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, NFT Monkey 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, charteracatamaraninthebvi 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. bostonhaikusociety
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.