Sailing in Greece: Top 5 Things to Know

Friends on a sailing tip in Greece on crystal-clear blue waters beside white cliffs

5 Things You Need to Know Before Sailing in Greece

…Because sailing in Greece should only go one way: swimmingly!

Island sailing in Greece is a dream come true for many sailors, be they enthusiastic amateurs or decked-out pros. The Greek islands are a world-renowned sailing paradise, with crystal-clear waters, sunny skies, and whiter-than-white cliffs. What’s more, Greece is home to a rich and diverse history, a vibrant culture, and lots more to discover.

Before you set sail, there are some things you need to know to ensure that your trip is safe, enjoyable — and above all, memorable! So, here’s our cruising guide with the top five things you need to know when sailing in Greece.

Docking in a small village on the sea in Greece
Docking in a small village on the sea in Greece

1.   Rest A-shore-d, You’re in Good Hands

For anyone afraid to tackle the tide, the first thing you should know on a Greece sailing trip is that the country has very well-established infrastructure. There are plenty of marinas and ports scattered throughout the country, providing easy access to both the islands and the mainland. Most of the marinas are well-equipped with modern facilities, including showers, restaurants, and shops, and they offer useful services such as fuel, water, and electricity.

There are also a ton of options when it comes to finding your vessel of choice, all for different preferences at various price points:

  • If you’re a seasoned sailor, you can opt for a bareboat charter and take the wheel of your own destiny!
  • Alternatively, you can hire a skippered or crewed yacht and let someone else take care of navigating and handling the boat.
  • Another popular option is to join a flotilla, where a group of boats in Greece sail together with the support of a lead boat and crew.
  • There are also options like motor yacht rental and catamarans for charter, providing a comfortable and spacious sailing experience.
Woman in a long, flowing dress walking along the beach towards an abandoned shipwreck at Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos
Woman in a long, flowing dress walking along the beach towards an abandoned shipwreck at Shipwreck Beach, Zakynthos

2.   Rough Seas Make Strong Sailors: checklist for safe sailing

If there’s one possible disadvantage of living in Greece, it’s that the wind is both your friend and foe. Weather conditions can be unpredictable, especially during the winter months. Greek waters and the Aegean Sea are known for their strong winds, making sailing challenging, even for experienced sailors.

Remember: safety always comes first! While of course sailing can be a fun and exciting activity, it can also be dangerous if you don’t take the necessary precautions. As such, we also advise the following safety tips for sailing around the Greek Islands:

  • Make sure that your boat is in good working order, and that you have all the necessary safety equipment on board, including life jackets, flares, and a first aid kit.
  • Check the weather forecast before you set off. This will give you the heads up you need to stock up on the right gear and be prepared for weather changes.
  • Study the charts and the area’s topography to avoid any hazards. Some local currents can catch you by surprise, leading you into shallow waters, danger zones, rocks, or reefs.
  • It’s also important to familiarize yourself with the local rules and regulations, including speed limits and designated sailing areas.
  • Avoid sailing at night, especially in areas that you’re not familiar with.

3.   Fair Weather Bodes Well: when and where to sail in greece

Clear blue sea off the coast of a secluded greece Island in the summer
Clear blue sea off the coast of a secluded Greek Island in the summer

Of course, the best time for Greece sailing holidays is during the summer months, from June to September. The weather is warm and sunny, and the sea is calm, making it ideal for sailing.

However, keep in mind that this is also the busiest time of the year, and the islands can get crowded, especially in August. If you prefer a more peaceful and tranquil environment, consider sailing in May or October when the weather is still pleasant, but the crowds have dissipated.

One other cautionary note: May to September is also when Greece welcomes strong north winds, known as the Meltemi. These are strong, dry, and often turbulent gales that rise up in the high-pressure Balkans before bellowing across the low-pressure Aegean Sea, sweeping up the Greek coast along the way.

While wind speeds of up to 100km/h (7-8 on the Beaufort scale) can throw the odd stormy spanner in the sailing works, they can also provide welcome relief from the summer heat and provide ideal conditions for windsurfing and other water sports.

Budding and brave enthusiasts may also like to get involved in one of the top sailing events, which are held throughout early summer:

  • The Aegean Regatta takes place in July and is one of the most prestigious events and attracts sailors from all over the world.
  • The Cyclades Regatta, in early July, is also extremely popular and features races between the islands.
  • The Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta, held in June, is a unique event that showcases traditional wooden boats and attracts a more relaxed, leisurely crowd.
  • The Athens International Sailing Week, held in late May, is a major event that brings together sailors of all skill levels for a week of racing and socializing in the Greek capital

4.   Treasures to Be Discovered when sailing in greece

The beautiful island of Mikos, Greece, with white cliffs and boats anchored off the beach
The beautiful island of Mikos, Greece, with white cliffs and boats anchored off the beach

When choosing where to head to first, you want to make sure you choose the right sailing route. Some of the best places to sail in Greece include the following locations:

  • The Saronic Gulf, in eastern Greece, which offers an ideal starting point. Aegina, Hydra, Poros, and Spetses are just a few of the Gulf’s idyllic islands, each with its own unique culture and history.
  • The Cyclades, in the Aegean Sea, are home to iconic destinations such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, and Naxos. This group of 200 islands is known for its iconic white and blue architecture, stunning beaches, and vibrant nightlife.
  • The Ionian Islands, on the west coast of Greece, offer a more relaxed and laid-back sailing experience with pristine beaches, picturesque villages, and verdant landscapes, including Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Lefkada, Paxos, Ithaca, and Kythira.
  • The Dodecanese islands, located in the southeastern part of Greece, offer a more secluded sailing experience with a blend of Greek and Turkish culture. The islands of Rhodes, Symi, Kos, and Patmos are popular destinations known for their stunning beaches, historic sites, and crystal-clear waters.
  • The Sporades, in the northwest Aegean Sea, offer a tranquil sailing experience with a mix of unspoiled nature and charming villages. The islands of Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros are known for their lush greenery, secluded bays, and turquoise waters.

One of the best ways to explore the islands is by anchoring in a quiet bay, where you can swim, snorkel, and enjoy the beautiful scenery in peace. Many of the islands have hidden coves that you can access only by boat. Sailing gives you the unique opportunity to discover these hidden gems and escape the crowds.

5.   The World Is Your Oyster

Young man enjoying an adventurous greece sailing trip aboard a yacht charter sailing the Aegean Sea
Young man enjoying an adventurous Greek trip aboard a yacht charter sailing the Aegean Sea

Greece is home to over 6,000 islands, each with its own unique character and charm. And the best thing about it? The distances between the islands are relatively short, meaning you can easily sail from one destination to another in just a few hours. This makes island hopping and exploring multipleå destinations a breeze.

Whether you’re looking to relax on white sandy beaches, explore ancient ruins, have some fun on the water, or party the night away, sailing in Greece is the perfect way to experience all that this beautiful country has to offer.

Drop Your Anchor Near Us, Some Time!

There you have it, folks! This corner of the Mediterranean is undoubtedly home to some of the best sailing, whether you’re at the helm yourself or letting someone else take care of the steering. And if you’re looking for a reliable partner to assist you in choosing the perfect vessel to see you through your travels, look no further than A.G. Yachting. Our expertise and attention to detail will ensure that every aspect of your sailing experience exceeds your wildest dreams. So, hoist the mainsail, Cap’n, and let’s set off together on your Greek adventure.

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