The Greek capital is romantic and modern at the same time with its historic monuments, countless shops, and many nightclubs. You can find just as many crowded streets, squares, and colourful shop windows, as small, narrow alleyways. There are countless cafés, restaurants, and pubs waiting for the visitors in this vibrant metropolis. However, if you want to see something other than the bustling city life, you have to go on a sailing tour in the area. There are many beautiful places waiting for us. Here are some tips and advice if you want to sail around Athens.
The article gives you an overview of the following topics:
- When is the best time to go sailing in Athens?
- Ports and Islands in Athens: The most beautiful Greek islands you have to see
- Sail in Athens! Athens sailing tours:
- Athens yachting: A seven-day sailing itinerary
- A week Athens sailing itinerary
- Sailing from Athens to Santorini: 14 days sailing cruise
The sailing season in Greece lasts for 9 months, from March to November. Throughout the summer the prevailing winds are eastern in the area of the Ionian and the Aegean Sea as well. We can encounter the north-west and north-east winds from June. The winds reach their full speed of Beaufort force 5 and 8 in July and August. The winds start weakening in late September, early October. When the Meltemi winds are weak, the sea winds take their place. These winds blow from south-east and south-west. The Sirocco winds blow from the south with a force of 2-4. They come alive in the spring and in the autumn. You can go sailing basically all year, and lucky for us, there are many beautiful places to see.
If we don’t have a chance to spend a week sailing, here are some places you have to see if you only spend a day or two in Athens.
Poros, the stone pine island
The island was hit by several earthquakes a few decades ago, but many old buildings remained intact. These buildings make the capital of the small island, Poros, so special. As it is very close to the mainland, it is a popular destination among yachtsmen. This tiny island consists of two parts: the Sphairia peninsula and the main island, Kalaureia. The two parts are connected by a narrow piece of land that looks like a bridge.
The southern side of the island is covered by stone pine forests. This area reaches the seashore. On the northern side, they grow olive trees and citrus fruits, and they maintain fish farms as well. On the plateaus, we can find many vineyards. If you spend a few days here you have to visit the ruins of Temple of Poseidon in Kalaureia. Furthermore, in the small archaeological museum, you can see the artifacts of Troica, the Acropolis of Mycenae and the Sanctuary of Methana.
Hydra, the donkey island
The island, covering less than 60 square kilometres, got its name from the natural springs you can find here. The main town is Hydra port located on the east coast. The moon-shaped city has many restaurants and shops in the middle. Steep streets are flowing from here everywhere, leading up the hillside. At the two ends of the island, there are fortresses with cannons. They used to protect the harbour from here. You can spot the typical windmills from afar at the left end. The wells here were blocked by earth movements in the 20th century. Nowadays drinking water is transported here with tankers from the nearby mainland.
When stepping ashore, there are two curious things you’ll see: the donkeys and the steep, cobblestoned streets, leading up the hillside. Cars and motorcycles were banned from the island. Donkeys and mules provide transportation, and this kind of taxi is the first thing you’ll be offered when stepping ashore. Tourism is the most important income for Hydra. Some wealthier Athenians and a few American celebrities own a mansion on the island.
Aegina, the island of pistachios
According to the legend, Aegina got its name from a nymph who Zeus fell in love with, and took her to an island with him. For a brief period from 1827 to 1829 Aegina was the capital of modern Greece. The governor then built a spectacular, neoclassical government house. Nowadays this building is the most important tourist attraction of the island.The main city of the island is Aegina with its beautifully preserved buildings. Outside the city, there are charming, traditional villages like Kypseli, Agii, and Vagia, and you have to visit them, too.
Agistri, if you want a bit of peace and quiet
Agistri is a tiny island for those who just want to relax. The island’s length is 5,5 kilometres and its width is 3,5 kilometres. There are only four villages on the island. Probably it is the most ideal place if you want to hide a little bit from everyday life, the bustling streets and the million tourists. Everybody will find the pine forests and walking trails attractive who appreciates nature. Moreover, the beautiful, sandy beaches and crystal clear sea will amaze everyone who loves water. Either you want to swim or go diving, you can do them both. However, if you prefer the buzzing village life, visit the taverns and cafés in the port.
This route starts from the marina in Athens, and after one week we will head back here.
Day 1. Athens – Selinia Salamis (Salamina island)
9.42 km (5.85 mi)
From the point of view of tourism, this is the least developed and largest of the Saronic Islands. Since it is one jump away from the mainland, a lot of people live here and commute to the city every day. The old harbour of the city contributed greatly to the development of the ancient city of Salamina. Nowadays, it is the second biggest port in Greece – after the one in Athens. It is located in Paloukia, and basically, the whole city is a big port. Countless ferries and tourist yachts arrive here every day. Thanks to its size the port is able to accommodate many sailboats. For this reason, the harbour maintains a well-equipped 24-hour security service. Therefore, we don’t have to worry about our yacht when we go hiking.
You can find the cleanest beaches at the south end of Salamina, tourists consider Eandio the most beautiful of them. If you are visiting the island with your significant other, be sure to go on a romantic horse carriage ride. On the way, you can admire the narrow, cobblestoned streets and monumental palaces of the island. This place also offers great programs for sports lovers. They organize the biggest triathlon competition in Greece here every April, called Spetsathlon. There are tens of thousands of contestants, including famous athletes. So you either come here for the romance of the place or for doing sports, this stop will definitely please you.
Day 2. Salamina – Coressia (Kea island)
80.06 km (49.75 mi)
The island of Kea is 60 kilometres from Athens, a one and a half hour voyage from the port of Lavrio. The beaches are not the only things this island is famous for. Its fame comes from the endless tranquillity, cosy villages, and natural features. We can take a relaxing walk among the hills, valleys, orchards, and plantations. The capital is called Chora. This village is characterised by the traditional houses with ceramic-tiled roofs, cobblestoned streets, and narrow staircases. The island of Kea has a lot to offer. it is a place rich in very interesting artifacts from different eras. For example, in Ioulis you can visit the medieval castle, temples, and watermills. We recommend this island for those seeking some peace and quiet or active recreation.
Day 3. Kea – Merihas (Kythnos Island)
38.13 km (23.70 mi)
The almost completely barren and hilly Kynthos lies on a 99 square kilometres large area. It has a population of fewer than 1500 people. It is located only 8 kilometres from Kea. The tourism structure is still underdeveloped, thus only a few foreign tourists visit the island. However, thanks to this we can spend some nice, quiet days here, away from the crowded cities. The majority of visitors are locals who come here for the healing powers of the ferrous thermal water pools located near Loutra. We should also spend some time relaxing in those thermal pools.
Kynthos has become more and more popular among the wealthier people. They are happy to spend the hot summer weeks here, therefore they have been buying up the seaside properties. The local population is very traditional and friendly, they make their living from farming the land and fishing. It is the perfect place to relax even if you don’t come here for the thermal water pools.
Day 4. Kythnos – Livadi (Serifos island)
43.15 km (26.81 mi)
The whole island radiates a tranquil atmosphere. Despite its dry and wild geographical features Serifos gracefully embraces the warm blue colours of the Aegean Sea. It has many breathtaking beaches. The locals respect the Cycladic architecture by only building white and blue coloured houses. These buildings make these cities and villages even more enchanting. Aside from relaxing you can go hiking, mountain climbing, and you can also try mountain biking. Of course, there are many programs for sports enthusiasts, too. They can go scuba diving or surfing. The most beautiful village of the island is Chora, located on the top of a hill. It offers a spectacular view of the never-ending blue sea.
Day 5. Serifos – Idra (Idra island)
103.52 km (64.32 mi)
Day 6. Idra – Methana (Methana peninsula)
36.19 km (22.48 mi)
The first thing we see upon arrival is the picturesque harbour that stretches along the coast in the shape of a semicircle. The port provides a full range of services, such as electricity, water and charging stations. There are 70 berths available for vessels up to a length of 25 metres and a depth of 3 metres. The port has ramps and cranes that make our life even easier. There is a 24/7 service available, so the staff can help you anytime you need it.
In fact, the peninsula is a volcano protruding from the sea, therefore it is worth spending more time exploring the rare volcanic landscape. We also have to devote a few hours to discover the diverse flora and fauna of the island. First and foremost, the thermal spas made the island famous that attracted many foreign tourists here, mostly the elderly from Europe. A stunning road leads from the fishing village near the port to the Baths of Pausanias, one of the island’s many hot springs. There are more than 32 volcanoes on the island. Climbing the biggest crater can be the experience of a lifetime. In conclusion, our swim near the volcanic coastline will be something to remember.
Day 7. Methana – Aegina island – Athens
48.42 km (30.09 mi))
Although Aegina is a relatively small island, it boasts of many historic and natural attractions. The most popular is the Tempe of Aphaia. You should visit the temple at sunset because in the light of the sinking sun the monumental Doric columns glitter in a shade of pink. It is the perfect time to take some gorgeous photos.
After bringing back the yacht it is worth looking around in Athens. Athens is the historic jewel of Europe. This city is home to the most important cultural and historical attractions. Every step and every street leads to an impressive monument. Athens is the cradle of European civilization. It is the symbol of the ancient world. Philosophy, democracy, and theatre were born here.
Read more what to do in Athens.
Day 1. Athens – Selinia Salamis (Salamina island) 9.42 km (5.85 mi), Day 2. Salamina – Aegina 26.25 km (16.31 mi) Day 3. Aegina – Poros (Poros Island) 35.54 km (22.08 mi), Day 4. Poros – Ermioni 40.00 km (24.85 mi), Day 5. Ermioni – Idra (Idra Island) 19.58 km (12.16 mi), Day 6. Idra – Coressia (Kea island) 83.19 km (51.69 mi), Day 7. Kea – Sounion – Athens 77.30 km (48.03 mi)
Day 1. Athens – Selinia Salamis (Salamina island) 9.42 km (5.85 mi), Day 2. Salamina – Aegina 26.25 km (16.31 mi), Day 3. Aegina – Lavrion ( Olympic Marine) 68,02 km (42,26 mi), Day 4. Lavrion – Merihas (Kythnos Island) 45,95 km (28,55 mi), Day 5. Merihas – Livadi (Serifos Island) 47,76 km (29,68 mi), Day 6. Livadi – Milos island (Adamantas) 51,33 km (31,90 mi), Day 7. Milos – Folgerandos (Karavostasis) 67,01 km (41,64 mi), Day 8. Folgerandos – Santorini (Thira) 50,25 km (31,22 mi), Day 9. Thira – Vlychada (Santorini) 15,83 km (9,83 mi), Day 10. Vlychada – Ios 52,81 km (32,81 mi), Day 11. Ios – Sifnos island (Kamares) 67,61 km (42,01 mi), Day 12.Kamares – Siros 88,45 km, Day 13. Siros – Kea 69,63 km (43,27 mi), Day 14. Kea – Glifada – Athens 75,68 km (47,02 mi).
If you like this itinerary, don’t hesitate too much! Rent a boat today at a very reasonable price and with flexible terms.