When visiting any of the Greek Islands, don’t miss the opportunity to get out on the water. Seeing the islands from a boat offers a completely different perspective from being on land. Certainly, inter-island ferries are a popular way to spend time on the water as a form of transportation, but spending time on a sail boat offers a small-boat experience that can’t be beat.
I love Greece…in addition to six weeks of land-based travel in the Greek Islands, I have spent three weeks sailing in Greece, first in the famous Cyclades and later in the Ionian Sea. I love waking up and having a quiet coffee on deck while watching the traffic of the marina, heading to a cove and anchoring for lunch and a swim, and arriving to our next destination in time for a delicious Greek dinner. As a form of transport, a sailboat offers the ability to turn off the engines and truly enjoy the sounds of the sea. But, when sailing for a week or two isn’t in the cards, I always try to fit in at least one day sail to get that same feeling, if just for a day.
Our day sail in Crete started at the Agios Nikolaos Marina in Crete. We were welcomed aboard with a beverage and shown around the 40 foot sailing boat. As we pulled out of the slip, our son enjoyed waving to the other boats passing by. There was decent wind, so the skipper quickly put the sails up and shut off the engine and we were peacefully gliding through the sea. Those who wanted to were able to try their hand at the helm. As we passed small islands, we saw different seabirds and other creatures and marveled at a few megayachts. Our sail took us around Spinalonga, a famous island that once held a leper colony. Eventually, we made it to a protected cove where we were the only boat on anchor. Our skipper provided us with a delicious freshly made early dinner, which we enjoyed with a glass of wine. After the meal, we had an hour or so to swim, snorkel and kayak in the crystal blue waters of the cove. On the way back to the marina, we enjoyed the peaceful rhythms of the waves on the forward deck while our little one slept.
Logistics: There are many types of day sails throughout Greece. It’s important to know what you are looking for, what type of boat you want to be on, and what size group will be on the boat. Do you want to do active sailing, visit a historical site, or spend time in a cove? Sometimes a day “sail” isn’t a sail at all, but rather on some type of motor boat. Additionally, a lower cost usually means a larger crowd. On this sail, for example, there were only nine of us. This meant that we all had enough space to relax, and when we got to the cove we weren’t in a crowd of people. I’ve also had the misfortune of experiencing larger day cruises where I felt packed in like a sardine. If you’d like help selecting a day sail or other activity in Greece, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or (408)533-0080. I am also able to assist with custom itineraries in Greece as well as week-long (or longer) sailing trips.