Greece Yacht Charter Guide
Discover Greece's Cyclades Islands, Saronic Gulf, and the Ionian Sea on your Greek Yacht Charter - Charter a Crewed Motor Yacht, Crewed Catamaran or Bareboat Sailboat for Summer 2020
A Greece yacht charter is the only way to vacation for summer 2020. Get your dates set and embark on an adventure around the magnificent Mykonos in the Cyclades Islands or the picturesque islands of Hydra and Spetses in the Saronic Gulf. If you've been to both island groups already, it's time for you to experience Zakynthos and Kefalonia in the Ionian Islands. Touring the Greek Islands by private boat is the only way to truly embrace the beauty of Greece. Your Boatbookings Broker has an unrivalled knowledge of the Greek coastline, from delivering hundreds of crewed yacht charters and bareboat sailing vacations to visiting the destinations first hand to ensure you have the best experience. Don’t leave your holidays to chance, leave it with the professionals!
Your Boatbookings Brokers will guide you on a tailor-made itinerary. Whether you select a luxury motor yacht, crewed catamaran or bareboat sailboat, you will experience a vacation like no other and will be desperate to try a new Greek yacht charter destination for summer 2021.
The ancient city of Athens remains the hub for all Greek yachting activities and the perfect place to meet your crewed motor yacht, bareboat sailboat and catamaran, as well as soaking up some history and culture. A stop in Athens isn't complete without touring the Acropolis and soaking up the buzzing atmosphere surrounding Syntagma Square. From Athens, embrace island hopping and savour the views of idyllic white-washed houses, turquoise waters, and sleepy fishing towns. Whether you are into history and culture or prefer to relax and enjoy watersports, a Greece yacht charter has it all.
Generally, all charters in Greece commence in Athens, given the proximity to the International airport. Athens is the central starting point to explore the Saronic Gulf, the Cyclades islands or a combination of the Saronic and Cyclades Islands. The Peloponnese and Saronic Gulf is naturally protected by the Athens peninsula, so the anchorages are better sheltered than the Cyclades. The islands are also much closer together, so your greatest sailing distances would most likely be around 1-2 hours, compared to 2-4 hours in the Cyclades. The summer months of July and August are the most popular time to visit the Cyclades Islands, but the best time to visit is in June and September when the winds are generally calmer.
The best Greek islands to cruise in the high season summer months are the Ionian Islands of Kefalonia, Zakynthos and Ithaki. The islands are close together and have everything from fishing towns to secluded anchorages, as well as some of the clearest waters in the Mediterranean. You will also not have to worry about the summer Meltemi winds found in the Cyclades.
Renting a crewed motor yacht in Greece provides guests with endless possibilities to enjoy the country's most spectacular anchorages and natural bays. From Navaggio beach on the island of Zakynthos in the Ionian Islands to the buzzing beach clubs of Mykonos in the Cyclades Islands, and the secluded anchorages of the Saronic Gulf, there is something for everyone. When chartering one of our crewed motor yachts, you will be able to cover the larger distances between the islands much more quickly than onboard a sailing yacht, giving you time to do the things you want to do. With large alfresco dining areas, sunbathing spaces and a plethora of water toys, a Greece crewed motor yacht is the boat of choice for summer 2020.
Chartering a crewed catamaran in Greece will provide you with ultimate comfort and stability during your summer yacht charter vacation. Embarking in Athens is the most popular and recommended place to meet your crew, before sailing down into the Saronic Gulf or the Cyclades islands, depending on the weather conditions. There are a growing number of crewed catamarans in the Ionian islands each summer, so you have great variety. The beauty of Greece crewed catamarans are their vast spaces and stable platforms to host your friends and family. They predominantly feature double cabins so are well suited to couples and friends sharing the cost, which makes catamarans even better value. You will have a local crew who know the islands inside out and make sure your itinerary is tailor-made, as well as offering top service and gourmet cuisine designed around your dietary requirements.
The Greek Islands offer endless possibilities for the charterer to discover its laid-back chic, glimmering sea, and almost tropical microclimate. The six thousand islands and more than 16,000km of coastline scattered around both the Aegean and Ionian Seas make the Greek archipelago one of the most sought-after sailing destinations in the world and the perfect destination to charter one of our crewed sailing yachts. With a crewed sailing yacht you can enjoy the luxury of being cooked for and looked after, as well as having a Captain who advises an itinerary, all whilst enjoying the freedom of sailing!
Chartered catamarans and sailing yachts in Greece can be either crewed or bareboat, so you can choose what type of holiday you want! With so many islands to be explored, chartering a bareboat sailing yacht or catamaran in Greece will tempt you to come back year after year, returning to explore a different island group each time. Doing a charter bareboat means you can completely plan this trip to your preferences, so check out our itineraries to mock together whatever works for you and your guests! Venture off the beaten track on your bareboat, to discover more remote islands like luscious Andros or Sifnos, a marvellous island for foodies.
The very best yachts for charter in Greece are permanently based in Athens, which has world-class marinas with all the amenities you could need. The best way to get to Athens to start your charter is to fly to Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos. There are direct flights from a range of European cities throughout the year, making it extremely accessible to all.
From America, there are direct flights from New York JFK and Philadelphia in the summer season or take a connecting flight from a European city, which will depend on your airline of choice. If you are travelling from Canada, there are many direct flights from the likes of Toronto and Montréal, or, as with flights from the USA, you will change at a European airport. From Athens International, you can then easily take a taxi to the port to start your yacht charter experience.
The Cyclades Islands Yacht Charter
The most famous of the Greek Island groups, the Cyclades are composed of many islands of which only 24 are inhabited. It is a magnet for sailors all over the world thanks to its blissful beaches, cosmopolitan cachet and romantic restaurants. The most well known amongst them are Delos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini and Sifnos, which means you can visit a wide range of them during your charter to ensure a versatile and exotic holiday!
Wind and Sailing conditions: The ideal time to charter a yacht in the Cyclades Islands is June through mid-July. By the end of July and August, however, the ‘Meltemi’ wind that blows from the north, northwest can reach Force 5-6 and even on occasion Force 7-8.
The Ionian Islands Yacht Charter
The Ionian Islands can be found in the cool deep waters off the west coast of Greece. The 12 islands and islets offer authenticity, a bohemian buzz, and charming villages. Corfu, Lefkada, Kefalonia, Zakynthos, Ithaca and Paxi are the six large Ionian Islands and Antipaxi, Erikousa, Mathraki, Othoni, Meganisi and the deserted islets of Strofades south of Zakynthos make up the rest. In Zakynthos, the Blue Caves and Shipwreck Beach are worthwhile visits, where a rusting liner leans into the chalky cliffs creating a dramatic and impressive view.
Wind and Sailing conditions: The wind and sailing conditions in the Ionian Sea are steady and predictable which makes it fun for sailors of all abilities. Winds normally start to build around midday but drop off towards sunset – perfect for sailing to your evening destination after a morning spent snorkelling and enjoying the pristine waters, in one of the Mediterranean's deepest points. From May to September, the wind tends to blow from the northwest at Force 2-5. In spring and autumn, the wind is less strong and blows usually from the southwest.
The Saronic Islands Yacht Charter
Made up of Agistri, Aegina, Spetses, Hydra, Poros, Salamina and the peninsula of Methana, the Saronic Islands are a wonderful destination all year round for your luxury yacht charter due to its sheltered location and breathtaking natural beauty. The Saronic Gulf is located within easy reach of Athens, where this postcard-pretty and understated group of islands has much to offer the visitor including alternative cuisines, boutique stores, effortless luxury, and the convenience of its proximity to the country's dynamic capital city.
Wind and Sailing conditions: The Saronic, Argolic and eastern coast of the Peloponnesian Gulf is a very well protected cruising area making it fantastic for first-time charterers. There are mild winds, usually from the north to the northeast that average Force 3-4, as it is predominately sheltered from the strong Meltemi wind that affects most of the other Island groups in Greece. This sheltered location and its proximity to Athens makes it a brilliant sailing destination.
In the Argolic Gulf and Hydra Island, the wind blows mainly from the southeast. The Meltemi wind can be strong in the afternoon, but otherwise, it is normally calm. The Katabatic wind also affects the region coming off the mountaintops of the Peloponnese though very rarely reaching higher than Force 5 and blowing for short periods. The average temperature from June to September in this region is 25-34°C (77-93° F) but in May and October, the weather is a little bit cooler.
The Sporades Islands Yacht Charter
The Sporades Islands lie on the eastern coast of mainland Greece and consist of 11 islands of which only 4 are inhabited: Skiathos, now known by many for this is where the worldwide acclaimed feature Mamma Mia was set, Skopelos, Alonnisos, and Skyros.
These idyllic islands are a fertile and green archipelago that is different from other islands anywhere else in Greece. It is for this reason that they have become known as the emerald of the Aegean, with pine-forested mountains slope down to some of the best beaches in the Mediterranean and clear blue-green waters. These beautiful islands present the opportunity for a simple and slower way of life, so you can truly unwind and enjoy a therapeutic holiday in the sunshine.
Wind and sailing conditions: The summer months in the Sporades are dry and warm. The prevailing wind in the summer is the ‘Meltemi’ (force 3-4) that provides fantastic sailing conditions but do also lookout for the ‘Sirrocco’, a southerly wind that blows every few weeks in the early and late season.
Dodecanese Islands Yacht Charter
Travel back in time to the Dodecanese Islands, found in the south-east of the Aegean Sea, just off the Turkish coast. Expect stunning sandy or pebble beaches, traditional Greek towns, imposing monuments as well as typically excellent Greek gastronomy. Astypalea, Leros, Lipsi, Nisyros, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Kastellorizo, Kos, Patmos, Rhodes, Tilos are just a few that make up this beautiful island group. Rhodes, for instance, has reinvented itself hilltop castles, emerald coves, and powdery, golden beaches, and be sure to head to Mavikros restaurant for the unrivalled view!
Wind and Sailing Conditions: During the summer, the prevailing wind is the ‘Meltemi’, which blows from the northwest. It blows erratically through June and October but regular winds between force 4 and 6 can be expected in between these months. In the spring and autumn, the wind is usually between force 2-4 and blows from the southeast.
The Greek islands tend to have a "Dry Mediterranean" climate, which makes them perfect for chartering during the non-winter months. The weather in the islands is almost always sunny and dry during the summer, with the temperature hot during the day and pleasantly warm at night. Winters are chilly and wet and therefore make chartering risky, but summer in Greece lasts longer than in the likes of France and Italy, extending the charter season and allowing you more time to sail!
The Etesian winds generally blow from May to October but can be quite strong in July and August, particularly in the Cyclades islands. Please read the information about wind in each of the areas above and discuss your Greek yachting itinerary with one of our experts when booking your Greece charter.
To find out more detailed, localised weather and climate information take a look at our weather page.
Greek cuisine is simple yet delicious. During your sailing vacation, you will come across the freshest ingredients, the best olive oil in the world and a growing variety of excellent locally produced wines. Local specialities vary from region to region, but the most popular food types are:
- - Tzatziki; a fresh cucumber, and mint dip. Perfect with Pita.
- - Proper greek salads - with decently sized feta cubes!
- - Gyros. Greek equivalent to a kebab. Thick pita bread with Taziki, salad, chips, meat and sometimes with halloumi. These normally cost around 2-4 euros
- - Fresh Octopus.
- - Crispy deep-fried aubergines (eggplant) and courgette (zucchini).
- - Saganaki, similar to Halloumi.
- - Fresh-grilled fish.
- - Moussaka.
- - Olives.
- - Sweet baklava.
- - Of course, no one should leave this country without having had a Souvlaki.
Certain islands, such as Sifnos, are renowned for their role in the fabulous foodie scene, so tuck into the golden Calimari, a meze platter and the local biscuits with orange flavour. Why not have a look at our blog on the very best of Greek gastronomy? Then, when you are in Athens, be sure to check out Kuzina, our broker's favourite restaurant which combines Greek and Italian cuisine and an unmissable view of the Acropolis.