Beyond the ancient sites, beautiful beaches, delicious food and the sea, Greece is also the perfect place for a sailing vacation, with an extensive coastline and countless islands, bays, and little coves to explore. Here are the best places for a sailing odyssey in Greece.
No need to go far to see the marvelous treasures of the Mediterranean. Attica, one of the main departure points to the islands, has many marinas with high quality service that offer luxurious yachts (with yacht charters), fishing boats and impressive fleets of sailboats with or without crews. Travel west to explore the seaside villages of the Peloponnese, such as Epidaurus, or southeast towards Sounion. Sailors can even spend the night under the Temple of Poseidon, a magical sight to behold.
Relatively close to Athens, the Argo-Saronic (or Saronic) cluster (formed by Spetses, Poros, Aegina, Hydra and Agistri) is ideal for an easy getaway destination. Winds are not too strong, so take the time to explore the small islands, all endowed with a unique and particular character. Pine-covered Poros is a charming little island next to Peloponnese; traffic-free Hydra, with its photogenic harbour, neoclassical mansions and plethora of little cafés and restaurants is a favorite; Spetses is equally gorgeous with wood-shielded beaches and hidden coves.
Crete, the largest of the Greek islands near the African coastline, is an excellence choice for a sailing destination with plenty to do and see. Dock in hidden coves and hidden beaches, relax on board and be mesmerised by the beautiful and intense shades of the sea. When on land, explore several Minoan historical sites, snow-capped mountains, verdant valleys and stunning beaches, dine in delicious restaurants by the water and create memories of a lifetime.
The beautiful and tranquil island of Thassos is perfect for a full-day sailing adventure. Spot some dolphins near the small island of Panagia, a protected marine ecosystem part of the 2000 Natura network along the southern coast, or admire the impressive rock formations and the sea near Giola farther east. Stop by Aliki for a swim break and mingle with the locals at Archodissa, a small tavern serving delicious food. Then continue north along the coast to Paradise Beach. The verdant islet of Nisida Kinira is perfect for either a short exploration stop or a final destination at the small harbour of Thassos town’s main port for a restful night.
Milos is definitely worth a visit while peregrinating along the Cyclades. With spectacular landscapes, dramatic coves (make sure to visit Kleftiko on the southern coast) and beaches only accessible by sea, it’s undeniably the perfect sailing destination. Furthermore, the harbor of Adamas is perfectly located, shielded from strong winds and bad weather.
Renowned for its natural beauty, Santorini is another perfect sailing choice, especially to explore the volcano and the hot springs. Admire the caldera from the sea, discover secluded coves only accessible by boat and enjoy the majestic sunsets in the comfort of your boat.
The verdant Sporades islands are wonderful to explore: Alonissos’ national marine park is a treat for the eyes, and Skiathos, Skopelos and Skyros won’t disappoint. Distances between the islands is negligible, so hopping from one to the next (and revelling it their unique beauty) won’t be difficult. Either depart from Attica or simply hire a boat in Volos, a few hours away from both Athens and Thessaloniki.
Sailing across the Dodecanese islands (especially during the summer months, when the meltemi wind blows) is now easier than ever with airports and many boat charters on several islands. Since they’re fairly close to one another, take the time to explore the uninhabited islets of Agathonisi or Leipsi as well as the bigger islands such as Rhodes, Kos or Leros, all with well-equipped marinas. Bear in mind that these may require a longer stay to fully enjoy them.
Start an adventure in the Ionian Sea with the harbour of Zakynthos and stock up on supplies before exploring small beaches and stopping by small harbours for lunch or dinner. Don’t forget to drop by the Blue Caves and the 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 – don’t rush to your next destination and make sure to visit its many spectacular beaches. Before ending the journey in Corfu, dock by unassuming Paxi and Antipaxi for their fantastic beaches and secluded coves.
Close to one another, the Cyclades islands’ white-washed houses and blue-domed churches cannot be overlooked, and the variety of lifestyles – from jetsetting in Mykonos to playing Cast Away in Koufonissia – is easily seductive. Syros is particularly interesting with its Venetian-inspired architecture; Tinos, Ios, Paros and Naxos for the many activities for all ages; and Folegandros and Amorgos for the feeling of time standing still.