Last Updated on September 14, 2023 by Nellie Huang
Dreaming of a Greece sailing holiday? We recently returned from a glorious sailing trip with Yacht Getaways, here’s the full story.
“Dolphins in the distance!” Our skipper Levi points out to the horizon. We all gather in the bow of the catamaran to see a pair of dolphins leap out of the indigo sea. With the wind whipping my face and the warmth of the sun’s rays on my skin, I look out to the sea and can’t help but smile to myself.
We are sailing the Greek Islands with Yacht Getaways and it has been the dreamiest trip we’ve taken in years. Our days onboard the catamaran involve swimming in turquoise waters, napping under the sail with the wind in our face, hiking up to spectacular viewpoints, wandering around beautiful little villages eating the freshest seafood and sipping the most delicious wine.
It’s been years since Alberto and I went on a trip without Kaleya, and this has been the perfect couples retreat for us. We’re having a blast spending quality time with each other, while exploring beautiful parts of Greece in an active but relaxing way. If you’re in search of a Greece sailing holiday, here is a detailed review of our experience sailing with Yacht Getaways. Check out our Greece island hopping itinerary if you’re more interested in where we visited.
Sailing Greece with Yacht Getaways
When Yacht Getaways first invited me to join them on a trip, I was hesitant at first. I have sailed before on several river cruises and expedition vessels. But our last sailing trip in Croatia left a bad taste in my mouth (it turned out to be party boat that went to all the typical, crowded islands). But I knew this would be a different experience after looking at the trip details and the company philosophy.
Yacht Getaways tend to draw more mature and low-key travelers who are more interested in visiting authentic Greek villages and swimming in quiet bays than partying. Their sailing trips aren’t the cheapest (though they’re not overly expensive either, with prices starting from €$1,495 pp), but you get to sail on premium catamarans with high-end furnishing and facilities and you’re spoiled with good food and epic swim stops everyday.
The Ionian Explorer Route
Yacht Getaways runs a few routes in Greece (as well as Montenegro, Turkey, Italy and Croatia), and we chose the Corfu Explorer route as we wanted to explore off the beaten trail. We have been to popular islands like Santorini and Mykonos, and we were curious to see how other islands in the Ionian were like.
The Ionian Explorer route turned out to be exactly what we were looking for — it took us away from the crowd to less-visited islands like Paxos and Antipaxos. Every town we stopped at has its unique personality and culture. Lakka was ridiculously cute with its white alleys and stone houses clad with bougainvilla; Loggos had a charming fishing village feel. Swimming in the spearmint waters of Blue Lagoon off Paxos was sublime, renting a scooter and hiking up to the Tripito Arch was quite the adventure, and wandering around the steep alleys of Parga up to the castle made for a spectacular evening. And my favorite moment? Paddling into the tiny caves and lagoons on the western bay of Antipaxos, an area only accessible by boat.
Click to read our detailed Greece sailing itinerary including the islands, towns and sights we saw on the trip!
What a Day Looks Like
Honestly, I haven’t felt so relaxed in years. I suffer from a serious case of FOMO and have a hard time sitting still, but this sailing trip actually got me to relax and do nothing for once! It was truly the perfect balance of activity and relaxation. We spent our days sailing the indigo sea, stopping for refreshing dips in quiet bays or little coves, while laying in the sun or reading a book, and enjoying the cool breeze on our faces.
Here’s a look at how a typical day on a Greece sailing holiday looks like:
8+am: There’s no set wake up time, we usually emerge from our cabins at our own time and have a coffee or take a morning dip in the sea.
9am: Breakfast is served and we’re spoiled with fresh fruit and Greek yogurt and a hot breakfast (eggs and bacon, french toast etc).
10am: It’s time to start sailing. Our group of travelers spread out, some lounge on the upper deck to get a tan, some nap on the trampoline, and others read a book in the shade.
1pm: We anchor at a swim spot or dock at our destination for the day and our amazing host Lauren serves us a yummy lunch, which is usually Mediterranean style (oven-baked sea bass, chicken souvlaki, shakshouka etc).
3pm: Time to explore! We either wander around town, go on short hikes or discover secret beaches. My favorite day was when we hired a moped to drive around Paxos and had the best time exploring empty coves and hiking on coastal trails.
8pm: Dinner in town. We usually have dinner with our travel mates, but sometimes we would enjoy a romantic dinner on our own. Every restaurant we went to was amazing — Greece truly has the best seafood!
10+pm: Get drinks with our travel mates or head back onboard for quiet downtime.
We sailed on a Lagoon 42 catamaran, with the capacity for eight passengers and two crew members. Our catamaran had four double cabins, all with en suite showers and toilets, plus there were two single cabins for the crew. I think it’s the perfect size; anything bigger would be less personal and intimate.
There was plenty of space to lounge around, including the cushioned seating area at the back, the lounger on the top deck, and the trampoline in the front. The boat had two paddle boards and we were free to use them at swim stops. Snorkels were also provided. We also had a tender boat that brings us into town if we’re not docked to the marina.
There was no WiFi on our boat (it depends on which vessel you’re sailing with), but we docked at towns/villages every evening and almost every restaurant/bar in Greece had WiFi. We bought eSIMs from Airalo beforehand, so we had 5G on our phones most of the time.
Our Cabin in the Catamaran
Our cabin was pretty comfortable and decent-sized. We have a double bed with lots of compartments on both sides of the bed and storage underneath. Do try to pack light (carry-on only if you can) because a gigantic suitcase won’t fit in your room! Plug sockets were two-pin European style and there were USB ports for charging devices (with constant power).
There were three small windows and hatches in both the bedroom and bathroom, bringing in light and air to the room. The boat had air-conditioning and it was usually turned on in the evening to cool off the cabins, but we usually slept without it as it used too much power. We slept like babies anyway, with the gentle breeze and swaying movement lulling us to sleep every night.
The bathroom had a proper shower with a constant supply of hot water and a pump that drained off all the water. There was a glass folding door that separated the shower from the toilet, keeping everything dry and neat. I could shower very comfortably and had no issues whatsoever. Toilets were flush, however you cannot flush toilet paper.
Our Yacht Getaways Crew
I’m not used to being taken care of (being a mum and an independent traveler) but the Yacht Getaways crew definitely spoiled us! Our skipper, Levi, from the UK, ran a tight ship and a smooth sail. He’s been sailing professionally for 12 years in many parts of the world, including Asia, Australia, Europe and the Caribbean. I really enjoyed chatting with him— his eyes lit up every time we talked travel.
Lauren, our hostess also from the UK, was an excellent cook and guide. She made us amazing meals each day and offered great recommendations at each stop. Her outgoing yet genuine personality made her so much fun to be with. Most of all, I loved her adventurous spirit and professional attitude.
Our Travel Companions
We were so lucky to sail with a great group of people — there was a fun-loving senior couple from Australia (who always made me laugh!), a solo female traveler from the UK and a Kiwi/Czech couple in their thirties. Everyone was friendly and we all got along. Meal times involved lots of laughter and conversation, but throughout the day, everyone respected each other’s space.
On land, Alberto and I mostly explored on our own and went off to do our thing. But in the evening, we would either have dinner with the group or head off for a romantic meal together. Overall, it was very casual and there was never any stress to stick with the group or do our own thing.
The Food On Our Greece Sailing Holiday
For our sailing trip, breakfast and lunch were included onboard the catamaran. Lauren is a great cook and she prepared healthy, delicious Mediterranean-style meals for us everyday. Wine and beer were also served during lunch (there was a limited amount though, but we bought more drinks ourselves.)
Breakfasts ranged from fresh croissants to scrambled eggs and avocado toasts. Lunches included a beautiful charcuterie board, oven-baked sea bass, flavorful shakshuka, and peppers stuffed with orzo. One evening, Lauran and Levi spoiled us with a spread of olive dips and Aperol Spritz.
Every night, we had dinner off the boat, in charming taverns and hilltop restaurants. Greek food is one of my favorite cuisines in the world and we seriously had some of the best seafood I’ve ever had on this Greece sailing holiday.
FAQs: Things to Know Before Going on a Greece Sailing Holiday
Do You Need Sailing Experience?
You don’t need any sailing experience to go on a trip with Yacht Getaways. Our skipper and host take care of everything, we just help out sometimes with getting the fenders overboard, holding the ropes or lowering the anchor. It’s nothing terribly hard or tiring. You can take part in the sailing of the yacht as much or as little as you like.
Read my guide to sailing in Greece for more tips and practical info.
How Much Sailing is Involved?
It depends on the day: some days we sailed for five hours, while others we sailed for just 15 minutes. I found the sailing time to be relaxing, with not much to do but relax on the trampoline or gaze out at sea. On days when we didn’t sail much, we would have more time to spend on land and explore.
We normally set off around 10am, sailed for a couple of hours, stopped for lunch and a swim stop, then sailed another 1-2 hours until we reached the next island. We usually docked at our destination anytime between 12pm and 3pm. The afternoon and evening were always spent exploring and having dinner on land.
How Are the Sea Conditions?
The Ionian Explorer route is usually pretty smooth sailing, but I heard it can get choppy when you sail the Aegean Sea. Our trip was definitely smooth sailing; we didn’t have any issues on our trip at all. I was never seasick, and nobody on our boat complained about it. But this can change with your route or weather conditions.
I have cruised in the Arctic and Antarctica, and this was nothing like it. The Ionian Sea is very calm and rarely windy, so the water hardly gets rough. If you do suffer from sea sickness, be sure to bring sea-sickness bracelets or medications. Stay above deck and keep your eye on the horizon line.
How Active is the Trip?
It’s all up to you, how active you want to be. You can choose to swim in the sea, paddle-board, or simply lie on the deck and get a tan. Once you dock at your destination, you’re free to explore on your own. Some days we just wandered around town, other days we hiked up to hilltop castles and viewpoints.
My favorite day was when we rented a scooter to drive all over Paxos island. We did a short hike to the Tripito Arch and also down to the spectacular Ermitis Beach (thanks to Levi’s recommendation) and absolutely loved it! Check out our sailing itinerary if you’re keen to see what activities we got up to.
Are Kids Allowed?
In general, kids aren’t allowed on Yacht Getaways sailing trips. We left Kaleya in the safe hands of her grandparents in Spain — and we were actually rather glad we did as it was such a nice break for us! On another note, we saw quite a few families who chartered their own boats to sail themselves. I think as long as your kids are above 5 or 6, they should be fine to sail on a catamaran. Kaleya went on a sailing trip in Panama with us when she was just 3, and had a blast.
What We Liked about Our Greece Sailing Holiday
- I liked the size of the boat. We sailed on a Lagoon 42 catamaran with capacity for 8 people and 2 crew members. It was the perfect size — anything bigger would mean more people.
- The yacht we sailed on was modern, new and clean. There was plenty of lounging space and seating. Our cabin was big enough for us, with lots of compartments and storage space.
- During the sailing trip, we got to explore hidden beaches and secret caves that we would never have chance to visit on our own. Our Greek islands itinerary was excellent! I loved sailing to less-visited islands rather than the crowded ones.
- We had a great mix of people in our group, we all got along well, but gave each other space to chill during the day and met up for dinners every night.
- I liked our flexible our trip was; our skipper and host would make suggestions and listen to our preferences.
What We Didn’t Like about Our Sailing Trip
- It would have been nice to be able to sleep with the air-conditioning on. Most of our travel mates said the same. We were lucky it didn’t get too hot at night.
- Wine and beer were included in the meal plan, but we finished the amount they provided just after a couple of days. We bought our own after that, it wasn’t a big deal.
Overall View of the Sailing Trip
Alberto and I had a blast and honestly loved every minute of our Greece sailing holiday with Yacht Getaways. It showed us a side of Greece we didn’t know existed — secret coves, empty beaches and ridiculously charming fishing villages that only Greeks visit.
The sailing itinerary was perfect; it had the right amount of activity and relaxation — I hadn’t felt this relaxed in years! I’m not someone who can sit by the pool or lie on the beach all day, but I easily spent hours gazing out to the sea while we were sailing. It was absolutely hypnotizing. I also loved our itinerary, taking us away from the crowded spots and into the less-visited areas.
The catamaran was very comfortable, our crew was fantastic and meals were amazing. This trip made me want to do more sailing holidays; maybe even learn to sail and charter our own boat next time! Perhaps to Montenegro or Croatia next year? Who knows!
Disclaimer: Our trip was hosted by Yacht Getaways, but as always, all opinions expressed above are our own.
Inspired? Pin it!