Why You Should Choose Greek Saronic Islands For Your Sailing Holiday
Welcome to the Saronic Islands – a land of ancient history, myth, and quintessential Greek seaside villages. Besides the fantastical white-walled fortified towns like Hydra rising from the sparkling Mediterranean, you’ll discover authentic Greek culture and traditional tastes, with no shortage of tiny tavernas that explode into a lively and unforgettable night.
With two Greek Island routes to choose from (including our incredible Ionian route) it may be a difficult choice to make when deciding which sailing adventure is good for you. So we’ve taken it upon ourselves to help you choose the perfect sailing holiday with an in-depth guide to our Saronic sailing route.
- Famous fresh seafood of the Saronic
- Quad bikes and scooters around multiple destinations
- Hidden sea caves to swim through
- Greece’s best-rated sunset in Hydra
- The world’s oldest, largest, and most intact ancient amphitheatre
- Landscapes dotted with Greek ruins for history buffs
- Cocktail bars and clubs perfect for dancing the night away
- Watersports and parasailing around beautiful Poros
In the Saronic Islands, there’s myth, legend, and history around every corner of the winding white alleyways. And of course delicious gelato and sizzling gyros shops. Try not to drool just yet.
The Saronics are special for a few main things: Small seaside villages with that slow-down-and-savor-the-moment lifestyle you want on holiday, endless Greek hospitality from locals that will melt your heart, and awe-inspiring blue and white towns stacked atop each other clinging to cliffsides.
It isn’t always quiet seaside town life, as the smaller villages can be the best night out you’ll have on this sailing holiday. Actually, it will most likely become just that, because the Greeks in the Saronic definitely love their ouzo.
Yamas (cheers) and let’s get to the destinations!
Hydra is quite possibly the most famous island in the Saronics for many reasons and is a destination favourite amongst poets, writers, and celebrities throughout history. Carved into jagged mountains that jut out of the bright blue sea, the stark white and blue fortified town of Hydra is something out of fantasy.
Wait, is that complete silence beside the rush of the sea breeze?
Wander the winding cobblestone alleyways in peace, as there are no motor vehicles allowed on the island and the only mode of transport are donkeys. Discovery relaxing cafes inside secret gardens, window shop the fancy boutique stores, and sip a cocktail on a stone balcony while witnessing one of the world’s most incredible sunsets.
Perdika is the stereotypical example of a Greek fishing village. And that isn’t a bad thing at all. As you sail into port, the quaint family-run tavernas hug the rocky shore with curtains of vibrant pink bougainvillaea flowers dangling over the white walls.
You’ll be greeted with a smile and a wave, and sometimes a cold beer. Wander around the cape in the late afternoon to take a dip or explore the old World War II bunkers hidden amongst the flowing golden grass. Watch the sunset paint the bay and the town in pastel colours as chugging wooden fishing boats haul in the fresh catch of the day that you’ll be eating that night.
Here is where you’ll most likely have your first authentic Greek mezze style feast, and after a few rounds of platters, you’ll be happily bursting at the seams. At night, cheers beers under the stars in a cocktail bar with a retractable roof. Hard day on holiday, huh? Let’s just hope “Desposito” doesn’t come on.
This is authentic rustic Greece at its finest. What will strike you most about Epidavros when entering the bay is just how unique the landscape and town appear compared to the rest of the Saronic destinations. Epidavros, once the greatest celebrated healing center in the ancient world, is surrounded by lush green mountains, rustic homesteads, and orange groves as far as the eye can see.
No wonder why people flocked here for healing and the peaceful natural surroundings.
For the history buff, this is one of the most exciting destinations to explore. A short ride from the port will take you to the world’s largest and most intact ancient Greek amphitheatre that sat 15,000 and famous for the near-perfect acoustics.
A short walk from town will take you around the bay and up the promontory blanketed in orange groves and 500-year-old olive trees for breathtaking views of the inlet. Wind your way through the fruit groves and climb the rocky acropolis with a picnic to enjoy the sunset over the valley amongst ruins of the famous healing center from the 4th century.
You’ll find restaurants tucked into the orange groves, seafront dining with fresh-caught seafood, and some of the best produce in all of Greece grown locally. Don’t forget to wander the small town and discover boutiques selling homemade natural remedies that the region was once famous for.
How does wind in your hair, secluded beach bars, and hidden caves all on the back of a quad bike sound? Spetses is a pristine seaside town lining a rugged and beautiful coastline with a perfect mix of culture, adventure, and nightlife. And it’s historically one of the most important Saronic Islands of Greece.
Rent a quad bike or scooter and take off around the serpentine ring-road lined with bright green pines. Explore the coastline where you’ll find inviting beach bars tucked into remote coves with coconut shell cocktails to sip in the sun. Discover the hidden blue cave and take a refreshing dip to swim out of its mouth.
Get back before sunset as motor vehicles are not allowed out in the evening, making those cocktails and traditional dishes you’ll have in a restaurant by the seaside even more serene.
Oh, and did we mention the English-style pub with beer pong on every night? Face off against the other yachts to crown the week’s champion — there can only be one.
Poros is an island that boasts a bit of everything: beaches, mountains, Greek temples, heart-pounding watersports, and a helluva good nightlife.
And of course, there’s that gelato shop with 46 flavours…
Spend the afternoon sipping ice-cold beers on the watersports dock watching others desperately try to hang on to the tubes — until it’s your turn to take the ride and try your luck. Catch a birds-eye view of this stunning mountainous inlet while parasailing over the sparkling turquoise bay and a historic Ottoman-era fortress.
If you haven’t had enough adrenaline, hop on a scooter or quad and cruise through the high hills and valleys to the ruins of Poseidon’s temple, and end the adventure with a cocktail on the beach at one of the numerous secluded beach bars.
The night is when Poros truly comes alive. Bustling restaurants serve up fresh grilled octopus and mouth-watering traditional lamb kleftiko while a local musician strums Greek songs on a bouzouki. After polishing off the wine and ouzo, hit the lively cocktail bars thumping the summer’s best tunes and dance the night away.
Last, but definitely not least, is the alluring island of Agistri with private rocky capes and soft sand beaches to claim as your own and fascinating underwater life to discover. It’s a small island with plenty of hidden beauty and endless good vibes.
From the port of Milos where MedSailors docks, you can choose to spend an afternoon lounging around on beach chairs with a cold one or explore the island by bicycle and scooter. Get in early and go for a scuba dive to get a completely new perspective of the Mediterranean.
Hopefully, you’ve practiced your toga tying skills.
To cap off the MedSailors Saronics destinations cheers glasses and break plates just like the Greeks while feasting, learning to Greek dance, and clubbing the night away in your togas. Agistri might be small, but it’ll be the biggest party you have over the summer.
Gyros gyros gyros. A cheap but tasty favourite of locals and travellers alike — try out a lamb, chicken, or veggie pita in every port if you want to see which town serves up this amazing snack the best.
Mezze is the main attraction of most restaurants, which is an endless feast of traditional Greek dishes like baked lamb or veggie moussaka, saganaki fried cheese, grilled fish and kabobs, and more. Make sure to wear your stretchy pants as you won’t know when to quit!
The Saronic islands are also famous for their pistachios and craft beers so keep an eye out in shops and restaurants.
The culture of the Saronic is embracing the “Greek time” lifestyle — slow living, huge hospitality, and big nights spent out with best friends. Most islands, even ones that seem to be tourist packaged, still hold on to the charm and character of small villages. You’ll most likely befriend a local who’ll invite you for drinks and dinner with their family. Kick back, slow down, smile, and embrace it.
Don’t let the fishing village appearance fool you, the Saronics have more opportunity for dancing and big nights out than our sister route in the Ionian. Most towns, however small, will have that destination bar or cafe that transform into a wild dance floor.
However cliché some of the bars may look, nevertheless, they will be some of the most memorable moments of the trip. Depending on how many ouzo shots you have of course.
Perdika’s small Famous Grouse bar will kick off with Top 50’s and an open-air dance floor, Socrates will allow you to test your beer pong skills, and Poros is one of the best cocktail/dancefloor combos in the Mediterranean. And we can’t forget about the end-of-the-week toga party.
Some days are tranquil, and others the winds are kickin’ and perfect for an exhilarating sail with the bow slicing through the water at 10 knots. Daily before noon the winds rise, making the Saronic perfect for the more eager to learn as much about sailing as possible. After 4pm, the winds typically die down but ports tend to be a bit more choppy than the calm Ionian. If you want the most out of a true sailing experience, the Saronic Islands are where it’s at.
POST SAILING BLUES
Can’t get enough of the Greek Islands? There’s an easy transfer from Athens to Mykonos where you can check out this famed party island. From here, head on another ferry to one of the most beautiful destinations in the world — the picturesque island of Santorini.
If you’re sticking around mainland Greece for a bit, Athens has one of the most unique nightlife scenes hosting cocktail bars rated best in the world. Check out the Acropolis if you haven’t yet, and explore the eclectic food scene of this Greek capital.
The Saronics are a perfect choice for those desiring a bit more nightlife on route while still having a good mix of quiet nights and culture in between, with plenty of mouth-watering Greek cuisine to dive into. Some destinations at first can appear more tourist packaged than the Ionian, but if you wander away from the bustling ports and you’ll find hidden treasures and much more authentic experiences.
Though the Saronics tend to be a more rocky and arid landscape than the Ionian, the destinations are still dramatic and beautiful, and most islands will have some type of adventure activity to get the adrenaline pumping.
Does the MedSailors Greece Saronic route seem like the perfect fit for you? Don’t waste time, book with us today get your inflatables ready!
Article and photography by Ryan Brown, a MedSailors photographer and author of Lost Boy Memoirs, a travel and adventure blog.