Greece has more than 8,000 miles of coastline and over 2,000 islands to explore. The best way to see what these islands and shores have to offer is surely by boat. With ancient civilizations, traditional fishing villages and spectacular scenery to view and discover, no wonder so many people visit this part of the world year after year. Whilst a Greek Road Trip sounds like an excellent idea, there are some places in Greece that are better seen by boat. A sailing holiday will take you to places otherwise inaccessible or too time consuming by any other way.
So, you know you want to explore Greece, but where do you start?
The Ionian or the Cyclades islands are the perfect destinations for a sailing holiday. But there are also the Saronic and the Saronic Islands too. All have their own charms but where you choose will depend on the amount of time you have, your budget and what you want to get out of your trip. You might have a specific destination in mind or just want to see as much of the area as you can. What you can be sure of though, is wherever you choose, you’ll witness some stunning views and have amazing fun on your sailing trip.
Taking a Flotilla holiday will enable you to sail around the islands with a crew depending on your sailing experience. A flotilla is a group of Yachts which sail together under the supervision of a skipper on a lead yacht. It is easier than chartering your own yacht and you have the experience of the flotilla crew on hand to help and guide you to an amazing sailing experience.
How to prepare for a sailing holiday?
Some quick tips on how to prepare for a sailing holiday.
- Pack Light – you don’t need a big suitcase; a small duffle bag is enough.
- Remember the sunscreen and first aid kit.
- Keep passports and important documents in a waterproof bag.
- Bring a book, you’ll have time to read that novel between stops!
- Yacht clothes – t-shirt shorts and flip flops!
- Extra comfortable shoes for walking on the shore.
What route to take?
There are many different avenues to take but what is best for you? Depending on the time you have available and the experience you want, there are lots of different options to choose from. From a few days to a few weeks, there is so much to see and do you have such variety. It also means if you come back you don’t ever have to have the same holiday twice. If you don’t want to that is. If you have no idea where to start then here are some example itineraries:
Santorini – Folegandros – Sifnos – Mykonos
Don’t despair if you only have a short time to take your sailing holiday, you can have a great time exploring in just four days. Start in the beautiful Santorini which is one of the most photographed islands in Greece, with its iconic blue rooved white buildings climbing up the shore. Next to Folegandros an island of looming cliffs and caves. Why not try Katergo beach which is only accessible by boat and often frequented by naturists. Then Sifnos, an island famous for its pottery making with workshops dotted across the villages. You’ll also find it surrounded some lovely sandy beaches. Finally the lively Mykonos, where you’ll find bars and clubs open all night long. For sightseers, don’t miss the iconic 16th-century windmills sitting on top of the cliffs above Mykonos town.
Corfu – Mourtos – Parga – Paxos – Petriti – Sagiada- Corfu
A week’s itinerary in the Ionian islands will give you time to explore the northern islands in this area starting in a popular set off point in Corfu. A well-known holiday destination, Corfu has plenty of resorts for tourists to choose from as well as some sites of historical interest too. You can take time to explore the Venetian fortresses before setting off for Mourtos. Mourtos or Sivota is a small island just off the coast of mainland Greece. It won’t take you long to explore but there are some lovely views and a lighthouse and ruined monastery to see not far from the town. Then onto Parga known for its gorgeous natural beaches including Valtos, Kryoneri, Piso Kryoneri, Lichnos, Sarakiniko and Ai Giannaki. Once you’ve had your fill of sun and sand it’s on to Paxos, the island of olive groves. As you can only access this large island by boat there are less tourists here than on the mainland. For an even more relaxing environment your next stop is Petriti, a quiet fishing village much more relaxing than the rest of Corfu. Lastly stop at Sagiada before back to your original port, another quiet coastal town on your relaxing journey.
Athens – Kea – Syros – Ryneia – Mykonos – Delos – Paros – Naxos – Los – Santorini – Milos – Sifnos – Serifos – Kythnos – Athens
Fourteen days will get you to a lot of places in the Greek Islands. Starting off in Athens will give you the chance to explore mainland Greece before setting off. First stop at Kea where you can hike to the ancient stone carving, the Lion of Kea. Then move on to Syros where you can explore the town of Ermoupoli and the Vaporia quarter where the old sea captains lived. Rynei is next an uninhabited island filled with ancient history and beauty. At a total contrast to Ryneia, Mykonos as mentioned above is a lively party resort where you can stay out all night, that’s if you want to.
Delos is next and has ancient significance known as the mythological birthplace of Apollo. Find historic ruins and the Terrace of the Lions statues. A great stop if you love the ancient Greek mythology. Now you are ready for a rest, Paros is home to spectacular beaches where you can relax and enjoy the Mediterranean sunshine. The largest of the Cyclades, Naxos has plenty of beaches and lots of opportunity for water sports to get that adrenalin pumping. On the way to Santorini stop at Los, a popular and well-developed tourist destination for beach lovers.
Romantic Santorini is next, as mentioned in the 4-day itinerary, this island is well known for its picturesque buildings and scenery. A beautiful stop to soak up the atmosphere and explore the white and blue buildings. On to Milos for more sunset views beaches, inspiring views and white-washed Cycladic villages. Sifnos for its pottery and Serifos for its ancient towers and then on to Kythnos for its wild charm traditional villages and secluded beaches. Once you are finished exploring its back to Athens, where you will wish you could do it all over again!
What will you choose?
With such a vast range of islands to explore and itineraries to tweak which is only curbed by your time and budget, what will you choose when booking a sailing holiday around the Greek islands?
Have you explored the Greek islands by boat? What was your experience like and do you have any tips for those wishing to do the same?