One of the European countries most devoted to the sea is Greece. Not only because its continental territory is almost all surrounded by the Aegean and Ionian Sea, but also because it has more than 1,000 islands. It is one of the top beach destinations in Europe, and with good reason for its climate, diet and landscape. But this is also a cultural destination due to its historical monuments. If you choose boat rentals in Greece, this brief guide can help you plan your holiday.
The essential visit in Greece is the Acropolis of Athens, one of the most important monuments in the world. The Greek capital is located next to the port of Piraeus, so the access from the sea is easy. Other interesting cultural visits are the ones to Rhodes, Delphi or Delos.
One of the most popular island destinations is Crete, which has long white beaches and clear waters. If you like scuba diving, Santorini is one of the best options. It is a volcanic island and under its waters you will find caves, a great natural wealth and even shipwrecks. There are many ports from which you can find boat rentals, so navigation is certainly an option to consider.
The thousands of Greek islands and thousands of kilometers of coastline make the beaches in Greece endless. The purest summer Mediterranean weather invites you to cool off in the crystalline waters. And diversity allows the sailor to choose between white sand or rocks and between long and crowded beaches or small coves on uninhabited islands. Here are some of the best beaches in Greece.
Navagio Beach or Shipwreck Beach is on the island of Zakynthos, one of the seven Ionian Islands. It is a small cove surrounded by cliffs and there are the remains of an old freighter stranded in the sand. Is accessible only by sea, so boat rentals in Greece are the best option to know and enjoy it.
It is considered one of the best beaches in Crete and the whole Greece. The sand in Elafonisi acquires a curious shade of pink and crystal clear waters are ideal for cooling off in summer.
Located on the island of Kefalonia in the Ionian Sea, Myrtos Beach is ideal for observing the vast sea to the horizon. Both experts and tourists consider it one of the best beaches in the world. And it's no wonder, because its long, narrow strip of white sand seems part of a fairy tale.
It is located on the island of Rhodes and meets the requirements of the image of the perfect Mediterranean beach with clear water and rocks and pebbles. It is called after the actor Anthony Quinn because some scenes of his movie The Guns of Navarone were there.
Balos is formed by a white sand beach and lagoon of a beautiful light blue, and it is on the northwest of the island of Crete. Its picture seems to belong to the Caribbean, but it is part of Greece. Its size and the difficulty accessing from land make it ideal to approach by boat.
Greek cuisine is based on the Mediterranean diet so it is healthy, colorful and tasty. Because of its history and geographical location, the Greek cuisine is influenced by Eastern and Western dishes, so it has an exotic and unique flair. It includes vegetables as main ingredients, but lamb is also very common, as well as fish in coastal areas.
Moussaka, composed of layers of meat and baked eggplant, is perhaps the most typical dish of Greek cuisine. Traditional Greek salad, basic in their diet, is made of tomato, cucumber, onion and feta cheese, and usually seasoned with olive oil and oregano.
As usual in the Mediterranean, the best time to sail in Greece is between May and October, when temperatures are higher, it rains less and the wind blows with less intensity.
In the months of May, June, September and October temperatures in Greece often exceed 20 degrees Celsius. In July and August the maximum is above 30 degrees and in the middle of the day you will thank for shaded places. In winter the weather is moderate and on islands and coastal areas they do not reach freezing temperatures usually.
Winter is the rainy season in Greece. However, in the summer rainfall are virtually nonexistent, and in July it is very likely that it does not rain a single day. In midsummer there are 13 to 14 hours of daily sunshine; an ideal weather condition for making the most of navigation.
Both in the Aegean and in the Ionian Seas temperatures usually exceed 25 degrees Celsius in summer and they are above 20 degrees during the boating season. The average water temperature in Greece does not usually drop below 15 degrees in the coldest winter months.
The most characteristic wind of Greece, which blows in the Aegean Sea, is the Meltemi, a north wind. It happens between June and September, and it is especially present in July and August, coinciding with the boating season. It helps clear the air and cool the atmosphere. Usually it starts in the afternoon and stops blowing with the sunset, but sometimes the Meltemi lasts several days.
Greece has several international airports, both in the mainland and in several of its islands. Obviously you can land in the capital, Athens (ATH), but also in Thessaloniki (SKG) and in islands such as Heraklion (HER), Chania (CHQ) in Crete, Rhodes (RHO) and Corfu (CFU). They have also the very busy international airports of Kos (KGS) and Zakynthos (ZTH), and nationals of Santorini (JTR) or Mykonos (JMK).
Aegean Airlines, member of Star Alliance, is the national aviation company in Greece and offers flights to most European capitals and other cities of the continent, as well as Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Jordan and Lebanon.
Getting to Greece by boat is one of the best options because of its thousands of islands and the large coast the country has. There are sea routes connecting Athens (Piraeus) and other Greek cities in Italy, Turkey, Egypt, Cyprus and Israel. Boat rentals in Greece, in any of the islands or in the mainland, give you the best means of transportation to get around the Aegean or Ionian Sea and not miss anything.
Thessaloniki, northern Aegean, is the main gateway to Greece by train. There are daily trains from Bulgaria, Macedonia and Serbia. Indirect access is also possible from other European countries such as the Czech Republic.
There are bus lines connecting Greece with its neighbors Albania, Bulgaria, Macedonia and Turkey, but also with Serbia or Georgia. Another option is to arrive by private car. The roads are in good condition and most signs in Greek characters usually have a translation into the Latin alphabet. Some European highways or E-roads pass through Greece to connect with the rest of the continent, such as E55 and E65, the E85 between Lithuania and the Hellenic country or E90, crossing Portugal, Spain, Italy and Greece to end in Turkey.