Updated: Dec 20, 2022
So you want to charter a private yacht in Greece? You've come to the right place. I'm passionate about immersive experiences, and what better way to experience Greece than on a private boat charter to the places the Athenians go to escape the tourists?
Whether you're planning a honeymoon or exploring on your own, here are ten things to consider before sailing on a private charter to the Greek islands.
1. To go it alone or to hire a Captain?
While we barebacked our sail catamaran, I highly recommend hiring a captain. Captains don't just know the water, they know the places to go; the tucked-away coves to drop anchor for a swim or for the night. The research alone for a trip like this can take several weeks and yield few results, rely on your Captain, they are a local expert.
2. Flexibility is key
Sailing is a very popular activity in the Mediterranean. Besides heavy traffic, the water conditions and wind will rule your boat charter experience. Additionally, many marinas do not take advance reservations so you'll want to get underway early in the morning (weather conditions permitting) to stand a chance of pulling into marina for the evening. If you find yourself at a loss for a place to dock, you'll need to find a suitable place to moor overnight. There are a number of considerations for this. Having a Captain will ensure you have a safe, enjoyable evening, and a smooth cast off in the morning.
3. Provision precision
Undertaking a week-long private charter requires a lot of advanced planning. Mapping out your meal needs and ensuring you know when and where you'll restock is critical on a trip like this. Get as much water as you think you need. Then get more. While we are talking provisioning, toilet paper deserves a mention. Americans love us some toilet paper. For a private charter vacation, that Seinfeld episode where Elaine asks to "spare three squares" comes to mind. Use toilet paper sparingly, and for God's sake, do not flush it. Save some time and download our Provisioning List.
4. Wining and dining
Europeans eat late, and in Greece, they don't just eat late, they take their time. If you come into port and want to grab an early dinner, certainly do so. If you want an authentic experience, plan to eat after 8pm and give yourself 2-3 hours to enjoy the moment. I suggest getting there in time to watch the sun set while enjoying a glass of wine. Greek wine has a bad rap; don't fall for the ill-hype because Greece produces some lovely wine. Yia mas!
5. Sea taxis are a thing
In some areas, you'll be able to take a water taxi from one area of the island to the other or even to a nearby island. The water taxi can be relatively small, though, so if you are prone to seasickness you may wish to forgo the ride.
Since I mentioned it, let's talk about seasickness shall we? We chartered a sail catamaran and due to it's size and stability, we didn't experience any sea sickness while on board (stay on deck while under way). That said, many of us felt disembarkment syndrome (mal de debarquement) when we stepped off the boat. It was worse for me when I was sitting down to a meal and took about 2 days to fully go away. Consult with your MD before your cruise, or talk with our partner, Runway Health, to ensure your travel medications don't get left behind.
7. Pack it up, pack it in
Beyond having your prophylactic medications, save some room in your luggage for binoculars, hard-soled water shoes (the black sea urchins are prolific), a mask & snorkel, a waterproof phone case, and a floating key chain and dry bag for your private charter in Greece.
8. Ahoy neighbor
This should go without saying, but it would be irresponsible for me if I left this part out. Be courteous to your neighbor. Moored in a cove or docked at a marina, no matter where you spend the night you are going to have neighbors. Don't blare music or make a lot of noise after dark. Play your card games but keep the noise, and music low.
9. Don't make it weird
Expect nudity. You're going to see people sunbathing nude or having a morning swim/bath in the nude. We even saw an old man collecting trash on the beach in the buff save for his sun hat. Don't make it weird, don't stare, don't be offended, and don't get caught looking through your binoculars.
10. Put the camera down
The world is meant to be experienced. If you are going to travel, adopt that mindset and embrace the moments presented to you. Social media inspired many of us to get out there, perhaps for the wrong reasons. So, put the camera down, put yourself out there, and connect with the locals. Staged photos might last forever, but genuine moments of connection with another human, their culture and environment have an opportunity to change our life.
If you've read this far and still want to embark on your own sailing yacht charter in Greece, I'm here to help you. I've sailed the Aegean Sea and I have the contacts to help you do it, too. Schedule a call with me today.