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This area stretches from Cap Malea (SE corner of the Peloponnese) all the way to the coastline east of Athens, with a host of islands between.These are sheltered waters with generally light winds, a lot of charter vessels, very good yacht support. Cruising is crowded in season NE of Spetsai and Hydra, favourite destinations for large Athens based boats. Athens international airport has frequent daily flights year round to many countries. Athens/Piraeus is the transport hub of Greece, with a good rail, bus and tram services to ferry terminals and airport.
In 2011, the following were typical transport services: Bus to Athens from: Monemvassia one a day, 7hr; Astros 3 a day 4hr, Navplion, frequent, 2hr; Porto Heli, 4 a day, 3hr30. Kalamata 8 a day, 3hr30. Seasonal high speed ferries Athens/Porto Heli, Spetsai.
And on another page, Greece: Reference, and Regulations for visiting yachts
Escape the crowds in this quieter cruising region from Cap Malea to Spetsai island. From Ieraka northwards, southerly afternoon sea breezes are common. Harbours or anchorages are placed a comfortable 15 to 20nm apart, with a dramatic mountainous background. Travelling south is easiest in the mornings before the head winds kick in. There's heavy shipping traffic with crossing lanes off Cap Malea. For some alternative harbour comments linked to Google maps, see: GoCati's Map. From Cap Malea, going north:
Monemvassia 10/10, is a 'must visit'. This well kept mediaeval village, reached by a causeway, has a ruined city on the hill top above. OK, there are tourists, but most of them stick to the donkey path through the village centre. Get lost in the incredible maze of the lower town, and if your heart can stand it, escape the day trippers by climbing to the ruins on top of the rock. A small yacht harbour just south the mainland village of Yefira is well sheltered. Most restaurants and bars cater for tourists, with prices to match. A simple small restaurant just north of the tiny, circular fishing harbour in mainland Yefira is good value for money compared with the 'soft seats' in nearby café-restaurants.
Ieraka 6/10 is a tiny cleft in the rock a couple of miles north of Monemvassia. A hamlet has two or three tavernas. It's not always easy to find quay space, though the locals, eager for your custom, will soon tell you if it's OK to use the ferry quay. A charming stop.
Leonidhion Plaka 5/10. Plaka ("beach") is a laid back small Greek tourist resort with several tavernas and a very simple store. 2km Inland is the bustling market town of Leonidhion, 8/10, tucked under great cliffs. Take a taxi to the monastery yet further in, hacked impossibly out of yet another overhanging cliff. The priests will show you around, usually egged on by the taxi driver.
Tiros. Just 5nm N of Leonidhion, this small harbour has a busy inland market village to visit.
Astros 6/10 newhas been substantially developed (2015) and has capacity for 300 yacht berths, many with laid lines. Pontoon berths with water and electricity are available. A pleasant, spacious Greek holiday village, also used as a turn-around port for a flotilla operation.
Navplion, 10/10, Give this lively and attractive town three nights if you can, but beware noise and smell (knock iit down three notches to 7/10 for noisy quayside nights in high season from Thursday thru to Sunday, and sewage smells in light winds high summer). The pedestrian area has lovely architecture and lies just a few streets inland from the quay. Three castles hover above the town for the fit to explore. Shopping is good, and entertainment is, well, entertaining. 'Bouboulinas', along the harbour front, is a good paseo for watching beautiful people. There's a row of very classy bars interspersed with a couple of cheaper ouzeries. Some bars stay noisily open until 6am on Friday and Saturday nights, so choose your day to visit. There's a small cluster of good restaurants (Bysantio, Kakanarakis and Omorfi Tavernaki) just two streets inland from the visitor's quay. For entertainment go to Lathos (ΛΑΘΟΣ), a small bar just east of 'Syntagmatos', the main pedestrian square in the west of the town. Run by a pair of brothers, this must be one of the more eccentric bars in Greece, if not Europe (It's very similar to Bojangles, in Alice Springs. Except that's a bit further from the water). Only open in later evenings, it looks like an abandoned junk shop during the day. But go and listen to their rather classy selection of vinyl jazz, and revel in their visual jokes. Take nothing for granted - your table may start moving.
Tolon 1/10, is an illustration of what happens when mass tourism overloads a small town with a tiny beach. Yes, you can usually find an anchorage among the moorings off the beach here, but why bother?
Mainland Anchorages 8/10. From Khaidhari to Spetsai and beyond are a string of small coves, ideal as day anchorages, or even night anchorages. Delightful quiet spots.
Khaidari/Drepano 3/10 is a very well sheltered anchorage off a small working village serving local fish farms. Good tavernas.
Koiladia. 2/10, but a good spot for winter layup ashore. A well sheltered small bay, with some moorings available and a well recommended yard, reached through a dredged channel. Rates competitive with the Preveza/Aktion yards. Local apartments click to email (Mrs Matoula) - €30/40 per night, T: 0030 275 406 1163
Porto Heli, 3/10, unless you want to use the facilities. It's a good anchorage, used by some to live aboard over winter. There's a long town quay for end on mooring, whose southern corner is quite pretty with some rather pricy but smart looking restaurants. The town is otherwise rather dull. There is a boatyard with moorings and haul out facilities for laying up ashore or afloat.
Ermioni, 6/10, is a pretty town on the mainland, with a small harbor quay at the north of the town, and an alternative (more exposed) quay to the south. Marina under construction 2013.
Spetsai 6/10, is very pleasant, rather smart in places. It is difficult to find a good town berth, but with some ingenuity it's usually possible to squeeze into the quaint old harbour east of the town. Otherwise, visit by ferry from Kostas on the mainland. The main town quay is very popular with rich Athenians, who moor their enormous motor yachts alongside each other, competing to display opulent interiors to passing admirers.
Hydra A lovely old town (9/10) busy with visitors. Grossly overcrowded harbour from 15:00 to 10:00 each night in peak season, yachts moored end on with their own anchors up to three deep at times, and anchor knitting chaos at departure time next day. For a day visit, just drop in from a nearby haven from 11:00 to 14:00. For night life, anchor in Molos (quiet and sheltered) or Mandraki (walkable) and arrange water taxi from either if the water bus isn't running.
Enclosed, well sheltered, and close to the many marinas around Athens, the Saronic Gulf offers easy sailing with excellent yacht support. Throughout this area, harbours and anchorages are closely spaced, all reachable within a short sail. Many circular routes are possible. With frequent year round fIights to Athens airport from most countries, the area is popular for wintering, and very busy with charter vessels. Quaysides are crowded at weekends and in peak season. One week is sufficient to touch the highlights. With two weeks the less crowded Argolic Gulf and Eastern Peloponnese coastlines can be included.
Winds in the Saronic are usually light, though occasionally a brisk afternoon F5 or 6 rattles through to disturb the peace. Approaches to Piraeus and the area just west are busy with commercial traffic and large vessels. Between Salamis and the mainland it is common to see a large number of ships at anchor.
Poros 8/10, A very pretty small town perched on an old volcanic plug, crowded, busy with passing ferries and tourists. To avoid the tourist crowds, climb up to the clock tower on top, where nearby you'll find a couple of good value tavernas set in a shady square. Lots of sheltered anchorages in the lagoon between the island and the mainland add to the charm of the area, and there is good yacht support available. 7 Moorings available on the Galatas side of the channel for longer stays, 2 weeks or more, just opposite Poros - email Bob (not always available!) to book them. Regular fast ferries to Athens/Piraeus. Noisy bars at night at the east end of the quay. Pontoons on the west quay. Snags - rather a lot of ferry wash on all the quays, so moor well clear of the hard stuff.
Methana 3/10. A very faded small spa town with a small, excellently sheltered but rather shallow (2m) 'marina', very cheap. Close to Athens (regular fast ferries to Piraeus) and a suitable place to leave the boat for a month - or a year - afloat. Sulphurous waters will leave your chain an odd colour, but there will be no weed growth!
Epidavros 8/10 for the great classic Roman amphitheatre nearby, best visited early in the morning before the visitors crush the place out, or after they've gone! The harbour is now a base for flotilla operators
Corinth Canal 8/10 for the engineering feat. If you didn't go through it, you must go and have a look at this magnificent cleft through the isthmus. Metro service to Athens airport.
Aegina 5/10 (also Aigina) is a pleasant small island, with some nice ruins to visit and wonderful crops of pistachio nuts. There's a "marina" and port on the western corner by the main town of Aegina (often crowded in season), and a quay and some settled weather anchorages on the south coast. There is a group of boatyards on the north coast convenient for Athens and suitable for wintering ashore.(more)
Salamis. Mentioned for its cheap options for wintering ashore, just opposite Piraeus. Koupetori pulls out with wheeled trolley near Salamis town. Ambelakia boatyard, on the E coast, has a large travel hoist - contact Theo Bekris, Yacht Repair Yard, 18902 Ambelakia (Kaminaki), Salamina Tel: +30 210 4671588, Mob: +30 210 4675332.
Athens is a "must visit", with a good public transport system, and many museums, of which the Parthenon Museum is top of the list. The coastline to the south is big motor yacht territory, with several marinas conveniently connected by frequent X96 express buses and tram services running between Pireaus ferry terminal and the Airport departure terminal. Except in Agias Kosmos, marina facilities are limited compared to good international standards, and (except in Zea and Alimos) visitor berths are difficult to find. Rare for Greece, there have been occasional thefts of outboards and other large sellable items along this coast, though less so than in the Solent area of UK. Along the coast, West to East, expect to pay around €50 for 12m per day 2013:
Zea - K&G marinas, big boats, but very central in a buzzing region. Superb shelter in the inner marina.
Athens Marina (was called Faliro) targets mega yachts, but does accept smaller vessels. It's now joined the Camper and Nicholson's exclusive "1782 Club".
Flisvos Marina targets mega yachts. Vessels under 15m pay 15m prices
Alimos Marina, (was called Kalamaki) is a large marina catering for a range of boat sizes up to 40m maximum. Usually space for visitors. Large hard and slipway. Webs site not updated since 2007 . . .
Agias Kosmos Marina. Built for the Olympic games off Glyfada, this marina serves boats from 15m to 80m.
Glifada marina, no web site found, tel: +302108947353
Vougliameni marina, small and well sheltered.
Cap Sounion 6/10, is a fairly open anchorage near the end of the Athens peninsula, well sheltered from the meltemi. There is a lovely old ruined temple on the headland above. Nip up there to watch the sunset — with a glass of something nice to hand. This is a favourite jumping off point for the Cyclades.
The Evia channel is within easy reach of Athens airport, convenient for crew change (bus connection, change at Markopoulo), with a couple of good value shore hards for winter layup. There are several useful places south of the Chalkis bridge. Working south to north:
Olympic Marine SA just south of Lavrion town is a rather isolated and soul-less marina with large yard. It provides a very wide range of expensive yacht repair and maintenance services, and has covered working areas suitable for major GRP repair. It has been reported as offering casual service to smaller vessels, with pricing suited more to mega yachts.
Lavrion. Lavrion is a work-a-day town with a busy port (a port of entry) and a town quay. Areas of tailed lines are used by many charter companies. Fuel and water readily available. It's usually full Friday to Sunday, but with space mid-week. The hard is reasonable value for wintering ashore.
Rafti and Rafina are small town ports even closer to the airport, useful for dropping "go home" crew off . . .
Halkoutsi/Oropos, just north off the map, is about 10km south of Khalkis (the bridge to Evia). It has two well recommended and good value shore hards suitable for winter layup, accessible to the airport.
See the page below for details:
That's on this page
Updated Nov 2015