Greece

Corfu is one of the most visually exciting regions of Greece with its variety of natural beauty, green woodlands, wild pine-covered mountains, lakes, cultivated fields and of course miles of golden beaches. The Ionian cruising area extends from Corfu in the north to the island of Zante in the south. Short distances and line of sight sailing makes for relaxed cruising. With light winds and delightful sailing conditions, the Ionian Sea on the western side of Greece is in constant demand for luxury yacht charters. This has always been one of the most popular yacht charter areas, with its myriad of anchorages quiet fishing villages and lively resorts dotted among lush green islands, all made famous in folklore and Greek mythology.

The yacht charter season in Greece starts early April and ends in November. High season runs from the last week of July till the first week of September. When sailing in the high season you should take into account the following…

The most crowded sailing areas will be Corfu, Lefkas and the Saronic. You will also find a lot of non-yacht charter tourists on the popular islands of Mykonos, Ios, Santorini, Kos, Rhodes, Lesvos, etc. In the Aegean Sea the strong Meltemi could not only be a nuisance but also a hazard for sailors. All tavernas, museums, mineral baths, etc will be open.

The Cyclades is a group of islands which are situated in the Aegean Sea and made up of 56 islands of various sizes. Just South of Cape Sounion there are a couple of islands that are far more removed from mainstream tourism, and thus a lot quieter. The landscape varies from island to island, but is generally quite barren. The climate is dominated by a Northerly wind, which blows weakly in May and June, but can be quite strong in July and August. Even around Christmas, the temperature still climbs to 16 – 20 degrees. Due to its warmer climate, this area is be particularly recommended for March, April, September and October, when it is much colder in central and western Europe and Americ

The Greek peninsula at the far south east of Europe is made up of the mainland and the islands in the Aegean and Ionian Seas. The Greek cruising area for bareboat and crewed yacht charters offers about 2000 islands and 10,000 nautical miles of coastline.

The yacht charter season in Greece starts early April and ends in November. High season runs from the last week of July till the first week of September.

If you charter a yacht in Greece in the high season you should take into account the following:

* The most crowded sailing areas will be Corfu, Lefkas and the Saronic.
* You will also find a lot of non-sailing tourists on the popular islands of Mykonos, Ios, Santorini, Kos, Rhodes, Lesvos, etc.
* In the Aegean Sea the strong Meltemi could not only be a nuisance but also a hazard for sailors.
* Yacht charters will be about 10% more expensive.
* You will have more choice of cabin charters, flotillas and charter flights.
* All taverns, museums, mineral baths, etc will be open.

Reasons to have your sailing vacation in Greece in April, May and June:

* An abundance of flowers & lush and green islands due to the spring rains of March. This particularly concerns the Cyclades and Dodecanese, which will gradually turn dry and barren during the high yacht charter season. Despite losing some of its freshness and most of the flowers, the Ionian and Northern Aegean islands will remain green and fertile throughout the whole sailing season.
* Cheap yacht charters: the high – and most expensive – season starts last week of July and ends after first week of September. Before May even cheaper.
* Fewer charter yachts; even when arriving late in the afternoon there will be ample space in ports and anchorages, yet most tavernas are already open.
* In the Ionian the Maistro already delivers steady reliable winds much like in the Aegean where there are no strong Meltemi winds yet.
* Orthodox Easter: The next Easter Sunday will be on May 1, 2005, and is the biggest church holiday in Greece, traditionally celebrated with sumptuous amounts of wine and the roasting of a quite a lot of lambs. Ascension is 40 days after Easter and Pentecost is 50 days after Easter.

Only one downside:

The water temperature will reach “pleasant swimmable” levels in May but early April the sea temperature is usually around 17° C/63° F, in my view a bit chilly but this rapidly improves to a very pleasant 23° C/74° F in the beginning of June.

All this considered, I have found the optimum to sail Greece to be around the last two weeks of May and the first two weeks of June.

Reasons to sail Greece in September and October:

* Again fewer yachts and tourists: Especially in the popular areas of the Ionian Sea and around Athens the amount of tourists will drop dramatically after the first week(s) of September.
* Still steady winds in the Ionian (Maistro wind) and no Meltemi winds in the Aegean.
* Sea water with tropical temperatures, ideal for snorkeling and diving:29-31°C/84-88°F.

Only one downside:

Typically the Cyclades can suffer from shortages of fresh water: except for Naxos none of the cycladic and dodecanese islands have perennial rivers and are therefore already rather barren, dry and rugged in the yacht charter high season. Also, for (charter) yachts it will be more difficult and expensive here to fill the water tanks. Yet, the northern Sporades and the Ionian islands stay green and fertile all year round, but are even more beautiful in springtime when covered in colorful flowers.

Your crew will know so much more then can be written in a description.

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