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The Greek islands make up 20% of the total area of Greece, an ideal yachting area, creating a coastline of more than 15000 kilometres.
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.
- Yacht charter guide: in 8 steps towards a successful sailing holiday.
- Sailing in Greece : Greek toponyms and nautical chart terms plus various tips to find the ideal yacht charter bases and safely navigate the Greek islands.
- Meltemi page: A local phenomenon called the Meltemi is a dry katabatic wind, which occasionally blows from the north between May and September, and although rare: forecasting showers and raindrops.
- Forecast page: Information about how to obtain (sailing) weather forecasts as well as today's weather (synoptic charts, water temperatures, maps etc etc).
- Greek climate page: Temperatures increase from west to east, while precipitation increases from east to west.
Specific climate data and maps like: sun hours, water temperatures, humidity and wind directions and speeds.
- Wind roses page: Statistics on wind directions, Beaufort wind forces and percent occurances of calms in the Ionian and Aegean Seas.
- Seawater surface temperatures page: surface temperatures for swimming and snorkelling.
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
Note, that the charts and the descriptions should not be used for navigational purposes, please also see the disclaimer.
|Argolida & Saronic Gulf
Alimos - Athens
Santorini / Thira
Patmos, Arki, Lipso
Kos, Nisyros, Tilos
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!
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.
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
A view from the East out of the space shuttle (not a real satellite, though).
This picture shows a full
N-S cross-section of the Mediterranean Sea. Left is the African continent and the Libian peninsula.
In the middle is Crete and at the right most of the Cycladic islands can be seen. The horseshoe shape is the old volcano of Thira or Santorini.
The tail piece of the shuttle is seen right over the island Kea with just below it the island Kithnos. Across the Saronic gulf, Nisos Aegina can be seen.
- A view from the South-West of the
Southern cyclades and all the dodecanese islands.
The larger islands left of the volcano are Paros and Naxos. At the top the proximity of Turkey is clearly visible; the dodecanese islands are nevertheless mostly Greek. Right/above is Rhodes.
- Again, the
dodecanese islands, but now viewed from Turkey (from North-Earth). At the left Rhodes can be seen.
- This view covers the itinerary of one of our
sailing vacations when we sailed from Paros to Rhodes in a fortnight.
At the top right Tinos and Andros can be seen (seemingly joined together). More to the left Kea, Kythnos, Siros and so on...
- A view from the
Peleponnese peninsula toward Istanbul which can be seen at the top middle.
- I saved
the best image for last. It features the entire east coast of Greece, centered on the Peleponnese peninsula. The Ionian islands are on the left.
- The Tower of the winds on the Roman Agora in Athens beneath the Athens' Acropolis.
The Greek history
comprises different archaeological eras as well as interesting topics and this site deals with the everyday live of the old Greeks, their economics and religions.
On many islands archaeological hot-spots
can be found like temples and thermae. Just click on the charts.
The Perseus Project
also uses charts to show where art and culture can be found. Furthermore, the history atlas and a compilation of famous Greek writings (with English translations :-) are a must see. An interactive map of the Old World depicts archaeological sites which can easily be reached by sailing the islands of the cyclades and dodecanese.
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.
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.
Indispensable books about (sailing in) Turkey and Greece.