The eastern coast of the Peloponnese and the islands of the Argolic and Saronic Gulfs are popular with Athenians and tourists alike. Along this route you will discover a number of cosmopolitan towns or island capitals, ancient temples, small peaceful fishing villages and unspoiled anchorages.
This route is recommended for easy sailing or for shorter periods of charter as the islands are close together and well protected by the Attica peninsula to the north and the Peloponese to the west. During high season (July and August) the area can be particularly busy as many Greeks also take their holidays here. From the island of Poros you can set sail on a bareboat yacht or join a flotilla programme.
Many charter yachts follow the Saronic trail to Aegina, Poros, Hydra and Spetses and to nearby harbours and anchorages but the mainland ports and antiquities are well worth your time to visit them.
There are three significant historical centres in this area in addition to the ancient theatre at Epidaurus and the temple of Aphaia on Aegina. Mycenae at the head of the Argolic Gulf was the center of the Mycenaean period, which succeeded the Minoans and provided the material for Homer's epics.
Athens was of course the centre of Classical Greece, although it is all too easy to attribute too much to this ancient city and forget the contributions to art, oratory, science and commerce from other city - states all over Greece.
Lastly, the fleets of Hydra and Spetses were of key importance in determining the outcome of the War of Independence (you can visit the female resistance fighter - Bouboulina's house in Spetses) and both Nafplio and Aegina were at different times the capitals of the newly liberated Greece.
Wind and Sailing Conditions:
Easy to Intermediate
The Saronic, Argolic and eastern coast of the Peloponnesian Gulf is a very well protected cruising area with mild winds, averaging Force 3-4, usually from the North to North-East, ideal for relaxed sailing. In the Argolic Gulf, the wind is mostly in the summer, from the South-East, blowing Force 3-5. During spring and autumn the winds are normally weaker and blow from the South over the whole area. The Saronic area is divided into the coast around Athens and East Poros and Hydra were winds blow NE. The 'Meltemi' begins around mid July and builds up to full strength in August and early September, dying down towards the end of September. During that time it can be forced up to 5-6 (35 to 40 knots). In Argolikos Kolpos and Hydra the wind can also be SE. The 'Meltemi' is strong during lunch time and dies down at night. 'The wind that comes from the mountains of the Peloponnese, 'Katabatic', can reach up to 30-35 knots butit only lasts a few hours.
Planning your trip
The majority of charters will begin from Athens' main marina Alimos (Kalamaki). From there you can set sail right away and most people head to the nearest island of Aegina. It is adviseable to take weather forecasts day by day and plan your route, heading west to the mainland or south towards the Argolic gulf, depending on your mood and the sailing conditions. If you are sailing for two weeks or longer, aim to get as far south (Monemvassia, for example) as you want to go after the first 3rd of your holiday period and then begin to make your way north again for the return journey as you always need to allow more time to sail upwind.
You can also start your sailing trip from Poros, which is centrally placed between the gulfs. There are regular ferries between all the islands and it is possible to also drive down the Peleponese coast to Galatas, opposite Poros, and take a ferry across from there.
- Aegina island, including the Temple of Aphaia
- Epidaurus - ancient amphitheatre
- Poros island
- Hydra island
- Spetses island
- Nafplion - mainland, ancient capital
- Porto Heli