"Saronic Islands Sailing Holidays"
Saronic islands sailing holidays, and yacht charters are some of the most memorable and infamous adventures you can embark on in Greece. Packed to the brim with charm and natural beauty, this picturesque and ancient cluster of islands offer a little bit of everything; from the narrow, fairytale alleyways of Hydra, the upmarket chic and class of Spetses, to the ancient and historically significant amphitheatre of Epidaurus!
The Saronic Gulf and the Peloponnese mainland are ideally situated for trips well within reach of Athens and Piraeus’s many large marinas, approximately a forty-minute taxi ride. You can also use these destinations as a launching point for your adventures into the Cyclades and further afield, but don’t forget to enjoy the Saronic Gulf on the way! Notably, the Saronic islands offer relatively mild winds compared to other sailing areas in Greece and shorter distances between islands with many secure havens and sheltered bays.
Alimos Marina has over one thousands berths and is one of the largest marinas in Greece. Located south-west of Athens and 15km from the city centre, 8km south of Piraeus and 30km from El. Venizelos International, the main Athens airport. A dense transportation network serves the city and connecing areas, full of of trams, buses, taxis and train stations 500m from the Marina.
Address: Put Cumbrijana, 21220, Trogir, Croatia
Phone: +385 (0)98 398 849
VHF Channels: 71
Open: All year
Max Length Berths: 40m
Number of Berths: 1000
Marina Services: Reception, refuelling services, electricity and water, 2 restaurants and bars, First Aid provisions, security and PIR lighting around the marina, CCTV, car parking, reception.
From a sailor’s perspective, the Saronic Gulf and the Peloponnese’s eastern coast compose an area with mild weather conditions. In mid-summer, July and August, the northern, strong winds, also known as the ‘Meltemi, might prevail. It’s only when the weather becomes predictable: stable wind direction throughout day and night, small waves since in the Saronic there is always ashore at the North and bright sky. In other words, the Saronic offers ideal sailing conditions, unless the Meltemi gets too intense, 7 Beaufort’s or more and sailing becomes very hard, and that’s not very often. What is more common is to experience fantastic sailing with 4-5 on the Beaufort scale with minor impact from waves, even when sailing upwind and this is ultimately, very refreshing and exactly the experience you are searching for.
Measurement of Difficulty
Whilst wind and weather conditions are mostly mild and favourable, with many sheltered bays and havens for the varying conditions, you must take care. Planning and a thorough understanding of the weather forecasts are recommended and don’t be afraid to ask your charter operator, fellow sailors or locals for top tips. As is the case in most of Greece, in nearly all island docks and town quays, you’ll be required to anchor with stern lines ashore (even within the anchorages, sometimes it is too deep to simply free swing in comfort overnight).
You must plan your technique carefully according to the wind, and all crew members understand their role. Prepare long lines, have them coiled ready and if you can holla down assistance ashore, don’t be afraid to ask. If not, send a crew out by dinghy to prepare the lines to shore first, and meet the yacht after she drops anchor and goes astern. A large chain is usually required due to the topography of the land being quite steep (shifting from shallow to too deep, very quickly).
See our ‘Guide To Safe Docking And Anchoring’ for more information.
Places To Visit in the Saronic Gulf
Sailing in “Perdika”
“The island of Aegina”
Perdika – 39.3693° N, 20.3015° E
Perdika Village Aegina: Perdika is a small, picturesque fishing village with pretty, traditional scenery and characteristics. Inside the town, you’ll find a handsome selection of fine, classic Greek Tavernas, a small supermarket, cocktail bars and wineries. Situated on the south side of Aegina island, Perdika was formed atop a hill and you can scale this for wonderfuel views out of the blue, open waters and the captivating island of Moni across the gap.
The small island of Moni is located directly opposite Perdika, covered in rich vegetation and an breathtaking spot for early morning and afteroon anchoring and swimming. Not to be missed.
The little harbour offers mooring opportunities for yachts on the larger docks, but be careful as the bay gets shallow very quickly, even for the catamaran and importantly, runs on a first-come, first-serve basis so get there early to guarantee you secure a position. Alternatively, you can anchor in the deeper water just outside the harbour.
“The island of Agistri”
Agistri – 37.7094° N, 23.3467°
The island of Agistri, west of Aegina and the last stop heading westwards to Epidaurus on the mainland, is a breathtaking and natural landscape that genuinely stands out in the Saronic Gulf. The exotic ambience, natural surroundings, beautiful beaches and tantalizing waters are well known to local Greeks and the passionate traveller. Agistri is a memorable destination to include on your sailing itinerary for a lunch-time stop en route or a quiet overnight anchorage to enjoy the peace and serenity away from the busier towns.
On the island, you can enjoy spectacular beaches such as Aponissos, where you can swim in a vast natural pool, as well as Skala, the main port and town, and Dragonera. At Halikiada, there is another beach best suited for naturists!
Suppose snorkelling and diving are on your itinerary, on the island of Darousa, half a mile west of Agistri. In that case, you can explore the Avantis III shipwreck, an 80m cargo ship that crashed and sunk into the rocks back in 2004, on the south side of the island. There is also an abundance of other natural diving hotspots to check out!
The Ancient Amphitheatre of Epidaurus
Epidaurus – 37°35’27.59″ N 23°04’27.00″ E
Epidaurus – 37°35’27.59″ N 23°04’27.00″ E
The ancient amphitheatre of Epidaurus is one of the most important and famous archaeological sites in Greece. The town of Epiaudrus, a pretty, lively town with excellent eateries and drinking venues ashore is well worth a visit on it’s own, situated within a deep, well-protected bay. is located on the north-eastern side of the Peloponnese and west of the island of Aegina and Agistri. Here there are are a small selection of docking opportunities and much more space to anchor out in the bay.
In the late 4th century BC, this amphitheatre was constructed to host religious ceremonial events in honour of the Greek God Asclepius, whose healing centre was located a few steps away. Famous for its symmetry and incredible, perfectly captured acoustics, the classic amphitheatre of Epidaurus is overcome with lush greenery and provides a spectacular panoramic view of the valley below.
During the summer, if you are lucky, you may visit one of the ancient Greek drama performances that are hosted here. Many daily tours depart from Athens to Epidaurus and other places of Argolis, but if you’re visiting Epidaurus by yacht, you can take a 30-minute taxi who will wait for you and bring you back!
Amphitheatre Entrance Fee: 12 EURO
Taxi: 40-50 EURO per/car
Duration: 30-40 minutes
Amphitheatre Entrance Fee: 12 EURO
Taxi: 40-50 EURO per/car
Duration: 30-40 minutes
“The island of Poros”
Lat/Long – 37.5206° N, 23.4717° E
At the heart of the Saronic Gulf sits one of the most impressive island towns in the region, the Aegean gem, Poros. The vintage aura, the many surrounding picturesque anchorages, bays and beaches, and lush greenery will make Poros a highlight of any sailors itinerary. It’s a charming, unique town built on a hillside with a vast seafront promenade that comes to life after sunset, filled with an array of quality restaurants, traditional tavernas, and boutique shopping.
Poros is an island made for exploring by foot and has emerged as a perfect destination for watersports! Enjoy tubing, banana boating, waterskiing, wakeboarding, kayaking and stand-up paddle-boarding at Askelio or Neorio beach. Alternatively, hike up to the Poros Clock Tower or go further afield to the Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi and the Monastery Beach, to name but a few.
Docking opportunities on the quay span almost the entire width of the promenade, so even in the height of summer you can spend more time out enjoying Poros many surrounding coves and bays. Alternatively, there are many anchorages within a short dinghy ride away from the town, if you prefer.
“The island of Hydra”
Lat/Long – 37°20′59″ N 23°27′56″ E
Hydra is arguably one of the most quaint, infamous and breathtaking Greek island towns you can visit. Largely hidden from view by the high cliffs surrounding the town, buried deep into the harbour, the charming and majestic atmosphere has seduced many international travellers.
The tight, winding alleyways and magnificent stone mansions set the tone for this picturesque waterfront and give the island fairytale its life! Explore the town, and you will find no cars and pollution here but instead the well-known donkeys, many churches, boutique shops, fine wineries and classy cocktails bars, as well as cafe-bars carved into the craggy coastline offering unfiltered, breathtaking views out on the open, emerald sea and across to mainland Greece.
Some of the best things to do on the island of Hydra is exploring its selection of Byzantine and Historical museums and the traditional, pretty village of Kaminia and Vlichos. Away from Hydra town, you can also visit the beaches in those towns and Bisti, Agios and Nikolaos. You can reach all of these by boat that leaves and arrive constantly. Look for the many small orange boats!
Securing a docking position in Hydra town is the perfect situation, but it doesn’t come without difficulty. It’s a small harbour with many yachts squabbling for a place, often docking three deep from the dock. Arrive early (we suggest in the morning) and get in line, waiting for the previous days’ yachts to leave. Ensure all your lines, fenders, and crew are ready and don’t give an inch to your fellow yachts, but please be sensible.
Alternatively, see ‘Mandraki Bay’.
“The island of Hydra”
Mandraki Bay is approximately one mile to the east of Hydra’s harbour, accessible by boat or along the coast road. Mandraki Bay is an excellent refuge for larger yachts or those who want to avoid the busy and often chaotic harbour. You can anchor in the deep centre and free swing or drop the hook and go astern with lines to the shore, along the perimeter. You will want to use all of your chain here and take all the necessary steps and precautions to ensure your anchor and chain is dug in. The closer to the beach, the much shallower it becomes.
Water taxis run until the early hours of the morning. They are fast and painted orange; stand on the bow and flag one down when you need one (or schedule a pick-up for later!). If you decide to walk along the road, you’ll pass the Old Slaughter House, which is now the Hydra summer exhibition centre for the DESTE Foundation. Then you’ll see the small residential area of Agia Fotini on the first bend with a church resting atop he top of the hill before arriving in Hydra. Historically, this bay was a major shipbuilding centre and previously protected with fortifications.
Water Taxis: 5 EURO p/p, each way
“The island of Spetses”
Lat/Long – 37.2626° N, 23.1322° E
The gorgeous, chic, and sought after island of Spetses is found to the South East of Hydra, about as far south as you would reasonably want to go on a seven-day sailing itinerary from Athens.
This picturesque town stands out because of its architecture and elegance, in large part due to its Venetian mansions lying in the city, as well as the superb boutique hotels and shopping that uniquely combine modern and traditional standards. You’re likely to cross paths with several impressive classical and superyachts moored around here! Like Hydra, here in Spetses cars are banned, so you can explore the streets and alleys in clean air and undisturbed. You’ll find many opportunities for a delicious evening restaurant here, cafes, bars and romantic sunset drinks! Further afield, you can visit the beaches of Vrellos, Agia Marina and Agia Paraskevi.
There are several mooring options here in and around Spetses town. The main harbour can be pretty busy, so it’s recommended to get there in good time during the day. You can look to take one of the dock’s limited spaces as you approach on the left or anchor and attach a long line to the rocks towards the harbour’s centre. Another great option is to travel 2-3 km north-west of the harbour, just beyond Spetses Port. There is a finger dock with space for around ten yachts on the west side.
Lat/Long – 37.3870° N, 23.2468° E
Ermioni, located in the Argolida region of mainland Greece on the eastern side of the Peloponnese, is a beautiful seaside village and a friendly, relaxing visit on your sailing adventure and a safe refuge in bad weather. It’s a small, pretty town constructed around a natural bay, surrounded by lush greenery.
There aren’t many pebbled or sandy beaches that can be reached by foot from Ermioni. However, the most sought after places to swim can be found a short taxi ride away, offering crystal, clear water and a relaxing atmosphere.
The south side of Ermioni is more of a beautiful, welcoming place to moor than the north side, with space for up to 20 and 30 yachts. There is a broad selection of excellent restaurants and traditional tavernas along the waterfront. The taverna owner is always helpful with mooring assistance, usually providing services such as electricity, water and Wifi if you decide to visit their restaurant.
In the harbour, expect to drop your anchor in around 15 to 20 metres of depth, and take caution as around the sunset hours between six and seven, there can often be a southerly breeze which brings some swell. It’s wise to attend your yacht at this time and use plenty of chain.
Lat/Long – 37.5673° N, 22.8016° E
Nafplion, located on the eastern side of the Peloponnese and to the west of Ermioni and Spetses, is among one of the most romantic towns in Greece. With it’s intense Medieval style and cultural history, this is a popular and genuinely worthwhile visit – albeit a few extra miles on your sailing charter from Athens. Tempting as it may be, you have many miles left on your return to Athens so make sure you incorporate the weather forecasts into your sailing itinerary!.
The Old Town, bristling with large squares and elegent mansions, is a spectacle to explore and on the hill above the Old Town, there is a Venetian-era, strong and in-keeping fortress. Many historical sights can be visitied in the town, such as Palamidi Fortress and Bourtzi Castle, and it was among one of the first towns to be freed during the Greek War of Independence. You will also find Nafplion close to important archaeoloigcal sites such as Epidaurus and Mycenae, if you weren’t able to visit them elsewhere on your Greek adventure.
The harbour itself is not the prettiest to be seen, but offers many berthing opportunities anchoring stern to the dock and a safe, protected destination incase the weather picks up. It’s important to remember that Nafplion itself remains beautiful, as does it’s important history and lovely beaches nearby. It’s well worth considering Nafplion on your sailing itinerary.