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Sailing in Greece
Why Always Athens?

The Nafplio Alternative for
Beginning Your Sailing Trip

by Stefan Ritscher

Sailing in Greece: NafplioThere is hardly any doubt that Athens is the commercial and cultural Center of Greece, is certainly the best known town of this country and finally, thanks to the recent Olympic Games even contains now a very reasonable infra-structure. As it happens, Athens is also located on the sea and calls several Yacht Marinas its own.

It should not be forgotten though that these Yacht havens are not Greece’s only ports to start a voyage, and that Athens is also, at least for the first timer one of and probably the most chaotic city in Europe. -And unless you are a graduate of Matt Barrett’s Athens Guide, it is not the easiest thing to find your way, especially if you picture yourself carrying your baggage for a weeks sailing cruise and try to make out the location of your chartered Yacht.

Lately many departures of Sailing Yachts are diverted to the conveniently located port of Lavrion, which is very easily accessed from the airport. But due to the fact that also this area is ‘Attiki’, or wider Athens area, it is almost certain that until you finally leave the port on your boat, you may be exposed to a hectic and often an uncomfortable environment as well.

Finally leaving the marina you will often be met by the infamous ‘Meltemi’ with sometimes 7-8Bft strength of wind, swells from passing Highspeed ferries and quickly you realize that you certainly need one additional day to find your deserved relaxation, dreading already the day of return to this area that has the potential to spoil your sailing vacation.

Following a different concept we noticed that there are possibilities that make the cruising vacation pleasurable from the arrival at the airport on, which in most cases still will be Athens’ El. Venizelos.

Our favorite departure port is near the beautiful town of Nafplion. (See an example of our sailing cruise)

To begin with, the taxi drive there is a true pleasure, passing along the coast road with view to the island of Salamina, finally crossing the world famous Canal of Corinth, of course not without stopping for a coffee break and a glance onto this magnificent piece of architectural art, and from there driving through impressive countryside and passing more very famous historical places until arriving in Nafplion.

All this does not take any longer then a drive through Athens if it happens that your arrival time is near rush-hour, -which is in Athens very often about 20hours of the day.

Nafplion, as you certainly know from your study of Matt Barrett’s site, was in fact the first capital of Greece, and is a treasure in itself. From here we start absolutely relaxed to our sailing cruise. Depending upon the time of your arrival and your preferences we have a multitude of choices as our destination. There is no place that can’t be reached from Nafplion, but we have much more flexibility and at least at the beginning of the cruise we have a guarantee of no exaggerated winds.

The prime destinations from Nafplion are the Argo-Saronic islands and the Peloponnese coast, but also the Cyclades can easily be cruised after visiting the stunning islands of Spetses and Hydra.

We generally advise for cruises of less then 10 days duration to consider a one-way voyage. This option dramatically increases your range of experiences. We can easily avoid adverse weather, may reach destinations otherwise impossible for the period of time or can indeed spent some time exploring a place without worry about the return and finally we avoid traveling over areas already sailed.

Like this it becomes possible to reach e.g. Santorini within an 8 day cruise without having to travel extended daily distances or leaving out many pleasurable places on the way.

This option offers also further convenient possibilities, like extending a vacation after our cruise without the necessity to travel back and forth through Athens. We can virtually offer any location in Greece for a holiday extension. Fantasy travel as our partner will be delighted to arrange for all your necessary travel and accommodation arrangements anywhere you go.

Also it becomes feasible to pick you up anywhere after you already spent some time in Greece and to depart for our voyage.

In our experience, and due to the fact that Greece has so many beautiful destinations, it should be thought over twice if your cruising itinerary shall be altered in order to reach Athens.

Certainly Attiki is worth a visit, and not just one, but the impressions are usually so overwhelmingly different that it deserves a visit dedicated to its own and not by the way mixed with a cruise through the islands, which represent an entirely different culture.

Stefan Ritscher is a popular skipper in Greece who does charters of the Greek islands and coast year round.  You can read more about him at
Sailing with Stefan Ritscher


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