We have the finest selection of fully crewed yacht charters available with motor yachts and sailing yachts and catamarans available. If you are bareboating however, bear in mind that the Mediterranean, in general, requires more experience, better boating skills and a written certification. For these safety and legal reasons better to use a skipper for your first time around the Mediterranean.
Rule No. 2: Don’t plan to sail for more than 4 /5 hours a day or less.
Rule No. 3: Sail or motor in the morning and use your afternoons and evenings to go ashore and eat delicious Greek food in a good Taverna on a different island every day.
There are over 6,000 Greek islands and islets in total. Out of the 6,000, about 1400 are real islands, only 227 are inhabited. 78 of the 227 have population of over 100 people with the rest having less than this.
However, the Greeks have been kind enough to split the islands into groups and it’s a good idea to select one or two of these groups for your Mediterranean sea charter depending on the amount of time you have available and if you are on a sailing vessel or a motor yacht.
2. The Saronic Gulf islands that include Aegina, Poros, Hydra, Spetses and the new hot-spot of Portoheli a European favorite. These islands are an excellent alternative – definitely a “plan B” in case of windy weather in the Cyclades.
3. The Dodecanese (Doh-dek-ahn-ease) Group, is in the far Eastern waters of the Aegean Sea that border with Turkey. These include the large and historical island of Rhodes as well as Symi, Kos, Samos, and Kalimnos.
Cruising these waters can give you a wonderful experience of both Greek and Turkish cultures and foods and include a visit to Ephesus, famous for its ancient Biblical history, architecture and monuments
4. The Ionian Group of islands, on the western shores Greek mainland that include Corfu and Cephalonia (home of the movie “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” and also Skorpios, an island that was owned by Aristotle Onassis). The western islands of the Ionian are totally different and very green.
Since they are relatively out of the way, and too far to access in a weeks sailing charter AND you have to pay the Corinth canal toll of E500. IT’s usually better to fly there and get picked up by your yacht.
5. The Sporades Group, north of Athens include Skiathos, Skopelos, Alonissos and others and are a little out of the way for a week’s charter. Generally calmer waters and less wind, a favorite for fair weather sailors.
6. You can also add the island of Crete to these Groups, Crete is a unique place famous for its great healthy food and special delicious and healthy olive oil (even for Greece).
Crete is a bit off the beaten track and should be a “stand-alone” destination, unless you are on a large motor yacht that travels fast.
First of all we need to address the seasonality. Any kind of boating in the Med and especially the Greek Islands in WINTER IS A BIG NO NO..!!
The boating season starts in May, preferably from mid-May onward, and runs through mid October. This is quite a short season with May and June being generally low and medium priced months, July and August being premium season months and September and October having the most reasonable rates and in our opinion, the best experience because the water is still warm after the summer months.
This if fine for some sailors and yachtsmen who enjoy the busy environment but for others who value their privacy and are looking for a more unique experience, these are NOT the months. July and August are also “Meltemi” months when the nasty NW wind can blow for days on end and thoroughly spoil your vacation.
It’s important to note that the islands most affected by the summer winds are precisely the ones that everyone wants to visit, i.e. Mykonos, Santorini, et al. Unless you are chartering a large motor yacht with stabilizers, and if you REALLY MUST see these two islands in July or August, take the ferry from Piraeus.
July and August are months to look for the protected waters of the Saronic or the Sporades, where the locals take their vacation. Even the Dodecanese islands of Kos, Symi and the adjacent Turkish coast can be less daunting.
Having said all of this, the Greek Islands are a must-see for yacht charters. The Greeks are a friendly people and the food is healthy and fresh. The sheer history of each island and the whole region is awe-inspiring.
All this makes it an unforgettable experience. Even if you’ve done it before, you can keep on going back year after year and still find amazing little places you missed before.