Greece Yacht Charter and Sailing Holiday Guide
Planning your Greece Yacht Charter - Top Destinations and Charter Yachts in the Greek Islands
Greece has always had a deeply rooted affiliation to sailing as in ancient times Greek people were bold and courageous mariners – this is evident in Homer’s Illiad and the Odyssey which both heavily allude to Greece’s dynamic oceans and sea life. The steady and gentle winds around the idyllic islands will allow you to peacefully cruise through the crystal clear waters towards a fascinating culture and history during your luxury Greek yacht charter. Having sailed the Greek waters for years, our experienced team of brokers are experts on what makes an ideal charter in Greece and are here to help you plan your yachting vacation in the sun.
The very best yachts for charter in Greece are permanently based in Athens,which has world-class marinas with all the amenities you could need. The best way to get to Athens to start your charter is to fly in to Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos. There are direct flights from a range of European cities throughout the year, making it extremely accessible to all.
Flying from America, there are direct flights from New York JFK and Philadelphia in the summer season, and from other American cities you will either change at one of these airports, or take a connecting flight from a European city, which will depend on your airline of choice. If you are travelling from Canada, there are a number of direct flights from the likes of Toronto and Montréal, or, as with flights from the USA, you will have to change at a European airport. From Athens International, you can then easily take a taxi to the port to start your yacht charter experience!
Hiring a luxury motor yacht in Greece provides guests with endless possibilities to enjoy the country's vibrant and dynamic culture. On one of our crewed motor yachts you can cover larger distances between the islands much more quickly than a sailing yacht. This increased capacity for island hopping gives you the opportunity to discover more history, culture, great food, quaint ports and friendly people, making it an unforgettable Greek yacht charter experience.
The Greek Islands offer endless possibilities for the charterer to discover secluded anchorages, magical bays and timeless coastal towns. The six thousand islands and more than 16,000km of coastline scattered around both the Aegean and Ionian Seas make the Greek archipelago one of the most sought after sailing destinations in the world and the perfect destination to charter one of our crewed sailing yachts. Each island has its own character and attractions offering the charterer the opportunity to explore Greece’s delightful history, cuisine, secluded ports and its timeless culture.
Chartering a luxury crewed catamaran in Greece will provide you will ultimate comfort and stability during your vacation on the sea - these boats include expansive deck spaces for sunbathing, alfresco dining and diving straight into the crystal waters that surround you. The beauty of the catamarans is their ability to get incredibly close to shore - something you can take full advantage of when exploring Greece's tranquil islands, bays and inlets.
Chartering catamarans and sailing yachts in Greece can be either crewed or bareboat, so you can choose what type of holiday you want! With so many islands to be explored, chartering a bareboat sailing yacht or catamaran in Greece will tempt you to come back year after year, returning to explore a different island group each time. Due to the seasonal wind patterns, it is a very good idea to discuss your itinerary with one of our charter experts, so that you sail somewhere perfect at the perfect time of year!
The Cyclades Islands Yacht Charter
The most famous of the Greek Island groups, the Cyclades are composed of a number of islands of which only 24 are inhabited. It is a magnet for sailors all over the world thanks to its gorgeous sandy beaches, traditional blue and white architecture and warm and hospitable people. The most well known amongst them are Delos, Mykonos, Naxoz, Paros, Santorini and Sifnos.
Wind and Sailing conditions: The ideal time to charter a yacht in the Cyclades Islands is June through mid July. By the end of July and August however, the ‘Meltemi’ wind that blows from the north, northwest can reach Force 5-6 and even on occasion Force 7-8 so caution is advised!
The Ionian Islands Yacht Charter
The Ionian Islands can be found in the cool deep waters off the west coast of Greece. The 12 islands and islets offer luscious vegetation, beautiful beaches and charming villages. Corfu, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Ithaca and Paxi are the six large Ionian Islands and Antipaxi, Erikousa, Mathraki, Othoni, Meganisi and the deserted islets of Strofades south of Zakynthos make up the rest. You will be sure to find the true meaning of Greek hospitality here. Historically influenced by British, French and Venetian cultures, you will find a cricket pitch on Corfu and an Italian twist to the cuisine!
Wind and Sailing conditions: The wind and sailing conditions in the Ionian Sea are steady and predictable which makes it fun for sailors of all abilities. Winds normally start to build around midday but drop off towards sunset – perfect for sailing to your evening destination after a morning spent snorkelling and enjoying the pristine waters, in one of the Mediterranean's deepest points. From May to September, the wind tends to blow from the northwest at Force 2-5. In spring and autumn, the wind is less strong and blows usually from the southwest.
The Saronic Islands Yacht Charter
Made up of Aegina, Agkistri, Spetses, Hydra, Poros, Salamina and the peninsula of Methana, the Saronic Islands are a wonderful destination all year round for your luxury yacht charter due to its sheltered location and breathtaking natural beauty. The Saronic Gulf is located within easy reach of Athens, where this charming and understated group of islands has much to offer the visitor including great dining, shopping, charming Greek towns, and the convenience of its proximity to the country's dynamic capital city.
Wind and Sailing conditions: The Saronic, Argolic and eastern coast of the Peloponnesian Gulf is a very well protected cruising area making it fantastic for first time charterers. There are mild winds, usually from the north to northeast that average Force 3-4, as it is predominately sheltered from the strong Meltemi wind that affects most of the other Island groups in Greece. This sheltered location and its close proximity to Athens makes it a brilliant sailing destination.
In the Argolic Gulf and Hydra Island, the wind blows mainly from the southeast. The Meltemi wind can be strong in the afternoon, but otherwise it is normally calm. The Kabatic wind also affects the region coming off the mountaintops of the Peloponnese though very rarely reaching higher than Force 5 and blowing for short periods of time. The average temperature from June to September in this region is 25-34°C (77-93° F) but in May and October the weather is a little bit cooler.
The Sporades Islands Yacht Charter
The Sporades Islands lie on the eastern coast of mainland Greece and consist of 11 islands of which only 4 are inhabited: Skiathos, now known by many for this is where the worldwide acclaimed feature Mamma Mia was filmed, Skopelos, Alonnisos and Skyros.
These idyllic islands are a fertile and green archipelago that are different to other islands anywhere else in Greece. It is for this reason that they have become known as the emerald of the Aegean, with pine-forested mountains slope down to some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean and clear blue-green waters.
Wind and sailing conditions: The summer months in the Sporades are dry and warm. The prevailing wind in the summer is the ‘Meltemi’ (force 3-4) that provides fantastic sailing conditions but do also look out for the ‘Sirrocco’, a southerly wind that blows every few weeks in early and late season.
Dodecanese Islands Yacht Charter
The Dodecanese Islands are found in the south east of the Aegian Sea, just off the Turkish coast. Expect stunning sandy or pebble beaches, traditional Greek towns, imposing monuments as well as typically excellent Greek gastronomy. Astypalea, Leros, Lipsi, Nisyros, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kastellorizo, Kos, Patmos, Rhodes, Tilos are just a few that make up this beautiful island group.
Wind and Sailing Conditions. During the summer, the prevailing wind is the ‘Meltemi’, which blows from the northwest. It blows eratically through June and October but regular winds between force 4 and 6 can be expected in between these months. In the spring and autumn, the wind is usually force 2-4 and blows from the southeast.
Map of Greece Charter and Sailing Destinations
The Greek islands tend to have a "Dry Mediterranean" climate, which makes them perfect for chartering during the non-winter months. The weather in the islands is almost always sunny and dry during the summer, with the temperature hot during the day and pleasantly warm at night. Winters are chilly and wet and therefore make chartering risky, but summer in Greece lasts longer than in the likes of France and Italy, extending the charter season and allowing you more time to sail!
The Etesian winds generally blow from May to October, but can be quite strong in July and August, particularly in the Cyclades islands. Please read the information about wind in each of the areas above and discuss your Greek yachting itinerary with one of our experts when booking your Greece charter.
Greek cuisine is simple yet delicious. During your sailing vacation you will come across the freshest ingredients, the best olive oil in the world and a growing variety of excellent locally produced wines.
Local specialties vary from region to region, but the most popular ones are Tzatziki, fresh Octopus, fresh grilled fish, Moussaka, fresh olives and the sweet baklava. Of course, no one should leave this country without having had a Souvlaki.