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Greece

Sailing Greece
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Sailing weather

The Greek islands make up 20% of the total area of Greece, an ideal yachting area, creating a coastline of more than 15000 kilometres. Sailing holidays and yacht charters in Greece The climate along this coastline is Mediterranean in character: mild moist winters and dry hot summers.

The long charter season starts as early as March when air temperatures rise above the seawater temperatures, which has a stabilizing effect. Around mid-May the Azores High gradually becomes more dominant and the Euro-Asian High loses its influence, resulting in very stable weather.
July and August peak in high temperatures and sun hours - the high season for chartering! In Oct/Nov the Azores High becomes less dominant and frontal systems - followed by cool air masses - start entering the East Mediterranean from the north. The contact with the relative warmer seawater will subsequently lead to an unstable atmosphere and showers.

If you wish to charter a yacht and would like independent advice on reliable yacht charter agents in Greece, please go to my yacht charter page.

Otherwise, select a region below or use my anchor logo
to navigate through Greece.

Sailing regions of Greece

Regions                                   Islands & Areas
Ionian Corfu, Paxos
Lefkas
Kefalonia, Ithaka
Zakynthos

Argolida & Saronic Gulf Argolida
Spetses
Hydra gulf
Poros
Aegina
Saronic gulf,
Athens

Alimos - Athens
Cyclades Kea
Andros, Tinos
Kythnos
Syros
Mykonos, Delos
Sifnos
Serifos
Paros, Antiparos
Naxos
Amorgos
Milos, Kimolos
Folegandros, Sikinos
Ios
Santorini / Thira
Sporades &
Dodecanese
Chios
Samos
Patmos, Arki, Lipso
Leros, Kalymnos
Kos, Nisyros, Tilos
Astypalea
Symi
Rhodes
Northern Sporades Skiathos
Skopelos
Alonissos
Pelagos
Skyros

Thasos
Crete  
Note, that the charts and the descriptions should not be used for navigational purposes, please also see the disclaimer.

The best bases for yacht charters are Athens, Lavrion, Syros, Kos, Paros, Samos, Corfu, Lefkas. Yet, also look at Rhodes, Skiathos, Mykonos etc.

Moreover, see my guide to yacht charters in Greece and Turkey!  

Further reading

Suggested itineraries in the Argolic and Saronic Gulfs.
Routes and itineraries in the Ionian Sea.
The whales and dolphins of Greece.
The logbook Athens to Milos via Santorini - 1, 2, 3, 4.
Logbooks Greece: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 and 1, 2, 3.
The ancient Diolkos and the Corinth Canal.
Top 10 of Greek islands.

This page is also available in  Dutch,   Spanish,   German,   Turkish,   Polish  and in Italian. Links

 

Bareboat, flotilla or crewed charters

There are several ways to charter a yacht in Greece and explore the Greek coasts and islands. First of all, there is self-sail, bare boating or bareboat chartering, which means that you will have to skipper the yacht yourself and no hired skipper, cook or hostess will be onboard. Note that you require at least two competent crew (in total) before a company can rent you a bareboat. Besides this little obstacle it is of course the most elegant way (no privacy invasions from strangers) to explore the Greek waters.

When in doubt of your capabilities or just a little rusty, a flotilla might be a nice compromise. This way you sail along with other boats, yet you are still the captain of your own boat but can turn to an “admiral” for advice if you want to. Though, you have to go where the rest goes. Most flotillas take place in the Saronic, the Ionian, and to a lesser extend the Argolida.

A little niche are the assisted bareboat charters, which are a blend between the standard bareboats and flotillas.

You get more freedom of course - though with a stranger on board - with a crewed charter or the comfortable gulet charters. These fine yacht charters vary from just one skipper/instructor onboard to additional cooks, hostesses etc. On the larger yachts you can also opt for a cabin charter, effectively like a cruise, in which you rent just your own cabin.

 

Satellite pictures of Greece


 

Ancient Greece

Sailing cruises Santorini

One way charters

The most effective way to explore the Greek Islands is to choose a one way charter: by sailing from one charter base to another you will be able to see much more. Also, a one way cruise downwind gives you a longer range and is usually a lot more comfortable than a windward beat.
Yet, when dealing with a dubious charter company, you might have to accept an inferior yacht when starting from a smaller base. Two other good reasons to start your holiday in Athens are the logistics involved and - more importantly - you and the owner of the charter company will be able to meet each other.

Best to sail with the reliable companies of course, but many of these are not very keen on their yachts ending up downwind of Athens or other larger bases. Therefore, a one way charter comes with an additional fee, but it is definitely worth your money.

During the sailing season the winds blow from the north-west or the north-east in most areas: Corfu to Lefkas, Athens to Syros, Athens to Paros, Kos to Rhodes, etc. are some examples of one-way itineraries.

Finally, Lavrion port (on the mainland at the south-east tip of Attica) is often overlooked as a perfect start into the Cyclades.
Again, it is always better to start at a major base like Athens and perhaps Lavrion, since the owners of the charter company would very much like to meet you and help you with the additional requests you might have.

 

Important reading

The requirements to charter bareboats.
Selecting your charter yacht.
Catamarans vs monohulls.
How to prevent prevent seasickness.
The Greek sailing areas.
Itineraries in the Ionian.
Itineraries in the Argolis and Saronic.
Itineraries in the Dodecanese.
Itineraries in the Cyclades.
Oneway itineraries in the Aegean Sea.

Further reading:
Indispensable books about (sailing in) Turkey and Greece.

 
Yacht charters logbooks

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2 February 2014
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