Greece has more than 6000 islands out of which only 230 are inhabited. There are 4 main areas for sailing, but each area has several weekly routes.
Sailing season lasts from April to October, with July and August being the busiest and the warmest months. If you want to avoid super busy old ports and natural bays, high prices for yacht charters and large crowds in all taverns, you should better choose June or September. Even mid October is a great time to go sailing in Greece, as the sea water is still pretty warm, the seas are pretty calm and you can find a spot in the port at any given time. The downside is the sunlight hours, evenings arriving earlier.
Here is a table with average temperatures for all Greece.
|air temp day time
|hours of sunlight
The wind conditions vary a lot in each of the main 4 areas of sailing.
|Sporades & Cyclades
On the west side of Greece we will find Ionian sea sailing area that has mostly easy sailing conditions, smaller distances between the islands and good protection to swell.
Going south, we reach the Saronik sailing area where sailing conditions are easy to moderate and distances are also a little longer than in Ionian. Swell is also more common in this area.
On the east and south side of Greece we have the Sporades and Cyclades areas. We grouped them as they are mostly affected by the same prevalent winds, the Meltemi! Meltemi is a north wind and can occur anytime from May to October, but more frequent from June to September. It’s maximum strength and duration will take place in July and August.
The wind tends to be strongest in the afternoons and often dies down at night but it can sometimes last for several days at a time. It can start with little or no warning and disrupt the public ferries, sailing boats and even cruise ships depending on the strength.
Known as a ‘katabatic wind’ ( a drainage wind) it can bring about harsh sailing conditions but also provides cooler temperatures, low humidity and good visibility.
The southern sailing area is the Dodecanese area. It is also influenced by the Meltemi in the northern part, but a lighter breeze usually blows on the southern coasts.
Most ports in Greece are old ports and predominant situations is anchoring at the stone dock. Only a few private pontoons have mooring lines or some newly upgraded old ports.
A typical sailing day in Greece starts with a coffee and a delightful breakfast on the yacht, overlooking the bay or the port where you are anchored. Or at a cafeteria in the port with a freshly baked cheese and spinach pie.
Around 09.30 the yacht should leave the bay/port towards a new spot for swimming and lunch. If you cook on your on on the yacht, it is the time to show off your culinary skills. If you upgraded your trip with a local hostess, get ready to eat cooked local food, maybe even better than at local taverns.
By 16.00 you should be heading to the nearby port or bay that was planned the day before, so you can find a good place to anchor or dock. If you want to be at the dock, our advice is to be there even earlier, like 14.00-15.00 to be able to find a spot, depending on the port. Some ports get busy at 10.00 right after the other boats from the night before are leaving. Your local skipper will advise on what it is best to do as he knows all details about the good spots in the area.
Dinner will be at a nice tavern in the port or close by, chosen based on your preferences for food on that day. Trust your skipper’s recommendations if you are not familiar with the area.
Check the proposed routes below for more details.