Sailing in Greece is how fell I in love with Greece on my first trip. Taking a sailing holiday in Greece is a great way to see several Greek islands and even some of the mainland in one trip. Not only do you get to see many places in one trip, but you can find spots that you want to revisit on your next Greece trip.
You sail from one beautiful Greek island to the next. Each will have a wonderful beach with clear turquoise or blue waters that practically beg you to swim in them. Then each night you will dock under the glowing harbor lights of a Greek village harbor and get to know the warmth of Greek hospitality.
There are several options for taking a sailing trip in Greece that can fit all types of vacations. Except for a few options, anyone can go on one of these sailing trips.
Sailing Charters in Greece
A sailing charter in Greece is probably the most common kind of sailing trip. On a sailing charter, you rent the boat, get crew, and the boat is provisioned for you. Usually, the crew and provisioning are included. Sometimes a hostess or cook is also included or can be added to the rental.
If you want a luxury sailing holiday in Greece, this is the way to go! You and your friends can rent the sailboat or yacht together to split the cost.
The other good thing about this option is that you usually have much more say in the itinerary so you can visit the Greek islands that you want or make a change if you decide to stay longer in one place. Dietary issues may also be more manageable since they will provision the boat as requested.
You can opt to have all your meals onboard or visit one of the many tavernas or restaurants in the places you visit.
Cabin Charters in Greece
A cabin charter is how I did my first sailing vacation in Greece. The cabin charter allows you to book a cabin on a charter with others. It can be a cheaper option if you can’t find enough people to charter a whole boat.
On a charter like this, the itinerary is set with mostly set in advance. Although, all sailing trips are dependent on the weather. The nice thing about this is that the captain usually knows the islands or towns very well, so you get top tips for each place.
I have done this type of sailing trip in Greece twice. Most recently, with Sailing Jollies. Although we were also doing a boat delivery and there was no hostess, and there was more responsibility. What I like about the cabin charter that usually you can learn a bit about sailing if you want.
Bareboat Charter in Greece
If you have your skipper’s license, you might be able to charter a yacht in Greece. Usually, this means there is no crew, and you provision the boat. This is a great option if you have a large family or group of friends already ready to go on the trip. You can make the food you want.
You also get to set your own itinerary so you can see the places you want without compromise. The only thing is having the yacht or sailboat back to the agreed-upon marina by the end date.
A bareboat charter in Greece is probably only a good idea if you have sailed in Greece before since the winds can be strong at certain times of the year. Another option is to join a flotilla of boats that may be a combination of bareboat or charter sailboats. Going on a flotilla is useful if you are confident in your sailing ability but unsure of the sailing waters.
Day Sails in Greece
Almost every island has an option for a day sail around that island or to another island nearby. A day sail in Greece may also be possible from Athens and other major ports on the mainland.
A day sail means that you will leave early in the morning and sail to points during the day. It usually consists of sailing to a swim stop, having lunch, and then sailing to another swim stop before returning to the port. Many times these swim stops are in spots on islands that may be unreachable by car or walking.
Going on a day sail in Greece means that you might get to see parts of the country you may not have seen on your island vacation only.
Maybe you have some sailing experience and would like to build miles, then going on a boat delivery is a great option. The only drawback to these is that sometimes the delivery is on a schedule, and you cannot stop much for leisurely days in the ports. You may only have a few days to make the delivery.
As with some cabin charters, the trip is not going to be round trip, so you will need to find your way back to the starting point if that is where your flight leaves from. Of course, you might be able to pick up another boat delivery or enjoy the place you are in for longer.
Most boat deliveries need people with sailing experience, so this might not be an option for the casual sailor. It depends on the skipper that sail with.
Sunset Sails on the Greek Islands
By far, the most popular option for sailing in Greece is to take a sunset sail. Greek sunsets are out of this world, and unless a cloud blocks it, I have never seen a bad Greek sunset.
A sunset sail will usually leave in the late afternoon or early evening, depending on the activities involved. Some are quick for about two hours just to get out to watch the sail, usually with a drink. Others include swimming and a light meal. The boat will head back to the harbor as soon as the sun sets to avoid getting back too late in the dark, usually.
Keep in mind that the time of the sail may vary during the year for the sunset sail since the sunset changes times.
Greek Island Hopping Itineraries
Now, where should you go on one of these fantastic sailing trips in Greece? There are so many options. Of course, if you are going on a cabin charter, flotilla, or boat delivery, you may not have much choice in your sailing itinerary.
However, if you have booked the entire boat, you get to choose! If you depart from Athens, you can choose from the Saronic islands, the Peloponnese, or the Cycladic islands. For example, my first sailing trip was Athens, Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Sifnos, and Ios. The return was Ios, Paros, Syros, Delos, Kea, and Kythnos. This trip was great since we got to see both the Saronic and Cycladic islands.
If you have less time, you could leave Athens and head to Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetes, and return to Athens. My second trip was from Athens to Corfu. This trip was great as we saw lots of mainland villages and sailed through the Corinth Canal.
Another area to consider is the Dodecanese islands in eastern Greece. These islands are closer to Turkey so your itinerary could include Turkey as well as Kos, Kalimos, Leros, and Patmos.
Each of these areas of Greece offers something different, so you will want to do your research and see what kind of experience you would like to have.
Types of Boats
There are many options for types of boats to charter in Greece. If you know what kind of boat you want, you have already narrowed down your choices of charter companies. Some companies only do monohull sailboats and some do a mix of monohulls and catamarans. If you are only looking for motor yachts, then you can look for those as well.
Going on a monohull sailboat is my top choice. If you are unfamiliar, a monohull is a single hulled boat with sails. Many sailing enthusiasts prefer this as you get the real feel of sailing this way. When underway with higher speeds the boat will keel to one side. This is when one side of the sailboat is lower than the other. The wind whips through your hair and occasionally you will get a light spray of seawater!
Another type is a catamaran. These usually have two hulls that are connected. These offer more stability than a monohull. The cabins tend to be larger as is the saloon. These are a great option for people new to sailing or those traveling with young children.
Then there are motor yachts. There are many different kinds of these and I won’t go into them all. The ones you charter will have cabins for sleeping and it will vary on where the helm is. This may or may not matter to you if you are the skipper or not. If you are skippering your own boat, you will know what you prefer. If you going with a skipper, make sure the yacht has the features you desire.
Wondering what to pack for you Greek island sailing trip? Check out my post all about it by clicking here!
Have you been sailing in Greece? Share your experience in the comments!