If you are anything like me and struggle to relax when on holiday, a week sailing through the Saronic Islands in Greece might just be the elixir you need. Between lackadaisical days spent basking in the Mediterranean sun, sparkling turquoise waters, copious amounts of feta and plenty of quaint little towns to meander through, it’s hard NOT to adjust to the slow pace of life out on the Aegean Sea.
One of the most exciting parts of travelling is going to a place that I have no pre-conceived notion or expectation of. I have always dreamed of getting off the typical tourist path and exploring the lesser known Greek Islands (I may or may not have ‘Mamma Mia’ the movie to thank for that)…
Last summer, I decided it was time to fulfil my Greek dream, so I signed myself and my best friend up for a week sailing around the Saronic Islands with MedSailors. Previous to this trip, my sole experiences in Greece had been in the country’s tourist hot spots- the likes of Santorini, Mykonos and Athens. I may have been well versed with the Cyclades, but I knew absolutely nothing about the Saronic Islands. Hence, I knew it was going to be the perfect trip for discovering a more authentic side to Greece!
For anyone who has similar Greek island-hopping (or Mamma Mia) fantasies, I thought I would give you a complete run-down of what it is like to spend the week sailing through the Saronic Islands in Greece…
First things first, you might be wondering who MedSailors are and what their trips are about. Basically, the company offers skippered sailing holidays for 20-35 year-olds across Croatia, Turkey, Italy, the Caribbean and obviously, Greece.
Each yacht in the MedSailors fleet sleeps up to eight passengers, plus the skipper. If you have a group of eight, you can hire out a whole boat to yourselves. Otherwise, if you are rolling solo or with a friend or two, you can book out berths and you’ll get grouped with other passengers. For my sailing trip, I brought my best friend along and we ended up on a boat with two other Kiwis and five Brits (including our skipper, Nick). It turns out sharing a confined space with a bunch of strangers is very conducive to making friendships- by the end of the week, our crew had become a little family!
There are three types of yachts on offer- Premier, Premier Plus and Catamaran. Each yacht has four double cabins, a communal lounge, kitchen with a communal fridge and two bathrooms. Outside, the yachts come equipped with an outside lounge area, a deck for sunbaking, a swimming platform for easy access to the water, as well as paddleboards and snorkelling equipment that everyone can use at their leisure.
We sailed on a Premier Plus yacht, which is a newer, slightly upgraded version of the Premier yacht. I have to admit, the size was a very cosy fit for 8 people. The Catamaran, on the other hand, offers a lot more space both inside and out, so I would recommend opting for this option if you have the extra funds to spare.
Every boat has its own designated skipper, who not only sails the boat, but also looks after all the cooking, cleaning, and organisation of the trip. All this left us to think about was which activities we wanted to do when we docked at a new destination (and possibly what flavour of gelato to go for that day)!
For packing tips, be sure to take a look at packing guide for a week in the Greek Islands.
THE ISLAND-HOPPING ITINERARY
So, what does a typical day onboard a Medsailors Yacht look like?
Every morning we would wake up onboard our yacht to a delightful spread of toast, cereal, fresh fruit and profuse amounts of Greek yoghurt waiting for us on the deck. We’d spend the next few hours sailing (and by sailing, I mean sunbaking on the deck of the boat with a book in hand!) Before reaching our next destination, we would have a swim and lunch stop. As soon as the boat was docked, everyone onboard would simultaneously jump off the deck into the sparkling turquoise waters. We would then spend the next hour swimming, paddleboarding, snorkelling and cliff-jumping, whilst our trusty skipper, Nick, prepared a feast for lunch.
After a little more sailing, we’d finally dock in the afternoon at a new destination, alongside a fleet of about 7 other MedSailors Yachts. Once we arrived, we’d be given plenty of free time to either explore the place or take part in any of the optional activities on offer. In the evening, the MedSailors crew would suggest a local restaurant for us to visit, and often a bar to go to afterwards.
This was one daily routine that I could VERY much get used to as it was a perfect balance between relaxation and action. As someone who struggles to relax when travelling, I loved the fact I could laze around on the boat in the morning without feeling any guilt about it. At the same time, it was great to have the afternoon to take time to explore a new destination or take part in some of the optional activities.
To give you a more specific idea of what we got up to, here is my day-by-day recount of the trip:
Day 1- Perdika
The adventure began in Athens, where we hopped onboard the yacht that would be our home for the next week. After our first day of sailing, our first point of call was the quaint fishing village of Perdika. Arriving in the late afternoon, we decided to head straight to a secluded local beach for a swim. We stayed here until the water turned golden and before we knew it, we were witnessing our first idyllic sunset of the trip. Once the sun descended below the horizon, we headed to one of the traditional fish taverna in town for dinner. We spent the evening feasting on halloumi and stuffed peppers whilst taking in the twinkling lights of the harbour. The evening drew to a close after a nightcap at the local bar with our MedSailors group- the perfect start to the week of island-hopping that lay ahead of us.
Day 2- Ermoini
After a long day of sailing, we made it to a seaside village named Ermioni. Constructed on a port and surrounded by lush greenery, the village attracts many Greek local holiday-makers and retains a very authentic feel. We spent most of our time exploring the streets of a picturesque neighbourhood perched up on a hill. At every corner, we would stumble upon an alleyway bursting with fuchsia flowers or a glimpse of a patch of turquoise ocean peeking out on the horizon. As the sun began to set, we all headed to an incredible bar perched on the water for a little welcome party. After a few delicious cocktails and some great bonding time with the other MedSailors boats, we found ourselves indulging in another spread of Greek food, before dancing the night away at a local bar!
Day 3- Spetses
Next up, we made our way to the island of Spetses. This was by far my favourite stop of the trip. Although the weather was rather grim on our arrival, we braved the over-passing storm and hired quad bikes to explore the island. We followed the ring road past lush hills and secluded aqua-marine coves and ended up in a magical hidden cave that we swam through. After our quad bike adventures, we explored the main town of Spetses by foot, encountering the most charming streets filled with flower-lined doorways. In the evening, we headed to a restaurant in town to soak up the surprisingly lively atmosphere of the place. After dinner, we went back to the boat and played cards with everyone on our boat before calling in for an early night.
Day 4- Poros
Our next stop was the action-packed island of Poros. For the adrenaline junkies, Poros is the place to go, with every water sport from wakeboarding, water-skiing to parasailing on offer. After getting an adrenaline (and gelato) fix, we headed up to the bell tower in the centre of the town and had the most spectacular panoramic views during sunset. We finished the day with a scrumptious feast of halloumi, Greek salad and stuffed aubergine for dinner, paired with some lovely Greek wine- this was easily the best meal of the trip!
Day 5- Epidavaros
The weather wasn’t quite in our favour throughout the trip, so instead of sailing to Hydra as initially planned, we ended up docking in Epidvaros. Surrounded by dramatic mountains and orange groves, Epidvaros is not only wonderfully picturesque, but is also home to the world’s largest and most intact ancient Greek amphitheatre. Although we didn’t have time to explore the amphitheatre whilst we were there, we did head up to some acropolis ruins and witness one of the best sunsets of the trip, with 360 views over the mountain ranges and surrounding towns. That evening, we grabbed Gyros in town before heading back to the boat for a movie night (all thanks to our skipper and his portable projector)!
Day 6- Agistri
The final destination on our Greek sailing trip was the idyllic island of Agistri. Here, you can go diving amongst underwater ruins or hire scooters to explore the rugged coastline. We opted for a relaxed afternoon, paddle boarding through the turquoise waters of the harbour and spending time on our boat playing board games. As it was our final night, we had a Toga Party with everyone from the MedSailors fleet. We feasted on Greek food, smashed plates and even learnt some traditional Greek dancing. I mean, what other way could we complete our epic Greek Sailing adventures?!
Day 7- Athens
Finally, we made out way back to Athens and had to say final goodbyes to our Medsailors fam. Although it was rather wonderful being back on stable land after a week out at sea, I was really going to miss the sailing life!
If you are looking for a holiday that involves a healthy dose of Mediterranean sunshine to bask in, crystal-clear waters to dive into, quaint towns to explore, fun activities to take part in and feta to consume, then I can highly recommend booking a sailing trip around the Saronic Islands!
I was a guest of MedSailors on this trip. As always, opinions remain my own!
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