Sailing Greece 1 Week

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Sailing Vacation In Greece

A typical one week sailing vacation itinerary

This is an example of a popular sailing vacation itinerary on our 1wk Greek trips. However, no two trips are ever exactly the same; one of the greatest things about being on a sailboat is the flexibility to change our minds and our route to suit personal preferences, prevailing wind conditions, etc. The start and finish points are fixed, of course but all else is changeable according to the whims of the wind gods and those on board !

Day One 

Embark 11am in Lakki (main harbour on Leros). After boat briefing, unpacking, and generally getting comfortable with the yacht, we'll set sail for Lipsos - island of the 42 blue-domed churches. It is the perfect introduction to "traditional Greece"; a small, untouristy village, with an unruly array of whitewashed buildings scattered around the bay. The vivid streaks of traditional blue trim and the blazing bougainvillea pinks & purples make it a real photographers' dream!

To cool off, there is a lovely little sandy beach, 5mins walk over the hill from where we moor the boats, and a great hike out to the headland with spectacular views out to sea.

If conditions are calm, we may be able to visit Macro Nisi for a swim stop en route. It's a secluded little anchorage with sheer-sided cliffs, which have been known to entice the braver (or more foolhardy !) amongst us to throw caution to the wind and leap off them ! For those more inclined to be adventurous in the water, there's a very cool, semi-submerged tunnel through the cliffs through which one can snorkel, emerging in little cave on the other side of the island.
Day Two
Early morning sail to Marathi - a truly tiny little island with a sandy, horseshoe-shaped beach, beautiful water to swim and snorkel in; a totally tranquil and peaceful spot. If you could paint a picture of the perfect, idyllic island retreat, Marathi would be it. There are just two families living here; wonderfully friendly and hospitable people. The food is incredible too !! This place is a magical balm for the stressed-out city-living much so that it's often been hard to persuade people that, really, we should leave, there are other islands to visit ! Sail time, approx 3hrs. 

Day Three
Sail to Patmos - an early start to make the most of exploring the famous Monastery Island, where St John was inspired by visions to write the Book of Revelations. The 10th century monastery (built by Crusader Knights) reigns over the island, still an active and influential part of daily life here. The village that lies at the foot of the monastery is everyone's romantic image of a Greek village; narrow winding alleyways scarcely wide enough for a skinny donkey! - cats sunning themselves on whitewashed streets, old ladies in black collecting fresh bread from the bakery in the morning. It's well worth an early rise to get up there in the dawn hours; the old ladies will look at you in faint amazement that a foreigner should find their way up there at such a time; if you can remember enough of our Greek lessons to say "kalimera!" (good morning), they'll give you a huge smile and a "kalimera-sas" back (good morning to you too) ! (Note: that's "kali-MER-a", not "calamari" :> ).

The island's attractions are not solely for culture/history buffs, however - there are dozens of beautiful little beaches and bays to explore, and the greatest milkshakes and homemade pies on our favourite "Quiche Beach". For the more adventurous, you can take a 45 min hike along a little-known goat path to the island's unofficial "nudey beach"!

Day Four
Sail for Pandeli , a beautiful little bay on the east side of Leros. This is one of the prettiest anchorages to sail into you can imagine; a horseshoe-shaped bay with traditional blue-and-white houses scattered down the hillside. An 11th century fortress towers over the bay, and our favourite little beach tavernas are just 2 mins swim from the boat. Try sitting and watching the moon rise from one of these tavernas, boat in the foreground, the lapping of waves almost at your feet - it's a total "Shirley Valentine" scene !

For those with more energy to burn off later, there is the infamous Savana Bar, a very idiosyncratic little local hangout, where we often end up dancing the night away till the wee small hours! Another great island to rent scooters and explore.

Day Five
A leisurely morning in Pandeli; time to hike up to the fortress and get some stunning panoramic shots from the island's highest vantage point; or perhaps just a cooling swim from boat to taverna, to recover from that dangerous Savana Bar place!

Around midday, we'll set off for Vathi ; a relaxing downwind sail of about 3hrs. Vathi is a dramatic little spot; a well-hidden and very narrow fjord-like entrance, opening up into a tiny fishing village at the head of the bay. It boasts one main street and a collection of houses scattered into the valley; an unexpected patch of lush vegetation on an otherwise very dry and arid-looking island. Vathi is the only place on the entire island that is lucky enough to have it's own spring water supply, and they use it carefully to cultivate citrus fruits, figs, grapes and anything else that can be persuaded to grow.

It's also the home of Poppy's taverna - one of our "adopted families", where momma makes the best homemade dolmades (stuffed grapeleaves) you'll ever taste in your life, and the swordfish steaks are out of this world !

Day Six
Another leisurely start, waking up to the goatbells echoing around the surrounding hills! We'll head off around mid-morning, and sail for the little island of Pserimos , where we'll anchor for lunch, and the chance to snorkel around the remains of an old half-sunken fishing boat. Hoisting sail again after lunch, it's another lovely downwind couple of hours to Kos - the biggest island in the area. Although it's still not exactly large, it can be quite the culture shock after the past few days of traditional Greece (hey, they have cars not donkeys here! :>).

Chance to wander round the 12th century fortress which still guards the entrance of the harbor; or perhaps go sit under the same plane tree where (reputedly) Hippocrates had his students swear their doctors' oaths! For the less culturally inclined, there is the great modern-day Greek traditional of "taverna-sitting" - grab a beer or a milkshake, and watch life go by on the busy waterfront.

Day Seven
Disembarkation is at 9am when your singles sailing vacation finishes. For those wishing to stay longer in Kos, we can recommend a couple of great little family pensions. For onward travel, there are 3-4 flights per day back to Athens; 2 ferries per day to Bodrum (Turkey), or connections to other islands in the Dodecanese group. Pls request our notes on Kos for more details.