Sailing in Greece is a wonderful experience. How could you really describe her by using just words and photos? It’s not only her 13.000 miles of coastal line or the 2000 islands; it’s the combination of sun, wind and sea that makes Greece the destination you definitely need to explore.
It is the perfect sailing location for yachtsmen where time is the only obstacle while you explore. Thousands of miles to cover, thousands of places to visit. Time is just never enough!
Greece is divided into sailing areas where each one has some characteristics you could pay attention to. Main ones are:
Saronic Islands: is the recommended sailing area for those taking their first sailing holiday in Greece or their first bareboat charter after sailing school. The new Athens international airport provides easy access to the charter bases of Alimos (Kalamaki) marina and Lavrion port in Athens. The area has calm waters, requires a little to some sailing competence / experience, offers all kinds of amenities , sightseeing and a good choice between secluded bays and quite coves to adventure, fun, night life and activities corresponding to the style of «organized tourism». Saronic islands are considered to be a safe choice for someone who wants to plan his vacations early since the weather can be predicted as calm most of the time, and he will definetely get a picture of the Greek islands.
Cyclades: Maybe the most popular destination in the world. Cyclades are to offer abundant beauty and adventurous sailing holidays. Apart from Mykonos and Santorini islands (that everyone knows), there are many other Greek islands that belong to the same group. The charter bases that «serve» the Cyclades are Alimos (Kalamaki) marina and Lavrion port in Athens. The area is renowned for its clear water, sandy beaches and strong winds. Cyclades islands require moderate to advanced sailing competence and skills, rather good experience and offers all kinds of facilities and styles. Sunshine, dryness, rocky isles, white traditional houses and endless number of approaches / beaches are the rule. There are a lot of untouched and unspoiled islands that stand off the beaten track, where technical support for the yacht may fall short. In many islands, in the morning you can relax in a peaceful bay and the same night you can roister in a pub or music club.
Sporades Islands: Placed in the Northwest side of the Aegean Sea is the sailing area that offers much beauty and an incredible number of wonderful beaches within a limited island extend. The Sporades (their actual name is Northern Sporades) is not the ideal place to check archaeological sites but it is among the very few islands where yachts anchor in a bay and the charterers in the boat’s cockpit enjoy the natural shade of the pine trees running down to the water. The charter base that «serves» the Sporades is in the marina of Skiathos island. In general the Sporades are a group of islands that provide quite and calm vacation with light and steady wind surrounded by a lot of green nature on the side. Very close you will fnd the island were the film ‘MAMMA MIA’ was produced as well a complex of smaller islands with the Green color of the nature to rule and cover most of the land.
Dodecanese: Their bigger part (Kos and Rhodos islands excepted) bare of vegetation although not to such extend as the Cyclades. The Dodecanese islands located at the Southeastern end of Greece are the warmest Greek sailing destination — good to visit even in early April or late October and November. The charter bases are set in the nice new marina of Kos island and in the old harbor of Mandraki in Rhodos. The prevailing winds are blowing from NW and they are less strong than in the open Aegean Sea.
In spring and September winds are «traditionally» calmer from Southeast. The «character» of the islands is influenced partly from the Venetians and a lot by the Knights of St John and the middle Ages, though visually and culturally the Dodecanese remains purely Greek.
Ionian Islands: With a mild climate, have more vegetation, more rain, more flat seas and less strong winds than any other regions in Greece. It is the perfect ground to sail with children safely since less experienced crews will carry out things well. Charter bases in the Ionian are located in Gouvia marina in Corfu island and new Lefkas marina in Lefkas island — both of them private and modern marinas with good facilities and a bit expensive dock fee. The area is the favorite one not only for charter yachts but for private boats too, and sailing charters for August should be booked quite in advance before the Italians, French, and Greeks take hold of all the available boats.
We have tried to use the most representative pictures from each area so you know what is the style to expect. Each of these areas has a seperate beauty and a unique climate. Remember that as discussed earlier the second element you need to pay attention to is the weather that you need to be on your side during your vacation.