A yacht charter vacation in Greece promises one of the most magical experiences of anywhere in the Mediterranean. With more shoreline than anywhere else in Europe and around 6,000 Greek islands to explore, this destination offers endless opportunities for discovery on your next superyacht vacation. Whether you’re looking for fun in the sun in Mykonos, a romantic getaway in Santorini or peace and quiet in the Ionian Islands, Greece has something for everyone.
If you're considering renting a crewed yacht in Greece, you’re in good company. This popular yachting hotspot is thought to be the original home of modern yacht charter, and there are few destinations on earth that are so perfect for exploring by boat!
Greece and its many islands cover an area of almost 131,957 square kilometres. The island chains are generally broken down into five main categories, and all are popular among yacht-goers. The two peninsulas of Halkidiki (or Chalkidiki) and the Peloponnese are also frequently visited by luxury yachts.
With so many destinations to choose from, it can be hard to know where to start. Read on to discover the best destination for you, as well as important information about charter costs, Tax, popular marinas and expert advice for first-time charterers.
Guide to Greece Yacht Charter:
- Greece: At a glance
- Where to charter a yacht in Greece
- Types of yacht charters in Greece
- How much does it cost to charter a yacht in Greece?
- The Greek charter license explained
- VAT and Tax in Greece
- Where should I begin my yacht charter in Greece?
- When is the best time to visit Greece by yacht?
- Marinas and Anchorages
- Airports in Greece
- Booking Advice from the Experts
- Don't miss:
- Variety of islands
The sheer number of Greek islands means there’s countless itineraries and plenty of destinations to fall in love with, and you can keep coming back time and time again.
- Quiet bays, secluded anchorages and isolated beaches
There’s no shortage of peaceful spots in Greece, meaning you can escape the crowds and you don’t always need to dock in port.
- Incredible culture and history
The history of ancient Greece is one of the most fascinating in all of western civilization, and its culture is still very prominent today across Greece today. You can expect to see many temples, statues, settlements and sights across the Greek shores.
- Excellent dive sites
Wreck sites, coral reefs and natural underwater caves create ample opportunities for scuba diving (and snorkelling, in some cases).
- Thriving food scene
With an abundance of ingredients on its doorstep, Greek cuisine is among the most beloved in the world and you can expect nothing but the best on your next yacht charter vacation.
- More coastline than anywhere else in Europe
In fact, Greece has more coastline than almost any other country in the world, and offers 6,000 islands (277 of which are inhabited).
- Stunning scenery
Everywhere you cruise, you’ll be awed by the spectacular scenery of Greece. From pine-coated hills and dramatic chalky cliffs to tiny islands rising up from the sea, Greece is steeped in natural beauty.
The yacht spots of Greece are generally structured into the five major island chains and two peninsulas. Each of these cruising grounds have their own unique charm and character.
- Cyclades Islands
Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Naxos
Best for: Buzzy restaurants and beach clubs, luxury shopping, iconic sights, fine dining
- Saronic Islands
Hydra, Spetses, Aegina, Poros
Best for: Charming towns, secluded beaches, cycling and hiking trails, authentic dining
- Dodecanese Islands
Rhodes, Kos, Simi
Best for: Cultural attractions, ancient towns, quiet anchorages, swimming and snorkelling
- Ionian Islands
Corfu, Zakynthos, (Zante), Ithaca, Kefalonia
Best for: Beautiful beaches, short-hop sailing, scuba diving, nightlife
- Sporades Islands
Alonissos, Skiathos, Skopelos, Skyros
Best for: Peace and quiet, unspoilt nature, pristine beaches
- Peloponnese Region
Corinth, Patras, Kalamata, Nafplion,
Best for: Pretty towns, ancient culture, beautiful beaches, calm moorings
- Halkidiki region
Best for: Cultural sights, untouched beaches, swimming and snorkelling
Greece has a very diverse charter market, so you can be sure to find the perfect yacht for you and your charter party. There’s a wide variety of motor yachts for charter, as well as sailing yachts and traditional Turkish gulets.
However, be aware that all yachts wishing to begin or end a yacht charter in Greece must be in possession of a valid Greek charter license. Speak to your yacht charter broker for more information, or scroll down to take a look at our ‘Greek charter license explained’ section.
If you’re unsure about the type of yacht you’d like to charter, here are some things to consider first.
Motor yacht charter in Greece
For those looking to rent a motor yacht, you’ll find a wide range to choose from.
The most common type of motor yacht you can hire in Greece is a yacht with a planing hull. Stylish, sporty and speedy, they’re great for zipping between islands quickly and ensuring you get the most out of your itinerary. If you’re looking to spend most of your time on land or splashing in the sea, a yacht with a planing hull is the top choice for you.
You’ll also find a superb selection of displacement and semi-displacement superyachts at your disposal (pictured above). These are typically larger and more stable at anchor, with more on-board space for facilities and amenities such as gyms, movie theaters and wellness suites. They’re ideal if you’re chartering with a large group, particularly one that includes children.
Sailing yacht charter in Greece
Greece is a playground for sailing yacht charters, with plenty of yachts available throughout summer. A combination of light winds, clear skies and plenty of anchorages create great sailing conditions across all the islands.
The most popular destinations for sailing charters are typically Corfu, Kefalonia, and the Sporades Islands. Other destinations are equally desirable, including the Cyclades and the Dodecanese islands- but be aware that these areas typically encounter more winds. This means it might be more challenging to drop anchor, and you will have to consider spending more nights in port.
A gulet is a traditionally Turkish-built sailing yacht made out of wood. They are usually two or three-masted and are typically much larger than your average sailing yacht. As times have changed, many gulets are now motor-sailer, meaning they can operate under sail or with a motor if necessary. While many are still made out of wood, some more modern versions are built in steel and aluminum.
Luxury gulet yacht charters are very appealing alternatives to both sailing and motor yacht charter. While they usually rely on their motor underway, they are very fuel-efficient and don't require a lot of fuel to get from point A to point B. They have displacement hulls which make them very stable and seaworthy, and they typically offer lots of volume and open-plan living spaces.
Gulet yachts also tend to be cheaper than other types of charter as they sometimes offer all-inclusive or semi-inclusive packages, meaning you don’t need to worry about additional expenses such as food and drink. They also normally include a standard number of cruising hours per day. Plus, their crew are often local to the region that they cruise in, meaning they can double as tour guides and have a lot of expertise and valuable insight into the area.
But be aware- many gulets are Turkish-flagged, meaning they will need to hold a Greek charter license to start or finish a charter in Greece.
The price of a Greece yacht charter vacation varies depending on a number of factors, including the type of yacht, the age of the yacht, and the month in which you choose to charter.
Motor yacht charter
|Average Length||Average Low Season *||Average High Season *|
|< 82ft (< 25m)||$31,129||$35,423|
|83ft - 99ft (26m - 30m)||$43,231||$47,435|
|100ft - 134ft (31m - 40m)||$64,465||$76,320|
|135ft - 164ft (41m - 50m)||$144,636||$167,103|
|165ft - 199ft (51m - 60m)||$229,542||$288,616|
|200ft - 234ft (61m - 70m)||$345,718||$431,449|
|235ft - 264ft (71m - 80m)||$697,087||$759,054|
|265ft - 294ft (81m- 90m)||$775,600||$791,750|
|295ft + (91m +)||$792,531||$964,250|
* All prices are quoted per week plus expenses.
Sailing yacht charter
|Average Length||Average Low Season*||Average High Season*|
|66ft - 99ft (21m - 30m)||$24,619||$26,960|
|100ft - 134ft (31m - 40m)||$39,274||$49,237|
|135ft - 164ft (41m - 50m)||$71,938||$96,733|
|165ft - 199ft (51m - 60m)||$163,125||$208,365|
|200ft - 230ft (61m - 70m)||$233,812||$305,800|
|230ft + (71m +)||$560,062||$590,124|
* All prices are quoted per week plus expenses.
In Greece, foreign-flagged yachts must have a Greek charter license if they wish to begin or end a yacht charter in Greek waters.
To obtain a Greek charter license, the yacht must fit the following criteria:
- The yacht must be commercially-registered
- The yacht must be EU-flagged (note that if it is not EU-flagged, it must be more than 35m in length and not made out of wood)
- The yacht must spend a certain amount of time cruising in Greek waters per year (the time varies between EU-flagged and non-EU-flagged vessels)
Foreign-flagged yachts don’t need a Greek charter license if they are only cruising into Greek waters. For example, if you (the charterer) begin and end in Turkey but spend time chartering in Greek waters, your charter yacht doesn’t need a Greek charter license.
Once a yacht has its charter license, the yacht can benefit from Value Added Tax (VAT) exemptions on fuel, provisions and other equipment during charter. However, certain VAT restrictions still apply; see our tax and VAT section below.
As with most countries around the world, Greece charges Value Added Tax on a range of goods and services which includes yacht charters.
Individual countries vary in the percentage at which they charge VAT. In Greece, VAT on yacht charter is charged at 24% and is based on the value of the yacht.
However, this 24% figure can be reduced if the yacht meets specific criteria.
At the beginning of 2020, new legislation was put in place in order to develop a new system to calculate VAT and potential reductions.
The three tax brackets are as follows;
- VAT at full 24%– Applies to charters that take place in Greek waters without exiting to non-EU or International waters (Staying within the six nautical miles limit)
- VAT at 24% – With a deduction option for time spent outside of EU waters or in International waters.
- Discounted at 50 per cent (VAT 12 per cent) – This will be for yachts that spend a minimum of 60 per cent of charter time/days outside of territorial waters. (Territorial waters are considered: six nautical miles from the mainland and six nautical miles from the territorial waters of an Island). This also applies for yachts commencing charters outside EU territory and that remain outside for more than 60% of chartered days and end their charter in Greece.
Until 2017, chartering a yacht was far less constrained. In 2017, new laws came into practise which aimed to enforce tighter laws around yacht charter in Greece.
The Greek charter license was introduced in 2018 in a bid to boost the charter market in Greece by offering charter yachts increased flexibility and VAT exemptions.
By far the most common embarkation point for Greece yacht charter vacation is Athens. Around 90% of the Greek charter fleet has a homeport in Athens.
By far the most common embarkation point for Greece yacht charter vacation is Athens. Around 90% of the Greek charter fleet has a homeport in Athens.
From Athens it’s relatively simple and straightforward to access most of the Greek islands and there’s an international airport- Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (AIA)- that offers non-stop flights to the rest of the world.
There are numerous luxury marinas that cater to superyachts and megayachts in Athens.
Zea Marina is among the most popular. It is located in Piraeus, which is the largest sea port in Greece and one of the largest harbors in all of Europe. It’s a hive of activity, and offers 670 berths with a maximum length of 150m. Modern facilities are available on land, as well as world-class restaurants and high-end hotels for those looking to spend a night or two on shore before or after their charter.
Athens Marina is also very well-known, and has 130 berths catering to yachts measuring up to 130m. It has plenty of amenities on land, including a helipad service.
Flisvos Marina is another superb option for starting and ending a charter. While the aforementioned marinas are located close to the heart of Athens, Flisvos is a little further out. It sits around 6km around the city centre, and offers 303 berths with a maximum length of 70m. The award-winning marina is very modern and exclusive, and there are a wealth of facilities and high-end restaurants at your disposal when you dock here.
However, for those looking to charter around the Ionian Islands in destinations like Corfu, Cephalonia and Zakynthos, you may wish to begin your charter closer to your desired destination.
In Corfu, the most popular marina is Gouvia marina, which can be found on the east coast of the island in a secluded bay. It accommodates yachts of up to 80m, and boasts 1235 berths.
In Zakynthos (or Zante), Port Zakynthos is the most well-known harbour. It offers 30 berths with a maximum length of 60m, and has a range of on-shore facilities for you to take advantage of during your visit.
It is possible to begin or end your charter elsewhere in Greece. However, you may have to consider the cost of repositioning as the fleet is mostly based out of Athens.
If you want to meet the yacht elsewhere- for example, Santorini, Mykonos- you can expect to pay a hefty repositioning fee. It’s generally more economical to begin in Athens and spend the day cruising to your desired start point, enjoying your yacht to the fullest and soaking up the scenery as you travel underway.
Of course, it’s also possible to begin your charter in a neighbouring country and cruise across to Greece. The most popular destination is Turkey. Speak to your broker for more information about beginning and ending a Greece yacht charter in Turkey, and be aware that you will need to show passports and other valid paperwork every time you disembark in a new port- even if you have already visited in the days prior as part of the same itinerary.
The best time to visit Greece on a yacht charter is between July and August, but warm weather typically extends well into September and even May in certain destinations.
The peak of the charter season is usually July, although August historically has the hottest temperatures.
Between June and August, you can expect highs of 85 - 90 degrees Fahrenheit (26 - 32 degrees Celsius) in Athens, with even hotter temperatures recorded further south.
Climate in Greece
Greece is one of the hottest destinations in the Mediterranean, and you can expect consistently excellent temperatures throughout the summer months.
Since the Greek islands are so spread out, there are some variations between island chains; but as a general rule of thumb, the further south you travel, the warmer the air temperature will be.
Summer in Greece usually experiences very low levels of precipitation, but be aware that all Mediterranean countries sometimes encounter summer storms, which can bring heavy rain and wind.
Greece generally enjoys long hours of sunshine- over 14 hours per day on some islands. As summer wears on, the sea temperature increases as well. The warmest seawater temperatures in Greece are usually recorded in the Aegean islands of Kos and Rhodes, as well as around the Cyclades during peak season.
Winds are great for those hiring a sailing yacht, but you don’t want winds that are so strong they become uncomfortable. Certain regions of Greece are more affected by wind, and this can potentially impact your charter vacation.
The Meltemi Wind, known in Greece as the annual wind, affects the Cyclades, the Dodecanese and the Aegean Islands the most. It blows the most strongly between June and August. While it can be strong in the afternoons, it usually dies down in the evenings and is not usually a hindrance in the morning. The Meltemi Wind (also known as ‘etesian’ wind) comes and goes in phases, so you won’t necessarily encounter it on your vacation.
Generally speaking, the Ionian Islands experience the least wind in Greece.
Around the main yachting hubs of Greece, you’ll find plenty of marinas which cater to a variety of yachts of different sizes. However, be aware that Greece doesn’t have as many big marinas as destinations such as the South of France or Italy, and demand for berths can be very high in peak season.
Mikonos New Port: 30 berths with a maximum length of 50m
Sani Marina: 215 berths with a maximum length of 33m
Miraggio Marina: 81 berths with a maximum length of 40m
Agios Nikolaos: 255 berths with a maximum length of 70m
Poros Marinas: Around 60 berths with a maximum length of 60m
Kos Marina: 250 berths with a maximum length of 80m
Rhodes Marina: 382 berths with a maximum length of 120m
Anchoring and mooring in Greece
Greece is ideal for those looking for a vacation away from the crowds, since it’s home to countless quiet anchorages and secluded spots to moor overnight.
The region is ideal if you're practicing social distancing as you can steer clear of ports and busy spots on shore for the duration of your vacation.
If you're unsure of the difference between anchoring and mooring, let us break it down for you; anchoring means dropping anchor (either out at sea or just off the coast) and letting the anchor chains run across the seafloor, ensuring the yacht stable and stationary.
Mooring refers to tying rope to a solid object on shore to keep the yacht secure and in one place.
The best island chains for mooring and anchoring are the Ionian Islands, the Sporades, the Dodecanese and the Aegean islands.
It can be slightly more challenging to moor and anchor in the Cyclades as there are fewer bays that offer shelter and protection. However, there are places to be found, with mooring balls and landing stages scattering throughout the islands.
Greece is well-connected to the rest of the world by air, and also caters to private flights. Many of the islands have their own airports which you can fly into either privately or commercially.
For international flights, the principal hub is Athens International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos (AIA). The airport operates non-stop flights to the USA, Middle East, Russia, Europe and Asia during peak season.
The other main airport is in Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city. Thessaloniki Airport Makedonia (SKG) is an international airport, and is the best place to fly into if you’re chartering in Halkidiki, on the northern mainland.
Other major airports include Corfu International Airport, Heraklion International Airport (Crete) and Rhodes International Airport.
Airports which offer domestic, chartered and private flights and some international flights include Mykonos, Santorini and Zakynthos.
Greece is one of the most popular charter destinations in the Mediterranean. Therefore, advanced booking is absolutely essential in order to secure your dream yacht on your preferred dates in the perfect destination.
In Greece, many charterers are repeat clients; meaning they’ve already booked the yacht once, fallen in love with the yacht and its crew and chosen to return again to explore a new destination. This means that competition for yachts is fierce and it’s even more crucial to kickstart the booking process early.
Don’t forget that your choice of yachts is comparatively smaller than Italy or the South of France since all yachts beginning or ending a charter yacht in Greece must have a Greek charter licence.
Plus, finding dates when everyone in your charter party is available can be challenging; the longer you leave it, the harder it’ll become.
Your broker will need ample time to finalize the details and tailor an itinerary to suit you and your charter party. We recommend booking between six-three months in advance of your intended start date.
- Shipwreck Beach, (Navagio Beach) a beach in Zante that's best accessed by boat and is famous for the large shipwreck lying on the sand.
- Nammos, the most iconic beach club in Greece.
- The Portara of Naxos, a doorlike arch that once formed the Temple of Apollo on the island of Naxos.
- Cavo Tagoo, one of the most photographed hotels in Greece, carved into the caves on the hills of Mykonos.
- The Terrace of Lions, a walkway on the island of Delos that's lined by statues of lions.
- The Corinth Canal, a long stretch of water that cuts through the mainland in Corinth.
- Flyaway Creative, the hottest restaurant in Santorini.