Our comprehensive sailing guide has everything you need to know about your next sailing holidays in Greece.
The Greek Islands offer a great variety of sailing options with regards to different sailing experience levels and itinerary preferences. There really is something for everyone!
Eager to learn more? Keep reading!
If you are familiar with the Greek islands and want to look at boat options for your next yacht charter, then skip to:
Let’s get started!
The golden sandy beaches, blue skies, turquoise waters, whitewashed houses and traditional Greek cuisine, will make you want to return again and again.
Greece is located in the East Mediterranean and is one of the top “island-hopping” sailing destinations worldwide.
With 6000 islands and a coastline of more than 13.500 km, you will be able to explore a new location each day of your sailing holiday.
Sail amongst others the Ionian Islands, the Saronic Gulf, the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and the Sporades.
Whether you are a beginner sailor or an experienced one, sailing with your family or a group of friends, there is a Greek destination for you.
Now, here are some quick facts to keep in mind:
Language: Greek – English widely spoken
Marina fees: Minimal – for town quays and bays
Embarkation day: Saturday
Charter duration: Usually 7 days, especially during high season
Best time to visit: May to October
Tipping: not obligatory but common to round off an amount.
A Saronic Gulf yacht charter combines wildlife, beautiful anchorages and historical sights.
This destination is ideal for beginner sailors (thanks to the short distances between the islands), while still offering opportunities for exhilarating sailing making it suitable for more confident charterers as well.
Here you will find lighter winds than the Cyclades (the strong Meltemi is not usual in the Saronic Gulf) yet still not as light as the Ionian Sea.
Just about an hour-long sail from Athens, the Saronic islands are easy to get to and perfect for a week-long getaway with family or friends.
Embark in Athens and sail amongst others, the islands of Hydra, Spetses, Poros, Aegina and Dokos, or add the Argolic Gulf to your itinerary on a two-week charter.
There are a few other locations that you could charter from, such as Marina Zeas, Agios Kosmas Marina, or even Lavrion main port which has easy access to both the Saronic Gulf and Cyclades islands alike.
The weather in the Saronic Gulf is generally mild, with winds not stronger than 4 Beaufort.
During summer, you will find mostly SE winds 3-5 Beaufort.
During spring and autumn, prevailing winds are a little weaker and usually come from the South.
To get there you will fly into Athens International Airport, which is Greece’s busiest airport and is the 27th-busiest airport in all of Europe!
With many international flights daily from EU and the US, you should have no problem getting to Athens.
From AIA, it’s just a short 30 kilometers to Kalamaki-Alimos Marina, where you will begin your sailing adventure. There are a number of transport methods available, such as buses -the X96 line which runs directly from the airport to the marina-, or taxes.
Yacht4Less can assist with organising and booking your airport transfer for a relaxing, stress-free arrival.
Transfer Time: 40 mins
One thing not to miss on a Saronic sailing yacht charter is a visit to the Acropolis - one of Greece's most famous ancient landmarks.
Make sure you change your clocks to Eastern european time; we do recommend having some cash in Euros with you, as there might be some places that don't accept credit cards.
Mooring fees are minimal and you can usually safely anchor at town harbors or free-swinging at bays.
The Cyclades islands (over 220 islands and islets) are located right in the heart of the Aegean Sea and form a circular series.
Some also divide them into two regions - the main Cyclades and the small Cyclades.
A boat rental in Cyclades is an ideal option for experienced sailors or those looking for a skippered charter or a fully crewed yacht charter.
Explore the islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Syros, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Ios, Koufonisia with the traditional white-washed houses, stunning sunsets and blooming bougainvilleas.
⚓ Day 1. Lavrion (check-in)
⚓ Day 2. Lavrion - Kea 14 NM
⚓ Day 3. Kea - Syros 32 NM
⚓ Day 4. Syros - Paros 23 NM
⚓ Day 5. Paros - Sifnos 30 NM
⚓ Day 6. Sifnos - Kythnos 31 NM
⚓ Day 7. Kythnos - Lavrion 25 NM
⚓ Day 1. Lavrion- Kea 17 NM
⚓ Day 2. Kea - Tinos 38 NM
⚓ Day 3. Tinos - Mykonos 11 NM
⚓ Day 4. Myconos - Rinia 7 NM
⚓ Day 5. Rinia - Paros 15 NM
⚓ Day 6. Paros - Skinousa 24 NM
⚓ Day 7. Skinousa - Amorgos 26 NM
⚓ Day 8. Amorgos - Thira 39 NM
⚓ Day 9. Thira - Ios 20 NM
⚓ Day 10. Ios - Sifnos 37 NM
⚓ Day 11. Sifnos - Serifos 37 NM
⚓ Day 12. Serifos - Kithnos 23 NM
⚓ Day 13. Kithnos - Lavrion 45 NM
We definitely recommend starting your sailing holiday from Lavrion (wider selection of yachts available there).
Lavrion is very close to the International Airport of Athens and has easy access to the Cyclades; the first island (Kea) is only about one and a half hours away.
You could also start your yacht charter from Paros island, right in the heart of the Cyclades (less availability than Lavrion and usually has higher boat rental prices).
This area is ideal for more advanced sailors, as the north prevailing wind "Meltemi" usually blows at 5-6 beaufort and sometimes even 7-8.
The Meltemi is stronger during July and August, so if you want slightly calmer seas, you should visit the Cyclades in spring or autumn.
As the Cyclades is Greece's most "challenging" destination with stronger winds and longer distances between the islands, we recommend opting for a 2-week charter when possible.
To get to Lavrion, you will need to fly into Athens international airport. If you want to fly directly to the islands, you can look for convenient flights to the airports of Paros and Mykonos.
On two week charters, we recommend taking advantage of the warm wind as it comes from the North, and go further South to explore the breathtaking "Small Cyclades" as well.
Mooring fees are minimal in Greece and due to limited space, you will mostly be free-swinging at idyllic bays or using the town harbours.
With light winds blowing, emerald seas for swimming and a history of thousands of years, the Land of Odysseus offers the ideal sailing ground for sailors with primary sailing experience and young children in the crew.
The Ionian Sea consists of 7 main islands "The Heptanese" and many more little islets in between.
This area is known for the small distances between the different possible anchorages, although the North Ionian has slightly longer passages and is also recommended for mile-building trips.
Explore the islands of Corfu (Kerkyra), Kefalonia, Zakynthos (Zante), Paxos, Antipaxos, Ithaca, Lefkas (Lefkada) as well as Sivota and Parga on the Greek mainland.
The Ionian Sea is divided into two parts - North and South.
To sail the North Ionian, you will need to start your sailing boat rental from Corfu (Gouvia marina) and fly in and out of the International Airport of Corfu.
Transfer time (Corfu): 15 mins
The South Ionian is served by the international airport of Preveza in Aktion.
Transfer time (Lefkas): 25 mins
It is also possible to combine the North and South Ionian itineraries on a 2-week yacht charter.
The weather in this area is usually very sunny and warm.
During spring, summer, and autumn, an NW wind of up to 3 Beaufort starts blowing almost every afternoon (2-3pm) and dies down after sunset.
North of Corfu you shouldn't miss the tiny, almost untouched Diapontia Islands of Manthraki, Othonoi, and Ereikoussa.
For mooring, you will find many anchorages, town harbours and marinas dotted around the coastline.
The Sporades consist of 24 islands in total, 4 of which are completely uninhabited. This area is ideal for nature lovers, who want to avoid the crowds and enjoy unspoilt sailing anchorages.
The Sporades Islands i.e. Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonnisos, but also the gulf of Volos, are located in the east coast of the mainland of Greece.
⚓ Day 1. Skiathos (check-in)
⚓ Day 2. Skiathos - Limnonari 10NM – Skantzura 15NM
⚓ Day 3. Sail Around Alonissos - Alonissos (Patitiri) 17 NM
⚓ Day 4. Alonissos (Milia) 3NM – Kyra Panagia 12NM
⚓ Day 5. Psathoura 12NM – Milia Kokkinokastro 12NM – Planitis 11NM
⚓ Day 6. Alonissos (Mourtia) 21NM – Skopelos 6NM
⚓ Day 7. Tsougria 17NM -Skiathos 4NM
⚓ Day 1. Skiathos - Tsougria 26 NM
⚓ Day 2. Tsougria - Orei 25 NM
⚓ Day 3. Orei - Trikeri 15 NM
⚓ Day 4. Trikeri - Koukounaries 12 NM
⚓ Day 5. Koukounaries - Panormos 15 NM
⚓ Day 6. Panormos - Agnondas 10 NM
⚓ Day 7. Agnondas - Steni Vala 17 NM
⚓ Day 8. Steli Vala - Planitis 18 NM
⚓ Day 9. Planitis - Linaria 35 NM
⚓ Day 10. Rest day
⚓ Day 11. Linaria - Skantzoura 22 NM
⚓ Day 12. Skantzoura - Glossa 23 NM
⚓ Day 13. Glossa - Skiathos 10 NM
⚓ Day 1. Volos - Trikeri 14 NM
⚓ Day 2. Trikeri - Skopelos (Panormos) 28 NM
⚓ Day 3. Skopelos (Panormos) - Alonisos (Steni Vala) 19 NM
⚓ Day 4. Alonisos (Steni Vala) - Skopelos town 16 NM
⚓ Day 5. Skopelos - Skiathos 17 NM
⚓ Day 6. Skiathos- Agia Kyriaki 24 NM
⚓ Day 7. Agia Kyriaki - Volos 16 NM
⚓ Day 1. Volos - Trikeri 14 NM
⚓ Day 2. Trikeri- Skiathos 26 NM
⚓ Day 3. Skiathos - Tsougria 26 NM
⚓ Day 4. Tsougria - Orei 25 NM
⚓ Day 5. Orei - Koukounaries23 NM
⚓ Day 6. Koukounaries - Skopelos 22 NM
⚓ Day 7. Skopelos - Panormos 14 NM
⚓ Day 8. Panormos - Agnondas 10 NM
⚓ Day 9. Agnondas - Steni Vala 17 NM
⚓ Day 10. Steli Vala - Skiathos 24 NM
⚓ Day 11. Rest Day
⚓ Day 12. Skiathos- Agia Kyriaki 22 NM
⚓ Day 13. Agia Kyriaki - Volos 17 NM
There are two main locations from where you can rent a boat in the Sporades - Skiathos and Volos ports.
For a Skiathos boat rental, you will need to fly in and out of the International Airport of Skiathos.
For a Volos boat rental? Easy peasy! It is served by its own airport (direct flights from the UK).
Generally, in the open Aegean Sea, winds are stronger in July and August and lighter during spring and autumn.
We recommend the Sporades to intermediate sailors, who feel confident with moderate North winds of 3-5 Beaufort. Rarely, these winds can reach the "Meltemi" level of 6-7 Beaufort.
Almost all of the Sporades area is considered a National Park, and visitors are advised to explore while making sure to leave the park and its "residents" unharmed and perfectly preserved.
The Sporades are the home of the rare Mediterranean Monk Seal.
If you love snorkeling or scuba-diving, don’t miss out on the area’s shipwrecks which have turned into underwater museums.
The name 'Dodecanese' stands for the number twelve in the Greek language (dodeca).
There is a lot of history one can find while exploring the Dodecanese.
Kos was the birthplace of Hippocrates' medical school, and in Rhodes, you can find the two bronze deer where the Great Colossus stood.
Explore Rhodes (the famous island of Knights) and Kos which are the two main yacht charter bases in the Dodecanese islands.
A typical sailing itinerary also includes unspoiled sailing destinations, such as Tilos, Nysiros - with the famous non-active volcano -, and Symi.
Furthermore, with the Turkish borders being just a couple of nautical miles away, you can make the most of both countries on a longer duration charter.
You can start from Kos island (Kos Marina) or Rhodes island (Mandraki Marina) - both are well served by their own international airports. Since these two islands are close to each other, you can combine a Kos and Rhodes itinerary, especially on a longer duration charter i.e. 2 weeks.
During summer and autumn, the prevailing wind is the "Meltemi", which can reach up to 6 Beaufort on a daily basis, and rarely 7 or 8.
The Dodecanese is an ideal sailing destination for intermediate and advanced charterers who want to enjoy a "true sailing experience".
You should be careful when sailing off the leeward side of the islands, as the funneling phenomenon creates gusts much stronger than those in the open sea.
The old town of Rhodes and Lindos should definitely be at the top of your list, while Casa Romana in Kos is one of the many historical sights you can visit in the Dodecanese islands.
It depends. There are many factors that can shape a yacht charter price. The most important ones are the type of boat you will choose and whether you require a professional crew on board (e.g. skipper/hostess/cook). More specifically:
Sailboats (monohulls or catamarans) generally have lower overall rental prices as well as fuel costs as they do not only rely on their engines (most charterers sail as much as the wind allows instead of motoring) to get from A to B.
Check our real-time boat rental prices below:
- Sailboat charter Greece starts from £117 per day
- Catamaran charter Greece starts from £136 per day
Motorboats, on the other hand, can only operate with an engine (more risky in case of mechanical failure & also burning 700-800 EUR more per week than a sailing monohull or catamaran would do)
*disclaimer: Be aware that prices may change without notice