With the summer holidays on the horizon, why not consider a trip to the magnificent Greek islands? Chartering a yacht for a private cruise and island hopping is one of the most enjoyable experiences you can ever have. You can explore some of Greece’s beautiful coastlines from your own boat, but you’ll also be able to visit remote islands as well as much-loved tourist spots. Greece’s stunning scenery, rich history, safe environment, great culture, and irresistible cuisine make it the perfect destination for an unforgettable summer holiday. With this helpful guide, you’ll be able to make the most of your Greek island-hopping yacht-holiday and enjoy a truly unique experience.
Island hopping adventure in the Greek Islands – Why Greece is the perfect destination?
Greece is one of the best places in the world for island hopping. With over 6,000 islands and islets scattered around the Aegean Sea and the Ionian Sea in close proximity, Greece has no shortage of beautiful coastlines and secluded coves to explore. The crystal-clear waters, picturesque harbors, and stunning beaches make the perfect backdrop for a yacht charter holiday. Plus, the Mediterranean climate makes it ideal for sailing and lounging in the sun with temperatures rarely falling under 18°C in Spring and Autumn, and well above 25°C in Summer. Whether you’re looking for a romantic retreat or an invigorating adventure, there’s something for everyone in Greece. Finally, the sailing culture of Greeks can make your Greek island hopping charter an even more enjoyable experience. From friendly locals to enthusiastic skippers, you’ll be able to explore the captivating shores of Greece with professionals that know the waters like their own back yard.
Island hopping in the Cyclades
The Cyclades are the most famous group of Greek islands and one of the best destinations for a sailing holiday. These islands are located in the center of the Aegean Sea and they are known for their beautiful beaches, picturesque villages, fascinating archaeological sites with ancient ruins, and lively nightlife. Island hopping here is a real adventure, full of surprises and you can easily sail from one island to the other in a day. The relatively small distances between the islands means that you don’t have to spend too much time sailing from one island to the other. Instead, you can spend more time enjoying the breathtaking views, crystal-clear waters, and beauties each island has to offer.
Keep in mind though, that the weather tends to be quite windy during the summer months, so you should take this into consideration when making your plans. Also, the fact that many of these islands are famous and popular, may lead to overcrowding in the heart of summer.
Island hopping in the Ionian
The Ionian islands are located in the western part of Greece and they offer a different kind of experience. With their world-famous turquoise beaches, tranquil seas, and lush green nature — these islands are perfect for those who wish to relax and explore the beauty of Greece. From secluded coves to wild mountain trails, Ionian islands have something for everyone. A yacht charter is one of the best ways to explore these islands and discover their hidden gems. Whether it’s sailing around Lefkada, discovering the beauty of Corfu, or exploring the serene island of Zakynthos — a yacht charter provides the perfect opportunity to travel in this beautiful part of Greece.
Island hopping in the Dodecanese
The Dodecanese islands can also offer an unforgettable experience. These islands are known for their unique architecture and interesting history, as well as their rugged beaches, and unspoiled nature. There are plenty of activities to indulge in on these islands, such as exploring the medieval castle of Rhodes, visiting the monastery of Saint John in Patmos, or tanning on one of the many beaches of Kos. A yacht charter allows you to explore the Dodecanese in a relaxed and comfortable way. There’s also the opportunity to discover some of the smaller islands that are often overlooked by large tourist crowds, making it a perfect option for those who seek small-crowd locations.
Island hopping in the Sporades
The Sporades islands are renowned for their peaceful ambiance and stunning natural beauty, offering the perfect escape to a sailing enthusiast. This is the perfect destination if you prefer secluded places without the large flocks of tourists that tend to arrive during the summer months in Greece. You should expect a truly local experience accompanied by heartwarming Greek hospitality.
The Sporades are generally an easygoing destination. However, keep in mind that Skiathos island offers a more vibrant nightlife that attracts a lot of younger people. If you prefer serenity, focus on the islands of Skopelos, Alonissos, and Skyros instead.
Island hopping in the Saronic
The Saronic islands are the perfect location for those who are looking for a combination of cosmopolitan vibes and yacht culture. Located close to Athens, this area offers a good mix of both nature and island life. A yacht charter here will give you access to some of the most beautiful islands in Greece such as Aegina, Poros, Hydra, and Spetses. Hydra is especially popular among those looking to relax, as it’s the only island in Greece where cars are forbidden.
Island hopping in the Saronic Gulf can be actually quite cheap compared to other regions in Greece, especially during the off-season period, since it’s close to Athens (lower cost for fuel) and the majority of the islands are comparatively close to each other.
Visiting Greece you’ll find out that there are countless places to choose from and you should not limit your options. Other popular sailing locations with a yacht include:
Crete is the largest island in Greece and one of the largest in the Mediterranean. Located in the southernmost part of the Aegean, Crete is a paradise for those looking to sail with a yacht. Its rich history is unlike any island in Greece and that is also true about the local cuisine. Crete is also home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world like Elafonissi and Balos.
You should expect that you’ll need at least a 5 day visit to get a glimpse of this majestic island so this is maybe not the best selection for those who want to discover a lot of new places in a short time.
There is a popular saying in Greece: There’s no other place like Halkidiki. And that is true!
Halkidiki is a beautiful region in Northern Greece, with its three peninsulas jutting out into the Aegean Sea. It’s known for its endless, sandy beaches and its lavish vegetation, making it a destination that doesn’t look like your typical Greek coastline, rather more like a tropical island.
The Peloponnese is an emerging region for yacht enthusiasts in Greece and offers a lot of diverse options to visitors. From exploring Byzantine castles, rugged nature, and picturesque villages to sailing around secluded coasts, you can expect a unique experience like no other.
Sailing-wise positioned in between the southernmost Ionian islands to the west and the islands of the Saronic Gulf to the east, the Peloponnese offers a diversity for those eager to explore very interesting, less common and less frequented destinations.
Your Sailing Options
Skippered Yacht Charters
Chartering a yacht with a skipper in Greece is an ideal way to experience the beauty of this country. With an experienced skipper at the helm you can rest assured your safety is being taken care of and that all relevant rules and regulations are being followed, providing a hassle-free holiday experience as far as sailing the boat is concerned. Your skipper takes care of navigating, mooring, and sailing while you do all the rest, prepare meals, keep your boat clean, and assist your skipper with secondary duties as crew.
Crewed Yacht Charters
A crewed charter on the other hand, is a totally different ball game. On a crewed charter you have not just a Captain but a complete crew that will take care of you. For a yacht to accommodate crew, a team o people that look after the boat and the guests, a yacht needs to be considerably bigger than the average sailboat. Therefore we are looking at vessels that are mostly motor-yachts that also cost more to charter and to run.
With a crewed charter, you can rest assured that the whole experience will be taken care of by professionals. Some of the additional benefits include having a personal chef who will prepare delicious meals for you and your guests; expert sailors to navigate away from any potentially dangerous waters or obstacles; capable hosts to ensure everyone is well looked after; a mechanic on board to maintain the proper function of the engines; and of course, an experienced Captain who is available to give expert instruction and guidance.
As you can imagine, a crewed charter is more of a luxury option compared to a skippered charter. So, if you want to sail Greece in style on a luxury yacht, a crewed yacht charter is the way to go. At Vernicos Yachts we can guide you and help you make the choice that suits you best. We offer a variety of luxury crewed yachts that are available for charter.
Greek Island Hopping with a Yacht Charter – Important Tips for the Best Vacation Experience
Travel light: Forget the large suitcases with many clothes and accessories. When you are onboard you will soon find out for yourselves that the majority of your possessions will never be used. However, have at least two bathing suits available since you will be constantly in and out of the sea. Also, carry a light jacket with you since evenings get colder on the Greek islands, especially if strong winds are present.
Plan your trip ahead: Deciding on which parts you should visit during your vacation can be tricky. Spend some time to know what different regions of Greece have to offer and make the right choice.
Learn from a local guide: If you found the islands that you’re going to set sail to, invest in learning a thing or two about them. You could ask for information from a local guide so you can find all the cool beaches and restaurants that you will visit. Don’t expect to learn everything whilst onboard.
Pack enough food and drinks: Your charter agent or broker will probably help you make the necessary arrangements, but if you are a large group of people, if you are planning to spend a lot of time at sea, and you have special requests, then make the proper arrangements ahead of time.
Choose your trip: Deciding on which islands to visit is one thing, and making a plan with your skipper is another. Discuss your options with your skipper so you can agree what is practically feasible and make the best out of your sailing experience.
Time of the year: Summer, spring, or early autumn? There are many different periods that you can visit Greece for island hopping. Summer is a popular period to sail but during spring and autumn, you can find great discounts. The choice is yours.
Mooring fees: Mooring fees vary from port to port in Greece and the more places you visit, the more you are going to spend.
Don’t get “cheap” on the number of days that you will spend on holiday: Two weeks is the ideal time to invest in your vacation but for the majority of people this is just wishful thinking. However, you should consider that sailing takes time and this is a once-in-a-lifetime experience for many.
Wear sunscreen: This may sound like a piece of obvious advice but this is a highly important one. Spending time on a yacht means a lot of sun exposure and the Sun is scorching hot in Greece, especially during the Summer.
And last but not least, enjoy! You are about to embark on an amazing journey, and you should make the most out of your vacation. Relax, live the moment, and create unforgettable memories. That is what sailing in Greece is all about.
Vernicos Yachts wishes you a pleasant and safe journey!