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danedee 28-03-2010 14:58

Charter Vacation - Italy vs Greece vs Croatia - Pros and Cons ?
I have a free plane ticket anywhere in the world, one way. That doesn't expire...(well, its more complicated than that... but basically that's what it is)

To take advantage of this, my wife and i want to go sailing... we've done BVI and st vincent and the grenadines, and we're thinking a week in greece or italy or croatia would be PERFECT.

We're looking for delicious FOOD, we're looking for warm water, and light but steady breezes, and places (villages/towns/cities) that we can explore just as much as we sail. We're not professional sailors... but have bareboated like i said, and we both have our captains licenses...(St V and G was an adventure, wouldn't make that my first solo in a 36' mono again!)

We're kindof leaning towards greece, but then we have to choose between the ionians and the ageans.... i know next to nothing about any of the places we're considering, (besides what the glossy brochures lure me with) so i'm hoping some good folks from here, who've been there, can give me some pros, some con's and some recommendations on 'what not to miss' if i go to where they recommend.



PaulSommers 28-03-2010 15:46

Three years ago my wife and I, plus another couple, chartered a Bavaria 34 in Athens and sailed around among the Cyclades islands. We all loved it. For history, make your way to Delos. For incredible views, go to Naxos, leave your charter boat and take the ferry to Santorini (no anchorage on Santorini). For good food, any island will do. The marina is likely to involve Med-mooring to a quay right next to downtown - the nearest restaurant will be in site as you go ashore on a plank with your stern only a few feet from the quay. We went in the spring "shoulder season" to avoid crowded marinas and much hotter summer weather; the charter fee was a few hundred dollars less. Wind for sailing was not bad - we motored some days, and got stuck on Siros for 4 days due to high winds - there is a higher probability of "meltemi" winds that will keep you in port during the summer than in the spring. On a couple of islands we rented a car for about $25 a day and drove around to get a different perspective and to try some recommended out of town restaurants. Croatia and Italy have much to recommend them, too, but I'd go back for a few more weeks in Greece at the drop of a hat.

danedee 28-03-2010 17:18

Wow, thanks for the quick reply! May I ask who you chartered through and whether you'd use them again? What base they were out of etc? I'm a fan of learning from other peoples experiences. Thx! And looking forward to hearing from other people as well!

beneteau-500 29-03-2010 07:39

re paul sommers coment on santorini there is plenty of anchorage there and i pick greece re the cyclades any day

Jacques2 29-03-2010 09:43

Hi !
If your choice is Greece - and it looks like !- the answer to your question depends IMHO on the season you go for sailing. If it is spring, let's go sailing in the Cyclades. If it is summer, Ionian island or south coast of Turkey are more convenient. In summer, the Meltemi can a bit strong in Aegean with a very uncomfortable sea when in face. For example, in 1978, I rented a boat for a week in Porto Rafti and I remember that we never get out of the port ! The port authorities forbid it to all sailboats for the whole week. The wind was always between 8 and 10 Beaufort...
Last year, we had to stay in Lavrio for 5 days waiting for a decrease of the wind. Of course it can be less windy ! But we have been sailing in this aera for years on Metis, and our experience is that we met many persons from different countries who have rented a boat for a week in Cyclades (summer) and were not in capacity to get back by themselves (they had to call a professional skipper) or not at time to get their plane !

Oh ! in less than 3 Weeks we will be back on Metis and we intend to sail agian towards Cyclades and Sporades. Thanks for your question : it is an opportunity to think about this wonderfull sailing aera !
(Sorry for my english !)

PaulSommers 29-03-2010 11:13

danedee - We went through an outfit called Sailing in Blue. They are based in Athens but can make boats available at several of the islands in lieu of Athens. The Kalamaki Marina in Athens seems to have dozens of charter operations so you have lots of choice.

beneteau-500 29-03-2010 12:46

if sailing the Cyclades i recommend you try the company's based on paros island if you are only doing a 7day sail in athens all the main charter boats are located at alimos marina

sobriyah 29-03-2010 15:32

Charter- Italy v Greece v Croatia
We sailed all 3 destinations, summers of 2005+2006. My recollections in a nutshell.

Italy - great food, great people, more motoring than sailing, hot windless days between raging Mistrales, expensive marinas, long passages between packed summer anchorages.

Greece - same food in every taverna, nice people, never having to sail far, lots of inexpensive harbours and anchorages, choice of sailing in strong Meltemi winds in the Saronic or Cyclades, or gentler sea breezes in the Ionian, where some islands are packed with other charter yachts. Then there's sailing the Dodecanese and hopping over to Turkey to consider. plenty of choices.

Croatia - good food in Istria, mediocre elsewhere, few happy smiling faces, more anchorages than you can shake a stick at but also 1500 charter boats and a combined German and Italian invasion in the summer, getting more expensive every year, usually gentle sailing in sea breezes but watch out for the Bora.

There you have it.

danedee 30-03-2010 16:43

sobr, thanks for the synopsis, i'm definately leaning towards greece.... and italy.... I'm wondering though... if i DO go in the summer, I definately don't want to get stuck anywhere with the meltemi's...(high winds, i've gathered). Italy would be a good backup, but sounds like more of the same....

Bene: what are some of the charter companies on Paros that you would recommend?

*sigh* I don't want my vacation to be a waste... and i can't afford to sit in one harbor for a week, waiting on winds... perhaps i ought just do a trip to somewhere else.... austrailia or NZ? or the BVI again...? *sigh*

thanks for all of the replies!

sobriyah 30-03-2010 21:18

From what you have said, you should probably look at the Dodecanese and Turkey, or the Ionian Islands.Generally gentle sailing and lots of anchorages/picturesque harbours/culture. Not exactly gourmet dining, but Mediterranean cuisine all the same. I would certainly go back there. In the Ionian Islands there is a lot of flotilla sailing, but once you have their itineraries, you can easily avoid them all.

Ram 31-03-2010 03:26

Greek Islands cant be beat- start from an upwind location then sail downwind drop off the boat and fly home! Or get a crewed boat-and let the Capt sail it back upwind-

Jacques2 31-03-2010 05:02

If you cannot avoid high season, you are right when you say : "Italy would be a good backup..."
Along west italian coasts, you have not the Meltemi ! And you can have a wonderfull sailtrip from an island to another one. Between Elba (North) to Capri (i am sure you have heard about it !), you have Giglio, Ventotene, Ischia, Procida..., The Gulf of Napoli (where you can visit Pompei and Herculanum , probably the famoust roman ruins...). Have a look to a map...
And you will have very goood food everywhere.
You may prefer Sicily, with the wonderfull Eolian islands (volcanic islands, stupendous for snorkeling !) on the NE or the Aegadi islands on the NW and a trip to Malta.
Indeed, you have a lot of choices.

beneteau-500 31-03-2010 09:39

danedee i would recomend easysailing they are based in athens and have various charter bases and i recomed starting from paros for one simple reason is that from alimos marina to the cyclades islands is a 110 nm trip so if you have only limited time then you are better of starting in the cyclades and you will see alot more , you can either catch a fast ferry or a slow ferry from the port of pierus in athens to paros high speed ferry 3hrs 55 euros one way slow ferry 4hrs 30 euros i always catch the slow ferry to sit on the top deck to soak up the sun

Tnd 23-03-2011 05:49

Re: Charter Vacation - Italy vs Greece vs Croatia - Pros and Cons ?
Definitely Croatia! Or even maybe Montenegro. Montenegro because is much cheeper than any other country that you mentioned. You easily charter a boat in Montenegro and come in Croatia, Greece...

DoubleWhisky 23-03-2011 07:44

Re: Charter Vacation - Italy vs Greece vs Croatia - Pros and Cons ?
Hello :)
The best food You can – of course – find in Italy, but Greece is quite nice also. The Croatia – for that reason - is the worst option in my personal opinion.
Greece is still the cheapest of the three, because the harbours are mostly almost free.
In Croatia You need to pay a lot not only for marinas, but also for town quays, mooring buoys and even for anchoring in a lot of places. Food is also cheaper in Greece and – as long as You don’t stick to quayside tavernas – is better also.

For a Greek one week cruise in July - August I would personally (and I have rather no small experience in the area) opt for southern part of Dodecanese. Starting point should be Kos Marina on Kos Island. Depending on the charter company You can arrange for returning the boat the same place or - much better - do it "one way" with the destination harbour on Rhodes. The second option will be a little more pricey, may be - if the company can not easily arrange for another one way from Rhodes to Kos, but in high season it shouldn't be a problem. Just prepare for a little bargaining.
The itinerary can include the Nisiros Island (see "Tips For Greece" thread at the same sub-forum), Tilos Island, Simi Island, and finally the Rhodes.
You will be protected by Kos and Turkish coast all the time, so even stronger winds will not disturb You much. It will be reaching all the way. Kos and Rhodes are great for sightseeing, the Nisiros has its interesting volcano, Tilos is nice "off the way spot" and Simi is a real gem -one of the most beautiful places in Greece with some nice coves for swimming and sunbathing.

I would not advise the Ionian in the peak of season – Italian crowds are really unbearable at this time…
And Montenegro is really small place - good for weekend. For going to Greece or Croatia from Montenegro and back - a week is too short.
Regarding the charter itself – how big is Your party, what kind of boat You are looking for (mono or cat), how well should it be equipped, should it be bareboat, skippered or crewed charter? With these information I probably can give You some responsible advice.

Best regards


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