With its consistent winds and sun-baked islands, Greece is arguably the best place in Europe to go sailing. Spend your days cruising between rocky coves with impossibly clear water and tucking into olive oil-doused mezze at one of the many waterside tavernas. Here are the top postcard-perfect places to go sailing around Greece and its islands.
Sail around Greece by chartering a yacht for the day through SamBoat, or book a full week sailing holiday with Dream Yacht Charter – no experience necessary.
There’s no need to go far to see the marvellous treasures of the Mediterranean. Depart from Athens and travel west to explore the ancient seaside villages of the Peloponnese, such as Epidaurus, or southeast towards Sounion where you can spend the night under the Temple of Poseidon. Make sure you anchor at Monemvasia – this medieval town, carved into the rocky hillside, is regarded as one of the most romantic destinations in Greece.
Relatively close to Athens, the Argo-Saronic (or Saronic) cluster – formed of Spetses, Poros, Aegina, Hydra and Agistri – is ideal for an easy sailing getaway close to the capital. Take the time to explore the small islands, all endowed with their own unique character. Pine-covered Poros is a charming little island next to the Peloponnese; traffic-free Hydra, with its photogenic harbour, neoclassical mansions and a plethora of little cafes and restaurants is a favourite; and Spetses is equally gorgeous with tree-lined beaches and hidden coves.
Crete, the largest of the Greek islands, is an excellent choice for a sailing destination with plenty to do and see. Fewer vessels cruise this coastline compared to the Cyclades or Sporades. Not only does it boast some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece, but it was also home to one of the world’s oldest civilisations, the Minoans. Visit Knossos, where legend says King Minos once lived. Avoid sailing here during July and August when the strong meltemi winds blow through; May and June or September and October are preferable.
If you’re sailing around Halkidiki, make sure you stop by the tranquil island of Thassos. Spot some dolphins near the island of Panagia, a protected marine ecosystem and part of the Natura 2000 network along the southern coast, or admire the impressive rock formations near Giola. Stop by Aliki for a swim and mingle with the locals at Archodissa – a small tavern serving local lamb, grilled over a wood fire, with stuffed vegetables called gemista. Continue north along the coast to Paradise Beach, before anchoring in the small harbour in Thassos town for the night.
Four main islands make up the Sporades: Alonissos, Skopelos, Skyros and Skiathos, with the latter being the most popular. If you’re looking for a wild escape, rugged Alonissos is far less developed and has its own protected marine park, ideal for wildlife spotting. Skopelos has its own Byzantine castle to explore, whilst Skyros offers empty beaches and secluded coves with very few tourists in sight.
Spend a week – or longer – sailing between the Dodecanese islands. Rhodes is one of the most well-known islands – explore its Unesco-protected old town before continuing on to neighbouring Tilos and Karpathos, one of the windiest islands in the Mediterranean. Alternatively, explore Kos with its Venetian castles and glamorous resorts, as well as the mostly uninhabited islet of Levitha, and Lakki Town on Leros with its Greek-Italian fusion cuisine.
Zakynthos is a sparkling gem among the Ionian Islands. Drop by the Blue Caves and famous Navagio beach, which are only accessible by boat. Then sail north to beautiful Kefalonia, which needs at least two days to truly explore. Up next are welcoming Ithaca (Ithaka) and its satellite islands, and the stunning Lefkada awaits westwards. End your journey in Corfu – dock in unassuming Paxi and Antipaxi for their fantastic beaches and secluded coves.
For picturesque views of Greece’s whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches, head to the Cyclades. Whether you’re looking to party in Mykonos, marvel at the beauty of Santorini or escape to the wilds of Koufonisia, there’s plenty to satisfy every sailor. The birthplace of Apollo on Delos is a must-visit for history fans, while Amorgos is lined with coastal hiking paths that have panoramic views over the Aegean Sea. You won’t be able to visit all 39 islands in one trip, but you can certainly tick off a good chunk.
Hop between these idyllic Greek destinations by hiring a yacht for the day with SamBoat. Alternatively, Dream Yacht Charter rent out skippered vessels for seven day trips or longer.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
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1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
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1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
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1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
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