18 August 2021
Reading time: 7 minutes
In a nutshell:
Unmissable destinations: the port of Hydra, the monastery of Chozoviotissa in Amorgos, and Miaouli Square in Ermoupolis
Favourite addresses: "Oasis" in Poros, a good Greek seafood and fish restaurant, and "Ostria" and "Xeri elia douskos" in Hydra
Discoveries: Paraskevi cove in Spetses, and Naoussa on the island of Paros
- Practical information for your boat rental in Athens
- What to do in Athens?
- Where to sail in Greece?
- Which itineraries to follow for your cruise?
- What are the wind conditions in the Greek islands?
If Athens fascinates through its ancient treasures, it also attracts boaters and holidaymakers for its beautiful natural sites. "We anchored in a small cove in Spetses with a taverna on the beach; it looked just like a postcard" Benjamin told me. For your boat rental from Athens, we recommend that you depart from Alimos Marina in Kalamaki. Perfectly equipped and ideally located, it's the ideal starting point to escape to the Cyclades or to visit the islands of the Saronic Gulf.
Jean-Pascal at the helm of his Bavaria Cruiser 56, and Daniel on his Lagoon 42, both rented with Filovent (Photo by Jean-Pascal and Daniel)
1. Practical information for your boat rental in Athens
What types of boats are available in Athens?
Greece has the largest maritime interface in Europe with 13,676 kilometres of coastline. Moreover, tourism in Greece is a pillar of the economy, so it's not surprising to find many boats available for rent in the port of Athens. The range of boats from Athens is varied; however, cruising yachts represent a large part of the vessels on site. Many models of yachts are offered for charter, including Beneteau, Bavaria, Lagoon, Jeanneau, and Dufour.
Average rates depending on the season and the size of the boat
The table below gives you an order of magnitude of the average prices of the boats. These prices can change according to the season, the availability, the model, and the age of the boat.
|Type of boat||High Season|
July and August
May, June, and September
April and October
|Mono-hull (2 cabins)||€2,600||€1,700||€1,500|
|Mono-hull (3 cabins)||€2,900||€2,400||€1,700|
|Mono-hull (4 cabins)||€3,500||€2,900||€2,100|
|Mono-hull (5 cabins)||€4,250||€3,500||€2,800|
|Catamaran, 40 feet||€6,300||€5,700||€3,300|
|Catamaran, 45 feet||€7,500||€7,500||€5,500|
|Catamaran, 50 feet||€13,500||€10,500||€8,000|
|Catamaran, 60 feet, with crew||€21,000||€18,000||€14,000|
|Yacht, 100 feet, with crew||€50,000||€45,000||€40,000|
Our partners on site
There are many rental companies in Athens; however, not all of them have the same requirements in terms of quality of service. Please note that you will be asked to pay the skipper and the services in cash.
- Kiriacoulis has the largest fleet available for rent in Athens, with 250 boats. This rental company gives you the option to start your rental on a Sunday or a weekday. Kiriacoulis also allows you to rent your boat for flexible periods, for example, for 10 days. Two-thirds of its fleet is made up of mono-hulls, mostly Bavaria and Sun Odyssey. Kiriacoulis is a good choice for sailors looking for inexpensive boats.
- Istion Yachting has been our partner for 30 years now. This ship owner has a fleet of 210 boats comprised mainly of catamarans of 10 to 15 metres, and motor yachts. The skippers and hostesses of Istion Yachting are known to be very professional. The vessels offered by Istion Yachting are a little more expensive than those of other charter companies in Athens, but it's the boat owner from Athens most highly rated by our customers. This rental company also offers luxury yacht rental.
- Dream Yacht Charter has a fleet of 135 boats in Athens, mainly Sun Odysseys. This professional rental company is also highly rated by our customers. It's a historical partner of Filovent and operates the largest fleet of boats in the world. For cruises that start and end in Athens, the first and last night at the marina are free of charge.
- AF Yachting has a fleet of 152 boats, mostly cruising mono-hulls from different manufacturers and Lagoon catamarans from 12 to 15 metres.
The port of Kalamaki
The main port of Athens is located in the Alimos Marina, in Kalamaki, the largest marina in Greece. Fuel and electricity are not included in the price of your rental. The port has a local supermarket, Balaskas, located at 39 Afroditis St. Paleo Faliro is open Monday to Sunday from 8am to 9pm. At the port, you will be able to use the following facilities: electricity, water, toilets, showers, ATM.
Ports in Greece
In Greece, most of the ports are free. However, they're not the best equipped. You will often find there what you need to fill up with water and recharge your batteries. When the ports are paying, the price is around 5 to 10 Euro and you will rarely find ports at more than 50 Euro per night (100 Euro for a catamaran). You should also know that the port tradition is different in Greece. You will often be asked to tie up to the pontoon in reverse, either to the hanger or to the anchor (which will then serve as a guard). Jean-Pascal's advice: "Drop the anchor much further out, that's the way to do it."
How do I get to the departure base?
To get to the port of Marina Alimos, you have several options:
Athens International Airport, "Eleftherios Venizelos", is 30 kilometres from the port, about one hour by car or shuttle. There are direct flights from most major French cities.
If you need an organised transfer from Athens airport, Filovent can ask the rental company if a transfer to the base is possible, not all of them offer this service. You can also rent a car, the main rental companies are present in the airport. You'll also find many taxis in front of the airport.
From the airport, by bus
A public express bus, the X96, leaves every 20-30 minutes from the airport for about 6 Euro per person. The bus stop is located at the entrance of the marina of Kalamaki.
2. What to do in Athens?
Yacht charter in Athens will make you discover a beautiful city, romantic and deeply marked by history. A true open-air museum, Athens reveals a page of its history through the remains of the temples built in honour of the Greek gods. Among these remains, you will find the Temple of Zeus, the Parthenon, dedicated to the goddess Athena, the theatre of Dionysus, and theOdeon of Herod Atticus0>. Don't leave without visiting the Acropolis, which overlooks the city; the view is breathtaking. Athens is also a particularly lively city that will delight party-goers with its nightclubs, and gourmets with its restaurants and local markets. For foodies, we recommend a stop at the large Athens market, which has enlivened the city since the 19th century. Athens also offers beautiful beaches, such as Kalamaki and Kavouri.
3. Where to sail in Greece?
Here are some of the points of interest of the islands that Jean-Pascal S., Daniel F., and Benjamin R., Filovent customers, visited during their cruise from Athens. The list is not exhaustive, I can only encourage you to visit the surroundings of Athens by yourself, the best way to discover the Cyclades and the Saronic islands being of course boat rental in the Mediterranean! "Whether they were used to sailing or not, everyone was very happy, it's really a fabulous way to travel! Offshore, it's great, you can do what you want and arriving in a port on your own gives you a very strong feeling of freedom!" Benjamin confirmed. Be careful though, the navigation routes depend greatly on the weather, and unfortunately, we can't control it! It's therefore necessary to be ready to modify your navigation programme at any time and to keep informed of the weather.
The Argo-Saronic Islands
Renting a catamaran in Greece is the ideal solution for discovering the Saronic Islands. The main islands of this archipelago are Salamis, Aegina, Angistri, and Poros. The islands of Hydra, Dokos; and Spetses, which are located between the Saronic Gulf and the Argolic Gulf, are sometimes included in the Saronic Islands, then called Argo-Saronic Islands. Their ports, at the origin of their economic development, are among the most beautiful in Greece, while their coasts and inland remain almost untouched by man. The architecture of these islands is similar, but don't be mistaken, each of them has its own atmosphere. "Sailing in the Saronic Gulf is ideal for people who don't want to do too much sailing and to discover the Greek islands", Jean-Pascal told me.
A chic and bohemian atmosphere floats in Hydra, the only town on the island. The city is built in an amphitheatre in front of its port, one of the most beautiful in Greece. Cars are forbidden In this city, the only means of transport are donkeys or bicycles. "Thetavernas in Hydra are all very good, you can't go wrong: you can go there with your eyes closed!" Jean-Pascal told me. His favourite, all the same, is the taverna "xeri elia douskos" (Ντούσκο), which offers local cuisine that's also suitable for vegetarians, where you will eat under the trees and lanterns. Benjamin liked the restaurant "Ostria" in Votsi Street, where he tasted fried squid and was offered wine. Benjamin hiked on the island: "It was mainly done by road at the beginning, because we had left the port, but then we climbed many steps and discovered the landscapes of the scrubland. It was very pretty, we reached a monastery with a 360-degree view of the island." For Jean-Pascal: "The port of Hydra is too small, which makes it impassable." He advises anchoring in the old arsenal of the port to the East of Hydra, Mandraki, which dates from the 19th century. Once there, you can walk to the city in about 30 minutes or take a water taxi for 20 Euro. When you pass through the port of Hydra, don't be surprised to see a typical French gallinaceous bird. Benjamin, a native of Brest and seduced by the place, took the opportunity to put a chicken sticker from the painter Jean-Yves Le Fourn (a tradition started by the artist in his home town of Brest).
Known as the island of Jasmine, Spetses is particularly fragrant in the evening. Benjamin anchored in Spetses in a small cove, with a taverna on the beach, "it looked just like a postcard". Jean-Pascal went to the deep rugged bay of the old port of Spetses: "It was lovely, at the beginning of June, there's traditionally a gathering of old boats. This is the "Spetses Classic Yacht Race", a four-day regatta of old sailing ships that pays tribute to the island's naval history and tradition. You'll be able to see a Savannah, a modernised replica of the J-Class from the 1930s. During your walk to the old port, you'll be able to admire the spetsiote houses, palm trees with exuberant foliage, and some cypress trees. Take the walk to the lighthouse, where you will encounter the metal mermaid by the Athenian artist Natalia Mela, who watches over the old port with her trident. Jean-Pascal added: "In this harbour, the mooring spaces are a bit expensive and there aren't many, about twenty; moreover, you have to be quite experienced to moor sideways, at anchor or to a line."
For more choices of moorings in Spetses or Greece, Navily: ➔ Anchorages in Spetses ⚓
On this island, the atmosphere is languorous, traditional tavernas, bars with old-fashioned charm and cubic white houses decorated with red tiles and blue shutters. Benjamin told me: "The port is really very nice, we had a nice walk, the town of Poros is lovely". You can do the tour in half a day. However, don't leave it without taking the time to climb to the top of its hill dominated by the Clock Tower, erected in 1927. And don't leave without having tasted the island's specialty: amygdalota, marzipan flavoured with orange blossom that you can buy in the pastry shops of the port; it's to die for! For dining, Jean-Pascal recommends the "Oasis Taverna", a Greek seafood and fish (but not only that) restaurant which is unanimously appreciated! The port of Poros West quay is recommended, include 7 Euro for the mooring in front of the "Oasis" restaurant, water and electricity at the quay (5 Euro for 500 litres). As for anchorages, Jean-Pascal advises avoiding the ferry axis, "it is better to be inside the Eastern cove of Poros, because it is better protected and there are many possible anchorages."
When renting a boat in Athens, if you have a week to spare, set sail for the Northern Cyclades, just under 70 miles to Syros. On the other hand, if you have two weeks you can go to the Southern Cyclades, count 130 miles to Santorini. Each of these islands has its own character, there'll be something for everyone! For lovers of sunbeds and cocktails, it's in Naxos, Milos, and Andros that you'll find something to love. For the more sporty, go and discover the many hiking trails of Sifnos, Andros, and Antiparos; you won't be disappointed. For party people, Santorini, Mykonos, and Ios are for you! For a family holiday where relaxation and visits are on the agenda, we recommend the islands of Paros and Tinos. For fans of archaeological sites, Delos will delight you.
On the island of Paros, Daniel Francey prefers the city of Naoussa to the capital of the island, Parikia. Naoussa is a large fishing village with small whitewashed houses with blue shutters. Its labyrinthine, cobbled and flowery streets, its small churches and courtyards filled with bougainvillea make it a typical Greek place. Naoussa has preserved its charm: on the quays of its small port, traditional fishing boats and garlands of octopus dry in the sun. You'll find them on your plate when you stop at one of the many seafood tavernas. At night "the bars are open late and play good music", Daniel told me.
It's the main town of the Cyclades; its capital, Ermoupolis, is a bourgeois city which means city of Hermes. The city has all the charm of the Cyclades, without the crowds. It is home to impressive neoclassical buildings, elegant Venetian mansions, large churches and winding streets. Here are some of the city's must-see places of interest:
- A casino, the only one in the Cyclades, located on the sea front
- The picturesque district of Vaporia
- An industrial museum that is worth a visit
- A theatre, a miniature replica of La Scala in Milan
- The Town Hall and the Apollo Theatre in the central square
- The church of Agios Nikolaos, on a hill overlooking the port
Amorgos, the small Cyclades
For Daniel, who has sailed more than sixty times in Greece, the small Cyclades, composed of about twenty islets, are really special and charming. He advises Amorgos, the most Eastern of the Cyclades, which became famous with the filming of the movie The Big Blue by Luc Besson. Only accessible by boat, it is preserved from mass tourism. This island houses the famous Byzantine monastery of Chozoviotissa, built in the 11th century, and installed in one of the crevices of the rock. The monastery has eight floors connected by a maze of stairs that will lead you to the monks' cells carved in the rock, a remarkable example of traditional architecture! Inside: exhibition of heirlooms (Byzantine and meta-Byzantine), view from the windows of the archontariki (hospice), the church and tasting of rakomelo (ouzo with honey) and loukoums offered by the monks.
Amorgos is undoubtedly one of the best Greek islands for trekking and hiking. The island offers many trails for wilderness lovers and magical views of the sea. Notably Chora to Aegiali (path 1) which follows the ridge line of the island and Langada (path 5) which goes to the chapel of Stavros in the North of the island. Also not to be missed is the panoramic view of Chora from the top of the 12th century Venetian Kastro (castle) which overlooks it. If you pass by this island during your cruise, stop at Kalotaritissa. This beautiful cove is home to a small fleet of fishing boats and offers protection from the Meltem wind. Not far away, just before Kalotaritissa, is the wreck of the Big Blue. If you want to be closer to all the amenities: the port of Katápola, in the centre of the West coast. The town of Katápola offers everything you need to have a good time: restaurants, bars, shops and even a small botanical garden.
4. Which itineraries to follow for your cruise?
Itinerary 1, for one week in the Saronic Islands proposed by our partner Dream Yacht Charter - Total distance covered: 140 nautical miles
- Day 1: Kalamaki Marina → Port of Epidaurus (30 nautical miles)
- Day 2: Epidaurus Marina → Hydra (33 nautical miles)
- Day 3: Hydra → Spetses (15 nautical miles)
- Day 4: Spetses → Poros (30 nautical miles)
- Day 5: Poros → Aegina (15 nautical miles)
- Day 6: Aegina → Alimos Marina (17 nautical miles)
5. What are the wind conditions in the Greek islands?
Dimitri Chelmis, base manager at Dream Yacht Charter in Athens, warns you about the winds: "When sailing in the Cyclades, you have to be very careful with the winds coming from the North which can be very strong between July and August, up to 30 knots on the windiest days". Dimitri Chelmis strongly recommends leaving in June when "you will enjoy beautiful sunny days and optimum sailing conditions, because these windy phenomena are very rare", he told me. Jean Pascal is of the same opinion: "In Greece, the winds are not established and change a lot between the islands, the skipper must always be on the alert. My advice is to keep an eye on the weather, pay attention to the wind conditions, it is not necessarily dangerous, but it is possible to go from calm to 20 knots very suddenly just because there is a mountain or a strait.
I would like to thank Daniel, Jean-Pascal and Benjamin, Filovent customers, for their testimonies which illustrate my article perfectly. I would also like to thank Dimitri Chelmis, base manager at Dream Yacht Charter in Athens.