These two exciting weeks will show you the beauty of the Saronic Gulf. Furthermore, this itinerary gives you the possibility to visit up to six of the best islands Greece has to offer! From picturesque harbors and cozy villages to waterside taverns and breath-taking sunsets, we have made sure you see it all! Let’s dive in…
Day #1 – Athens to Aegina
This is where this dream island-hopping sailing itinerary begins. Picking up your charter yacht from Athens is the first step. Once this is done, you can start the adventure. After leaving the marina, you can head to the Island of Aegina, situated only 15 nautical miles (or around 28 kilometers) to the southwest. The port of the island offers proper shelter where you can enjoy a traditional meal or a coffee in the many taverns around.
Most importantly this is the place where you want to gather provisions for the trip. At sea, you always have to be prepared and have food and drinks. Check out our packing list to be even more prepared! When you’re done with the shopping, stop by the stunning church of Agios Nikolaios or the ancient temple of Aphaia. Trust us, it’s worth it.
Day #2 – Aegina to Poros
It’s only day two, but you are already stunned by all the beauty. Well, hang in, because this is just the beginning. It’s time you head directly south from Aegina, sail approximately 13 miles (24 km), and reach the narrow entrance of the sheltered Poros lagoon. Remember to look out for the ferries which frequently appear from the entry. Once you are in there, the lagoon offers numerous pretty anchorages, which are perfect for a lunch break or for a swim. Or both.
While you are in the lagoon, you can also visit the town of Poros, resting in the distance. Its blue and white church tower embellishing the hillside above the harbor is something that should be seen up close. We recommend you take a walk up the hill in the refreshing afternoon. A fantastic sunset will be waiting on top for you. Feel free to tell us how amazing it was in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
Day #3 – Poros to Ermioni
We know it was gorgeous, but now we have to leave Poros and follow the next adventure. If you leave this heavenly place through the southern channel, you will have the best view of the waterside buildings. Just after 5 miles (9 km) you will round the headland and after another 14 miles SW (26 km South West) you will have reached the coast of Ermioni. This beautiful city is located on a narrow peninsula. So you can also go stern to on the southern side, also known as Mandraki. Here you can restock or just enjoy more fantastic food in the friendly taverns. It’s a holiday after all. Just remember, in case there is southerly wind, it might want to be preferable to anchor on the pontoons on the northern side. They are closer to the village center and local shops.
Day #4 – Ermioni to Hydra
Another day, another beautiful place you shouldn’t miss. You can sail here after leaving Poros if you don’t feel like visiting Ermioni. You can also return here on the way back to Athens. One thing is certain, Hydra is an extraordinary place you should definitely consider. The island has just one main town, the Hydra Port. Its harbor has an Amphitheatre-like crescent shape, and it is like a magnet to all kinds of boats.
What’s funny about this place is that the only transport is by mule or donkey. Yes, you read that right. Hydra is full of surprises and if you think a new experience like riding a donkey is not enough, prepare for the crazy amounts of boats that gather here in the summer. However, if you think crowds are not your thing you can take the alternative and try out free anchoring a few miles to the east. There you can enjoy small and quieter taverns ashore.
Day #5/6 – Dokos and Spetses
After the busy island of Hydra, you may prefer a quieter destination. So we want to make sure we provide you with that option, and there is no better place than Dokos Island. You can reach it by sailing west, and after you choose a quiet anchorage, you will find out that the main residents of this unspoiled island are sheep and goats. We know, first donkeys, now goats, but bear with us for a second. If you are lucky, you may have the whole bay to yourself. The perfectly clear waters here are perfect for swimming and relaxing. You can make this your private lunch stop, or you can anchor overnight. After all, where else can you get such peace and quiet?
Actually, we do have some Intel on that, check out our list of the most Beautiful Locations Only Accessible by boat.
Furthermore, the beautiful island of Spetses is just 16 nautical miles SW (30 km) of Hydra. It’s a bit closer to Ermioni if you decided you would like to miss out Hydra. This is the perfect midway stop on the way to the Peloponnese mainland. When you get to the beautiful Baltiza creek, look out for the metal sculptures. Creations of a local artist, they are something every art lover would want to see. However, an art fan or not, everyone should witness the biggest celebration of the island called the Armata. It’s celebrated in honor of a naval victory, and the vast fleet of boats, fireworks and music are to be expected and enjoyed.
Day #7/8/9 – The Peloponnese Mainland and Leonidhion Plaka
We are in the middle of our island-hopping sailing itinerary and we have a whole week to go. The next stop of this so far amazing sailing trip is the Peloponnese mainland. You can get there if you sail from Spetses 15 nautical miles (28 km) west. Here you can find numerous harbors and anchorages. We can recommend the safe haven at Leonidhion Plaka. This tiny village is the home of the aubergine summer festival, several fish taverns and a long sandy beach for your relaxation.
After you’ve enjoyed some seafood and bright sun you can head south along the coast until you reach the historic hilltop town of Monemvasia. However, make sure you check the weather if you want to sail to Monemvasia because sometimes there are strong prevailing southerly winds on the way there. If you are a beginner sailor, we recommend sailing north instead, along the coast from Leonidhion and you can also make a stop at Astros. You will find a new harbor and a whole castle to explore. Make sure to bring your adventurous spirit!
Day #10 – Hinitsa Bay
We all have certain things we want to do when we go sailing. If spending a day and night at a beautiful bay behind a tiny islet then the peaceful anchorage of Hinitsa is your next stop. Situated east from the entrance to Porto Hele, this secluded place offers crystal clear waters, more taverns, the beautiful sunset, and night skies that are ideal for counting stars.
Day #11/12 – Travel Back
You’ve had a lot of fun the last few days, but at this point, you may be thinking of returning to Athens. However, this is not the end. It’s just an opportunity to visit some of the places you might have missed in your first week. Remember that Spetses, Hydra, and Ermioni are all just a half day away from Hinitsa Bay. Before you sail towards the Poros channel, you can visit one lovely anchorage by Nisos Soupia. We’ve already seen donkeys and goats, but here you can see a frog. Well, at least a rock that resembles one. Known as “frog rock” this creation of nature surely makes for a funny travel story.
Day #13/14 – Perdika and Agistri
Every journey comes to an end and this is the end of our island-hopping sailing itinerary. However, this doesn’t have to be a bad thing, especially if you make sure it ends with a bang. The island of Aegina is where we started, but we can also finish here. This excellent last night stop, before you return to Athens, is the home of a harbor town of Perdika, which is an attractive alternative to Aegina town. Here you can once again enjoy great food and cozy taverns which overlook the harbor and the nearby island of Moni.
If you just can’t get enough, you can sneak in one more island to your collection. The island of Agistri has a harbor on the north coast. This one is ideal for visiting yachts, but it is shallow in parts so be careful with your depth gauge. Here you can also visit a typical Greek village, with whitewashed houses and walled gardens for that last touch with the Greek culture, friendly people and beautiful nature.
Even though Greece is a pretty touristy place, this island-hopping sailing itinerary is suitable for social distancing. Bearing in mind that you will visit islands, which are separated from the main touristic places, you can be sure you are safe and far from the crowds.
Of course, make sure to come back at some point! These islands are just a small part of what Greece has to offer, and new experiences are waiting behind every corner. To keep track of new sailing itineraries and news from the sailing world, make sure you like our Facebook page and visit our blog when you feel like you want to hit the water again. See you on the next adventure!