Is Sailing in Greece your next travel goal? Read the Ultimate Guide to Organise your Sailing Holidays in Greece & get all the insights from Santorini Experts.
Sailing in Greece is by far the ultimate way to explore the islands or the coast of the Greek mainland and get the best out of your summer holidays in the country. If you have a wanderlust for the Mediterranean beauties and know your way around a boat (or are willing to hire a skipper), then you can start planning your sailing holidays in Greece right here. Get up to speed with a guide created by Santorini Experts and make all the right choices before living it up.
The Greeks have been soaring the Mediterranean since the Minoan era and Greek mythology and history have been heavily influenced and shaped by the sea culture. The most famous sailing trips in ancient Greece are those of Jason, with the expedition of Argo, and Odysseus, who sailed for 10 whole years trying to get home to Ithaka.
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The Aegean sea is full of majestic islands and islets with popular harbors and petite unexplored coves brimming with legendary stories of ancient times next to sounds of the everyday hassle of modern life. A sailing boat in Greece can take you to places where other transportation means, like cars, can't. From well-known fun hubs to secluded beaches, you can genuinely uncover almost any place worth visiting, following the heroic trails of ancient seafarers.
Undoubtedly the best season to visit Greece would be from spring to fall. And that's approximately where the sailing season lies. You can find sailing boats to rent in Greece from April all the way to October. However, keep in mind that the high sailing season is mid-July to mid-September, an essential factor to take into consideration regarding prices and availability. During that time, all stores, restaurants, and archaeological sites are open, and most islands and coastal towns have their share of crowds of holidaymakers and are jam-packed with activities and party spots. Last but not least, for most people, the water temperature is suitable for swimming and diving from May to September, making those months ideal if you're dreaming of dipping at any given chance.
The Aegean sea is dominated by the "Meltemi" winds from the north, especially during July and August. In the Beaufort wind scale, they can reach up to 7-8 Beaufort and can last for a few days, so it is particularly important to plan your sailing holidays in Greece. The Meltemi blows all day up until the evening, usually being strongest in the early afternoon. Dealing with the Meltemi winds if you're visiting a single Ionian island is one thing, but when it comes to sailing around the Greek islands of the Aegean, there are a few more things to look out for. Check the weather conditions frequently and take every necessary precaution. And of course, never leave the dock without an extra jacket!
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There is a wide range of trips and itineraries for dreamy sailing vacations in Greece, yet since weather conditions can be quite fluid, always consider mixing and matching according to the forecast and your personal needs and wants. Plus, a smooth sailing experience is the goal, so the distance between two destinations is always calculated and planned accordingly. Liaise with your charter company to craft the best possible itinerary that speaks to you.
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Here are four suggested itineraries for sailing trips in Greece, which are all-time favorites. You can choose to stay at each destination for as many hours you like, perhaps even days. And this exactly is where the beauty of chartering a boat lies - it is you who gets to decide!
Discover Folegandros, Sikinos, Ios & Astypalaia
Favorite beaches: Agkali, Karavostasis, Ano Meria & Agios Georgios
Favorite beaches: Agios Georgios, Dialiskari, Alopronoia & Malta
Favorite beaches: Magganari, Agia Theodoti, Mylopotas & Kalamos
Favorite beaches: Kaminakia, Livadi, Kounoupi & Koutsomiti
Discover Kea, Syros, Serifos & Kythnos
Favorite beaches: Koundouros, Otzias, Korissia & Pisses
Favorite beaches: Galissas, Kini, Megas Gialos, Azolimnos & Vari
Favorite beaches: Livadi, Ganema, Sikamia & Megalo Livadi
Favorite beaches: Kalo Livadi, Loutra, Merihas & Kanala
Discover Skiathos, Alonnisos, Kyra Panayia or Peristera, Skopelos & Trikeri
Favorite beaches: Koukounaries, Troulos, Kolios & Lalaria
Favorite beaches: Patitiri, Votsi, Steni Vala & Agios Dimitrios
Favorite beaches: Stafylos, Agnontas, Neo Klima & Kastani
Favorite beaches: Afetka, Agia Sofia & Prasini Ammos
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Discover Poros, Dokos, Spetses, Nafplio, Porto Cheli, Hydra & Agistri
Favorite beaches: Megalo Neorio, Monastiri, Love Bay & Panagitsa
Favorite beaches: Kouverta & Bisti
Favourite beaches: Agia Marina, Ligoneri & Kouzounos
Favorite beaches: Arvanitias, Karathonas & Neraki
Favorite Beaches: Nikki beach, Costa, Hinitsa & Korakia
Favorite beaches: Vlichos, Mandraki & Klimaki
Favorite beaches: Megalochori, Skala & Limenaria
One of the most important decisions to make before setting out on a sailing trip in Greece is the type of boat that accommodates your needs. The two types of sailing boats that are most common to rent in Greece are sailing catamarans and sailing yachts.
Yachts (or monohulls) use their sails or an engine to move, or sometimes even both. Due to its size, it is easier to find a berth at the marina or a port for a yacht - it is significantly narrower than the catamaran. Speed is not a yacht's strong suit; however, the ride tends to flow more smoothly and comfortably.
Sailing catamarans (or multihulls) have two engines that can be used as well as sails. This can make navigation a whole lot easier since they are better at maneuvering. Usually, they are relatively wider and that's why larger groups of people, like families, tend to go with this choice for their sailing trips in Greece. Larger areas can entertain more guests.
All in all, the choice comes down to personal preferences. Factors like safety and stability are - give or take - the same, according to most people. The speed depends solely on the boat's length; thus, the larger the boat, the faster you can sail. However, bear in mind that anchorage is slightly more difficult for sailing catamarans and, generally speaking, more experienced sailors usually go with this choice.
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Yachts have the additional advantage of being environmentally friendly since the motive force is the wind. The truth is that sailing without the sound of an engine can make for a lighthearted cruise and elevate your experience. If you are looking for a genuine sailing in Greece endeavor with an endless sensation of a wind-beaten journey, then a sailing yacht is definitely suggested.
Choosing between a bareboat or a crewed charter is key before your sailing holidays in Greece. If you are a licensed sailor (ideally with experience), then a bareboat charter for sailing in Greece allows you to be more spontaneous during your holidays. At least two persons from the group must have a recognized skipper's license, but make sure you know your whereabouts if you plan on sailing without a skipper, especially if you're visiting a region for the first time.
On the other hand, a crewed charter can include a skipper or both a skipper and a hostess. This isn't only for inexperienced travelers, but for those of you who are after a more laid back sailing vacation in Greece. Putting your feet up and letting someone else steer the boat and take care of you is a whole other kind of voyage. Apart from steering, your skipper is also there to help translate things at your destinations, and act as a tour guide - they always know where the tasty food and the good coffee are served. Sit back, relax and enjoy your holidays in Greece with a skipper.
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Sailing in Greece is a breeze, as shorts and a T-shirt are all you'll need, apart from your swimsuit, of course. Sunglasses are a basic necessity and some people find windproof jackets essential, depending on the season. You can include an outfit for dining but always keep it casual.
Just like hotels, sailboat prices vary depending on the season - the high season would be significantly more expensive than the low season. And of course, a bareboat is undoubtedly cheaper than a crewed charter. In addition to that, boats come in many shapes and sizes and can include various services, and factors like the number of cabins they have and the year they were built in also play a role. High season prices can range accordingly:
Bareboat sailing yacht: 2500 - 7000 euro per week
Crewed sailing yacht: 6000 - 10000 euro per week
Bareboat sailing catamaran: 4500 - 10000 euro per week
Crewed sailing catamaran: 12000 - 60000 per week
Hopping from one Greek island to another by ferry or by sailing boat is by far a favorite choice. Boats give you the flexibility of visiting your preferred destinations without sticking to a strict schedule and can reach shores that are sometimes only accessible by sea, or much faster and easier to do so.