Best places to sail in Greece

Best places to sail in Greece

If you’ve never sailed in Greece before, you’re in for a treat! And if you’ve already sailed Greece, you know just how magical it is … and just how much there is to discover.

Whether you want to explore the ruins of Ancient Greece, sample traditional mezé at waterside tavernas, visit the party islands for the best nightlife in the Med or swim in the bluest ocean you’ve ever seen, a Greek sailing holiday is the best way to experience Greece.

So, with over 8,000 miles of coastline and over 2,000 islands to explore, where do you start?

The team at Allsail have compiled this list of the best places to sail in Greece for all levels of sailing experience.

The Ionian Islands - ideal for sailors of all abilities

The Ionian Islands - ideal for sailors of all abilities

The Ionian Islands offer both sheltered coastal spots for beginners as well as exciting open water sailing on more adventurous blue water stretches, which is why this area is an ideal destination for sailors of all abilities.

Located off the western coastline of Central Greece, to the south of Peloponnese, the six northern most large Ionian Islands are Zakynthos, Ithaca, Corfu, Kefalonia, Lefkada, Paxi (or Paxos), however there are also many more inlets, anchorages and smaller islands to explore by boat.

These islands are renowned for their jaw-dropping white limestone cliffs and the deepest  waters in the Mediterranean Sea, while a shared history and culture with Italy influences much of their architecture and cuisine.

The summer months of April to October is the peak sailing season, with warm, sunny weather, gentle winds and temperatures ranging from 20 to 30C. Summer afternoons bring northwesterly winds of between Force 2 and 5. During spring and autumn, the evenings are cooler and showers are possible.

Ionian Islands sailing highlights

  • ⛵Easy line of site sailing.
  • ⛵Temperate climate
  • ⛵Lush vegetation and attractive scenery
  • ⛵Tranquil turquoise seas with clear waters
  • ⛵Majestic mountains
  • ⛵Beautiful sandy and shingle beaches
  • ⛵Sheltered coves
  • ⛵Loggerhead sea turtles
  • ⛵Sensational sea caves, including the Blue Caves on Zante Island
  • ⛵Relaxed culture
  • ⛵Diving and snorkelling
  • ⛵Venetian architecture and castles
  • ⛵Bustling harbours, with a mix of tranquil villages and cosmopolitan towns
  • ⛵Fine wines of Paxos and Antipaxos
  • ⛵Coastal sailing and open passages
  • ⛵Medieval town of Methoni with its 13th century fortress
Cyclades Islands - sensational sunsets and seafood

Cyclades Islands - sensational sunsets and seafood

The Cyclades Islands are the most famous island group in the Aegean Sea and considered by many to include some of the most beautiful islands in the world!

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 stark beauty of Santorini or escape to the lazy island of Naxos, 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.

Lying relatively close to Athens, these islands are the place to sail if you’re after distinctive white and blue architecture, sandy beaches, clear blue water, amazing sunsets, incredible seafood, and isolated chapels.

The 33 Islands lie fairly close to each other and include popular destinations such as Mykonos and Santorini, with their nightlife and boutique culture, as well as the quieter islands, such as Kythnos and Kimolos.

Experienced sailors will delight in harnessing the power of the Meltemi, a seasonal hot and dry wind that blows from the north of Greece across the Aegean Sea anytime from May through to October. Although the Meltemi tends to blow stronger in the afternoons, dying down again in the evenings, it is an unpredictable wind and beginner sailors may find this wind a little too challenging.

Cyclades Islands sailing highlights

  • ⛵Santorini sunsets
  • ⛵Plunging cliffs
  • ⛵Crystal blue waters
  • ⛵Fresh seafood at waterfront tavernas in the smaller Cyclades islands
  • ⛵The Venetian architecture of Naxos
  • ⛵Boutique culture and party nightlife of Mykonos
  • ⛵Exoctic beaches of Koufonisia
  • ⛵Hiking trails with 360-degree views in Tinos, Syros and Andros
  • ⛵Sea caves of Pano Koufonisi
Saronic Islands - a safe, easy and accessible sailing destination

Saronic Islands - a safe, easy and accessible sailing destination

If you don’t have much time, but would like to experience sailing the crystal clear waters of the Greek islands
, the Saronic gulf Islands – also known as the argo-Saronic Islands – are the closest of all the Greek Islands to the Greek mainland.

Spetses, Poros, Aegina, Hydra and Agistri each have their own charms. Hydra and Spetses are relatively small islands where cars are prohibited and you’ll see donkeys on the streets instead. Aegina, the largest of the islands, is famous for its pistachios, the Aegina Agios Nektarios Monastery (largest monastery in Greece) and the Temple of Aphaia.

Because the cruising area in the Saronic Islands is very well protected and predominantly sheltered from the Meltemi wind that affects many of the other island groups in Greece, sailing conditions here are ideal and safe even for less experienced sailors.

The mild winds, sheltered location and close proximity to Athens makes the Saronic Islands a brilliant sailing destination all year round.

Saronic Islands sailing highlights

  • ⛵Amazing architecture
  • ⛵Elegant neoclassical mansions
  • ⛵Car-free islands
  • ⛵Photogenic harbours
  • ⛵Charming cafes and restaurants
  • ⛵Tree-lined sandy and pebble beaches
  • ⛵Hidden coves
  • ⛵Relaxing atmosphere
  • ⛵Fragrant pine forests
  • ⛵monastery of Agios Nektarios
  • ⛵Temple of Aphaia
The Dodecanese Islands - sunny year round remote sailing

The Dodecanese Islands - sunny year round remote sailing

Lying in the south-eastern Aegean Sea, the Dodecanese Islands consists of 14 main islands – Rhodes, Kos, Patmos, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Astypalaia, Leros, Nisyros, Symi, Tilos, Halki, Lipsi, Kasos, Kastelorizo, as well as numerous smaller islets.

The Dodecanese Islands are a true sailing paradise with islands that are all fairly close to one another and great marinas for all sizes of boats. ​This is a great yachting destination all year round due its a mild climate that is commonly considered to be the best in the Mediterranean.

The remotest and the most southern Greek island group, with the exception of Rhodes the Dodecanese Islands are largely arid and largely barren, however the ports and blue anchorages are green and lush, located in fertile valleys.

Locals are famous for their laid-back lifestyle and hospitality and the islands have many important and diverse archaeological sites, impressive Byzantine churches and medieval castles, making each island very unique.

​This is a sailing area best suited to more advanced sailors due to the prevailing Meltemi wind. During July and August it reaches its full strength, however, during spring and autumn, the wind is much milder.

Dodecanese Islands sailing highlights

  • ⛵Long sailing season
  • ⛵Unspoiled by tourism
  • ⛵Mild climate
  • ⛵Islands all fairly close to one another
  • ⛵Marinas for all sizes of boats
  • ⛵Sublime scenery
  • ⛵Picturesque ports
  • ⛵Snorkelling at Makronisi
  • ⛵Monastery of Agios Ioannis
  • ⛵Cave of the Apocalypse
  • ⛵Ancient Greek sites
  • ⛵Acropolis of Lindos
  • ⛵Authentic village life of stunning Karpathos
  • ⛵Unesco-protected old town of Rhodes
  • ⛵Venetian castles and glamorous resorts of Kos
  • ⛵Uninhabited islet of Levitha

What’s your Greek Island sailing odyssey look like?

White churches with boldly colored domes, distinctive blue and white architecture, ruggedly arid landscapes, classical ruins, ouzo, Greek salad, seafood, moussaka, sandy beaches and swimming in crystal clear turquoise seas …all of these experiences are quintessentially Greece and part of the allure if sailing the Greek Islands.

If you’d like to take the helm of a beautiful chartered yacht and experience the joys of sailing in Greece, Allsail offers both regular hosted flotillas to the Greek Islands or we can arrange an independent charter for you so you can create your very own Greek Island sailing odyssey.

We have personally experienced the wonders of Greece and the high quality service of the Greek operators we partner with. Over the years we have developed relationships with our charterers and only choose those who offer the best yachts, service and overall package.

We can also assist with planning your Greek Island sailing itinerary – we’ve been there and can personally recommend the experience.

Get in touch with the team at Allsail today.