Category: Sailing in Greece

Why should you choose a skippered sailing holiday charter in Greece?

Zorba greece Saronic island sailing

Adventure travellers Sarah and Matt explain why they those chose a stress-free all-inclusive skippered sailing holiday to enjoy the very best of Greece’s blue water sailing in the Saronic Gulf.

“The aeroplane doors opened in Athens and we were bathed by wall of Greek heat. After two years of limited travel options, we couldn’t wait for our skippered sailing holiday in Greece to begin. 

After a short taxi ride, we jumped on a ferry from the bustling port of Piraeus’ to meet sailing yacht Zorba on the island of Aegina; the heart of the Saronic Gulf. Skippers Aga and Greg were waiting to meet us on the harbour front with beaming smiles and open arms. They were as happy to see us as we were to see them. Their love for sailing in Greece was clear to see from the moment we exchanged pleasantries and had a quick tour of the boat and we were already beginning to see why they come back here year after year. 

Offering fully catered, skippered charters in Greece is something a little different from the iconic flotilla charter that it is known for but Aga and Greg are passionate about showing their guests the true authentic Greece and sharing their local knowledge – something you just don’t get from bareboat hire or a group flotilla. From finding deserted desert islands with only wild deer and peacocks for residents to the relationships they’ve forged with the locals and traditional tavernas; their passion for the culture and lifestyle is infectious. 

Polish couple Aga and Greg make the voyage. A sailing couple for over six years, they own and sail Zorba, a beneteau Cyclades 50.5 and spend their summers living aboard while they sail and explore the Saronic Islands and the lesser Cyclades with guests. With four double cabins, a twin bunk and generous saloon area, sailing yacht Zorba was the perfect floating base for us to explore Greece. She has a great space on deck for dining alfresco lunches under sail, sunbathing on deck or the option for full shade under the cockpit. A swim ladder and transom shower were perfectly positioned for the multiple swims throughout the day in a variety of azure blue anchorages.

For those wanting to learn more about sailing a modern yacht in Greece under the guidance of a professional skipper and instructor, we couldn’t have asked to be in better hands than with Greg. Having spent many years sail racing in the Baltic, he traded his fast paced corporate life, bought a boat, headed for Greece and has remained sailing here ever since. He quips that ”at the point in the year I have to wear socks – this is a disaster for me“.

Aga, a film producer turned sailor, cannot do enough for guests. Appearing every morning with a beaming smile and an enormous bowl of fresh fruits, yoghurts and nuts, she would then ring ahead to ensure we were booked into the best local taverna at each anchorage. It’s clear to see why Aga and Greg have a loyal following of returning customers – there really is nothing they won’t do for their guests.

We spent a lot of time researching the sail area in Greece and looking at our options for hiring a boat ourselves. Having done a small amount of local coastal sailing over the years, we just couldn’t get our heads around the idea of being responsible for an entire boat ourselves, route planning, weather watching and catering for ourselves while still trying to enjoy the scenery and making time to relax.

 

Sailing and island hopping in the Saronic islands, we were pretty much guaranteed good sailing with the meltimi winds making Greece one of the best warm weather sailing destinations in the world. With the consistant winds and small tidal range, exploring the Greek islands by boat makes for safe sailing. That being said, it gets shallow quickly, everything is done on a who-you-know not what you know basis in Greece and with harbouring to stern being the norm in most ports – we just couldn’t imagine being responsible for our own boat and still being able to completely relax.

Choosing a fully catered and skippered yacht charter in Greece meant we were able to get the perfect balance of learning the ropes and sailing holiday relaxation without the responsibility of our own boat.

Greece is well known for its sunshine sailing in the travel industry and boat world. But VentureSail Holidays are offering something a little different with their fully catered, skippered charter sailing holidays. Staying away from the flotilla towns and tourist hotspots, sailing with Zorba in the Saronic islands and the Cyclades offers so much more than just a bareboat charter. A safe, stress-free environment to learn the ropes under the guidance of a professional skipper mixed with the local knowledge of the best anchorages, swim spots and traditional Tavernas really pays testament to Aga and Greg’s years of accumulated knowledge and easily answers the question of why a skippered yacht charter is the best way to sail in Greece.”

Sailing in the Cyclades Islands, Greece

Zorba anchored Cyclades

The dazzlingly beautiful Cyclades islands are scattered off the southern Greek mainland and whilst many will recognise names such as Santorini and Mykonos, we invite you to join sailing yacht Zorba to discover some of the lesser-known isles. During the summer months, the islands are blessed by a northerly wind known as the ‘meltemi’ which turn these stunning lands into a sailor’s dream, perfect for island-hopping and exploring. But, aside from these perfect conditions, what makes sailing here so special? We asked Aga and Greg, the skipper’s of Zorba, why the Cyclades islands never cease to amaze….

THE CYCLADES ISLANDS ARE ICONICALLY GREEK

We love that each island is so very evidently Greek. Intricate white-washed labyrinthine towns, blue roof-tops and bright pink Bougainvillea all greet you on arrival from the sea and this always make us smile. Watching as guests reach for their cameras while mesmerised by the beauty is so wonderful and is a fantastic way to start each island visit.

FABULOUS SWIMMING AND SNORKELLING

The Aegean Sea is warm, turquoise and crystal clear. With numerous secluded bays, deserted beaches and rocky outcrops, snorkelling and swimming opportunities are plentiful. Having spent the last fifteen years sailing in Greece, we know them well and have several ‘secret’ spots to take guests where the marine life is plentiful. Colourful fish dart amongst the rocks whilst the sun gleams through the water onto the white sand below, it’s just magical and one of the many reasons why we love to take guests on sailing holidays in the Cyclades islands.

EXPLORING ASHORE

With plenty of picturesque islands, exploring here is best done under sail. Leaving behind the well-known tourist hot spots of Santorini and Mykonos we prefer to sail in quieter shores far from the crowds. At the beginning of each venture we ask if there is anything in particular guests would like to experience and then we tailor the trip to meet these requests. History lovers will enjoy experiencing the ancient acropolis on Antiparos as well as the ruins on Delos, an island which was sacred to the ancient greeks.

Beach goers are simply spoilt for choice, we can head to Ios which is known for it’s golden sandy shores or the small isle of Koufonissi which promises remote beauty. Just 10 square miles in size, what this island lacks in size, it certainly makes up for with jaw-dropping beauty. And after a day spent in the fresh air soaking up all that the Cyclades islands have to offer under sail, sit back and take in the warm Greek hospitality at a traditional Greek taverna where we will while away the evening.

Sailing Holidays in the Cyclades Islands

If you’re feeling tempted by a sailing holiday in Greece (and who wouldn’t be?!) then take a look at our schedule for sailing yacht Zorba. She sails to the Cyclades in August, returning north to Athens and the Saronics towards the end of the month.

Sail in the Cyclades with Zorba >

A Guide to Sailing in the Saronic Islands, Greece

Zorba sailing

For many, the notion of sailing in Greece is often one of flotilla’s, large groups and crowded waters however, our sailing holidays in the Saronic Islands could not be further from this. Join gorgeous Zorba in Athens for a skippered, charted sailing holiday in the Saronic Islands and step off the beaten track to experience authentic Greece and remote escapism.

THE NATURAL BEAUTY OF THE SARONIC ISLANDS

The Saronic islands are renowned for their natural beauty which has long-drawn writers and artists seeking to draw inspiration from the stunning scenery. Blessed with stunning beaches, secluded coves and ancient olive groves, the isles boast more lush vegetation than many other Greek islands. Surrounded by clear cerulean seas which glitter under the bright Grecian sun, they offer an unparalleled natural beauty. While away the hours exploring uninhabited islands, soak up the sun on deserted beaches and snorkel in warm waters before relaxing on Zorba’s deck and absorbing the picturesque landscape with a drink in hand.

EXPLORE ANCIENT GREEK HISTORY

No holiday to Greece would be complete without taking in the 2500-years of history and with the Saronic islands having played a pivotal role in the history of Greece, the islands offer plenty of historical attractions. Stop off at Aegina to visit the Temple of Aphaia, one of three historical Greek monuments which form the so-called holy triangle of antiquity, along with the Parthenon in Athens and the Temple of Poseidon in Sounion. Head to car-free Hydra, one of the most popular islands, navigate yourself through the cobbled streets to the fascinating Museum of Historical Archives and Bastions. Hydra town has been restored and preserved exactly as it was in the 1800’s with breathtaking Venetian style architecture looming tall and proud above the harbour. Or call in at Poros, the island made up of two parts having formed as the result of a volcanic explosion in 273BC, to visit the Holy Monastery of Zoodochos Pigi, founded in 1720 by the then-Archbishop of Athens.

SARONIC ISLANDS – FOOD AND DRINK

Although they lie in close proximity to Athens, each of the Saronic islands proffer their own personality and true Greek hospitality, with tavernas lining harbours and hillsides. Sailing in the Saronic islands is utter bliss and with so much to explore, we guarantee that come the evening, you’ll have worked up a healthy appetite! We step ashore each evening to allow guests the opportunity to enjoy the warm Greek hospitality and fabulous food – the islands have even featured on one of Rick Stein’s culinary journeys and it is easy to see why. The food offering in the Saronic islands is unbelievable, from locally produced wine to home-grown fresh-out-the-field produce, there is plenty to tempt the hungry sailor. Dine in waterside taverna’s, absorb the views from rooftop garden restaurants in the mountains and hunker down in unassuming backstreet eateries. This region loves it’s food and drink, the only thing the people love more is sharing it with those who take the time to visit.

Sailing Holidays in the Saronic Islands

Sound enticing? Then jump aboard Zorba this season for a sailing holiday in the Saronic islands, with cheap flights from the UK to Athens and the boat moored just a short taxi-ride from the airport, joining us couldn’t be easier! Sail with Zorba in 2022 >

Sailing in Corfu

Circe stern on anchor

The perfect destination for family yacht charters and beginner sailing holidays.

Known as the ‘Queen of the Ionian Sea’, Corfu combines breath-taking natural beauty, traditional Greek charm and intriguing coastlines, making it the ideal destination for a beginner’s sailing holiday and an adventure at sea the whole family will enjoy.

Sailing in Corfu offers an exciting mix of sheltered coastal coves and miles and miles of crystal-clear open waters to enjoy.

Nicknamed ‘Emerald Island’, thanks to its lush green landscapes, Corfu is a feast for the eyes. Bright turquoise waters and swathes of pine trees, olive groves and vineyards line the island’s coast and mountain tops, offering up one of Europe’s most beautiful sailing backdrops.

Life at sea in Corfu offers you freedom and flexibility to do what suits you and your family, whether that’s adventures and activities, or some much needed rest and relaxation, or both. Sailing in Corfu makes for an unforgettable family adventure.

Swimming and snorkelling

The warm, inviting waters of the Ionian Sea are perfect for swimming. On board our luxury Ionian charter boat Circe, our admiralty ladder is a firm favourite with guests of all ages – the perfect place to jump into the turquoise sea and climb back on board with ease. Hours of fun and an experience no-one will forget.

Corfu is just as beautiful below the water as it is above. It’s considered to be one of Europe’s undiscovered snorkelling gems. The peaceful, clear waters are ideal for family snorkelling and our boat provides snorkelling gear for our guests to enjoy at their leisure. Circe also has inflatable kayaks and fishing gear available to make the most of the beautiful waters below you.

Have an adventure

Sailing in Corfu is all about making discoveries and enjoying an adventure. Steer clear of crowded tourist hotspots and uncover the real Corfu under sail.

Corfu and its surrounding islands are peppered with pebbled coves, vast olive groves and stunning stretches of golden sandy beaches, ready to be explored.  Your voyage route to explore beyond Corfu will depend entirely on which way the wind is blowing, adding to the excitement and sense of adventure.

North or south sailing, you will enjoy breath-taking scenery and islands with true Grecian charm.

To the north of Corfu is the Diapontia Islands of Othonoi, Eirkoussa and Mathraki. These peaceful islands offer tranquil stretches of golden sands, quaint fishing villages and traditional tavernas with delicious local produce, particularly seafood.

To the south, there are the beautiful Paxi Islands of Paxos and Antipaxos, famous for its fine wines and stunning sandy beaches. The west coasts of the islands remain untouched, offering a perfect place to explore centuries old olive groves and unspoilt coves.

For some extra adventure at sea, our charter boat Circe even has authentic ship hammocks for an exhilarating night beneath the stars.

Soak it all in

Corfu has some of the most beautiful scenery in the world and soaking up the sun with a cool drink on board your own luxury private charter yacht has to be one of the best ways to experience it. It is certainly a holiday where you can leave it all behind and escape to paradise.

Sailing in Corfu for beginners

Our sailing holidays in Corfu are ideal for beginners. Our boats are fully crewed, and you don’t need any sailing experience to get involved. From hoisting the sails to taking the helm, chart reading or even having a go at splicing some rope, there is always something interesting happening on board if you want to join in.

Of course, you may prefer to sit back, relax and let your experienced skipper expertly guide you across the seas to discover the next hidden gem Corfu has to offer.

Either way, sailing in Corfu is sure to capture your family’s heart and make memories that will last a lifetime.

Take a look at our sailing schedule and start planning your trip to paradise now.