Spend a week sailing in the beautiful Saronic Gulf from your yacht charter base in Athens. On this route, you will visit three Greek islands and have the chance to visit two historic sites. You will love the picturesque harbours and pretty villages, and you will be able to experience real greek hospitality in some waterside tavernas while watching some glorious sunsets. You will cover approximately 100 nautical miles on this route.
If you have time before picking up your yacht in Athens for your sailing holiday, don't miss a visit to the famous Acropolis, or just wander around the narrow streets of the bustling Plaka district.
Your first destination after leaving the marina is the island of Aegina, 15 miles south-west. The port of Aegina is on the west coast, and offers good shelter, except in strong S or SW winds. Moor stern-to on the town quay and enjoy a meal or just coffee in one of the many tavernas just a stroll away, such as 'Panagakis'. This is a good place to provision your yacht, as there are supermarkets, butchers, and a fish market close by. Be sure to visit the famous Aegina fruit boats along the quay towards the big church of Agios Nikolaios.
Don't miss a visit to the temple of Aphaia - this beautiful sanctuary was built around 500 BC. It is situated on the north-east of the island, amid the pine forests, with stunning views over the Saronic Gulf.
Heading directly south from Aegina, you will sail approximately 13 miles due south, when you will reach the entrance of the huge sheltered Poros lagoon. You will sail past the sulphurous-smelling Methana on your starboard side, where the dormant volcano can still be seen. Keep a look out for the ferries and hydrofoils which frequently appear from the narrow entrance. Once in the lagoon, there are many pretty anchorages where you can stop for a lunch break or for a swim in the clear waters. At the entrance to Russian Bay (Daskalia Bay) there is a tiny island with a chapel. Slightly closer to Poros town, the tree-lined Neorion Bay has a taverna ashore.
Experience real greek hospitality in some waterside tavernas while watching some glorious sunsets.
The town of Poros is two miles east from the entrance to the lagoon, recognisable from a distance by the blue and white church tower on the hillside above the harbour. An evening walk up the hill is recommended, where you will be rewarded by a wonderful panoramic sunset. Mooring spaces can be found on the town quay or on the pontoons to the north. The owner of the 'Albatross' taverna may meet you, and help you moor up. There are plenty of facilities in Poros town, with shops and tavernas lining the quay and the little streets behind.
An evening walk up the hill is recommended, where you will be rewarded by a wonderful panoramic sunset.
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Today you will sail back through the Poros lagoon, and then sail 22 miles around the top of the Methana peninsula, continuing west to Palaia Epidavros (also known as Archaia Epidavros). There has been a settlement here since 1100 BC when the harbour, due to its strategic position, was the most important in the Peloponnese, providing 25 ships for the Trojan war. Epidavros is now a fishing village, filled with the scent of orange blossom in the spring. A summer market offers a taste of the local produce.
For a real taste of ancient Greece, hire a taxi to take you the short distance to the extensive site of the sanctuary of Asklepios. The most impressive excavation on the site is the huge ampitheatre seating over 10,000 people. Plays and concerts are held here over the summer. You really need a whole day to experience these awe-inspiring antiquities on this famous site. So if time is short, take a walk instead through the village streets behind the harbour, leading you past ancient burial monuments. You can even find an intact smaller amphitheatre where summer festivals are also held.
As an alternative to Epidavros, you could sail to the tiny harbour of Vathi, on the west coast of the peninsula of Methana. Vathi is approximately 20 miles from Poros. There is room for only a handful of yachts in the small harbour, although there always seems to be room for one more! This is a true Greek fishing village, and you will feel as though you have stepped back in time as you relax with a drink on Vathi waterfront and watch fishermen landing their catch and mending their nets. Seafood is a speciality here - 'Jimmy's Fish Tavern' have their own fishing boat and the menu depends on what they bring back each day. There is no bakery here, but bread is delivered each day by a van, which stops at the back of the harbour. There are some nice walks out of the village, with stunning views over the mainland. You can swim off the end of the harbour wall, or walk south of the village where there is a beach.
A short trip of eight miles north will bring you to your next sailing destination of Korfos. From Vathi it is approximately 12 miles. Situated in the almost landlocked Sofikou Bay, it is very well sheltered. Dolphins have often been spotted in the bay. You can free-anchor in depths of less than 10m, or go stern-to near the harbourside tavernas. Some tavernas have their own pontoon and offer free showers, such as 'George's'. Local fish is a speciality on the menu, but do ask the price for a whole fish before you order, as it can be expensive. Korfos is a very small village, but there are a few shops for provisions. To stretch your legs, why not take a pleasant morning walk along the shore. There is a shingle beach if you wish to swim.
Sailing 11 miles ESE from Korfos will bring you to the quiet island of Agistri, close to Aegina. Agistri harbour is on the north coast of this pretty island. Once inside the harbour, keep to the north side, as the water shallows to two metres or less elsewhere. There are a couple of tavernas close to the small harbour, but why not take a walk through the quiet streets up to the village. Here, a genuine taste of Greek life can be found, amongst the whitewashed houses and cobbled streets. Outside the settlements on the island, there are many olive groves and pine forests, supplying the resin used in making Retsina wine. You could take a very pleasant walk from the harbour, along the north coast to the next bay of Skala, where there are some lovely beaches and more bars. A bus and a road train in the summer months will also take you around this small island if you want to find a more secluded beach or walk in the countryside.
You may wish to visit Aegina town again on your last full day of sailing, or you could sail to Perdika further south on Aegina, less than 5 miles south-east from Agistri harbour. Here you will find pontoons, or you could anchor in the bay. The water in the bay gets quite shallow to the east, so watch your depth carefully when anchoring. Perdika is a very pretty fishing village, with picture-postcard whitewashed houses. The area attracts many day visitors from Athens. There are many tavernas and fish restaurants on a raised terrace overlooking the waterfront. 'Nontas' sells locally caught fish and offers stunning views over to the tiny island of Moni. The island is not inhabited, but you can visit on one of the many trip boats. Moni is home to wild deer, pigs and peacocks. The area is excellent for scuba diving and snorkelling.
Before you leave Aegina, make sure to buy a bag or two of their wonderful pistachio nuts. The soil and climate on the island are perfect for their cultivation. Be sure to sample some of the local dishes, too. There are many traditional Greek restaurants in Aegina. Kappas Etsi, situated one street behind the seafront, offers an innovative menu of local dishes. If you prefer a harbour view, try the Floisvos taverna on the front, situated towards the big church. Sailing back to Athens from Aegina at the end of your sailing holiday in Greece, you will see the pistachio orchards along the west and north coast of the island, where cliffs drop steeply down to the sea.
For more tips on sailing from Greece's ancient capital, check out our sailor's guide to yacht charter holidays in Athens.
This sailing itinerary for yacht charter holidays in Athens was created by Georgina Moon, a passionate writer, blogger and sailor. To learn more about sailing in Greece, check out Georgina's guest post in our Magazine.