Aegean Sea: A sailing paradise

Map of the Aegean Sea
Map of the Aegean Sea

The Aegean Sea, with its countless choices of islands and islets is the ideal destination for any sailing fan looking for unique experiences. But why is the Aegean Sea the ideal setting for sailing in Greece? Mild and progressive changes in temperature, stable and predictable winds, absence of tides and currents, short distances between hundreds of islands, crystal clear waters, unexplored bays and the possibility for fishing, water skiing and diving are just a few things that constitute the dreamlike sailing holiday you will always wanted to have. Simply put, no other country in the world offers so many opportunities!

Another reason sailors love Greece is the "Meltemi", also known as Etisiai. The Meltemi is a summer annual local daily wind that occurs in the Greek seas, especially in the Aegean. The direction of these winds on the northern Aegean is NW, with a strength of 5 to 7 Beaufort. For experienced sailors, these conditions are perfect for sailing.

Now let’s see 10 of most popular destinations for sailing in the Aegean:

1) Mykonos

Stroll through the cosmopolitan Mykonos Town with its picturesque streets, windmills, the famous Little Venice, the Matogiannia. Here, dozens of designer shops and jewelery shops, cafés, restaurants and squares with old wells, Cycladic houses and old churches wait to give you a truly unique experience.

Here you will also find the famous "Paradise Club Mykonos", long heralded as the best club in Greece and one of the best in the world.

Windmills in Mykonos
Windmills in Mykonos

2) Santorini

As your ship enters the caldera of Santorini, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful and impressive spectacles of your life. Vertical volcanic rocks in all shades and colors and on top of them picturesque buildings and churches. On the other side you have three islands, Thirasia, Palia Kameni and Nea Kameni, all resulting from volcanic origin in the ancient years.

Santorini
Santorini

3) Patmos

Here, you'll be impressed with the monastery of St. John the Theologian and the Cave of the Apocalypse, both declared UNESCO World Heritage Sites. You can also enjoy a tour in Hora (the capital of the island) with its imposing mansions, elegant shops, cafes, restaurants and museums.

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4) Rhodos

One of most famous destinations for cruise in the Aegean. You will be amazed in the Old Town of Rhodes with its impressive walls and gates, which have been again listed as a world heritage site by UNESCO. Walk the Street of the Knights, the Grand Masters Palace and the Hippocrates Square, with their cafés and chivalrous buildings dating back of 1507.

Rhodos Lindos Acropolis
Rhodos Lindos Acropolis

5) Kos

At the entrance of Kos harbor, you can visit the castle of the Knights Hospitallers (also known as Order of the Knights of Saint John of Jerusalem) built on the foundations of an ancient Greek building.

Don’t forget to visit the shops, cafes and restaurants of the city to taste some delicious traditional foods and drinks. A must visit of the town is the “Asklepieion”, founded by Hippocrates, one of the most outstanding figures in the history of medicine.

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6) Heraklion, Crete

Heraklion, the historic Candia with the Venetian harbor and Koules (fortress) should be included in any Aegean tour. Walk through the Venetian harbor and the city center, filled with old Venetian buildings and shops. Don’t miss the Archaeological Museum of Heraklion, the Natural History Museum and the Historical Museum.

Near the city is the palace of Knossos. Depending on the cruise you choose, you might also want to visit the village of Archanes, the small palace in Vathipetro and the wineries in the village of Peza.

St. Peter of Dominicans, Heraklion
St. Peter of Dominicans, Heraklion

7) Sifnos

Sifnos a hip, cosmopolitan island. The big port hosts hundreds of boats every year. You can dock in Vathy and visit the famous Elies Resort and the monastery of Chrissopigi. Here you can enjoy the beautiful scenery, walk the long sandy beachs and eat delicious local food at the three small taverns by the water.

The monastery of Chrissopigi
The monastery of Chrissopigi

8) Serifos

Here you have more than 70 stunning beaches to choose from! Some are only accessible by boat and are definitely worth a visit. The main port is located near Livadi, a lovely little seaside town with bars, restaurants and hotels

Serifos Church
Serifos Church

9) Spetses

A historical and cosmopolitan island, with two main ports, the new and the old one. A charming island near Athens of the Argosaronic Gulf, Spetses (or Spetsai), it is located at the foot of Peloponnese.

Spetses offers a great variety of choices despite its very small size. Make sure to visit the island’s main settlement which composes of Dapia, Kasteli and the Old Port areas

Spetses
Spetses

10) Skiathos

Skiathos is a small island in the Aegean Sea, about 12 km (7 miles) long and 6 km (4 miles) wide. The two main towns are Skiathos town and Koukounaries, both accessible by the public bus which also stops at the many villages in-between.

Don't forget to try “Tsipouro”, a cheap greek traditional pomace brandy always served with nuts, dried fruit, raisins, cheese, olives, seafood, meat, halva, or paximadi (rusk) and other small but delicious dishes.

Town of Skiathos
Town of Skiathos

Useful Links

  • 10 alternative places to sail in Greece: Check out this article if you have already been to the destinations mentioned here or if you are just looking to visit some more "secret" places of the Aegean sea.

Video: Sailing in the Aegean Sea

This video really nails what the Aegean sailing experience is all about!

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