This is what it’s like to sail the Greek Saronic islands with Medsailors
Quaint villages, an authentic feel, crystal clear bays and delicious Greek food: the Saronic islands have it all! Our guide has everything you need to know about sailing Greece’s Saronic Islands with Medsailors, including which islands to visit, responsible travel advice, and essential travel tips.
Some of you may remember that late last year we had our very first taste of the sailing life when we joined Medsailors on an epic trip along Turkey’s Dalmatian coastline. Though we were a little dubious at first - would we get seasick? Would our boat-mates just want to party every day? - not even 24 hours had passed before we’d enthusiastically declared that we were absolutely hooked.
I mean, what’s not to love about a week spent hopping from one stunning bay with crystal clear turquoise water to the next, while feasting on delicious Mediterranean food and sharing many laughs with your boat?! Our Turkey sailing week honestly became the highlight of our entire 2018, and we rave about it frequently to anyone who’ll listen.
Obviously it was a no-brainer then, when Medsailors reached out to us to see if we wanted to join them on another one of their sailing adventures this year, this time in Greece. Which is exactly how we found ourselves island-hopping our way through the lesser-known Greece Saronic islands in mid-June, enjoying all the salt water and sun therapy we could possibly soak in.
And did it live up to our high expectations? Uhh, did it ever!
To discover exactly what it’s like to go sailing through Greece’s Saronic islands, read on friends.
Medsailors Greece - saronic islands: everything you need to know
MedSailors Greece | Sailing route for The Saronic islands
Medsailors have two itineraries in Greece, the Ionian and Saronic routes. We opted for the Saronic route, which explores the islands closest to Athens and the mainland, and promises the chance to explore some of Greece’s lesser-known islands.
The Argo-Saronic islands are popular with Athenians looking to escape for a few days, which is hardly surprising considering there seems to be an endless supply of pretty harbours, cobblestone streets, charming tavernas, and beautiful beaches and coves found the whole way through the itinerary! The whole region feels very laid-back and authentic, while being totally different from Greece’s more popular drawcords like Mykonos, Santorini and Ios.
MedSailors Greece | The Saronic Islands itinerary
DAY ONE | ATHENS TO PERDIKA
Our Medsailors Saronic adventure begins under a blazing hot blue sky at Zeus Marina, part of Athen’s main Piraeus port. We meet our crew — Gareth, our Skipper, and Miguel, another skipper on what’s called a ‘crew week’, who’d be helping out for the week — and the six other guests we’d be sharing our floating home with for the week, before running to the shops nearby to grab the week’s essentials (Aperol and chippies) and quickly gobble up one last Halloumi Gyros.
We set sail around 3pm and make straight for the quaint village of Perdika, a traditional fishing village on the island of Aegina that looks like it was lifted straight from a nostalgic Polaroid photo. Already itching for a swim to escape Greece’s early heatwave, we beeline for the white wooden swimming pavilion and dive straight in. Floating on our backs with the sky above turning golden then pink as the sun sets, I don’t think we could be any happier to be back in the Med than right now!
Before long, we’ve worked up an appetite and it’s time for our first group dinner. Heading up to the taverna is like walking into a Greek dream; all painted white benches overlooking the sea, cobblestone paths, and glorious pink Bougainvillea draping itself over the walls. We feast on baked feta with pistachios, baby squid salad, and deliciously fresh Greek salad while getting to know each other, before heading to the bar next door for a cheeky nightcap. A brilliant way to kick off what we know is going to be an amazing trip!
DAY TWO | PERDIKA TO ERMIONI (VIA HYDRA)
Our first full day on board begins with an early sail, before being met by a water taxi and dropped off on the island of Hydra. With a free afternoon to explore the wonderfully car-free port town, we spend most of our time getting lost amongst the gorgeous marble laneways and cute houses with their traditional whitewashed walls and blue door-frames. Down each street we encountered a new smell wafting along — wild Jasmine, fresh lavender, or sizzling seafood on a grill — and made plenty of friends with the local cats sunning themselves under lemon trees.
We slowly make our way (via a few wrong turns!) up to the flagpole for some epic views over the town and its surrounds, before retreating out of the sun for a well-deserved ice-cream in the main square. All around us, a soundtrack of the clinking of cutlery and glassware at the many local tavernas dotting the town plays, and it’s lovely to be constantly surrounded by the sound of people enjoying meals and wine together. Before long, it’s time to catch the ferry to Ermioni where we're reunited with Gareth and our boat. A storm has been brewing this afternoon, and just as we arrive at Kávos taverna for (another delicious) dinner a ferocious downpour unleashes! The thunder and lightning is mesmerising to watch as it rolls across the bay in front of us!
DAY THREE | ERMIONI TO SPETSES
We wake the following morning to crystal clear skies and calm water, any trace of last night’s epic storm all but forgotten. As we set sail for our next location, Spetses, we all settle into our standard boat routine of napping, sun baking, eating, and chatting with our lovely boat mates. Every now and then, Gareth drops anchor for us to dive into the blue and wash away the heat of the sun. It’s a terribly tough life, but someone has to do it, right?
We’re halfway to Spetses when shouts from our Skipper alert us to a pod of dolphins in the bay, their fins gliding in and out of the water as they swim. They disappear briefly, only to end up resurfacing directly below our boat - just metres from where we’re all sitting on the front nets! - and an excited cheer runs around our group. This is definitely the highlight of our trip so far!
Arriving into Spetses, it’s clear that this is where money can be found hanging out in the Greek Islands, with plenty of high-end boutiques and riva-front restaurants brimming with well-heeled Athenians enjoying delicious mediterranean fare.
We have the best ice cream of our trip so far (Blood Orange and Lime for the win!) at Alfis Sweets and Bakery before heading back to the boat for a sunset swim and chill with our crew, some tunes, and a good ol’ Aperol Spritz!
DAY FOUR | SPETSES TO POROS
After a much-needed wake up swim in a secluded bay, we start our morning with something a little different today: a beach clean up.
Medsailors encourage everyone on their tours to do a 1-hour beach clean during their trip (you can also go into the running to win a free holiday with them!), so six of us plus Gareth jump into the rib and head ashore armed with plastic bags, ready to do our bit.
Unfortunately, what awaits us is pretty horrifying and in the course of just 30 minutes, we pick up hundreds of bottles, 10 large garbage bags full of trash, 5 fish crates, 2 large petroleum containers, 100 pieces of fishing net, and have to leave probably a million pieces of teeny tiny micro plastic behind. It was frustrating to see, but we hope that if every future group this gave up an hour of their holiday to clean it up, by the end of the season it might be looking wonderful again.
All that cleaning worked up an appetite, which was promptly rewarded by a yummy risotto lunch on board before heading over to Poros.
Known for its adventure activities, there’s plenty of parasailing, windsurfing, and quad biking available - or, if food and wine is more your idea of adventure, our boat opted for wine tasting (which they loved!). Personally, after a few big weeks of travel, we decided to make the most of a quiet boat, and spent our afternoon on-board, reading, swimming, and having the odd nap in the sun.
For dinner, we all headed out to Gia Mas (pronounced Yamas), where Mark had the stuffed eggplant of his dreams, before a few drinks at Unique bar.
READ | Our guide to reducing your plastic consumption when you travel
DAY 5 | POROS TO EPIDAVROS
There’s nothing better than a salty swim to start your morning, which is exactly why we start our day with a trip to what the skippers have nicknamed ‘Cave Bay’. The water here is some of the most beautifully blue we’ve ever seen, and we spend a couple of hours frolicking in the sea before dragging ourselves, exhausted, back onto the boat for lunch.
From here, our mission is Epidavros; a little town nestled into dramatic mountains and decorated by orange groves, and home to the world’s largest and best-preserved ancient Greek theatre. The views from the top of the amphitheatre out over the orange groves and fields beyond the ruins is pretty spectacular, and they were currently setting up for some live-air summer concerts.
Dinner is at a lovely little restaurant recommended by the Skippers called To Perivoli (find it here!), where we feast on the most scrumptious array of Saganaki, Tzatziki, Greek salad, stuffed eggplant, and roast potatoes with rosemary and olive oil washed down with a carafe of rosé. Just when we think we’re about to pop, the family who run the taverna bring out an utterly drool-worthy plate of Greek yoghurt with peach and honey on the house.
It’s a meal for the ages, and definitely our favourite from the trip!
DAY SIX | EPIDAVROS TO AGISTRI
On our last full day at sea, we’re all up before the sun for a sunrise sail, rubbing sleep from our eyes as we huddle on the front deck. Over the islands in the distance, the light begins to change ever so slowly as dawn begins to break, before a bright red orb lights up the sky and turns the bobbing sea around us shades of pink and gold. It’s utter magic, and we’re all mesmerised by the sight.
When we arrive into the sweet town of Agistri a few hours later, we’ve got a free afternoon to do what we wish with. We opt to hire a few bikes, and cycle along the foreshore to the next town for a swim at the beach (a rare sand beach, too!) and a quick bite to eat at a local taverna before heading back to the boat to prepare for the infamous toga party!
Wrapped in our white sheet costumes, we gorge ourselves on Greek food, smash plates and try our hands (well, feet) at some traditional Greek dancing - made even more tricky by the fact we were dancing around a pool, before heading off to an infamous club to party the night away with our boat buddies.
It’s the perfect end to an epic week of Greek sailing adventures!
DAY SEVEN | AGISTRI TO ATHENS
All good things must come to an end, and our final morning aboard our lovely Catamaran is the proof.
As the shoreline of Athens bobs into view, we can’t help but feel a little gutted that our week on the Med has already finished. We’re already dreading having to return to a life that doesn’t involve 6 swims a day, Aperol Spritz at 3pm, and endless hours of napping and working on our tans!
The Medsailors yachts
Medsailors have three types of yachts on their Greece sailing trips: The Premier, The Premier Plus, and The Catamaran.
The Premier and Premier Plus (a slightly more modern, upgraded version of the Premier) are your classic single-hull sailing boats, while the Catamaran is, as you’ve probably guessed, a two-hull sailing boat.
We opted for the Catamaran on both of our sailing trips with Medsailors, and we can honestly say that they’re so, so worth the extra splurge. Our Greece Cat was insanely spacious, super modern and the sun-baking nets at the front were basically our home for the whole week.
No matter which sailing boat you choose, all of them can accommodate at least 8 people, and come with a kitchen, fridge (important for stocking your bottles of aperol, soft drink, or snacks!), two separate bathrooms, and cabins with either bunk or double beds (each cabin sleeps two).
There are plenty of communal spaces on board, and all have steps to jump straight into the ocean easily from.
Your Skipper might be the captain of your boat (and the one responsible for getting you to all the best swimming spots), they’ll also become your best friend and pseudo boat parent for the week.
Gareth, our Greece Skipper, was an absolute legend and always seemed to be on the go during our week on board. Whether it was cooking our breaky and lunch, fixing a blocked toilet or something broken on board, or making sure we were all having a great time, he was always straight on it.
Plus he remained patient when we wanted to pretend we were pirates “hoisting the mainsail”, pulled the boat up in the best swimming stops in the bluest waters after we’d baked ourselves on the boat’s deck, and basically just made sure we had the best week of our entire year. Thanks Gareth!
The food on Medsailors
Breakfast and lunch are both served on board your boat (and included in your trip fee), and believe us when we say that you’ll be endlessly impressed by your Skipper’s skills in whipping up delicious feasts in a tiny yacht kitchen!
For breakfast, we’d rise from our cabins to a table laden with steaming fresh coffee straight from the Moka pot, muesli and cereal, toast and spreads, fresh fruit and yoghurt, and either eggs or french toast. The perfect energy food for a full day of swimming, exploring, and relaxing!
Lunches were different every single day, from pasta to risotto, baked eggplant to mini pizzas (with some delicious potato salad and cheesy garlic bread thrown in for good measure!) - and we can absolutely swear, hand on heart, that we never went hungry whilst on board.
For dinner, the whole Medsailors crew generally ate together each night at a local taverna onshore recommended by our skipper. Generally it worked like a set menu; €15-20 per person saw an army of insanely tasty dishes come marching up to our table.
There were plenty of veggie options (though vegans may need to organise options ahead of time), it generally also included carafes of wine, and the food was incredible every single night.
If you're not keen on a group dinner, you’re obviously welcome to do your own thing, however we'd recommend joining the group dinners as they're a great way to get to know your fellow sailing buddies.
Medsailors Greece — The vibe
One of our favourite things about Medsailors is that they allow you to help choose the ‘vibe’ of your boat and holiday. In your pre-departure checklist, you’ll tick whether you’re a straight party animal, chilled out culture vulture, or somewhere in-between the two.
Then, Medsailors actually take the time to match each guest with other like-minded, similar-aged travellers on board, and we have to say, they really seem to nail this.
Now that we’re a little bit older and our days of partying through the night are well and truly behind us we opted for the chilled boat and enjoyed a week of chilling out with a bunch of equally chilled (but still fun!) legends.
This is actually a huge part of enjoying your trip, so be sure to fill in that survey when it lands in your email inbox a few weeks before you leave!
Responsible travel on a MedSailors trip
Responsible, sustainable travel is what we’re all about here at TCW HQ, and this is especially true when we travel with a company like Medsailors. After all, we’re sailing through some of the environments most heavily affected by our planet’s current plastic pollution and climate change crises!
Disappointingly, we encountered quite a bit of plastic pollution during our Medsailors trip — obviously this has nothing to do with their tours, it’s just the sad reality of our planet today! — so we feel it’s super important to share a few tips on how you can minimise your overall impact while still having the holiday of your dreams.
Here are some of our responsible sailing tips:
Don’t buy bottled drinks | Please, for the love of the ocean: DO NOT BUY SINGLE-USE PLASTIC BOTTLED DRINKS. When you see a bunch of plastic bottles bob past you in the open sea, you’ll understand why. Water is available on board, and cans of soft drink etc are readily available on shore.
Ocean-friendly toiletries | Everything that goes down the boat drain ends up in the ocean, try and make sure all your toiletries, sunscreen, shampoo is as ocean-friendly as possible! Solid bars are a great place to start (see below to buy some eco-friendly toiletries).
Beach cleanups | MedSailors run a beach cleanup once a week where you’ll head ashore to clean up a stretch of beach. With 6 of us over the course of an hour, we picked up an insane amount of rubbish - over two boat loads! (see the pic below for the proof!). If every sailing group dedicate just 30-60 minutes of their holiday, the beaches and ocean would be a much happier place for it.
Don’t use plastic bags | Pack a reusable tote (or pick up a MedSailors tote at the check-in desk!) and use these to carry your snacks, drinks, or new souvenirs instead.
Leave no trace | The less you bring on board, the less waste you’ll produce or leave behind at your destinations. Limit your consumption of plastic, and opt for sustainable / zero waste alternatives instead. Pack a reusable water bottle, bring your reusable coffee cup, and if you can’t sip your cocktails without a straw, bring a metal or bamboo one along instead.
Be animal friendly | Observe sea creatures from a distance, don’t pick up wildlife like starfish or urchins, or grab onto turtles, dolphins, etc. If an animal wants to interact with you, it’ll approach you 🙂
Support the local community | Each night, your skippers will take you to a locally owned taverna for a meal, which means both supporting the local economy and community, and also giving you a real authentic experience. This is something we’ve appreciated about both our MedSailors trips!
Ice cream | bonus tip - eat your ice cream in a cone, rather than a cup and plastic spoon for the ultimate plastic-free indulgence!
READ | For more responsible travel tips, we also have this guide to reducing your plastic consumption on your travels, as well as this guide to the eco-friendly packing essentials we have with us on every single trip.
ESSENTIAL PACKING items FOR Medsailors
When packing for your week on the water, a less is more approach is definitely the key – space is limited, cabins are small, and truthfully, the only real outfit change you’ll need is from one swimming suit to the next. That said, there are still a couple of boat essentials you should have with you once you’ve sorted out your outfits:
Bio-friendly toiletries | everything you use in the bathroom is immediately washed into the sea, which means you should try to avoid damaging and chemical-heavy products and facial scrubs with micro-beads altogether. We recommend:
Lush solid shampoo, conditioner and bodywash bars (these are also great for saving space in your toiletries bag!)
Ocean-friendly sunscreen (Stream2Sea)
For the ladies: a mooncup is a great investment for “that” week, as it totally eliminates awkward bathroom waste.
Lip balm - warm weather and ocean breeze can wreak havoc on your kisser
Ear plugs (the engines can be reaaaal loud at 7am!)
Eye mask (for those annoyingly early European sunrises!)
Power bank | While you can charge your devices on the boat, it’s sporadic, so buy a power bank to manage your devices!
A good book | we love reading about the country we’re in, while we’re in it
International travel adapter - you’ll need a European plug to keep your gear going!
Waterproof camera - we used our Go Pro for a few hours every single day to capture all our underwater fun! DEFINITELY BUY ONE OF THESE!
A nicer change of clothes for heading into town of an evening
A light jumper for cooler evenings
Closed toe shoes for adventure days - you’ll need these for hikes, when you go paragliding, or for exploring the volcanoes in Italy!
Essential things to know about a sailing trip with MedSailors
We’ve actually already written a comprehensive guide packed full of everything you need to know before you sail with MedSailors, from how to keep your electronics charged, budgeting tips, and and all the health and safety matters.
READ | Check out our guide here
What does a MedSailors Greece Saronic Islands trip cost?
Depending on the time of year you sail and which yacht you choose, the Saronic itinerary will set you back between £600 and £900.
Your Medsailors tour fee includes:
Seven days’ accommodation on board your catamaran
Breakfast and lunch made fresh by your Skipper every day
Drinking water, tea, and coffee (we even had a Moka pot to make fresh coffee each morning!)
Access to the Stand Up Paddle board, dinghy, and snorkelling gear
Bed linen and bath towels
The chance to learn how to sail with a professional skipper (we ‘hoisted the main sail’ with our Skipper, Gareth!)
What’s not included:
Your flights to and from Athens
Transfers to and from the airport
Your inflatables (these are available for a £2 donation to a marine NGO)
Dinners, snacks, and extra drinks (budget between £20 - 30 (AUD $50 - 60) for these per day)
Optional activities, scooter rental, etc.
BOOK | Book your Medsailors Greece trip here
Planning a sailing trip soon?
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