Best Places to Sail in Greece – Your Ultimate Guide!

Navigating between the Greek islands is a truly exceptional experience, exposing you to a variety of beautiful surroundings and unique cultures. Each island group boasts its charm – from the Ionian Sea’s tranquility to the Cyclades’ lively vibes – offering you the opportunity to tailor your sailing vacation to suit your preferences. As you sail along the coastlines, you can also explore the numerous bustling cities and quaint ports that serve as gateways to local culture and history. Without further ado, here are the best places to sail in Greece.

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Key Takeaways

  • Greece is a top sailing destination with diverse island groups and unique experiences.
  • Sailing along the coastlines reveals bustling cities, quaint ports, and historical sites.
  • Choose your sailing adventure based on personal preferences, weather conditions, and sailing experience.

Top Greece Sailing Destinations

Greece is one of the best sailing destinations in the world. With its beautiful islands, crystal-clear waters, and rich culture, it’s no wonder that people flock to this Mediterranean paradise to enjoy the sun and sea. In this section, you’ll get to know some of the top sailing destinations in Greece – Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Rhodes, and Crete – and tell you what makes each one special.


Santorini, located in the Cyclades island group, is known for its stunning caldera views, white-washed buildings, and romantic sunsets. If you’re looking to sail around Santorini, you’ll find plenty of incredible beaches with crystal-clear waters and picturesque anchorages. Make sure to visit the famous Red Beach and the quaint village of Oia for some amazing views and local exploration.

Sailing In Santorini


Mykonos, also part of the Cyclades, is a glamorous and lively destination, perfect for those seeking a mix of relaxation and vibrant nightlife. Sail around the island, and you’ll discover hidden coves, picturesque beaches, and popular beach bars. Be sure to stop by Super Paradise Beach and the iconic windmills in Mykonos Town. If you’re looking for a lively atmosphere, Mykonos has got you covered.

Sailing In Mykonos


Located in the Ionian Sea, Corfu is an island boasting lush greenery, sandy beaches, and historic architecture. As you sail around Corfu, you’ll pass beautiful anchorages and stunning rock formations. The island offers a mix of traditional Greek charm and modern attractions, with popular destinations like Palaiokastritsa and Kassiopi providing excellent opportunities for exploration.

Sailing in Corfu


Rhodes, part of the Dodecanese island group, combines ancient history and pristine beaches. Home to the medieval Old Town and Acropolis of Lindos, Rhodes offers more than just crystal-clear waters and sandy shores. As you sail around the island, be sure to stop by St. Paul’s Bay, a stunning anchorage surrounded by high cliffs and the famous Faliraki beach for some sunbathing and watersports.

Sailing in Rhodes


Crete is Greece’s largest island and offers a diverse sailing experience. Known for its rugged landscape and charming villages, you’ll find plenty of beautiful destinations to explore around the coastline. Don’t miss the striking Elafonissi beach with its pink sand and the idyllic Spinalonga Island, a historical site with a fascinating story.

Sailing in Crete Greece


Paros is also one of Greece’s best beaches and no doubt you’ll love it! When you arrive, you’ll be greeted by crystal-clear waters and soft, white sand. The beach is surrounded by picturesque hills, and the scenery is simply breathtaking. You can spend your day lounging on the beach, soaking up the sun, and taking in stunning views. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can also try your hand at windsurfing or kitesurfing. And when you’re ready for a break, there are a plethora of beachside cafes and restaurants where you can eat and drink.

Sailing in Paros


Lefkas is one of the best destinations you can choose! With its crystal-clear waters, stunning beaches, and picturesque villages, you’ll be able to experience the beauty of the Ionian Sea like never before. Whether you’re a seasoned sailor or a beginner, there are plenty of opportunities to explore the nearby islands and coves and to anchor in secluded bays for a peaceful night’s sleep. And when you’re ready to come ashore, you can enjoy delicious local cuisine and lively nightlife in Lefkas town.

Key Island Groups For Sailing

If you’re planning a sailing trip in Greece, it’s crucial to know some of the best island groups for your sailing adventure. Let’s dive into a few of the most popular ones.

Cyclades – Experienced Sailors

Cyclades Islands are a key destination for many sailors. This group of islands is famous for its sandy beaches, crystal clear waters, and picturesque villages. The Cyclades are perfect for experienced sailors, especially in spring or autumn when high winds of up to 8 Beaufort can occur. Imagine sailing around islands like Mykonos, Santorini, and Paros for a truly unforgettable experience.

Ionian – Novice Sailors

In contrast, the Ionian Islands are ideal for beginners and provide a more relaxed sailing environment. This group of islands situated off the western coast of Greece includes popular destinations like Corfu, Lefkada, and Zakynthos. With calmer seas, lush landscapes, and beautiful beaches, you’ll surely fall in love with their charm.

Dodecanese – Experienced Sailors

The Dodecanese Islands are another excellent option if you are a sailor seeking adventure in Greece. This group of islands is located in the southeastern Aegean Sea and includes the beautiful Rhodes, Kos, and Patmos. Roam through their medieval villages, visit ancient ruins, and explore stunning coastlines that will leave you in awe.

Aegean – Novice and Experienced sailors

Finally, the Aegean Islands offer another fascinating sailing experience. Comprised of several smaller island groups, including the Saronic Gulf Islands and the Sporades, these islands provide diverse sailing opportunities. Check out Hydra in the Saronic Gulf for a day’s sail from Athens, or explore the Sporades for green, pine-covered sceneries.

Best Time To Sail In Greece

The perfect time for you to sail in Greece mostly depends on your preferences and skill level. Mid-April to mid-June is considered the best time to enjoy the sun without enduring excessive heat, allowing you to participate in various outdoor activities such as strolling, trekking mountains, or beach sports.

During the summer months, the Ionian Sea has calm winds, making it an ideal destination for beginners. However, if you’re an experienced sailor, consider visiting the Cyclades in the spring or autumn, as high winds can reach up to 8 Beaufort during these periods. As for the Saronic Gulf, its proximity to Athens makes it an excellent location for those who want to blend sailing and cultural exploration.

Weather Conditions

When it comes to weather conditions, summer temperatures in Greece can reach up to 77°F (25°C), and the sea temperature stays just as high. For a more comfortable experience, you may want to opt for an autumn sailing trip when the ambient temperature cools down.

In the afternoons, winds usually pick up, while mornings offer a calmer sailing environment.

Overall, Greece has plenty of sailing routes and regions suitable for all types of sailors. Just ensure you choose the right season and weather conditions to match your sailing preferences and abilities.

Great Cities And Ports To Visit

When planning your adventure in Greece, there are several key cities and ports you should consider visiting.


Let’s start with Athens, the capital of Greece. This ancient city is filled with history and iconic landmarks like the Acropolis.

Athens Port Greece

Alimos and Lavrion

If you’re starting your sailing journey, you’ll find marinas such as Alimos (Kalamaki) and Lavrion Port are great choices for boat charters. Both are easily accessible from the Athens International Airport.

Lavrion Port Greece


Piraeus is another major port located near Athens. It is the main gateway to the Saronic Gulf, Argolic Gulf, and the east coast of the Peloponnese. As a seasoned sailor or a first-timer, you’re likely to find the Saronic Gulf to be a popular and ideal sailing area in Greece.

Piraeus Port Greece


While you’re in Greece, don’t forget to explore the mesmerizing landscapes and unique opportunities for tourism. One such location is the port city of Nafplio. This romantic destination on the mainland is perfect for a hand-in-hand stroll alongside your loved one, perhaps towards the Fortress of Palamidi – just be prepared for a nearly 1,000-step ascent.

Nafplio Port Greece


Finally, be sure to add Hydra to your must-visit list. As one of the Saronic Gulf islands in the northern Aegean, it’s within a day’s sail of Athens, and the beautiful landscapes and pristine waters won’t disappoint.

Hydra Port Greece

Anchorages and Marinas

In Greece, you’ll find plenty of options for anchorages and marinas. Some popular sailing destinations in Greece include the Saronic Gulf, Argolic Gulf, and the Peloponnese east coast. You can charter a boat from Alimos (Kalamaki) marina or Lavrion port in Athens, both of which are easily accessible from the Athens International Airport.

When looking for anchorages, make sure to select locations with good holding to secure your boat, particularly in high winds. Some fantastic anchorages can be found around the Ionian Islands (Corfu, Lefkas, Meganisi, Ithaca, and Kefalonia), which are known for their unique rock formations and crystal-clear waters.

If you prefer to dock in marinas, there are plenty of options throughout Greece. Marinas typically offer additional facilities like electricity, water, and Wi-Fi. However, it’s essential to reserve your spot in advance during the busy summer season, as they can fill up quickly.

Preparing for Your Sailing Trip

Before embarking on your sailing adventure in Greece, there are a few essential preparations you need to consider. This will ensure that you have a smooth and enjoyable experience on the majestic waters of Greece’s coastlines and islands.

  • 1. Firstly, choose the right boat for your needs. Consider the size, capacity, and amenities that will be suitable for your group. Familiarize yourself with the type of boat you’ll be using because this will ultimately affect your overall comfort while sailing.
  • 2. Do an assessment of your sailing skills and experience, as Greece’s waters offer various difficulty levels. While there are many beginner-friendly sailing routes, some areas require more experienced sailors to navigate safely.
  • 3. Research and plan your sailing routes ahead of time. You’ll want to make the most of your time on the water with diverse sailing destinations in Greece, like the Ionian Islands, the Saronic Gulf, and the Dodecanese. Make a list of the must-visit places along your chosen route, but also stay flexible for any unforeseen changes in the itinerary.
  • 4. When selecting a charter company, consider the services they offer and their reputations. Read reviews from previous clients and seek recommendations from fellow sailors. Don’t forget to inquire about their insurance policies, emergency procedures, and support in case you encounter any issues during your journey.
  • 5. Finally, ensure that all necessary paperwork, such as sailing licenses and permits, are up to date and ready for your trip. Check that the charter company provides all the required safety equipment on board, such as life jackets, flares, and fire extinguishers.

What To Wear For Sailing In Greece

When it comes to what to wear for sailing in Greece, you want to make sure you’re comfortable, protected from the sun, and ready for any weather changes.

Start with a lightweight, breathable outfit like a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt and shorts or a sundress.

You’ll also want to bring a hat, sunglasses, and sunscreen with a high SPF to protect your skin from the strong Mediterranean sun.

For cooler evenings or unexpected weather changes, pack a light jacket and a waterproof jacket just in case.

Don’t forget to bring comfortable, non-slip shoes that can get wet, like boat shoes or sandals with a good grip.

Questions People Often Ask

Q: What are the most picturesque islands for sailing?

Greece is known for its stunning islands and crystal-clear waters, so it’s tough to narrow it down to just a few. Some of the most spectacular places to sail in Greece include the iconic Santorini, picturesque Mykonos, charming Rhodes, and unspoiled Ithaca. Each island offers a unique charm that will leave you in awe of its natural beauty.

Q: When is the peak sailing season in Greece?

The peak sailing season in Greece typically runs from May through September, with the most popular months being July and August. During this time, you can expect warm weather, reliable winds, and plenty of sunshine. However, if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience with fewer crowds, consider sailing during the shoulder seasons of April, May, or late September.

Q: How do I choose a yacht charter for island hopping?

When choosing a yacht charter for island hopping in Greece, it’s essential to consider the size of your group, your sailing experience, and your budget. You’ll find various options available, including skippered charters, where a captain sails for you, bareboat charters if you want to operate the boat, or crewed boat charters if you want to be pampered all along your sailing trip. Make sure to research and compare reputable yacht charter companies before booking to ensure a smooth sailing experience.

Q: Which islands are ideal for beginners to sail?

If you are new to sailing or prefer calmer waters, the Saronic Gulf is an excellent choice. The sailing conditions are more forgiving, and you’ll find many beautiful islands close to Athens, such as Aegina, Poros, and Hydra. The Ionian Islands, with their gentle breezes and calm seas, are also ideal for beginner sailors.

Q: Should I start my sailing journey from Athens?

Athens is a popular starting point for sailing holidays, as it offers easy access to the Saronic Gulf and other island chains. Flights from across Europe are frequent to Athens, and the marinas are well-equipped for yacht charters. However, you can also consider launching your sailing trip from other coastal cities like Corfu, Rhodes, or Kos if they align better with your planned itinerary.

Q: Are the Sporades islands great for sailing experiences?

Absolutely! The Sporades islands, located in the northwest Aegean Sea, are known for their lush green landscapes, beautiful beaches, and secluded coves. The strong winds here make for an exhilarating sailing experience, and you can easily explore picturesque islands like Skiathos, Skopelos, and Alonissos. Just remember that the winds can sometimes be challenging, so make sure you’re comfortable with your sailing abilities before heading to the Sporades.

Final Words

Embarking on a sailing adventure in Greece guarantees a truly memorable experience. With so many beautiful islands like Santorini, Mykonos, Corfu, Rhodes, and Crete, you’ll find endless opportunities to explore breathtaking landscapes, soak up the sun, and immerse yourself in Greek culture. Grab your crew, and set sail for an unforgettable adventure!

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4 thoughts on “Best Places to Sail in Greece – Your Ultimate Guide!”

  1. Your knowledge about sailing and attention to detail in your articles is top-notch! I love how you cover all of the bases when discussing the perfect destination spots for sailing! Perhaps adding in little snip-its of things to do on shore in each of these places would give a full-circle view of the area. I’m sure if someone were to go there to sail, they would also like to see what the land has to offer. Just some food for thought 🙂

    • Hi Steph,

      Thank you for the compliment! I appreciate the feedback and will definitely consider including information about on-shore activities in my future articles. It’s important to provide a well-rounded view of each destination spot for sailing enthusiasts.

      If you need any help, please let me know. I’ll be glad to assist:)

  2. Wow, this article has me daydreaming about sailing in Greece! The descriptions of each island and its unique charm are incredibly enticing. I’m particularly drawn to the idea of sailing around Santorini with its caldera views and visiting the charming village of Oia. It’s also great to have insight into the different island groups and their suitability for different skill levels. I appreciate the tips on preparation and what to wear too – definitely going to keep those in mind for my future sailing trip. Thanks for such a comprehensive guide!

    • Hi jason,

      Glad to hear that the article has inspired you to daydream about sailing in Greece. Santorini is indeed a beautiful island with stunning views, and Oia is a charming village worth visiting. It’s always good to be prepared and pack appropriately for a sailing trip. Enjoy your future adventure, and let me know if you need help. I am always happy to assist:)

      Have a fantastic day.


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