Saronic Gulf: sailing in Greece in complete relaxation
A sailing cruise in the Saronic Gulf offers the opportunity to enjoy an “easy” itinerary as the sea here is protected from strong winds and big waves, conditions that crews most often encounter in the Aegean Sea. The route and the stopovers foresee rather short navigations, with one or two exceptions. So it’s perfect if the crew on board prefers relaxeing holidays away from the great adventures of sailing in the Aegean or if there are people on board who are not very familiar with Greek waters or with sailing as a type of the vacation. On the other hand, this relaxed sailing will take you too crystal clear waters, timeless islands and all the genuine atmosphere of Greece.
Day 1, Alimos Marina (Kalamaki)
Our Saronic Gulf sailing cruise starts from Alimos Marina (Kalamaki) marina on Saturday afternoon. It is the largest tourist port in Greece, with about 1,000 berths on the quay and is one of the best positioned ports because it is located in the southern part of the city of Athens, just a few minutes from the majestic Port of Piraeus. For many crews renting boats this port facility is the ideal starting point for sailing cruises in this part of the Greek Mediterranean coast as it is located 15km from the city center, 8km from Piraeus and 30km from the Athens International airport. This allows sailsmen to take a bus from the airport or a taxi. There are also a few restaurants nearby, including Greek and Italian tavernas, some of which deliver on board. If you want to have fun at night just go to one of the clubs in the marina that offer all kinds of entertainment.
The first stop on our sailing trip in the Saronic Gulf after a short 12 mile sailing is the bay of Agia Marina in Aegina Island. The bay is sheltered from the wind from the North East, but exposed to the South and South West winds. Usually the north side of the bay is where most of the people anchor, keeping a safe distance of 50-70 meters from the small pier, as well as from the rocky shore where the hotels are located. Anchoring is easy because there is a lot of space and the depth that reaches up to 10 meters, while the seabed is mostly sandy, therefore safe. You can stay at anchor for the first night, in order to appreciate the natural landscape of the Greek islands. However, if the winds from the south are strong, the alternative is the port of Poros, the only one nearby large enough to guarantee a berth and protected from all wind directions. Poros is several miles further from Alimos Marina, our base of departure, it is an easy sailing route but, in this case, you will arrive there just before night falls.
Day 3,Egina island – Hydra island, 23 miles
The next day we sail to Hydra Island. The island’s famous history, the wealth held by the boat owners and traders of previous centuries, as well as its important role in the Greek revolution (19th century), are all perfectly encapsulated in the magnificent city of Hydra. It is also worth mentioning that no motor vehicles are allowed on the island which among other things offers one of the most mesmerizing sunsets in the Aegean. The crossing to Hydra is 23 nautical miles, so it’s best to leave Aegina at dawn to reach your destination as soon as possible in order to find a place in the port. Actually you can also moor in Mandraki Bay (one mile North of Hydra port) which offers easy access (30 minute walk or 10 minute sea taxi) to Hydra town. In Mandraki Bay yachts can anchor a few meters from the shore and use a rope to hold still and the dinghy to move ashore. .
If the crew prefers spending two nights in a row on a specific island to relax more, Hydra should be the place they want to choose. You can swim and have fun in Mandraki Bay and then spend a romantic evening in the wonderful old town having dinner in a restaurant or having a drink in one of the many bars. In short, Hydra is a pearl in the Saronic Gulf.
Day 4, Hydra island – Dokos, 5 miles
On the fourth day of our sailing cruise in the Saronic Gulf we leave Hydra to visit the neighboring island of Dokos. The crossing takes almost an hour. Dokos is an uninhabited islet, completely protected from the winds (better always check the nautical chart and the weather forecast before sailing and mooring). It is a wonderful destination for those who go sailing where you can anchor a few meters from the shore and use a line on the ground to stay on a fixed point. The bay is large and ensures full privacy for the crew away from other yachts and a relaxing night. The nearby port of Ermioni just in front of Hydra on the Peloponnese coast is a nice nearby palce for a day excursion, as is the island of Spetses, further west, but with a port without too many places to dock.
The next day we sail to Poros Island, by which we are starting our return to Athens. A lot of caution is required at the entrance to the Port of Poros, due to the small rocks above the waterline. It is necessary to cross the harbor channel carefully, keeping a few meters away from the yachts moored at the island’s pier. The water lane with safe depth is very narrow along the channel. The Port of Poros is the largest of all the islands in the Saronic Gulf. There are plenty of berths the most part of the day, but later in the evening it could be full at any time during the summer, especially on days with strong winds when yachtsmen look for a safe moor there. In Poros all options are available: you can moor in the picturesque harbor with traditional restaurants, fish taverns and many bars. If you prefer free mooring at anchor for swimming and a relaxing night under the stars, the bays within the Strait of Poros offer safe shelter and a beautiful natural landscape. The Russian Shipyard cove is the one you should make some time to visit, protected as a historical monument: just swim from the yacht anchored to a small sandy beach and see the ruins of the old structure.
Day 6, Poros island – Agkistri island, 14 miles
After leaving Poros, we suggest Agkistri Island as the last destination before going back for the check out in the Saronic Gulf. On the southwestern coast of Agkistri there is a small islet called Doroussa. Many yachts moor there, using a land rope to hold their position. It’s one of the most beautiful destinations in the area, with lush pine trees covering the island’s hills and rugged, rocky coastline offering good shelter from almost any wind direction.
Day 7, island of Agkistri – Alimos, 24 miles
From Agkistri Island, on the last day of the cruise, we return to the Alimos Marina. When sailing across Agkistri and Aegina, keep away from the shallow waters and you will soon see the Athens coastline in front of you. If you leave Agkistri early and the weather is favorable, you can also visit the small islet of Moni, near Aegina. The cove here has a unique landscape with beautiful turquoise waters and lush trees on the hills. After a swim, it is time to dock in the Alimos marina. You will remain with a heart full of emotions and eyes full of beauty of this truly exciting cruise in the Gulf of Saronic, one of the most beautiful territories in the Mediterranean.