Mariona Riera is our Greece Charter Manager, and has spent the past 2 years learning as much as possible about the yachts, crews and charter destinations of the storied Greek Isles.Â She provides another in our series of “Expert Commentary” on the Greek Isles.
Q – Everyone knows that the Greek Islands are one of the world’s greatest charter areas – can you provide your thoughts about the attractions of Greece?
Greece is one of the best sailing destinations in the world for many reasons. First, there are more than 15.000 km of coastline, and several excellent island groups in two seas -Â the Cyclades, Â Sporades, Saronic and Dodecanese Islands in the Aegean, the Ionian Islands in the Ionian Sea, facing Italy and letâ€™s not forget the gorgeous island of Crete.
It is this variety that makes Greece a unique place, and each destination provides a completely different experience.
The Cyclades Islands are the most chartered group of islands and are especially idyllic destination during the months of May, June, early July and late September. The famous destinations of Mykonos and Santorini are in the Cyclades. Due to the Meltemi, a characteristic strong, dry north wind from the Aegean sea, Â it is better to avoid them in late July and August, as it is the time when the winds are usually stronger.
Q – You’re a big believer in the Ionian Islands, can you tell us more?
The Ionian Islands are characterised by calm, crystal clear waters, beautiful sandy beaches, charming villages and stunning scenic countryside. Each Ionian island has a distinct character and between them they offer everything you could wish for from a sailing holiday. This group of islands, comprised of Corfu, Paxos, Lefkas, Ithaka, Cephallonia, Zakynthos, and Kythira, are one of the most spectacular sailing spots in the world. Indeed, many of their beaches are only reachable by boat.
They are a great destination for late July and August because the winds are not as strong as in the Cyclades.
The main bases for bareboat charters are Corfu and Lefkas, there is a large fleet of sailing yachts and catamarans based in the Ionian during the months of June, July and August, due to the increasing demand and popularity of this area.
Q – Tell us a bit about bareboat chartering in Greece
Greece has hundreds if not thousandsÂ of bareboat charter yachts of all types and sizes – it is a very developed charter areaÂ bareboatÂ charters and we can normally find you exactly the boat you want if you give us enough time! We always recommend booking early, because not only will you have great selection, but you may also qualify for early-bird discounts.
Bareboat charter prices usually include VAT (4.5%) in the price, but might exclude end cleaning and the outboard engine. Moorings in Greece are not included, but in most places are for free, but there is also no way to book a berth in advance, it works on â€œfirst come, first servedâ€ basis. There might be some small charges in some marinas (10-15 euro), but it is unusual, this does not apply to private marinas, but in any case the most likely scenario is that you will be anchoring in a dreamy location and just going to the marinas to get supplies and visit the beautiful Greek towns.
Provisioning is easy in the Greek Islands, there are plenty of supermarkets and small shops, but bear in mind that supermarkets close on Sundays, you may find some small shops open for some hours in the morning, and surely a bakery and kiosks (â€œperipterosâ€) where you can find anything from water, to yogurt, chips, cookies, and a variety of supplies to get you by till Monday.
In high season, the rule for bareboats is embarkation/disembarkation Saturday, this is almost unbreakable, and very few suppliers will accept other dates due to the high demand.
Q – How about Crewed Charters?
When it comes to crewed charters, every year the yachts seem to get bigger, more luxurious, and more comfortable.Â I’ve met the crew on most of the yachts, and therefore feel very comfortable recommending the boats that I do – I match them to your needs and they will truly take care of you with professionalism and go the extra mile! We have a great selection of crewed catamarans, motor yachts, sailboats, gulets, and of course amazing Super Yachts.
The majority of our crewed charter yachts are based in Athens, therefore relocation fees apply when requested in the Ionian, also you have to take into consideration the Corinth Canal fees, which vary depending on the size of the yacht, number of passengers and other criteria.
Q – What other recommendations do you have for charterers?
Most of our charterers in Greece are extremely happy with the charter, as long as the clients listen to the captain and follow his advice when it comes to the weather conditions and itineraries. This is a region where winds can be very strong, so clients need to very flexible and able to change their mind as to their initial destination.
Having said that, all destinations within Greece are breathtaking, so no matter when you go we’re sure you’ll be extremely happy with your charter !Â Be sure to see our Greece Yacht Charter Guide.