If you fly into Athens, you’ll have the Acropolis and the ancient city to explore, which are enthralling sights. The Cyclades, Ionian, Saronic, Sporades and Dodecanese island chains offer history from the Byzantine, Venetian and Ottoman periods, a friendly welcome and fantastic, Greek food with the freshest feta, olives, tzatziki and seafood, especially octopus. Each island has something unique, such as the church tower on Poros, the volcano in Methana and the old theatre in Epidaurus.
The best time to visit Greece is between April and early October. Temperatures can still reach 20ºC/67ºF with sea temperatures around 22ºC/72ºF even in the late season. Mooring costs in Greece are often free or very low in local harbours, but it’s always appreciated if you buy your meal or drinks at local tavernas. For more information see our blog on A Sailor’s Guide to Deciding Between Greece or Croatia Charters. Take a look at the Marine Planet app, which has useful Greek information. Remember, to rent a boat in Greece, the skipper must be aged 18+ and have proof of competence. The crew also needs to include an experienced crew member aged 18+ too.
For sailors flying into Athens, the Cyclades and Saronic island chains are close by. Experienced sailors wanting exhilarating sailing can have fun with the northerly meltemi in the Cyclades, a summer wind in July and August. This island family is ideal for early and late season sailing and offers white-washed houses, blue-domed churches, sandy beaches and cobalt seas. Mykonos and Santorini are renowned destinations and Instagram stars thanks to their photogenic views.
A yacht charter in Greece’s Saronic Islands offers calm waters perfect for sailing and snorkelling with charming coves and bays. Highlights include the “Hamptons of Greece” on Spetses and the car-free Hydra.
The Ionians have an Italian feel with a Venetian influence and ports lined with brightly coloured buildings. A sailing holiday here will introduce you to Kefalonia and Corfu, among others, as well as gentle seas, endless grottos, sun-dappled olive groves and a mix of sand and small pebble beaches.
A sailing holiday in Greece isn’t complete without a visit to the Sporades group of islands, made famous by the Hollywood film, Mamma Mia! Cruising is calm here, the islands have lush vegetation, framed by tiled, white houses and dazzling, blue-green seas.
The Dodecanese boast a rich history and the towns and villages have medieval treasures to discover with Rhodes old town an outstanding example. Within this island chain, which lies close to the Turkish coastline, you’ll find rock climbing, sponge-diving and a volcano. You’ll need to plan for longer leg sailing as the islands are further apart.