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The Ultimate Athens Sailing Guide - Experience Cultural Histroy And Natural Beauty

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A brief introduction to Athens

Athens is one of the oldest cities in human history. This Greek metropolis, considered to be one of the cultural capitals of the world, is home to some of the most brilliant minds in history. Impressive historical landmarks like the Parthenon serve as a testament to the city’s rich history, spanning 3,400 years. 

Athens is often referred to as the cradle of western civilization and the birthplace of democracy. This is due to the impact it has had across much of the European continent. At its peak, the city-state of Athens was a formidable force on the Mediterranean, despite not being directly coastal. The nearby port of Piraeus, one of the busiest and biggest ports in the world today, enabled Athens to extend its reach far beyond the Greek peninsula.

Today, Athens is a bustling city with millions of culture-seeking visitors arriving each year. Sailing enthusiasts will find numerous marinas in Piraeus, ideal for exploring the spectacular Greek islands.

Why you should choose an Athens sailing holiday

Greece is famous for its beautiful coast and spectacular islands, making it one of the top destinations for sailing in the Mediterranean. If you begin your sailing holiday in Athens, you can experience both the cultural history of the Greek capital and the natural beauty of the Greek islands. Located a short sail away from the busy port of Piraeus, the islands of the Argo-Saronic Gulf are favoured among sailing enthusiasts for their tranquillity and natural beauty. Sailing the southern coast of the Attica peninsula is ideal for the less experienced sailors as the large bay offers protection from strong winds and rough seas.  

The area around Athens is home to several big and well-equipped marinas like Zea or Flisvos, offering everything you will need on your sailing holiday. 

What to expect from Athens sailing conditions

Athens enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate with hot and dry summers and mild and wet winters. Average temperatures during the winter sit around 10 °C with December being the wettest month of the year. During the summer, temperatures regularly exceed 30 °C with significantly less precipitation. Due to its protected position in the Saronic Bay, sailing the area around Athens is preferred among less experienced sailors. Strong winds, known as “Meltemi”, are common in the Aegean Sea during July and August. Meltemi are cold winds, blowing from north and northeast, which can start suddenly and blow continuously for several days. Sea temperatures in the area around Athens during the summer can reach 25 °C, ideal for all kinds of water activities.  

Best time to sail in Athens

The warm Mediterranean climate and calm seas make sailing in this part of Greece almost a year-round activity. The sailing season in Greece lasts for nine months, starting from March until November. Those looking to enjoy swimming and sunbathing should visit during the summer months when the sea is warm, and there is plenty of sunshine. If you are looking to avoid the summer heat and the crowd, a sailing holiday in April, May or September may be perfect for you. Although the sea temperatures are a little lower, there is still plenty of sunshine and warm weather to make it an unforgettable sailing vacation.  

Areas of Athens to explore

The Greek capital of Athens is a city with more than 3,400 years of recorded history and is one of the culture capitals of the world. Evolving from its classical days, Athens today offers a unique blend of impressive historic landmarks, famous museums and narrow city streets offering a wide selection of restaurants, bars and taverns. 

The most popular areas of Athens include Psyri, Monastiraki, Kolonaki, Plaka, Koukaki, Exarcheia, Syntagma and Thissio. The Historic Centre of Athens, where most financial and government buildings are located, is formed by the Syntagma, Omonia, and Monastiraki Squares. Between Syntagma square and Thissio lies the neighbourhood of Makrigianni, nestled under the imposing Acropolis. The neighbourhoods of Psiri and Kolonaki are filled with restaurants and taverns, ideal for sampling some famous Greek cuisine. Here you will also find some of the most popular nightclubs and bars in town, entertaining visitors long into the night. If you are looking to do a little bit of shopping, Plaka neighbourhood is the place to visit. Here you will find a more relaxed atmosphere compared to the rest of the city, ideal for some window shopping. 

Odeon of Herodes Atticus

Athens sailing marinas  

Athens Marina is situated only 9 km away from the city centre of Athens and only 40 km away from the Athens international airport. Located just 5 km from the port of Piraeus, this modern marina for yachts offers extensive amenities and is easy to get to. It also has a mooring capacity for 130 yachts up to 130m in length. There are also ten berths for mega yachts of 50m up to 100m and over 25 new berths for superyachts of 30m to 35m.  

D-Marin Zea is a superyacht marina located in the port of Piraeus, 11 km away from Athens city centre. The marina was renovated recently and now offers an array of services to vessels up to 150 metres. D-Marin Zea has 670 available berths and can support vessels with a draft of up to 8m. 

Flisvos Marina is located in Piraeus, only 6 km away from Athens city centre. Flisvos Marina is a top international marina, offering extensive amenities and berths for mega and superyachts. The marina has a capacity of 300 berths and can accommodate vessels up to 70 m in lengths and max draught of up to 9 m. Flisvos Marina is Greece’s only marina to offer large-scale mooring capacity, accommodating vessels up to 180m in length.

Other smaller marinas located near Athens are Astir Marina Vouliagmeni, Alimos Marina and Agios Kosmas Marina, all offering berths for vessels up to 30 m in length and with a maximum draft of up to 5m.

Where to anchor in and around Athens

The island of Salamis is located near Athens, sitting just opposite Piraeus. Salamis town is a charming place and the favourite destination for sailing enthusiasts visiting the area.

Cape Sounion sits at the end of the Athens peninsula and is a fairly open anchorage. However, you will be well protected from the Meltemi winds here. Explore the magnificent Temple of Poseidon overlooking the cape and enjoy the sunset.  

Vouliagmeni is a beautiful coastal settlement, located 20 km south of Athen. Here you will find a small but well-sheltered marina. Perfect for spending the day enjoying the beautiful Greek beaches and crystal clear sea.

Aegina sits in the Saronic Gulf, south of the capital of Athens This charming island is the favourite summer destination for Athenians Sailing here, you can visit the marina in the town of Aegina, but it can get crowded during the high season. The southern coast of the island provides several sheltered anchorages.

Methana is a small town on the Peloponnese peninsula, located south of Athens and past the island of Aegina. You will find a small marina, offering excellent protection from the elements. The landscape around Methana is of volcanic origin, and there are several thermal spots to enjoy here.

Athens charter prices

Being one of the top sailing destinations in the world, Greece offers an extensive network of marinas and charter agencies. Home to more than 3,000 islands, Greece is the preferred destination for sailing enthusiasts from all over the world. Booking your charter in advance may significantly reduce your total price. The price is mostly dependent on the size and type of boat you are renting. However, whether you are sailing by yourself or hiring a skipper or crew will also have an impact.  

Hiring a skipper will set you back around 200 € per day, while hiring other crew members like hostesses or cooks will cost you around 150 € per day.

Prices for a weekly sailboat charter, accommodating 6 to 8 people, can be as low as 1,500 € outside the high season. The price for the same vessel can easily double or triple in the summer, during the high season. Starting prices for weekly catamaran charters are around 3,000 €, increasing as you approach months of July and August. Weekly prices for luxury catamarans and yachts can exceed 20,000 €, depending on the number of crew needed and the time of year. 

Getting to Athens

The fastest and easiest way to reach the capital of Greece is by flying to the Athens International Airport, located 25 km southeast of the city. Athens International Airport is one of the biggest in Europe connecting with 130 countries across the world. Given that Greece is among the top travel destinations in Europe, daily flights are departing for Athens from major European cities like London, Paris, Frankfurt, Rome and many more. 

After landing, the city of Athens can be reached either by taking the subway, a direct bus line, a taxi or by renting a car. 

Athens can also be reached by ferry or boat via the nearby port of Piraeus, located 10 km from the city centre. Besides the numerous domestic ferry lines, there are several direct ferry lines to Piraeus departing from Italian cities of Venice, Trieste, Bari and Ancona.

Driving to Athens is a viable option, but it is recommended to take one of the ferry lines departing from Italy as it will save you a considerable time travelling through the Balkan peninsula. 

Although there is a train connection with Athens, the duration of the trip in combination with the poor state of Greek railways will not make for a pleasant journey.


Athens itinerary options

Located in the Attica region, Athens and its port of Piraeus is the perfect starting point for sailing the Corinthian Gulf and the western Cyclades islands. Sail through the magnificent Corinth Canal and visit the most popular destinations on the Peloponnese peninsula.   

Option 1 - A tour of the Gulf of Corinth 

Total sail distance: 200 NM

Things to see and do:

Sail from Piraeus through the Corinth Canal towards the town of Patras, located on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. Experience the imposing white cliffs of the Corinth Canal and visit the charming coastal towns of the Corinth Gulf. Explore the beautiful beaches and calm waters of the Gulf of Corinth. Visit the impressive archaeological landmarks of Delphi and Mycenae.   

This route is perfect for:

Friends and families will enjoy sailing the calm waters of the Corinth Gulf and visiting some of the most popular tourist destinations in the area like Delphi. Sailing enthusiasts will appreciate the secure marinas found along the way in towns like Corinth and Patras.

Best time of year for sailing:

From April till October

Day 1: Corinth

Sail the Saronic Gulf west towards the Corinth Canal which cuts through the Peloponnese. Experience the unique sight of the surrounding 45-meter cliffs as you sail through the 6,5 km long canal towards the town of Corinth. Visiting Corinth town, you will be greeted by a combination of ancient and modern worlds. Mooring is possible in Corinth harbour, where you will find a medium-sized marina offering berths for vessels up to 20 m in length. Corinth town boasts a rich history which is most evident when visiting the nearby archaeological sites of ancient Corinth and Acrocorinth.  


Day 2: Diakopto

Diakopto is a small seaside town offering magnificent views of the Corinthian Gulf. The town is mostly known for the train “Odontotos” which crosses the Vouraikos Gorge on its way to Kalavrita. The train makes a stop at Mega Spilaion (Big Cave) where you will find the historical monastery of Mega Spilaion. The area around Diakopto is filled with picturesque hiking trails, ideal for exploring the scenery. 

Day 3: Nafpaktos

Continue your sailing route west towards Nafpaktos, a large coastal town on the north shore of the Corinthian Gulf and the capital of the Municipality of Nafpaktia. Here you will find a beautiful historic and picturesque town with the impressive fortified harbour. Nestled above the town is the well-preserved Venetian castle, an ideal destination for a short walk. As the sun sets, take a stroll down the coast, filled with restaurants, cafes and nightclubs, and enjoy the traditional Greek cuisine.  

Day 4: Patras

The port city of Patras is the largest settlement in the Peloponnese and the third-largest city in Greece, acting as the regional capital of Western Greece. It is located in the northern Peloponnese, overlooking the Gulf of Patras. You will find a large marina offering 450 berths in the old port of Patras, located on the north side of the town. Patras is a bustling city with a rich cultural scene and an active nightlife. Take a stroll down Aghiou Nikolaou, the most famous pedestrian street and climb the steps towards the Old town of Patras. Visit the imposing historical landmarks like the Venetian castle, the Saint Andrew Church, one of the biggest churches in the Balkans, and the Apollon Municipal Theatre, one of the first opera houses in Europe.

Day 5: Itea

Sail back to the heart of the Corinthian Gulf and stop at the small coastal town of Itea. The town is located just 8 km from the Delphi archaeological site, the most famous oracle in ancient Greece. Driving from Itea into the mountainous surroundings, you’ll notice the hills covered with olive trees, once belonging to the sanctuary of Apollo in ancient times. Itea was given the nickname the “sea of olives” and olive processing is now an important part of the local economy. If you have enough time left for some summer activities, visit the two local beaches, Trocadero and Miami, which once held Blue Flags. 

Day 6: Xylokastro

Leaving Itea, sail your way across the Corinthian Gulf towards the coastal town of Xylokastro, located on the northern coast of the Peloponnese. Here you can enjoy relaxing walks along the promenade, sunbathe or swim at the local pebble beach before enjoying a beautiful sunset over the Corinthia. Xylokastro is full of charming cafes and restaurants, ideal for sampling of local delicacies. You will find a medium-sized marina here, located near the town centre. 

Day 7: Athens

Head back along the Peloponnese coast towards the capital of Athens, passing through the Corinth Canal yet again. Depending on your remaining time, stop at one of the popular beaches on the Salamina island or head into Athens for one last dose of culture. 

Option 2 - A tour of the western Cyclades and the Saronic Gulf

Total sail distance: 175 NM

Things to see and do:

Sail the Saronic Gulf and visit the western Cyclades islands of Kea, Kythnos and Serifos. Explore their natural beauty and enjoy the bustling nightlife in popular resorts found along the way. Enjoy your vacation visiting the impressive archaeological sites along the route, relaxing at the charming beaches and sailing the safe waters found in this part of Greece. 


This route is perfect for:

Groups of friends and families will enjoy the relaxed atmosphere and beautiful scenery found on the islands on this route. Those more focused on sailing will revel in the perfect weather conditions and calm seas along the way.

Best time of year for sailing:

From May until September.

Day 1: Kea

As you leave the port of Piraeus, sail southeast towards the island of Kea. On your way towards the island, stop at the magnificent Cape Sounion and visit the imposing Temple of Poseidon. Arriving at the island of Kea, you’ll notice that the island is quite different from other Cycladic islands. Here you will find fertile lands and traditional farmhouses instead of the traditional whitewashed Cycladic houses. Anchor at the picturesque village of Koundouros and enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches in the area.

Day 2: Kythnos

The next stop on this route is the beautiful mountainous island of Kythnos, located just south of Kea. Here you will be greeted by a wild natural landscape and a selection of stunning beaches. Due to its proximity to Athens, Kythnos is a popular destination for quick getaways from the Greek capital. 

Sailing the coastline of Kythnos you will encounter beach after beach, some organized and some unspoiled, ideal for enjoying the pristine sea. Sail to the village of Merichas where you will find a small yet secure marina, ideal for an overnight stay.

Day 3: Serifos

The island of Serifos boasts the traditional Cycladic architecture, with little whitewashed houses and churches that contrast the island’s wild natural landscape. Here you will find a perfect balance of tourist attractions without the presence of mass tourism and huge crowds. Moor at the safe harbour of Livadi on the southern coast of the island and visit the nearby capital of the island - Serifos Chora. This is arguably one of the most beautiful capitals found on the Cycladic islands, filled with narrow cobblestone streets and beautiful architecture.

Day 4: Hydra

Leaving the Cyclades island chain behind, head west towards the Peloponnese peninsula and the charming island of Hydra. Located in the heart of the Argo Saronic Gulf, pretty close to Athens, Hydra is one of the most quaint and peaceful Greek islands. There are no cars allowed on the island, adding to the serene atmosphere of Hydra and making it the perfect spot to recharge your batteries. Many Athenians visit here to unwind, stroll the streets of Hydra town, enjoy the local beaches and visit several museums found in town.

Mooring is possible in the port of Hydra or the nearby small harbour of Kamini.

Day 5: Palaia Epidavros

Palaia Epidavros is a small coastal settlement, located on the peninsula of the Peloponnese, between the Argolic and the Saronic Gulf. You will find a small yet secure harbour here, with anchoring possible in the bay outside the town. Not far from Palaia Epidavros you will find the Ancient Epidaurus, one of the most famous archaeological sites in Greece. One of the many well-preserved ancient structures found here is the famous Ancient Theatre of Epidaurus with impressive architecture and fantastic acoustics. If you wish to explore the ancient landmarks even further, rent a car or take an excursion to the nearby Mycenae archaeological site. 

Day 6: Aegina

The Saronic island of Aegina is one of the top destinations for a quick getaway, home to numerous archaeological monuments, picturesque villages, and beautiful beaches.

Visit Aegina Town, the capital of the island, perfect for a stroll on the busy promenade and a visit to one of the museums in town. Sail around the island to Agia Marina, a small settlement on the eastern coast and visit the nearby archaeological site of the Ancient Temple of Athena Aphaia, dating back to the 6th century BC.

Day 7: Salamina / Athens

On the last day of your route, you can choose to head to the southern coast of the Salamina island and enjoy one last on the beautiful beaches. Alternatively, you can finish sailing a little bit early and head into the capital of Greece to experience the history and culture of this timeless city.

Let us help you plan the perfect sailing trip

Provide your travel details, receive free offer and enjoy your holiday!