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Greece

Greece

Savour the strong steady wind, turquoise bays, little white chapels with blue domes, old windmills and chilling archaeological finds.

Savour the strong steady wind, turquoise bays, little white chapels with blue domes, old windmills and chilling archaeological finds.

Greece is a unique yachting destination. There is many a reason why visiting it is an absolute must. In addition to countless beautiful islands of different shapes and sizes lying in the crystal-clear blue sea, award-winning beaches, ancient culture, gastronomy and wine, the locals here are incredibly friendly and hospitable. Greece is the perfect destination for a 14-day cruise.

Now is the ideal time to book a boat there for next summer. You'll find boats with a discount of up to 40%. There are also new boats on offer, so you can find exactly the type of boat you want, in the right place and at the right time. So don't hesitate to book your boat now.


What is the difference between yachting in Greece and yachting in Croatia

In Greece, the yachting infrastructure is nowhere near as developed as in Croatia. You rarely come across yachting marinas. The people you encounter here are friendly though, and you rarely pay for mooring, usually only for electricity and water (if available). Greece is a region you could sail for 10 years and still have something left to discover. Each area has something different to offer. The green islands of the Ionian Sea are fragrant in the spring and provide more gentle sailing. In contrast the Cyclades and Dodekanesy are dry and arid, with yachting on the Aegean Sea being particularly challenging for experienced sailors.
  • South Ionian Sea

    South Ionian Sea

    In sharp contrast to the hilly green islands, the coastline is lined with tall, jagged mountains, bright turquoise waters and white sandy beaches. This is the South Ionian Sea.

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  • North Ionian Sea

    North Ionian Sea

    The Ionian islands are washed by the most beautiful emerald green waters, which owe their colours to the bright white limestone that lies beneath them. Check out the beauty of this destination for yourself!

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  • Cyclades

    Cyclades

    The Cyclades offer ink-blue skies, a sea shrouded in pink mist in the morning and clouds in the evening tinted red from the setting sun. Follow the cliffs over bays lined with snow-white houses and the little churches with their blue domes.

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  • Sporades

    Sporades

    Combining the warm sea, hospitable people and beautiful beaches with turquoise water, the Sporades create a true yachting paradise.

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  • Saronic and Argolic Gulfs

    Saronic and Argolic Gulfs

    The islands of the Saronic Gulf are among the most beautiful and most interesting of all the Greek islands.

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  • Dodecanese

    Dodecanese

    Enjoy this enigmatic tract in Greek waters with untouched corners alive with rich traditions and rustic resorts.

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Who is renting a yacht suitable for?

For families with children

The Ionian Sea, the Saronic Gulf, and the Sporades.

For less experienced yachtsmen

The Ionian Sea, the Saronic Gulf and the Sporades.

For sports yachtsmen

The Saronic Gulf is the venue for a large number of regattas starting in Athens.

For lovers of history

The Southern Ionian Sea, the Saronic Gulf, the Cyklades and the Dodecanes.

For lovers of secluded locations

The Cyclades, part of the Dodecanese and the Sporades.

For thrill-seekers

The Cyclades, especially in summer, and the rest of Greece are suitable for sports sailing, particularly in spring and autumn.

The Greek island territory is so extensive that it is impossible to clearly say who yachting in this area is suitable for. In short, each and every yachtsman is catered for here. Thanks to its sheltered waters, the Ionian Sea and the area of the Saronic Gulf are ideal for a calm family cruise with children or friends, while the Aegean Sea offers demanding yachting and is particularly suitable for more experienced yachtsmen. The Sporades and the Dodecanese offer a combination of both. This is why we only distinguish the designation of the region in the actual description of each area.

Navagio Beach on the island of Zakynthos Navagio Beach on the island of Zakynthos

Its marine area boasts countless interesting and varied islands, a countryside that has not yet been greatly explored, some amazing cultural artefacts, and possibly the most hospitable inhabitants in the world.

Compared to Croatia, there are not many modern marinas here. But if you do happen to discover one, you probably won’t have to spend half your budget to stay there. You mostly pay nothing at all here, or only a symbolic amount of a few euros. The same applies for anchorages and town harbours. In short, the people here don’t see yachtsmen as floating piggy banks.

Yachting regions in Greece

Map of Greece islands

 

The sailing region of Greece is divided into the Ionian Sea, Saronic Gulf, Cyclades, Dodecanese, and the Sporades islands in the Aegean Sea. The sea around Greece is sprinkled with more than 2000 islands, which is why this area is so perfect for sailing. The most popular destinations include the islands of Corfu, Lefkada, Ithaca, Cephalonia and Zakynthos, allowing you to sail in the enclosed sea protected by these islands.

Cyclades

The Cyclades islands form a rough circle (”kyklos” in Greek) around the island of Delos. The Cyclades include 30 larger islands and around 190 islets. All of these Greek islands are amazing holiday destinations for both romantic couples and groups of friends or families. The most popular islands in Greece are generally Santorini and Mykonos, while other frequently visited islands are Paros, Naxos, Ios, and Sifnos.

North Ionian Sea

As is common in Greece, individual islands are very diverse and each has a completely different charm. Corfu is evergreen and multi-faceted, while the facing mainland coastline beckons with its picturesque harbours and sandy beaches. The small islands of Paxos and Antipaxos offer turquoise seas, romantic rocky bays and small, historic harbours. Short distances between islands are a guarantee of easy sailing. Sailing here is just as easy as it is in Croatia.

South Ionian Sea

This part of the Ionian Sea is even broader and more broken up than the north. The area between the islands and mainland creates an inner sea, well protected from the western winds and waves, making it ideal for yachting beginners and for family cruises. The island of Ithaca is rugged and hilly. Zakynthos is characterised by mountain hamlets, secluded monasteries and captivating views. Cephalonia is the largest of the islands and is home to the Ainos National Park and numerous resorts. Lefkada offers everything from mountain villages to seaside resorts. The South Ionian Sea stretches along the Peloponnese coastline to Kithera Island, although that’s too far for a 7-day trip from Lefkada.

Saronic Gulf

The Saronic Gulf is located near Athens and is a very popular destination in the Aegean Sea due to its easy accessibility, historical sights and good sailing conditions. Sailing is relatively easy here because the Meltemi does not blow as hard in the summer as in the Aegean Sea and the distance between islands is short. Due to the proximity of Athens, the area is very popular with tourists, but on a sailing yacht you can still find bays and beaches on islands and islets where you will be alone or in the company of other yachtsmen.

Dodecanese

The Dodecanese are a group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, located southwest of the Turkish coast. The Dodecanese islands are a popular destination in the summer, especially for experienced yachtsmen because the Meltemi blows quite hard here. In spring and autumn, they are also suitable for less experienced yachtsmen. The chain of islands has much to offer. Beautiful beaches, great conditions for surfers and kiters, historic harbour towns, ancient monuments, and small fishing villages where you can avoid the normal tourist rush, even in high season.

Sporades

The Sporades are located south of Thessaloniki and the Chalkidiki peninsula and are comprised of four inhabited islands and a number of other uninhabited islands with amazing natural scenery. Skiathos is the centre of fun and activity, while the islands of Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros have a more peaceful atmosphere. The uninhabited islands of Kira Panagia, Gioura, and Skantzoura will overwhelm you with their loneliness and isolation. You can disappear from the world here because there is no mobile signal on these islands.

Weather and climatic conditions

The Meltemi is an expression often mentioned in Greece. This dry, katabatic wind mostly avoids the Ionian Sea, but fully manifests itself in the Aegean Sea. In the form of a descending wind, it may also threaten the leeward side of the island. Meltemi warnings apply to the islands of Kea, Evia, Tinos, Andros, Folegandros, Kos, Serifos, Amorgos, and Sifnos.

The Meltemi blows completely undisturbed in a wide corridor between the Cyclades and the Dodecanese, where it blows mainly in the high season and can reach over 100 kph. But even the Meltemi has its positives. It provides cooling, good visibility, and moisture reduction. In April, May, and June, just as in September and October, a stable and reliable Mistral wind blows in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. There are no strong Meltemi winds during this time. By the end of the high season, the sea has also warmed to a tropical 28-30°C. It is possible to swim in Greece from May, when sea temperatures reach 19–21°C. The average, daily, peak air temperature on Naxos rises from 19°C in April, to 27°C in July and August through to October, when the temperature drops to 22°C.

Temperature air and water in Greece

Gastronomy

The Mediterranean climate allow several crops to be cultivated, this being one of the reasons why the Greeks are so partial to their fresh ingredients. Dishes are usually aromatic thanks to the wild herbs they use. The most typical herbs are probably rosemary, dill, cumin, curry, basil, parsley, mint and nutmeg.

The most characteristic and oldest ingredient is olive oil, which you will find in almost every single dish. Olives are also used in abundance (the most famous being black olives from the town of Kalamata), as are tomatoes, capsicum, aubergine, courgette, onion, potatoes, green beans, and okra (edible hibiscus). A combination of meat and ingredients used in other countries only for sweet dishes such as cinnamon or raisins is common.

Mezedes is typical for Greek dining, a number of small appetizers served with wine. They usually comprise various cheeses, loukaniko herb salami, fried chunks of octopus and squid, vegetable salads, or pitta bread with tzatziki or other dips. Desserts are very sweet and made with a thinly layered filo pastry, nuts and honey.

Dietary composition differs by region. Game is popular in the mountainous and wooded northern part of the country, especially boar. Seafood is typically consumed on the coast. Typical types of fish on offer are the common sole (a type of flatfish), mackerel and silverside.

The Ionian islands, which were ruled by the Italians for a long time, differ to the rest of Greece in their liking for pasta. Crete excels with its many local specialities (paximadi wholemeal bread and dakos salad prepared as an accompaniment) as does Cypress (halloumi herb cheese or lountza, pork tenderloin marinated in wine and smoked).

Have some great drinks, wine, or the typical, alcoholic, aniseed-flavoured drink ouzo, which was created in Asia Minor from Turkish raki and became the Greek national drink. Another is the well-known Metaxa, which is a unique combination of brandy and liqueur. Greek coffee is drunk at the end of every meal—this is the "Turkish coffee" we know well.

Tzatziki Tzatziki

History

Greek history is both thrilling and illuminating. The local history has been recorded over a longer period of time than any other European history. The early development of culture and economy concentrated in the Minoan civilisation on the island of Crete characterised by the construction of palaces as seats of rulers and the subsequent development of towns around these palaces. This ancient civilisation was eventually replaced by the Mycenaean culture, but the rulers of this civilisation fought frequently with each other, the social differences between cultures being significant and the civilisation was soon overcome by sea people and the Dorian culture. A period of decline known as the dark age followed.

A new boom only began with Greek colonisation and the development of the ancient Greek polis. This period of flourishing gave rise to the ancient Greek culture as the cornerstone of the entire western civilisation. Greece successfully defended itself against attack from the Persian Achaemenid Empire, but was eventually defeated, mainly by the internal conflict between Sparta and Athens. The Macedonian king, Philip II, used this opportunity to conquer a major part of the land. His son Alexander defeated the Persian empire and made it as far as the area around the Indus river. After Alexander’s death and when Greek and oriental culture became intertwined, the Hellenic period started in Babylon. Greece became a part of the Roman Empire in the 2nd century AD.

The ancient ruins of Poseidon's Temple The ancient ruins of Poseidon's Temple

Diving

Until 2005, divers were only allowed access to 10% of the total 16 000 km of Greek coastal waters. After changes to legislation, diving is now however permitted all over Greece. In the following text you can find information about the most fascinating dives in Greece, other places of interest will be listed in individual destination descriptions.

There are about 90 diving centres in Greece. A very high-quality centre with an interesting undersea world in the surrounding area can be found on Mykonos. For one dive you will pay EUR 60, including equipment rental, a guide and boat transport. A package of five dives will cost you EUR 250.

Caves near the island of Tragonisi

This diving location is situated southeast of the island of Mykonos and is a true gem. Jump into the sky blue abyss below and allow yourself to be carried away by the amazing rock formations, massive caves, and shoals of translucent fish and anemones. It is not unusual here to meet one of the Mediterranean monk seals that live nearby.

Wreck of the HMHS Britannic

Almost one hundred years after it sank, you can be taken to the sister ship of the Titanic. It lies on the seabed near the island of Kea, and you are guaranteed a jaw-dropping experience when you set your eyes upon it. Discovered in 1975 by the maritime legend Jacques Cousteau, this was the largest ship sunk during World War One. This is a very challenging dive.

Island of Chios

This is found a mere 7 km from the Turkish border. Head for the Great Wall and you will not believe your eyes. Underwater, you can expect almost everything from shipwrecks, shoals of multicoloured fish, right through to huge rock massifs. The Great Wall itself measures around 30 m and is covered in colourful corals. You will be kept company by tuna, sea bream, and sea bass, and sea turtles may even join the party.

Diving in Greece is subject to seven rules:

  • Underwater activity is performed only from dawn to dusk.
  • The use and possession of equipment to search for historical items is strictly forbidden.
  • Photography, removal, or the raising of any historical item is forbidden, and each find must be reported immediately.
  • Underwater fishing with scuba equipment is forbidden.
  • The establishment and operation of diving schools is subject to a special licence.
  • No scientific or professional work on the seabed may be conducted without approval from the Ministry of Culture and Science.
  • All divers must respect the above rules and comply with law 5351/32.

You will certainly enjoy diving in Greece You will certainly enjoy diving in Greece

Charter companies

The article is being prepared.

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