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
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.