One of the best sailing destinations in Greece is the region of the Northern Sporades, a group of small green islands with a multitude of wonderful coves and sandy beaches in the northern Aegean off the coast of Pilio. The North Eastern end of the island group is protected as a National Marine Park, and is a habitat and breeding ground for the rare Mediterranean Monk seal.
If you are setting sail from the marina of Alimos in Athens, head to the islands of the Saronic Gulf which also usually have easy sailing conditions in the summer. Stops include Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Methana and Spetses.
For those committed to the Cyclades it is better to restrict the number of islands on your itinerary to reduce the amount of time spent traveling. A popular route is to head to the west Cyclades reaching Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos and Milos. With a sailboat you also can visit pristine beaches that are difficult to reach by land, such as Kleftiko on Milos, Bisti on Hydra and Kolona on Kythnos.
Day 1: Athens – Aegina (On the way, stop in Agia Marina Bat for a swim in the clear waters)
Day 2: Aegina – Hydra (See our edit on where to stay/eat/beach on Hyrda)
Day 3: Hydra – Spetses
Day 4: Spetses – Ermioni (Drop anchor at Dokos island for a swim)
Day 5: Ermioni – Poros
Day 5: Poros – Epidavros (We recommend booking a ticket for one for the ancient theatre shows here)
Day 7: Epidravros – Athens (Always worth dropping anchor in Aponissis Bay for a swim spot)
Day 1; Athens to Aegina
Day 2; Poros to Spathi for lunch then onto Hydra
Day 3; Day in Hydra (See our edit on where to stay/eat/beach on Hyrda)
Day 4; Hydra to Milos (See our edit on where to stay/eat/beach on Milos)
Day 5; Day in Milos
Day 6; Day at Kleftiko then sail to Adamas Port Milos
Day 7; Milos to Ios
Day 8; Ios to Santorini
Day 9; Santorini to Tagania for lunch then onto Paros
Day 10; Paros to Mykonos
Day 11; Mykonos to Delos return
Day 12; Mykonos to Kea
Day 13; Kea to Cape Sounion
Day 14; Return to Athens
The first decision to make when planning a sailing trip is whether you want or need a skipper. Chartering companies will provide you with a captain to guide your vessel. For a skipper, the average cost is 1000 Euro per week.
To charter a boat without a skipper you will need to have the appropriate level of experience for your choice of destination. The Saronic Gulf, Ionian islands, Sporades and Haldiki are great for those who want a bare-boat voyage. The winds tend to be relatively light with calm seas.
If you head to the Cyclades and Southern Aegean, this requires more experience, as the summer meltemi winds in the region are strong and this is likely to be a harrowing experience unless you are a hardened sailor.
Skippers will have all the local knowledge, guide you to the best beaches and coves, and can make the difference between having a good holiday and a phenomenal one. It also takes the pressure off you and your companions, allowing you to relax.
If your boat does not come with a tender, consider requesting one. It will come in handy when you drop anchor in a bay and want to head to the beach to explore.
Be aware of extra costs per day. Fuel can reach 150-200 euros per week depending on the journey and there are harbour fees. Expect harbours to charge approx.. 3 euros per day.
You only have whatever fresh water is in your tanks and so be careful not to waste it – i.e. take short showers. However, water supplies can be replenished at harbours and marinas.
The secret to a good trip is a good group dynamic. Boats are confined spaces and when you have 6-8 people living together on a boat, it means that space and privacy are limited. Mutual respect and honouring basic ground rules are key to ensuring that the atmosphere on board remains light and pleasant.
For the best success, it is crucial to organise and split up the onboard tasks that need to be done and we recommend dividing up jobs based on people’s expertise and ability.
The question that the group needs to settle before the trip is, how many days does everyone want to sail? Then you can plan the destinations.