your mood and budget. Many marinas offer essential services such as fuel stations, provisioning facilities, and boat repairs, ensuring a convenient and enjoyable sailing experience. While the marinas in Greece might not be as well equipped as those in Croatia, they offer their very own charm and are a lot cheaper – perfect for those travelling on a budget. Who needs to take a shower at the harbour anyway when you can shower on your private boat rental in Greece? Whether you prefer a peaceful marina tucked away in a tranquil bay or a lively harbor in a bustling coastal town, Greece caters to all preferences, providing easy access to its captivating waters and islands.

The Best Boats to Explore Greece

Greece offers a diverse selection of boats to suit different preferences and sailing styles. Sailboats are popular for their traditional charm and the joy of navigating the Mediterranean winds. Catamarans provide stability and spaciousness, making them an ideal choice for families and groups. For those seeking speed and luxury, motor yachts offer comfort and elegance. Opting for a skippered yacht charter in Greece allows you to rent any boat you like without the need for sailing expertise. Whether you choose a sailboat, catamaran, or motor yacht, sailing in Greece promises an unforgettable adventure amidst the stunning Mediterranean landscapes.

Top Sailing Destinations

  • Sail in the Cyclades Islands: Known for their iconic white-washed buildings and vibrant nightlife, the Cyclades offer a unique blend of ancient history and cosmopolitan charm. Explore the charming streets of Mykonos or experience the tranquility of Milos’ stunning beaches.
  • The Ionian Islands: With their lush greenery and crystal-clear waters, the Ionian Islands exude natural beauty and serenity. Discover the stunning landscapes of Kefalonia or visit the historic town of Corfu, influenced by Venetian and British architecture.
  • The Sporades Islands: These lesser-known islands offer a peaceful escape with their unspoiled nature and secluded anchorages. Skiathos, known for its lush pine forests and golden sandy beaches, is a must-visit destination.
  • The Dodecanese Islands: The Dodecanese Islands are particularly known for their unique blend of a rich ancient heritage and scenic beauty. Rhodes, the largest island of the Dodecanese Islands, boasts a fascinating medieval old town, where you can wander through cobblestone streets, marvel at the impressive Palace of the Grand Master and other fascinating historical sites. The island’s charming coastal villages, golden beaches, and clear waters make it a sailor’s paradise almost all year round.

The Best Occasion to Sail in Greece

Greece, a sailing paradise, offers diverse experiences that cater to various occasions and preferences. Whether you’re planning a family holiday, a romantic couple’s getaway, a bachelorette party, or any other special celebration, Greece has something to offer. Here are some options for the best occasions to sail in Greece:

  • Family Holiday: Sailing in Greece is the perfect choice for a family holiday, providing a delightful blend of adventure and relaxation. The calm waters of the Aegean and Ionian Seas are ideal for families with children. Kids will love swimming, snorkeling, and exploring hidden coves and beaches accessible only by boat. Greece’s coastal towns and islands also offer plenty of cultural and historical sites to visit, creating valuable educational experiences for the whole family. With various activities to enjoy both on and off the boat, a family sailing holiday in Greece promises unforgettable moments and cherished family time.
  • Couple’s Getaway: Greece’s enchanting coastline, breathtaking sunsets, and secluded anchorages set the scene for an unforgettable couple’s sailing getaway. Embrace the freedom of exploring stunning islands and serene bays at your own pace, indulging in romantic dinners on deck under the twinkling stars. Whether you prefer unwinding on peaceful beaches or exploring vibrant coastal towns, Greece offers an intimate and awe-inspiring experience for couples seeking to reconnect and create lasting memories together.
  • Bachelorette Party: For a memorable and unique bachelorette party, embark on a sailing adventure in Greece’s azure waters, where the Mediterranean becomes the backdrop for an exhilarating celebration. Hop between lively coastal towns known for their buzzing nightlife and vibrant atmosphere. Enjoy beach parties, sip cocktails on deck, and relish water sports during the day, then dance the night away in trendy clubs and bars. Greece’s diverse islands and coastal havens provide plenty of options to tailor the celebration to the bride-to-be’s desires, ensuring a bachelorette party that will be cherished for a lifetime.
  • Group Celebration: Whether it’s a reunion with friends, a milestone birthday, or any other group celebration, sailing in Greece is an exceptional choice. Renting a larger yacht or catamaran allows you to accommodate the group comfortably while sharing experiences and exploring various destinations together. From beach hopping and water sports to discovering historic towns and savoring local delicacies, a group sailing holiday in Greece offers the perfect balance of relaxation and adventure, delighting everyone in the group.
  • Party Holiday: Party Holiday: Let loose and embrace the vibrant party atmosphere while sailing to Greece’s hottest party destinations. The island of Mykonos is still infamous for its wild and crazy parties and definitely a destination not to be missed. Although the island is a little pricier compared to other Greek Islands, you can find great deals and luxury basically all year round.

Discover Greece

Greece, with its stunning archipelagos and crystal-clear waters, beckons sailing enthusiasts to explore its diverse islands and coastal wonders. Among the must-visit regions are the Cyclades, the Sporades, the Dodecanese, and the Ionian Islands, each offering a unique and unforgettable sailing experience.

The picture shows Kleftiko on the island of Milos in the Cyclades. This stunning bay with white rock formations and turquoise water is stunning proof of the beautiful landscapes of Greece.

Sailing in the Cyclades

With their iconic blue-domed churches and whitewashed villages, the Cyclades exude the essence of Greece’s postcard-perfect charm. Sailing through this island group, you’ll encounter picturesque landscapes and breathtaking sunsets, especially on the renowned Santorini. For those seeking vibrant nightlife, Mykonos offers a lively atmosphere and bustling entertainment. However, the Cyclades also boast hidden gems like Paros and Naxos, where you can immerse yourself in traditional Greek culture and indulge in delectable local cuisine, away from the crowds.

Sailing in the Sporades

Venture to the Sporades, and you’ll be greeted by lush green landscapes and azure waters. These islands are a haven for those seeking a serene and peaceful sailing experience, as they are less touristy compared to other popular destinations. The highlights of the Sporades include charming villages and secluded beaches, perfect for moments of tranquility. Notably, Alonissos is home to the National Marine Park, where you can encounter endangered Mediterranean monk seals, adding a touch of nature’s marvel to your sailing adventure.

Sailing in the Dodecanese Islands

Situated close to the Turkish coast, the Dodecanese islands showcase a captivating blend of Greek and Turkish influences. Rhodes, the largest and most popular island in the group, is known for its UNESCO-listed medieval town and beautiful beaches. As you sail through the Dodecanese, you’ll encounter the colorful neoclassical houses of Simi and the lively atmosphere of Kos, where ancient ruins blend with modern amenities. Additionally, if you have the proper permit, you can sail from Rhodes to Turkey, exploring even more cultural richness.

Sailing in the Ionian Islands

Located on Greece’s western side, the Ionian Islands boast lush landscapes, olive groves, and turquoise waters. Corfu, with its Venetian architecture and vibrant Old Town, captivates visitors with its charm. Kefalonia and Zakynthos offer stunning beaches, and the famous Navagio Beach, accessible only by boat, adds to the allure of sailing in this island group. The Ionian Islands offer a perfect blend of natural beauty and historical sites, providing an enriching and captivating sailing experience.

Top attractions when Sailing in Greece

When sailing in Greece, you’ll have the opportunity to explore a number of fascinating historical sites across the Dodecanese, the Sporades, the Cyclades, and the Ionian Islands. These regions boast a rich history and offer sailors a chance to immerse themselves in ancient civilizations and remarkable landmarks.

  • Delos (Cyclades): The small, but uninhabited island of Delos is a fascinating UNESCO World Heritage site in the Cyclades. Back in the day it was a thriving religious and commercial center in ancient Greece and is even believed to be the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Nowadays it is an important archeological site allowing us to reconstruct what life was like in ancient times. Wander through the well-preserved ruins of temples, houses, and theaters that offer a glimpse into the island’s prosperous past.
  • Lindos Acropolis (Dodecanese): The Acropolis of Lindos, one of Rhodes‘ most fascinating attractions, is perched on a hilltop overlooking the sea, this ancient citadel dates back to the 4th century BC. Explore the remnants of the Temple of Athena Lindia, the Hellenistic stoa, and the Byzantine fortifications. The panoramic views from the top are simply breathtaking.
  • Ancient Kamiros (Dodecanese): On the northwest coast of Rhodes, the ancient city of Kamiros awaits exploration. This well-preserved archaeological site provides insights into the urban planning and daily life of the ancient Greeks. Stroll through the remains of houses, public buildings, and a temple, and marvel at the ancient plumbing system that showcased the advanced civilization of Kamiros.
  • Castle of Methoni (Ionian Islands): On the Peloponnese coast, near the Ionian Islands, lies the Castle of Methoni. This Venetian fortress is an impressive sight with its massive walls, towers, and arches. Explore the historical ruins, and feel transported back in time to the medieval era when the castle served as a strategic stronghold.
  • Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus (Saronic Gulf): While not directly located on the islands, the Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus, situated on the Peloponnese mainland near the Saronic Gulf, is worth mentioning. This well-preserved amphitheater is renowned for its exceptional acoustics and has been hosting performances since ancient times. Take in the grandeur of the theater and imagine the spectacular plays and performances that once graced its stage.
  • Venetian Castle of Bourtzi (Sporades): In Skiathos Town, the Venetian Castle of Bourtzi stands on a small islet connected to the town by a bridge. This fortress was built in the 13th century to protect the island from pirates and hostile invaders. Today, it serves as a prominent landmark and offers panoramic views of the surrounding area.
  • Castle of Pylos (Ionian Islands): On the southwestern coast of the Peloponnese, near the Ionian Islands, lies the Castle of Pylos, also known as Neokastro. This fortress dates back to the 16th century.

Do I Need a Boat Licence to Sail in Greece?

Operating a boat in Greece is not as easy as it might seem – especially in the Cyclades, which is an island group on a terrain that is only suitable for more experienced sailors. You do need to be in possession of a valid boat licence if you want to sail in Greece. The RYA, ASA and ICC are all recognised certifications in Greece. The German sailing licence is also recognised.

What to Pack for Your Sailing Adventure in Greece

  • Sunscreen: Protect your skin from Greece’s abundant sunshine.
  • Sunglasses and Hat: Shield your eyes from the bright Mediterranean glare.
  • Swimsuit: Embrace the inviting waters of the Aegean Sea.
  • Comfortable Clothing: Pack light, breathable fabrics for warm days and cooler evenings.
  • Rain Gear: While summers are generally dry, occasional showers are possible.
  • First-Aid Kit: Be prepared for minor injuries or ailments.
  • Seasickness Medication: If you’re susceptible to seasickness, bring the necessary remedies.
  • Insect Repellent: Keep pesky bugs away, especially on the islands.

Where to Arrive When Sailing in Greece

When sailing in Greece, there are several airports and ports that serve as convenient entry points to the country’s beautiful coastal regions and islands. Depending on your starting point and the specific region you want to explore, you can choose from a variety of options:

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