Early morning in the Ionian. Quietly moving on to a new destination.

Sailing Routes in Greece for a Sailboat or Catamaran

The difficulty about sailing the Greek seas is to make a choice where you want to go. For us there are two areas to sail from our Athens base without transferring the yacht to another port; these are the Argo-Saronic and the Cyclades. Athens is easily reached by plane through Athens international airport and before or after the sailing trip a visit to Athens is a very interesting addition to your stay in Greece.

The Ionian seas can be reached from Athens as a two-day or longer trip true the Gulf of Corinth and the Gulf of Patra, we plan to be based in this area for a part of the season. The Ionian has some of the most beautiful beaches in Greece and has more soft and predictable wind conditions. An alternative from flying to Athens is flying direct to Lefkada (Preveza) or Corfu. Both locations have an international Airport available although most flights to these locations are charter flights, not scheduled services. An option is to fly to Athens and then take an internal flight to the desired location (there are more airports in Greece that can be reached from Athens so just let your imagination run free).

Sailing the Ionian Islands and west coast of Greece

Sailing Weather in the Ionian

In the Ionian winds are consistent in the summer. From June to the end of September the normal wind in the North Ionian is from NW to WNW. Generally it arrives around noon, blows between force 2 and 5 and dies at sunset. In the morning there might be a light E or SE but it rarely reaches force 1-2.

In the north half of the south Ionian an the North Ionian a NW wind gets up about noon and dies down in the evening. Sometimes it may be more the W then the NW in the south. Average wind speed force 3-5. In the southern half of the South Ionian the winds are more from the W and SW and may last longer down the evening. The winds rarely exceeds force 4, more often force 2-3.

Care needs to be taken on the lee sides of the islands in July and August when a wind know as Maestro may blow from the NW with a little more strength then normal. Usually when the wind is going to be strong dense white cigar shaped clouds hug the tops of the mountains for several hours. The islands might also create katabatic winds in the evenings that can get up to 5-6.

Itineraries or Sailing Routes in the Ionian Sea

Although our base port is in Nidri,a sailing port close to Lefkada, other ports can be considered as starting point. There are airports true out the Ionian; on Corfu, Lefkada (Preveza), Kefalonia and Zakynthos, so one way sailing trips or other starting places can be interesting and thus can be arranged.

South Ionian from Lefkada, one week:

North Ionian from Lefkada, one week:

Sailing the Argo-Saronic and the eastside of the Peloponnese

Sailing Weather in the Argo-Saronic and the eastside of the Peloponnese

The normal summer wind differs radically depending on where you are in this area. Along the mainland coast from the Corinth Canal to Cape Sounion and the sea area between the mainland coast and Methana, the meltemi is the normal wind. It blows from the NNE to NE at about force 4-6, although it may be stronger around cape Sounion. Around de Methana peninsula en Poros it is usually less.

The meltemi starts blowing in July and dies in October. If the meltemi does not blow, and it does not blow here as regular as in the cyclades, the wind in this area is in general from the south, usually getting up about midday, blowing force 2-4 and dying off about sunset.

Moving south and east, in Kolpos Idhras (Gulf of Hydra) and Argolikos Kolpos (Argolic Gulf), the prevailing wind is from the SE. It gets up about midday, blows force 3-5, occasionally more, and dies down in the evening. Down the Peloponnese the wind may be a weak meltemi from the NE or a southerly from the SE or SW. In the spring and autumn the wind is predominantly from the S over the whole area and is generally weak.

In generally there are a few weather problems in the area. When the meltemi is blowing however there are strong gusts of the high land near the entrance to the Corinth Canal and around Cape Sounion. Along the eastern coast of the Peloponnese there may be a katabatic wind at night. Astrous is particularly notorious for this wind which arrives without warming and often reaches forces 6-7 where previously there was no wind

Itineraries for Sailing the Argo Saronic and the eastside of the Peloponnese

Depending on the arrival time, the preparation of the yacht and the weather conditions we try to sail out the same day that your party arrives in Athens. This is possible because on our first evening we can reach a very nice bay on the west side of Aegina or even Poros.

The Argo-Saronic, one week sailing:

The Argo-Saronic, one week archaeological:

Sailing the Cyclades

Sailing Weather in the Cyclades

The prevailing wind in the summer is the infamous meltemi blowing from the N-NW. The meltemi begins to blow fitfully at first in June, blows strongest in July, August and early September, and dies during late September and October. In July and August the meltemi blows at force 5-6 and may reach force 7-8 on occasion. It may blow for 1-3 days or it may sometimes blow for two weeks at a time. There is no way of knowing for just how long it will blow.

In June and again in late September the wind strength is considerably less at about force 3-4 and there may be wind from other directions. The direction of the meltemi varies down through the Cyclades. In the Northern Cyclades it blows from the NE, curving to blow from the N in the middle Cyclades and curving again to blow from the NW-WNW in the southern Cyclades . In the SW islands of the Cyclades the wind is marginally less strong then in the northern and eastern islands.

Itineraries for Sailing the Cyclades

From Athens sailing to the Cyclades is a long day, it´s around 40 Nautical Miles. If you need a head start because you only have one week we suggest you meet up with the yacht at Sounion or fly/ferry to Paros or Naxos. By car from the airport or Athens is one hour. Because there is no marina or port at Sounion we will pick you up in the dingy and transfer you to your yacht.

The Cyclades, one week sailing:

The Cyclades, two weeks:

Sailing the Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth

Sailing Weather in the Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth

The prefailing winds in the summer are W. Across the low salt march on the N of the Gulf of Patras the wind is from the NW to WNW. In the Gulf of Corinth the high mountains funnel the wind so it comes from the W. It normally blows from midday until well into the evening and may reach force 5-6 in July and August. The wind mat also blow from the NE at Corinth and sometimes blows right down the Gulf of Patras. Again it is funneled into an E wind in the two gulfs.

Itineraries for Sailing the Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth

Although most charters sail either the Ionian or the Argo-Saronic the shortest route between them is not unpleasant to sail in. Sailing the Gulf of Corinth and the Gulf of Patra's gives you a feeling of sailing on a big lake rather then on the sea and it has interesting places to discover.

The Gulf of Patras and the Gulf of Corinth, one way one week sailing:

Special sailing trips in Greece

Besides the suggested sailing trips shown above there are other alternatives to consider when sailing in the Greek waters. Remember these itineraries are indications only; the possibilities are almost endless because there are more than 1500 islands to explore.

Around the Peloponnese (if you have the time):

For circumnavigating the peloponnese you need at least three weeks. Besides the Argo-saronic, the Ionian and the Gulf of Para's and Gulf of Corinthos there is another 200+ nautical miles to be explored with beautiful bays and harbors. If you don't mind leaving the touristic hotspots this might be a trip for your party.

Northern Sporades and Evia (two weeks or more):

The Sporades Islands hug the east coast of central Greece. Beautiful white sandy beaches, unspoiled anchorages, ancient ruins and abundant sea life will offer you a sense of exploration and independence. The sailing conditions in the Sporades are usually ideal all through the spring and summer months. From Athens (one of our bases) to the Sporades the yacht can be sailed so that Evia can be explored or you can choose to have the yacht delivered.

You can count on there being plenty of sunshine and a substantial sailing breeze and the wind is rarely too strong to go sailing. In April and October the temperature is usually between 16-22 degrees Celsius, May and September are popular months for those who like sunshine but not extreme heat as the temperature rises to 25-35 in June, July and August.

The famous meltemi blows from the North East mainly in August, (4 - 7 Beaufort) but is not as strong as in the North East Aegean (Cyclades) because it is further south. But don't sail around Evia with the Meltemi! You would have to go trough one of the windiest places in Greece the "Cavo Doro".

Throughout the summer the weather is usually consistent, with clear warm evenings and nights. We always check the weather report before leaving the port and avoid going out if the wind is forecast over 7.

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