Greece is one of the original and most well known charter destinations, and for good reason, the choice of cruising areas and the classic Mediterranean beauty of the islands have made this a destination that people visit time and again. Secluded anchorages, lively tavernas and ancient temples – everything you want to make this a perfect vacation.
Greece is comprised of several different cruising areas, all with their own distinct personality: the Ionian, the Aegean and Sporades, the Saronic Gulf, the Cyclades and the Dodecanese.
The Ionian Islands of Cephalonia, Lefkada and Zakynthos, on the West coast of Greece are easy cruising with lighter winds than in the Cyclades and beautiful pine clad islands dropping into a crystal clear turquoise sea. Perfect for motor yachts and less experienced sailors, these islands are all within sight of each other, making for short sea passages and lots of time to explore the small harbours. If you have two weeks, include the island of Corfu in the itinerary or simply make the most of the picturesque harbours and secluded anchorages of the closer islands.
A popular charter destination, the thickly wooded islands of the Sporades on the east coast of Greece offer a wealth of natural beauty and artistic culture. Only three of the islands are inhabited, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonisos. With fine sandy beaches, pine-perfumed hills, ancient ruins and abundant sea life, the area offers many secluded anchorages. The water around Alonnisos has been declared the cleanest in the Aegean and has National Marine Park status as a refuge of the protected Mediterranean Sea.
The Greek Saronic Gulf Islands are the closest to Athens and a popular weekend and summer retreat from the capital. Composed of Angistri, Aegina, Methana, Poros, Salamina, Spetses and Hydra, they have a lot to offer with golden sandy beaches and small deserted islets offering some great anchorages. The mix of modern and ancient culture, the proximity of the islands and the gentle winds make this an ideal flotilla destination.
The dazzling whitewashed buildings and startling blue seas of the Cyclades is classic Greece. A great sailing area for the more experienced, the islands are as varied as they are beautiful, from the exotic clubs of Mykonos, to the dramatic volcanic cliffs of Santorini, and the isolation of Kithnos. Cruise for a couple of weeks on a circular itinerary out of Lavrion to really emerge yourself in the spirit of these amazing islands.
The fourteen Dodecanese Islands lie along the Turkish coast curving down towards Crete. Less touristy than the Cyclades with a rugged landscape and great cruising, these islands are for the more adventurous. Take in the lively islands of Rhodes or Kos with their stunning beaches and many bars, visit the beautiful harbour of Symi, or the far flung islands of Agathonisi, Arki, Kasos and Kastellorizo for if you are in pursuit of traditional island life.
Weather in Greece
Although the season runs from April to the end of October the peak summer season is during the hottest months of July and August. These are also the months when the wind is stronger in the Sporades, Cyclades and Dodecanese. Many people prefer the slightly cooler months of June and September when there are not quite so many tourists around.