Want to go sailing in Greece? Then you’re definitely in the right place because this guide features all the best sailing destinations in the country!
From the best islands in the northern Aegean Seas to the most popular destinations in the Ionian Sea – we’ve got all the best places for sailing in the country. So, get ready to charter a yacht in Greece, and head to one of these fabulous sailing destinations in both the Ionian and Aegean seas!
The Cyclades are a group of islands in the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece. The island group incorporates some of Greece’s most popular islands, including Mykonos, Santorini, Syros, Naxos, Deos, and more. Naxos is the largest Greek island in the Cyclades, but Syros is the most populated one.
With secluded coves, fabulous sandy beaches, and some of the best hiking trails in all of Greece, the Cyclades are undoubtedly one of the country’s best destinations for a sailing holiday.
The landscape of the Cyclades is known for whitewashed houses with thatched roofs, windmills, and cobblestone alleys. The islands in this group are some of the most romantic in Greece, which makes them popular honeymoon destinations. This is especially true for Santorini and Mykonos, which remain some of the most popular destinations in the entire country.
Deos is also a stunning island worth hopping to. It’s believed to be the mythical birthplace of Apollo, and it’s home to countless ruins including temples, an amphitheater, markets, and houses with mosaics.
The Ionian Islands are situated west of mainland Greece, in the Ionian Sea. They’re called the Heptanese locally, which translates to the seven islands. There are seven main islands in the group, as well as many smaller islands.
This island group is also the best destination if you’re just getting into sailing. The Corfu sailing school has been operating since 2001, and it’s one of the best sailing schools in Greece.
Head to the Ionian Islands even if you’ve got plenty of sailing experience. The island group boasts some of the most popular destinations in the country, including Zakynthos, Kefalonia, Lefkada, and others.
With so many stunning beaches, mesmerizing landmarks, and exciting hiking trails, the Ionian Islands are one of the best Greek destinations for short sailing trips. These islands are best-known for vast sandy beaches, turquoise waters, and dramatic cliffs, with a plethora of otherworldly swimming spots.
Dodecanese Islands are a popular sailing destination in the southern Aegean sea. They’re closure to mainland Turkey than Greece, and the group consists of 12 main and many smaller islands. This is one of the best destinations in the country if you’re into island hopping – you can explore multiple smaller islands in a day until you find the best one for you.
Kos, Rhodes, and Kefalos are some of the best-known Greek islands in the group, but they’re certainly not the only ones worth exploring during the sailing trip. Dodecanese Islands are known for old-school island life, friendly locals, hidden anchorages, and dazzling landscapes.
The old town of Rhodes is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, Kalymnos is a world-famous rock climbing destination, and Patmos is home to some fascinating spiritual sites. Whether you’re looking to do a quick sailing trip in eastern Greece or a proper Greek island sailing tour, the Dodecanese Islands remain one of the best destinations in the Aegean Sea.
The Northern Sporades is the proper name for the sporadic (hint) islands just off the eastern coast of mainland Greece. The island group includes both fertile and uninhabited islands, and they’re by far the best sailing destination in Greece if you want to explore some of the country’s wilder landscapes.
Even the bigger islands are home to small populations, which mostly consist of farmers, fishermen, and craftsmen. The islands get busy during peak tourist season, but they’re almost deserted in the off-season. The Northern Sporades are home to quite a few secluded bays and coves, with some of the best beaches in all of Europe.
In fact, some five beaches on Skopelos and Skiathos are considered the best in this part of the world, and they’re best explored on sailing trips. The beaches get pretty busy during the high season with an abundance of tourists, but sailors can dock far away from the crowds. The abundance of gorgeous bays in this area means you can easily find a spot to have all to yourself in one of the many secluded anchorages in the Northern Sporades.
Thassos is the northernmost island in the Aegean Sea and a fabulous destination for sailing in Greece. The beautiful island is known for its lush landscapes, stunning beaches, and many archaeological sites. Whether you want to spend your sailing trip discovering the best beaches in the country or you want to see some historic sites that Greece is famous for, Thassos is a great destination.
Situated in northeastern Greece, the island is very close to the town of Kavala on the mainland. It’s a mountainous island with small villages, exciting hiking trails, and beautiful secluded beaches. If you end up sailing in this area, make sure to get off the boat and explore the island because you’ll be rewarded with some unforgettable experiences.
Also, it’s worth noting that Thassos is close to the Nationa Park of Nestos Delta and lakes Vistonida-Ismarida. This national park is popular for birdwatching, thanks to the large presence of flamingos, pelicans, and tortoises. It’s also a fascinating natural attraction in northern Greece, and a place worth visiting if you’re trying to discover the spectacular nature of this Mediterranean country.
The Saronic Gulf is the best destination for sailing from Athens. It is also home to Alimos Marina (in Athens), which is the largest marina in the entire country. It can accommodate more than a thousand sailing yachts, but it’s not guaranteed you’ll be able to find a spot to dock during peak sailing season.
The gulf also offers excellent sailing conditions and there are several sailing schools on the islands. The highlights of the Saronic Gulf are Hydra Island, Poros, and Spetses, with countless historic sites that are wonderful to discover.
Most people who sail in the Saronic Gulf set off from Athens, and that’s the best way to start the sailing trip in this part of Greece. The capital city has many landmarks and historic sites worth exploring, and they’re a great introduction to the fabulous sights that await on the other islands.
Crete is the largest island not just in the Aegean Islands, but in the entire country with a total landmass of 3,219 square miles. It’s an awesome sailing destination with many bays, coves, and stunning beaches.
This is also one of the most historically important islands in Greece. It was first inhabited by humans in the Paleolithic age, and it used to be the center of the Minoan civilization from 2700 BC. A lot of archaeological sites and landmarks on Crete are a testament to its rich history, which makes it one of the best sailing destinations for anyone looking to explore more of Greek history.
The massive island is home to several bigger cities, so there are plenty of places to go when you just want to relax and unwind off the boat for an evening. Nature lovers will be thrilled to know that the island has a mountainous relief, with a plethora of fun and exciting trails worth discovering.
The best part is that you don’t have to go too far into the island to explore many of the hikes, since a lot of them have trailheads very close to the beaches.
The Peloponnese region is a large peninsula that encompasses the better part of southern Greece. It includes both the mainland and the smaller nearby islands, which is exactly what makes it one of the best sailing destinations in this part of the world.
This is one of the largest regions in Greece, so there are plenty of thrilling places to explore. Greek cities, ancient historical sites, countless bays, secluded coves, and even caves are all accessible on sailing trips in the Peloponnese.
Most sailors set off from the marinas in either Athens or Piraeus, so the west coast of the peninsula is your first introduction to the region. It’s then best to sail south, where you can see the picturesque Greek fishing villages like Tyro, Plaka, and Astros. Monemvasia is one of the prettiest places in this entire region, so don’t miss out on the Gibraltar of the East!
Other places in the Peloponnese that need to be on your Greece travel itinerary include Elafonisos with its exotic beaches, the Gulf of Messenia, the Gulf of Laconia, Ancient Olympia, Patra, and Corinth, among others. There’s so much to see and do in the Peloponnese that you could spend a month sailing around the region, and you still wouldn’t cover even half of it!
Anna is the co-owner of expert world travel and can't wait to share her travel experience with the world. With over 54 countries under her belt she has a lot to write about! Including those insane encounters with black bears in Canada.