14 Oct Yacht Charter in the Cyclades | How much is Aegean yacht rental?
Yacht Charter in the Cyclades
The Saronic Gulf and the Centre of the Aegean Sea – the Cyclades – contain some of the most stunning islands in the whole of Greece. History was made here and you find a multitude of fascinating ancient sites while leisurely sailing from island to island.
Dramatic volcanic landscapes dotted by hilltop towns with the typical Cycladic white-washed houses and windmills, crystal-clear waters, authentic cuisine and atmosphere make a yacht charter here so unique and enjoyable. Let us tell you a bit more about this rich cruising ground in detail.
Why is the Aegean Sea such a sought-after charter destination?
The Saronic Gulf is the link between the Ionian and the Aegean Sea. It is a part of the Aegean Sea and lies at the eastern side of the Corinthian Gulf, which is a 100 km long stretch of water. It contains the eastern entrance and exit point of the Corinth Canal, the city and port of Athens and the main islands Aegina, Salamis, Poros as well as many smaller ones.
There are some amazing ancient sites like Delphi, Corinth, Mycenae and hundreds more. A very convenient starting point for an Aegean yacht charter is Athens with its big airport and the big marina of Kalamaki that offers a multitude of charter boats. It is situated due south of Athens. From there you can directly head to the Saronic Gulf with its interesting coastline and islands. The ideal yacht charter base for the Cyclades is Lavrion, about 37 km south-west from Athens airport.
The Cyclades contain the islands of Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Eschati, iOS, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, and Thira or Santorini plus many more smaller ones. It simply is a vast sailing ground with endless highlights to discover. Distances between the islands are much bigger than in some of the other Mediterranean archipelagos, so it is well suited for the experienced sailor.
The beauty of the islands is legendary. Delos is one of the most important ancient Greek sites. Then there is the volcanic island of Milos. Or Santorini with its huge crater and super-steep cliff that constitutes one of the most famous natural attractions in the world.
The largest airports are Santorini and Mykonos, which offer many charter flights in summer from most European bigger cities. Paros, Naxos, Syros and Milos also have airports with domestic flights. The ferry links between the islands amongst each other and with the mainland are brilliant, so it´s no problem to get to anywhere.
As everywhere around Greece, you will find lovely authentic taverns with great local food and fresh fish, charming ports and blue/white painted villages as well as romantic thatch-roofed windmills. The backdrop are impressive serene landscapes, including volcanic rocky coastlines. There are almost no tides but the sometimes occurring Meltemi winds require good sailing skills.
Some relevant info for Aegean sailboat charter:
- Location: Mediterranean Sea east of the Peloponnese; south of Athens; north of Crete
- Main Charter Bases: Kalamaki (just outside Athens); Lavrion (37 km south-east of Athens); Paros
- Main airports: Athens, Mykonos, Santorini
- Country code: +30
- Climate: Mild, Mediterranean
Which main charter destinations are there in the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades?
The Saronic Gulf is mostly very protected as there is very little chance of the Meltemi blowing and it is therefore a good cruising ground for family sailing holidays.
One of the classic sailing routes in the Saronic Gulf leads from Athens along the coast to Cap Sounion. On the western shore of the mainly mountainous coastline of the Peloponnese there is famous Epidaurus. The Methana peninsula is an ancient volcano about 6 NM north-west of Poros Island. Poros is separate from the Peloponnese only by a 300 m wide channel. It has a lovely port and main town built on a hill with a characteristic bell tower looming above it.
Salamis, the largest island in the Saronic Gulf with a rocky coastline of 104 km, is situated only 2 km off the coast of Piraeus, Athens. It´s famous for its important part in many sea battles and offers some very nice fine sandy beaches. Check out the lively port of Paloukia in the North-East of the island or Peristeria in the South – a small town with a yacht harbour and clean beaches. Then there is the big bay of the main town, Salamina.
You can take the charter yacht to Aegina, the so-called ´pistachio island´ due to its large cultivation of the crop. It is an extinct volcano with rugged coastline and contains the ports of Perdika and Aegina Town with nice taverns and souvenir shops.
Hydra, which is geographically not part of the Saronic Gulf but one of the Saronic Islands, is a lovely place popular with artists. Moor up in the protected port of its main town Hydra or the quiet unspoilt port of Ermioni with a beautiful steep hilly backdrop.
When sailing to Spetses, you can anchor in the bay or moor up directly in the main town on the north-eastern tip of the island.
Cruising the Cyclades Kea is one of the first islands you encounter. It is a typical Cycladic island with a beautiful old town and situated 12 NM south-east of Cape Sounion.
Kythnos, just to the South, has a very indented coastline great for anchoring or mooring in the beautiful bays or ports, for instance Stefanos bay on the east side or protected Loutra port in the North East. Try the local cheese, which is a famous specialty. The main marina to use on a yacht rental is Merikha on the west side.
Seriphos has a wonderful entry into a long bay surrounded by high-rising hills. The port at the end is Livadhi. Go up to the Chora, where you have an absolutely spectacular view.
Sifnos lies a 9 NM sailing trip south of Serifos. Kamares on the north-west side is a well-protected port at the end of a large bay.
When on a boat charter in the Cyclades, you should pass by the island of Milos. It is an old volcano that forms a huge caldera surrounded by pumice cliffs. The port of Adhamas in the north part of the crater is one of the best-protected harbours in the Mediterranean.
Finally Santorini: Entering the humongous caldera from the North-West and approaching the steep cliffs is a highlight for every sailor.
From Santorini you can steer the sailing yacht via iOS to Amorgos, a bare rocky island that has retained very much of its authentic character and doesn´t have that much tourism.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades Archipelago. Only about 4 NM west of Naxos lies Paros, and adjacent to it, Antiparos. There are many protected bays and inlets. The channel between Paros and Antiparos is good for anchoring as well as the protected bays of the main town, Parikia, and the popular fishing port of Naoussa.
At the coast off the ancient site of Delos yachts are only allowed to anchor until 3 pm, which is when the exhibition grounds close. Fourni Bay a little to the South, or the southern bay of neighbour islet Reneia are options to set anchor overnight.
A main attraction of every Aegean yacht charter is Mykonos. There are enough bays on the south side to look for shelter from the northerly Meltemi.
Syros, Tinos and Andros are 3 more of the bigger Cycladic islands and there are numerous smaller ones on top of that, providing the yacht charterer with endless options for sailing routes.
What are the prevailing weather systems for a yacht charter around the Aegean Islands?
The northerly Meltemi wind can reach force 7, sometimes 8, in July and August. It can occur quite unpredictably as well as blow for 5 days on end, so in that case good sailing skills are required. It may not take place at all, though, and there have been summers without Meltemi entirely. Best suited for family sailing holidays is the well-protected Saronic Gulf.
Summary of the weather conditions for sailing a yacht charter in the Aegean with the example of Santorini:
- Months with highest average temperature: July/August, 26°
- Months with lowest average temperature: January/February, 12°
- Month with highest average precipitation: December, 167 mm
- Months with lowest average precipitation: July/August, 0 mm
- Month with the highest daily sunshine hours: July, 14 hours
- Month with the lowest daily sunshine hours: December, 6 hours
- Average wind speed in summer: 3 – 7 Bft.
- Month with highest average water temperature: August, 25°
- Month with lowest average water temperature: January, 16°
- Main season: May – October
How much is Aegean yacht rental and what are the different charter types?
You can rent a 12 m sailboat, for instance, from about 1,400 € a week. Prices rise according to size, model and equipment of the yacht. Due to the strong winds, there aren´t really any flotilla charters. You can do bareboat or skippered charter, and choose between catamaran charter and sailboat or motor yacht hire. You could go for a day charter or opt for luxury boat hire that comes with a lot of extras and a crew according to your specific needs.
What else is there to do besides sailing on a boat hire in the Cyclades and the Saronic Gulf?
On a yacht hire in the Saronic Gulf, visit Epidaurus on the Peloponnese, a large ancient sanctuary and centre of healing set in the forest. Its ruins contain a theatre with amazing acoustics, where a whisper on the stage is heard anywhere on the 54 tiers of seats, a stadium and much more. Also check out the museum illustrating what exactly happened at the sanctuary in antiquity.
If you rent a yacht in Lavrion, go down to Cape Sounion which is located only about 10 km due south. It is a temple for Poseidon in a beautiful setting on a steep cliff overlooking the sea.
Spetses Classic Yacht Regatta beginning of July makes for some exciting racing with some beautiful sailing yachts, Aegean classic schooners and lateens.
Kea main town, Ioulis, is very picturesque. It sits high on a plateau like most Greek island towns – they used to be built like that for protection from pirates. Moor up the sailboat and visit the medieval Venetian castle. And north-east of Kea town there is the famous carved lion from the 6th c. BCE.
Check out the seaside resort of Vourkari where you encounter an ancient city with the oldest temple found in the whole of Greece (15th c. BCE). Kea is very popular with scuba divers as the water has great visibility and rich wildlife and there are good possibilities for cavern and wreck diving – one of the sister ships of the Titanic, the HMHS Britannic, sank there in 1916, amongst others.
If you have some time in-between sailing trips, attend one of the many traditional festivals in Sifnos – there is one held almost every month. With 360, the island has the highest amount of churches in all of the Cyclades. For instance, watch a typical Greek wedding at The Church of the Seven Martyrs in Kastro with its amazing setting above the sea. Or visit the beautifully architected capital of the island, Apollonia.
Milos offers spectacular volcanic landscapes including its huge caldera as well as the hot springs. For some sightseeing head to the remains of the medieval castle of Palaiokastro at the highest point.
Should the Meltemi blow a little too strong for sailing, take some time and visit the amazing archaeological site and museum at Santorini. Also admire the stark volcanic landscape – there are no trees, just craters and pumice cliffs.
Go to Fira, which is a sea of whitewashed houses sitting high on top of the black rocks that are beautifully lit up at night. Watch the sunset over the crater from one of the many bars and restaurants. There is a cable car taking you up to the town or you can ride a donkey up the serpentine path. Try and savour the local wine, which is especially flavoured from the volcanic soil.
Amorgos was the backdrop for Luc Besson´s film The Big Blue and when you hire a motor- or sailing yacht in the Aegean Sea, you can go there yourself and soak up the amazing colour of the sea and the sky. Go up to the charming Chora of Amorgos sitting on top of the hill next to scattered windmills and a Venetian castle with a stunning view.
Other beautiful villages are Tholaria and Langada and the towering monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa in the cliff side north-east of Chora is also well worth visiting,
You could explore some of the many ruins on Naxos or hire some windsurfing/kitesurfing equipment at one of the many schools there.
Take a quick break in-between sailing trips on your yacht charter and try out the buzzing and world-famous nightlife in Mykonos. For party, go to the Scandinavian Bar in the centre or the large Cavo Paradiso Club at Paradise Bay to the south. The next day relax at one of the gorgeous beaches, wander through the wonderful charming town with its funky shops and buy some artwork or souvenirs.
Delos was the centre of the cult of Apollo and, as such, a holy island. Splendid games were held there and a rich sanctuary with magnificent architecture was built. You can visit the vast ceremonial grounds and the remains of stunning temples and statues as well as the archaeological museum. So don´t miss out on the opportunity to walk these historically important mosaic floors when you´re doing a bareboat yacht charter in the Aegean Sea.
Have a look at one of the most beautiful churches in Greece – Panagia Ekatontapilyiani in Parikia on Paros, built around the 7/8th century by one of the architects of the Hagia Sofia. Or visit the nearby ´Butterfly Valley´, a park with tens of thousands of butterflies. Check out the picturesque old port of Naoussa on the north coast with its white-washed houses and squares that are lit up at night and create a wonderful atmosphere to sit outside and have dinner in one of the restaurants before continuing the sailing or motor yacht charter the next day.
Yacht Charter in Split – Sail Croatia’s Best Destinations
Split is the largest city on the Adriatic coast. It is full of impressive sights to see, has brilliant restaurants to try and great marinas to start a Croatian sailboat charter. There are numerous coves and beaches for you to anchor and relax in. Croatia has about 3,600 miles of coastline, of which the Dalmatian Coast with its stunning islands and steep limestone cliffs is the most popular stretch.
Split is right in the centre of it and offers you great infrastructure for yachting as well as an unforgettable experience due to its own unique beauty. Sailing yacht charter Split is one of a kind, so let us tell you a bit about it.
You are planning a boat rental from Split – How do you get there?
Split is very easily reachable. Its international airport lies 24 km north-west from the city. It is the second largest in Croatia after Zagreb and handles millions of passengers every year. Throughout summer there are plenty of seasonal charter flights to mostly all larger European destinations, so going on a sailboat holiday in Split is really easy.
Should you prefer travelling by car, you can rely on a well-developed network of roads in Croatia and the Adriatic Highway will take you straight to Split.
Split is also well-linked by ferry with Italy and there are many ferry connections from Split to the summer resorts and ports of the Dalmatian coast line.
Which marinas in Split are best suited for bareboat charter yachts?
Split ACI Marina, south-west of the historic centre, has 364 berths for yachts up to 80 m. It is nicely protected by a long breakwater and offers a full range of services and repair facilities.
Marina Lav Split, with the adjoined luxury resort Le Meridien Lav, is situated 8 km south-east from the centre of town and has 74 moorings for boats up to 40 m. There are restaurants, bars, a spa and wellness centre, an in- and outdoor pool, a casino and nightclub, beaches, a kindergarten, a laundry service and many more facilities that visitors of the marina can use.
Marina Kastela, 7 km from the airport, can host 400 yachts up to 100 m and features all basic needs like water and electricity as well as some nautical services.
What has Split got to offer for après sailing?
On a charter vacation in Split you can combine sailing with exploring the city and getting to know the local culture. In the following, find a few suggestions as to what there is to do:
Sightseeing in Split is great. A must-see is the Diocletian´s Palace and Mausoleum dating to the 4th century. It is one of the best preserved roman palaces. Visit the Grgur Ninski Statue or the Cathedral and Bell Tower of St. Domnius – you can walk up the tower and see Split from above. The entire Old Town with its maze of streets is wonderfully picturesque. Stroll along the Riva, which is the water promenade. Check out the Archaeological Museum boasting many Roman ruins and artefacts.
For relaxation chill out at the city beach of Bacvice, for instance.
There is great shopping in the huzzle and buzzle of the vibrant Old Town – you encounter many elegant as well as very funky boutiques and galleries.
Go for a wine and cheese tasting, for instance in the Library Jazz Bar Marcus Marulus. Sample local produce from Croatia and Bosnia in 15th century atmosphere surrounded by about 1,000 books. The bar is located in front of the City Museum in Old Town.
Try the Dalmatian cuisine that contains lots of seafood but also very hearty dishes like roasted lamb.
For a taste of the nightlife try the Hemingway Bar in the centre or join a pub crawl if you want to meet other people.
Watch dolphins or sea turtles. Do water sports like diving, snorkeling, fishing, water ski, wakeboarding, kayaking and many more. Or hire a bike and cycle around the area. In Split you have plenty to do and explore, so go ahead and soak up the beauty of this amazing Dalmatian city.
Which ones are the best day charter escapes from Split?
When you do sailing or motor yacht hire in Split, there are numerous very attractive destinations you can visit within a day´s excursion. Here are a few examples:
The lovely city of Trogir is only about 8 NM away and you can just as easily sail to Ciovo, an island just off the coast from Trogir. Go to Drvenik, or Solta with the beach resort town Maslinica. Both islands are only about 10 NM from Split.
Head to Brac with the beautiful Zlatni Rat beach that features on so many postcards and enjoy gorgeous Lucica Bay with its amazing turquoise water. Visit the villages of Bol and Milna. Buy some local olive oil and sheep cheese or try the lamb that is the local speciality dish.
Anchor and swim in the breathtakingly beautiful Stivina Bay on Vis Island, ca. 27 NM from Split. Go to Ravnik, a mini island just south of Vis. Well worth visiting there is the so-called Green Cave, it is very large and you can enter by boat. Then there is the close-by neighbour island Bisevo with the amazing Blue Cave for which you need tickets to enter. Snorkel in the Blue Lagoon of Budikovac Island, also just south of Vis. The island is inhabited by only one person all through the year.
Cruise to lively Hvar Town with its Venetian palaces and charming streets and squares. Visit Hvar Fortress. Head over to the Paklinski archipelago off the south-west coast of Hvar. It lies opposite the entrance of Hvar harbour. The name is derived from the pine resin that used to be harvested there and employed to coat the boats. It is a 10 km long chain of islands with a very indented coastline, providing numerous coves for anchoring, snorkeling and fishing, for instance, beautiful Palmizana Bay.
Korcula, about 32 NM from Split, and its gorgeous old town with nice souvenir shops and galleries is calling.
Then there is the Lastovo Archipelago Nature Park, south of Korcula, with absolutely stunningly pure, untouched nature.
Last not least sublime Mljet National park, approx. 60 NM from Split, has equally unspoilt nature for you to admire.
Those are only a few suggestions. There is a lot more to discover and the destinations for sailboat charter Split are sheer endless and all undeniably beautiful.