Greece lies graciously in the heart of the Mediterranean Sea and is a fantastic destination for yachting holidays. With thousands of islands, stunning shoreline, turquoise waters, hidden coves and spectacular blue skies it is a paradise for yachters. We’ve prepared a guide to yacht charter Greece which is guaranteed to make you want to plan your yachting experience in Greece.
Yacht Charter Greece: Our Sailing Experience in the Saronic Islands
Greece is famous for its myriad of gorgeous islands, and sometimes choosing the right one may seem like a complicated task. If you are visiting Athens for the first time, you can spend a few days exploring this historical European capital before setting off for a yachting adventure around the Greek islands.
Athens is home to several state-of-the art marinas, and one of them is located in Alimos from where we joined Kavas Yachting for our yachting experience in the Saronic Islands.
When selecting your sailing route you must take into consideration the distance and location of the Greek islands, which will determine your departure point.
Kavas Yachting has their fleet located in several destinations around Greece: Alimos Marina (Athens) from where you can visit the Saronic Islands like we did, the Peloponnese and the Cyclades. Lefkada Marina from where you can explore the Ionian Islands (Corfu, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Paxi, Ithaca, etc). Kos marina from where you can explore the islands in the South Aegean (Patmos, Rhodes, Astypalia).
The benefits of renting a Sailing boat
By chartering a sailing boat you get the opportunity to visit several Greek islands, enjoy the pristine surroundings, swim in the crystal clear waters and spend quality time with your friends or family. You pretty much follow your own pace and program as well as stay away from the crowds. The sailing boats are also faster and cheaper to rent, their fuel costs are lower since most of the times they run with the wind.
Another point to consider when chartering a sailing boat are the Meltemi winds which can affect the course of your journey.
You must also be prepared to help out and team work is an important aspect that will determine your experience. When docking or taking off all members must assist in the smooth operations of the craft. There are relaxing moments too, but you must be prepared to be active.
Is Sailing a luxury experience?
Yes and no, — luxury because it is associated with the prestige of sailing on your own boat however it will not break your bank. Sailing in fact is an affordable experience.
The rent of a monohull is ideal for a 6 person holiday and the price factor also depends on the season, July 27th – August 17th being the highest and before 27th April and after October 26th being the lowest.
The price of the sailing boat also depends on the size, larger sailing boats have more cabins and the year of the boat also plays a role. The older the sailing boat, the lower the price.
If you have a license and can sail the boat, the cost is lower because you do not need to hire a skipper. However if you do, the cost will increase by €150 per day.
The price of renting a sailing boat is also cheaper if you opt for one way offer, which means you start from one port and deliver it to the next. Also you can look out for last minute deals, as there might be last minute cancellations which as a result affect the price factor.
Our Sailing boat: Oceanis 40.1
For our sailing trip we set sail on the Beneteau Oceanis 40.1 with 4 cabins and an additional port side cabin with 2 bunk beds. The modern wooden interior comprised of a sitting area with plush sofas and a kitchen. The outdoor spacious deck has a swim platform and twin rudders.
Sailing to the Saronic Islands
The Saronic islands are located the closest to Athens, they have some of the best islets with gorgeous blue-green waters and the mildest winds which make it easier on the sailors. We took off from Athens (Alimos Marina) around 5pm and in the evening we docked at the Poros Marina where we enjoyed a lovely dinner at a local seaside taverna (Poseidon).
The beauty of sailing in Greece is that every marina has coffee shops, shops, supermarket and local taverns where you can enjoy traditional dishes as well as seafood. What this means is that you can always stock up on supplies, access Wi-Fi, enjoy breakfast and coffee in one of the cafes.
The majority of the ports are accessible free of charge and if you do have to pay the cost is minimal. In Poros we paid €5 (indicative price and may be subject to change).
The next morning we set sail towards Dokos, an uninhabited island which is adjacent to Hydra as is very popular yachting destination. The island holds an important role in ancient history and apparently it was first inhabited 5th century BC. Due to its strategic position it was used to observe the ships in the Saronic Gulf during the Byzantine times.
One of the oldest shipwrecks in the world lies on the seabed next to Dokos, the findings from the vessel can be admired at the Museum of Spetses.
In the afternoon we headed towards Spetses where we enjoyed an evening swim followed by dinner at a seaside restaurant Mourayo. The island was less crowed than usual and it was a great feeling to enjoy its beautiful surroundings without the usual crowds. In the morning after breakfast in one of the cafes we sailed towards Basti Beach in Hydra where we swam in stunning turquoise waters.
On our return back to Athens we stopped for a last swim on one of the beaches of Aegina before setting sail towards Alimos Marina.
Dining on board
When sailing around the Greek islands it is important to note that a light Mediterranean diet is highly recommended, plenty of fruits and vegetables, grilled fish or meat and generous consumption of olive oil.
Due to the fact that you never know when you may encounter a slightly rocky sea, eating light meals is highly advised. During lunch we prepared a few light salads and snacks which we enjoyed with a chilled glass of white wine. In the evenings we had dinner at the local island tavernas.
This is definitely the best way to experience the Greek island way of life and to also enjoy freshly prepared dishes of your choice.
Although there is a kitchen on the sailing boat, there is only a certain amount of food you can prepare and also when on holiday do you really want to cook? That’s why spending some money on the island is highly recommended, you contribute to the economy of the destination you visit.
What to pack for your sailing trip
When traveling on a sailing boat you must pack light, brining suitcases is not recommended. You must pack smart, light and only focus on the essentials. Mosts of the days you will spend in your swimsuits, shorts and t-shirt, a pair of sport shoes to wear on the boat and flip-flops or sandals for the evening. Make sure to bring a windbreaker and a light sweater too, depending on which month you are sailing, it can get slightly chilly when you are out in the open sea. Hat and sunglasses are essential, sunscreen and if you get sea sick, some medicine or chewing gum to help you with nausea.
A yacht charter Greece holiday is a wonderful way to discover another side of Greece, it guarantees plenty of swimming, adventure and an opportunity to connect with nature. Have you ever been on a sailing trip in Greece?
Cover photo: Dimitris Tsimenteridis
*Passion for Greece was a guest of Kavas Yachting, all opinions expressed are always my own.