Greece Yacht Charter

Greece Yacht Charter

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The original and some say still the best yacht charter destination, laid-back Greece retains an easy charm that permeates through the iconic Ionian, Aegean, Saronic and Dodecanesesailing areas. Private yacht charters in Greece are blessed with a heady combination of heritage, cuisine and glorious sailing and swimming weather. Helm's expert brokers will help find your perfect yacht for bareboat charter or crewed yacht charter in Greece.

The Greek waters are among the most beautiful yacht charter holiday destinations in the world. Greek island sailing holidays offer such incredible diversity, and boat is the best way to travel. From cultural Athens to tranquil Kifnos, and the windmills of Kea to the pine-clad beaches of Paxos, every corner is brimming with picturesque views and unforgettable experiences.

Take your pick of Greece's six diverse sailing areas: mix up mild mornings and predictable winds around your chosen Ionian island; embrace stronger breeze across the Saronic Gulf and North Aegean Sea; experience true Greece in the Cyclades and Sporades; or feel the southern heat in the Dodecanese.

For bareboat charter, browse our hand-picked selection and find the right sailing yacht or catamaran below. Or get in touch to plan your skippered yacht charter or luxury yacht charter.

Learn more about Greece yacht charters here

Where to sail in Greece

North Ionian - Corfu

Ideal sailing conditions make the Ionian Islands one of the most popular cruising grounds for a Mediterranean yacht charter. Spectacular scenery, idyllic beaches, secluded anchorages, picturesque harbours, excellent nightlife and crystal clear waters teeming with marine life await you.

Begin your Greek yacht charter from Corfu and mix up long passages and short island hops. Visit Paxos and her idyllic little sister Antipaxos, home to olive groves and vineyards, stunning white-sand beaches and crystalline waters. Climb up to the Bella Vista tavern overlooking Voutoumi beach for the most wonderful cliff top views.

South Ionian - Lefkas

From Lefkas sail to the sheltered southern Ionian, including Ithaca, the mythical birthplace of Odysseus, and Kefalonia, the impossibly beautiful island setting of Louis de Berniere’s novel 'Captain Corelli’s Mandolin'. Visit the sublime shipwreck beach, and head to the magical Melissani Cave at midday, when the sunlight streaming through a collapsed roof strikes the aquamarine waters and fills the cave with an ethereal blue light.

Straightforward line-of-sight navigation and gentle sailing breezes make the southern Ionian's 'inland sea' an ideal destination for beginners and families to enjoy a bareboat, skippered or crewed yacht charter.

Winds tend to be slightly stronger at the start and the end of the season.

Saronic Gulf - Athens

Overlooked by the magnificent Acropolis and iconic Parthenon temple, Athens has an extraordinary amount to offer in the way of history, culture and art.

After enjoying the city set out on your Athens yacht charter to explore the beautiful Saronic Islands of Aegina, Hydra, Spetses and Poros.

Lying on the eastern coast of the Peloponnese Peninsula, just before the Argolic Gulf, these islands offer unspoiled anchorages, quaint fishing harbours, Byzantine castles, archaeological treasures, and quayside bars and taverns.

Explore the narrow cobbled streets of Hydra where cars are banned and transportation is provided by horses, mules and donkeys before visiting the famous Aphea Temple in Aegina and ambling around the bustling bars and restaurants of vibrant Poros.

While the Meltemi wind can get strong during August, the Saronic Islands are more sheltered than the Cyclades, offering great but manageable sailing for the whole season.

Cyclades - Lavrion or Mykonos

The Cyclades are best known for the hedonistic isles of Mykonos and Santorini, but they are actually comprised of nearly 200 islands each with its own unique feel and character.

With brilliant sugar-cube villages, rugged natural beauty and cosmopolitan style, these dramatic Greek islands have so much to offer to sailors of all forms.

Prepare to explore important archaeological findings in Delos and Akrotiri, unspoiled seclusion in Iraklia and Koufonisia, hot springs in Kythnos, and even a remedy for a broken heart in Naxos (where the famous wine is thought to have healing properties) on a yacht charter through the Cyclades Islands.

Lavrion, with its great selection of yachts, easy accessibility from Athens, and proximity to the island of Kea, is the ideal starting point for a skippered or bareboat yacht charter.

The famous Meltemi winds make for some exhilarating sailing and are particularly challenging in August making the Cyclades a perfect destination to explore either early or late in the season when the breeze is still fun but more manageable.

Further apart than the islands in other Greek cruising grounds, a Cyclades charter will include some longer passages.

  • Fly to: Athens International Airport or Mykonos Island National Airport.
  • Longer passages
  • Secluded anchorages and lively towns
  • Meltemi provides a consistent breeze, strong in August
  • Whitewashed authentic Greek villages
  • See a typical Cyclades yacht charter itinerary

Sporades - Volos, Skiathos

The beautiful Sporades Islands of Northern Greece are wonderfully unspoilt by tourism. Of the twenty-four islands, only four are permanently inhabited, making this the most secluded of all Greek sailing destinations.

Visit the Sporades for spectacular scenery, white sand beaches and for starry nights at anchorage, where the only sound is that of water lapping against the hull.

Start your yacht charter from the forested island of Skiathos, which shot to fame as a location for the 2008 hit movie “Mamma Mia”. Verdant countryside, rural monasteries and a cobbled maze of an old town are but a footnote to the island’s main attraction - glorious beaches.

From the pine-forested fine white sand of Koukounaries to the legions of nudists at Banana beach, Skiathos is a sun worshipper’s paradise.

Sail eastwards into the Gulf of Volos or westwards to the islands of Alonissos and Skopelos and feel an immediate change of pace. You will encounter sleepy fishing villages, lovely sandy beaches and deserted anchorages, not to mention the possibility of spotting dolphins, whales and the endangered Mediterranean Monk Seal.

The Sporades offer sheltered sailing with moderate winds making this an ideal destination for families and couples seeking peace and tranquillity on a crewed or bareboat yacht charter.

Dodecanese - Kos, Rhodes

The Dodecanese Islands offer a chance to explore authentic and unspoiled Greece.

Located in the south-eastern Aegean Sea close to the Turkish coast, the Dodecanese comprise of twelve large and numerous smaller islands, all steeped in history and bearing the traces of the Byzantine and Ottoman Empires.

Start your sailing holiday from either Kos harbour or Rhodes marina, which are the largest and most cosmopolitan of the Dodecanese, and sail on to some of the most beautiful and fascinating islands Greece has to offer.

Visit Tilos for its untouched natural beauty, Symi for its stunning Venetian harbour and Nisyros for its dormant volcano.

Sail to Patmos to discover the cave in which John the Theologian’s Book of Revelations was supposedly written, dive ancient wrecks in Kálymnos, “the island of the sea sponge harvesters”, and uncover the rich folklore of Kárpathos where villagers still wear traditional dress.

This is old Greece at its finest, and the consistent breezes provided by the Meltemi, combined with moderate to long distances, make the Dodecanese the ideal destination for keen sailors seeking lesser-known islands.

Sailing Conditions in Greece

The Greek waters stretch for hundreds of miles across the eastern Mediterranean sea, and so sailing conditions vary hugely, from the sedate Ionian with light afternoon breezes to the occasionally fearsome Aegean Sea and its powerful Meltemi. Every area has its own charms, offering something bareboat sailors, crewed catamaran and motor yacht guests alike.

Ionian Sea- the lush Ionian island group is beloved of sailors of all abilities, and blessed with settled, mild conditions in the summer. The most common summer wind is a NW called the Maistro, and is well-behaved and mild-mannered, gradually building from late morning to mid-afternoon, before fading away as the sun sets. Kefalonia and Lefkas islands act as natural barriers, ensuring the water is usually flat, even if the wind is blowing. Home to more than one secluded cove and beautiful sandy beach!

Cyclades - The most popular Aegean islands. Sail in the famous meltemi, a katabatic wind driven by thermal activity, which can blow with considerable force in the hotter months. We generally advise that beginners avoid the Cyclades in August, when conditions can sometimes be challenging. Also popular for crewed yacht charter and trips down to party central, Mykonos

Saronic Gulf, Sporades and Dodecanese islands - generally more exposed than the Ionian sea, but more sheltered than the scattered Cyclades, these island groups fit into a happy medium; you can enjoy some excellent sailing, without your charter yacht being exposed to the strongest winds. The Saronic Islands are the gateway to Hydra, Spetses and the Pelopennese sailing area.

Find out more about the winds in Greece

When to visit Greece

Greece enjoys over 250 days of sunshine a year, which makes it a superb place for a skippered, crewed or bareboat yacht charter at any time from April right through to the end of October. Having such a diverse range of sailing areas means we can tailor your Greece yacht charter to your chosen dates, find the right boat for your group, and suggest the perfect time to sail in each area.

Early Season (April-early June)

April is the very start of the sailing holiday season in Greece, and is comparable to sailing in the UK in June, but a little drier! May is when temperatures really start to warm up, with highs in the mid-20C range. If you go early in the season, you may want a light jumper for the cooler evenings.

June is one of our favourite times to sail the islands - a gentle Maistro tends to blow in on Ionian afternoons, it's not too crowded and the water is warm.

Peak Season (June- August)

During July and August, the Greek sailing areas tend to get very crowded and very hot! The Ionian sea and Saronic Gulf in particular will be at their busiest. Even experienced sailors tend to avoid the Cyclades islands in the height of summer, as this is traditionally when the Meltemi blows at its fiercest. That said, you can always hire a skipper, so you can stay relaxed even if it does get windy!

Late Season (September - October)

Greek autumns are mild, with temperatures in the low 20s most days. September is a great time for a yacht charter in Greece, especially in the Dodecanese island chain, which enjoys longer summers being that little bit further south.

The water is approaching tropical temperatures, ideal for swimming off the back of your boat.

Next Steps

If any of the boats above are along the right lines, you can enquire straight away from the boat page, or get a little help from an expert Greece yacht charter broker. And the best bit is you don't even need any sailing experience, - you can opt for a skippered charter and just kick back while they take care of the sailing, and maybe learn a rope or two.

Build your perfect Greek yacht charter here

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