Experience the Magic of Sailing in Greece: Best Routes for Beginners

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Sailing in Greece is pure magic! The turquoise waters, the hidden coves, the ancient ruins – it’s a sailor’s paradise. If you’re a beginner sailor, you’re in for a treat. Greece boasts some of the most beginner-friendly sailing routes in the world. In this blog post, I’ll share my favourite routes that are perfect for first-timers. We’ll explore islands with gentle winds, calm seas, and plenty of charming harbours to drop anchor. Get ready to discover the enchanting world of sailing in Greece – it’s an adventure you won’t forget!

Unfurling your sails: Greece awaits 

Greece, with its scattered islands like jewels on the Aegean Sea, is a dream destination for sailing enthusiasts. Each island is unique, with its own character, history, and stunning landscapes. Sailing allows you to explore these islands at your own pace, dropping anchor in secluded bays, discovering hidden beaches, and immersing yourself in the local culture.

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Why Greece is perfect for beginner sailors

Sailing Greece is particularly appealing for beginners. The waters are generally calm, especially during the summer months, and the Meltemi winds are predictable, making it easier to navigate. The distances between islands are relatively short, allowing for leisurely day sails with plenty of time to relax and explore ashore. Plus, with numerous marinas and sheltered anchorages, you’ll always find a safe haven for the night.

Choosing your sailing adventure

There are various ways to experience sailing in Greece, catering to different levels of experience and preferences:

  • Bareboat Charter with Skipper: If you have some sailing experience but prefer guidance, consider a bareboat charter with a skipper. You’ll have the freedom to choose your itinerary while the skipper handles the navigation and technical aspects.
  • Crewed Yacht Charter: For a luxurious and hassle-free experience, opt for a crewed yacht charter. A professional crew will take care of everything, from sailing and navigation to meals and onboard activities, leaving you to simply relax and enjoy the journey.
  • Flotilla Holidays: If you’re looking for a social sailing experience, flotilla holidays are a great option. You’ll sail in a group of yachts, led by an experienced lead crew, with the opportunity to explore islands together, enjoy organised activities, and make new friends.

Whatever your choice, sailing in Greece promises an unforgettable adventure. From the breathtaking scenery and charming villages to the warm hospitality and delicious cuisine, you’re in for a treat. So, unfurl your sails and let Greece enchant you!

Setting sail with confidence: essential tips for beginners

Setting off on your first sailing adventure in Greece can be a little daunting, but with a bit of preparation, you’ll be navigating the Aegean like a pro! Here are my top tips for beginner sailors:

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Choosing the right route

  • Be Honest About Your Experience: If you’re new to sailing, start with a route that’s known for calm waters and shorter distances between islands.
  • Ask for Recommendations: Charter companies and local sailors are a great source of information. They can suggest routes that match your skill level and interests.
  • Consider the Season: The best time for beginners to sail in Greece is during the summer months when the winds are more predictable.

Getting your sailing credentials

  • Check License Requirements: If you’re planning to charter a bareboat (without a skipper), you’ll need to have a valid sailing license or certification. Do your research beforehand to ensure you meet the requirements.
  • Brush Up on Your Skills: Even if you have some sailing experience, it’s always a good idea to refresh your knowledge before your trip. Consider taking an online course or spending a few days at a sailing school.

Packing essentials for a sailing adventure

  • Dress for Comfort: Pack lightweight, breathable clothing, a hat, sunglasses, and a waterproof jacket.
  • Sun Protection is Key: Don’t forget sunscreen, a lip balm with SPF, and a wide-brimmed hat to protect yourself from the strong Greek sun.
  • Seasickness Remedies: If you’re prone to seasickness, pack some medication or wristbands to help prevent it.
  • Entertainment: Bring a book, a deck of cards, or download some music or podcasts for those relaxing hours at sea.
  • Don’t Forget the Camera!: You’ll want to capture those stunning Greek sunsets and picturesque harbour towns.

Remember, sailing is all about enjoying the journey. Take your time, relax, and soak up the beauty of Greece from the water. Happy sailing!

Island hopping paradise: top beginner-friendly routes

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The Saronic gulf

If you’re a beginner sailor, the Saronic Gulf is your ideal starting point. Just a short hop from Athens, it offers calm waters, easy navigation, and a cluster of charming islands waiting to be explored. I’ve sailed these waters many times, and it never fails to capture my heart.

Island hopping in the saronic gulf

Each island in the Saronic Gulf has its own unique charm:

  • Aegina: Famous for its pistachio nuts, Aegina is a lively island with a bustling harbour and a fascinating ancient temple.
  • Poros: This picturesque island is known for its pine-clad hills, colourful houses, and a charming waterfront lined with tavernas.
  • Hydra: A car-free island, Hydra is a haven of tranquility, with donkeys as the primary mode of transport and stunning stone mansions lining the harbour.

Here’s a suggested itinerary for a 7-day sailing trip in the Saronic Gulf, perfect for beginners:

  • Day 1: Start your journey from Athens and sail to Aegina. Explore the town, visit the Temple of Aphaia, and enjoy a delicious pistachio ice cream.
  • Day 2: Set sail for Poros. Wander through the narrow streets, climb the clock tower for panoramic views, and savour fresh seafood by the waterfront.
  • Day 3: Head to Hydra. Take a donkey ride, visit the historical archives museum, and soak up the laid-back atmosphere of this car-free island.
  • Day 4: Sail to Dokos, a small, uninhabited island perfect for a secluded swim and a picnic on the beach.
  • Day 5: Return to Hydra for another day of relaxation and exploration.
  • Day 6: Sail back to Aegina for a final taste of island life before heading back to Athens.
  • Day 7: Disembark in Athens and say goodbye to the beautiful Saronic Gulf.

This is just a suggestion, of course. You can customize your itinerary based on your interests and the time you have available. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie, or simply seeking relaxation, the Saronic Gulf has something for everyone. So, hoist the sails and let the adventure begin!

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The Ionian islands

The Ionian Islands, nestled on the west coast of Greece, offer a different kind of sailing experience. Known for their lush landscapes, turquoise waters, and sheltered bays, they’re a paradise for those who love nature and tranquility. I’ve spent many blissful days sailing these islands, and their beauty never ceases to amaze me.

The Ionian Islands boast a diverse range of attractions:

  • Corfu: The northernmost Ionian island, Corfu is steeped in history, with Venetian fortresses, charming old towns, and stunning beaches.
  • Lefkada: Famous for its dramatic cliffs and pristine beaches, Lefkada is a haven for water sports enthusiasts and nature lovers.
  • Kefalonia: The largest of the Ionian Islands, Kefalonia boasts stunning natural beauty, including the underground Melissani Lake and Myrtos Beach, often hailed as one of the most beautiful in the world.

The Cyclades islands

The Cyclades Islands, scattered like pearls in the heart of the Aegean Sea, are synonymous with Greek island life. They offer a wider variety of sailing conditions compared to the Saronic or Ionian Islands, but don’t let that deter you. Plenty of islands in this group are perfect for beginners, with sheltered coves and predictable winds. Trust me, as someone who’s sailed these waters extensively, I’ve found plenty of tranquil spots even in the Cyclades.

Island gems for beginner sailors

While the Cyclades are known for the vibrant nightlife of Mykonos and the dramatic caldera of Santorini, there are also calmer islands that are perfect for first-time sailors:

  • Naxos: The largest of the Cyclades, Naxos offers a mix of long sandy beaches, charming mountain villages, and ancient ruins.
  • Paros: This popular island has a bustling harbor town, picturesque beaches, and plenty of secluded coves to explore.
  • Syros: The capital of the Cyclades, Syros boasts a unique blend of Venetian and neoclassical architecture, along with charming villages and quiet beaches.
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Planning your dream trip

Now that you’re inspired to set sail in Greece, let’s dive into the practical aspects of planning your dream trip. A little preparation goes a long way in ensuring a smooth and enjoyable sailing adventure.

Timing is everything

  • Consider the Weather: The best time to sail in Greece is during the summer months, from May to September, when the weather is warm and sunny, and the winds are more predictable.
  • Avoid the Crowds: If you prefer a quieter experience, consider sailing in the shoulder seasons (April-May or September-October), when the crowds are thinner and the prices are often lower.

Choosing your charter company

  • Research is Key: Do your homework and compare different charter companies. Look for reputable companies with a good track record and positive reviews.
  • Check the Fleet: Make sure the company has a variety of yachts to choose from, ranging in size and style to suit your needs and budget.
  • Skipper Availability: If you need a skipper, check if the company has experienced skippers available for your chosen dates.
  • Compare Prices: Get quotes from multiple companies to compare prices and ensure you’re getting a fair deal.
  • Ask About Extras: Some companies offer additional services, such as provisioning (pre-stocking the yacht with food and drinks) or airport transfers.

Booking your sailing holiday

  • Travel Agencies: Consider using a travel agency that specializes in sailing holidays. They can offer expert advice, help you find the right charter company, and handle all the booking details for you.
  • Online Platforms: There are also many online platforms that allow you to search for and book sailing holidays in Greece.
  • Direct Booking: You can also contact charter companies directly to book your yacht.
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Wrapping up

Choosing your first sailing route in Greece is all about finding the right balance of adventure and comfort. Whether you prefer the calm waters of the Saronic Gulf, the lush landscapes of the Ionian Islands, or the charming Cyclades, Greece offers a sailing experience for every beginner. Remember to consider your experience level, the time of year, and the type of sailing adventure you desire.

Remember, planning is part of the fun! Take your time, research your options, and choose the itinerary and charter company that best suit your needs and preferences.

I hope this guide has been helpful in planning your sailing adventure in Greece. Get ready to experience the magic of the Greek islands from the water – it’s an experience you’ll cherish forever! So, my fellow adventurers, are you ready to set sail? Embrace the challenge, learn new skills, and let the magic of Greece captivate you. Trust me, Greece is calling, and your dream sailing adventure awaits!

The takeaway

So, there you have it! Your ultimate guide to hopping over from Mykonos to Paros. Remember, whether it’s a quick 40-minute dash or a more relaxed journey, figuring out how long is the ferry from Mykonos to Paros is just the first step. Choosing the right ferry comes down to your personal preferences.

Don’t forget to book in advance (especially in peak season), pack your essentials, and arrive at the port early. Oh, and be sure to grab a window seat for those breathtaking Aegean views!

Most importantly, relax and soak up the journey. The ferry ride is just the beginning of your Paros adventure. Get ready to discover hidden beaches, wander through charming villages, and create memories that will last a lifetime. Happy island hopping!

Make Your Trip Easier

I’m all about planning trips on your own and figuring your way around the local scene. But still, I don’t want to leave you like a fish out of water!

Here are some resources I regularly use whenever I travel (on my own or with other people):

Xo, Alice.


Alice

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