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Athens Sailing Guide - Experience Cultural Histroy And Natural Beauty

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. 

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