An online cruising guide for yachts sailing around Greece and the Greek islands in the Mediterranean.
The Greek Islands are one of the most popular cruising and sailing regions in the world - a yachting and general boating paradise. The background and history of Greece is best observed on Wikipedia.
|Currency||Euro € (EUR)|
|Time zone||DST (UTC + 2) , DST: EEST (UTC + 3 summer)|
| November 2013 Legislation has now been passed to impose a new cruising tax on all vessels sailing in Greek waters from 1 January 2014. Proposed rates are as follows:|
7m - 8m: €200; 8m – 10m: €300; 10m – 12m: €400; Over 12m: €100/metre. It remains to be seen what effect this will have on the cruising economy in Greece. --Athene of Lymington 14:01, 16 November 2013 (GMT)
2014 This tax appears now to be dead on arrival. It is no longer being considered, then again...--Istioploos 12:11, 25 May 2014 (BST)
The notorious requirement to register yachts on arrival or departure with the harbor police has now been repealed. --Istioploos 12:11, 25 May 2014 (BST)
Cruising the region
- 180 Aegean Sea
- 189 Nísos Sapiénza to Nisos Paxoí
- G1 Mainland Greece and Peloponnisos
- G2 Aegean Sea (North Part)
- G11 North Ionian Islands
- G16 Peloponnisos West Part
- 2 Ionio Pelagos
- 4 Aigaio Sea -Southern part
- 47 Aigaio Sea - Northern Part
- Eagle Ray
- N. D. Elias's Chart Book/cruising guide
Greek Navy charts are of high quality and cost a fraction of the cost of British Admiralty Charts. They can be found in most nautical stores in Greece.
The summer weather in Greece is dominated by the meltemi which comes from the NE in the north and west Aegean and from the NW in the south and east. Usually it is a light breeze of force 4-5 in the early morning hours but as the day progresses it strengthens to 5-6 by the afternoon and subsides by sunset. However from middle June to mid Septembers you can count for the meltemi to become a gale of force 7-8 and occasionally 9. These gales usually last 3-4 days.
From October to mid May the probability is equal for either northerly or southerly winds. Winds of force 10 are not uncommon in the winter months. Violent thunderstorms are also probable by late October to early May. The southern winter winds are particularly treacherous and unpredictable.
- Athens Observatory gives 3 day (every 6 hrs) detailed graphical forecasts for the Greek seas.
- Poseidon System gives 5 day forecasts (every 3 hrs for 2 days, thereafter every 6 hrs) for Greek seas from the National Center for Marine Research.
- Weather on Line provides detailed 7 day forecast charts for the Mediterranean, Northern Europe and the Atlantic.
- Greek Meteorological Service (EMY) it includes the Navtex weather bulletins.
- Wind Guru a surfer's site with worldwide wind forecasts.
- Passage Weather - Eastern Med
- Passages between Athens Region and Samos - Kusadasi
- Passages between Athens Region and Rhodes - Marmaris
- Passages between Athens Region and the North Sporades
- N - S Passages in East Aegean
- Cruising the Cyclades Islands
- Cruising the North Sporades Islands
- Circumnavigating the Peloponnese
- Cruising the Samos Sea Islands
- Cruising the Dodecanese Islands
- Circumnavigating the Peloponnese
- Cruising the Greek Ionian Sea
|Ionian||North Aegean||East Aegean||Sporades|
|Cyclades (A-K)||Cyclades (M-Z)||Dodecanese (A-K)||Dodecanese (M-Z)|
Key to symbols: || — Island || — Port of entry || — Harbor || — Marina || — Anchorage || — Needs data ||
- Greek Coast Guard - VHF 12
- Olympia Radio. This is the Greek VHF network. Local channels are listed in each individual port.
- Cellular Phone(GSM). Despite the mountains and the numerous islands Greece has very good GSM coverage. Cosmote have the widest coverage, followed by Vodafone, then Wind. Only populous places have 3G.
- In 2012 the process for obtaining a cellular telephone contract was tightened significantly. It is now necessary to have a Greek address and Tax ID number in order to obtain a contract (subscription) SIM. If staying in a marina, they can give you a letter establishing your residence at that marina. Obtaining a tax ID number at the local Tax office is relatively easy once in possession of the residency letter and your passport. GSM devices are now available that generate a wifi signal in your boat that can service multiple users. Reception is quite reliable and cost effective.
- Foreigners can easily obtain Greek prepaid SIMs, which must be registered at an operator's shop. This requires a passport. There is no requirement to have a local address.
Also see World Cruiser's Nets.
Any navigation notes here.
Arrival and departure procedures are changing in 2014. All yachts arriving from outside the EU, regardless of flag, may enter at any port with a port police office BUT are required to notify the port police in advance of their arrival (usually on VHF channel 12). Skippers are then required on arrival to present their documents (see below) and to complete a newly introduced form, the Pleasure Boat Document (PBD), and to carry it with them at all times (see File:Greek Pleasure Boat Document.pdf). The PBD must be surrendered to the nearest port police office on leaving Greek waters. At present, a PBD does not appear to be required if arriving from another EU country, but this may be open to local interpretation. In addition, all arriving yachts need to pay the necessary cruising taxes and, if coming from outside the EU, clear customs and immigration (see below).
A good quality Greek courtesy flag must be flown on entering Greek waters and, if arriving from outside the EU, a "Q" flag.
Customs and Immigration
All yachts arriving from outside the EU will need to clear customs and immigration. Skippers must complete a customs declaration and any firearms and ammunitions MUST be declared on arrival.
PETS: Cats and dogs require health and rabies inoculation certificates issued in the country of origin, not more than 12 months previously for dogs, six months for cats, and not less than six days before arrival. Greece accepts pets covered by the PETS Scheme (Pet Travel Scheme) with a current "Pet Passport".
Foreign registered yachts can buy fuel at duty-free prices. This must be arranged through Customs. Stations that sell fuel for foreign registered yachts are marked by blue and yellow diagonal stripes.
A visa is not required for a visit of up to three months for citizens of the EU, Andorra, Antigua, Argentina, Australia, Canada, Ecuador, Iceland, Israel, Japan, Liechtenstein, Mexico, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Norway, St Kitts and Nevis, South Korea, San Marino, Switzerland, Taiwan, the USA and Zimbabwe. For longer stays a visa must be applied for well in advance of the 3 month expiry date.
Visas are not required for citizens of Brazil, Chile, and Uruguay for a maximum stay of up to two months, Hong Kong and Peru up to one month and Singapore up to two weeks.
Visas must be issued in advance for all other nationalities and are valid for up to three months, depending on nationality. Visa extensions can be obtained from the nearest police station or the Greece Aliens Department in Athens.
For Non-EU passport holders - See the Schengen Visa Website for up-to-date information on this option.
Note: Entry may be refused if there are Turkish Cyprus stamps in your passport.
Special Cruising Requirements/Documentation
(Also see Med Cruising Requirements) - (Please edit/update below as/when necessary)
- Individual passports of all crew members are inspected on entry into Greece aboard a yacht, as is the case on departure with the same yacht. If leaving or arriving by other means (e.g. by air or ferry), documents will be inspected by Immigration at the point of arrival/exit and any visa (if required) date stamped.
- All non-EU yachts must clear in with the port police, Customs, Health, Immigration and Currency Control on arrival. The ship's papers - including detailed crew list - will be inspected by the port police and cruising tax levied as detailed below.
- EU-registered yachts need only report to the port police office at their first port of call with their documents and pay the cruising tax as detailed below. Proof of VAT payment may be required but in practice is rarely asked for.
- Yachts must carry their original registration documents and ship's radio station licence - one member of the crew must be in possession of a certificate to operate the radio/VHF
- The original insurance certificate and a Greek translation showing Third Party insurance with the amounts in figures need to be produced. These minimum amounts are:
- 293,470 EURO liability for death or injury by sinking, collision or other cause for crew and third parties,
- 146,753 EURO for damage,
- 88,041 EURO for pollution.
- The skipper should have an International Certificate of Competence (although in practice this is rarely requested)
- For non-EU citizens, nights should be spent on board (not in hotels ashore, etc) - if not, the Harbour Master and the Immigration officer should be notified
- The registered yacht owner/skipper should be on board. If handing the boat's command to someone else, ensure that the proper documentation is obtained from the Port Police
- Fishing is only allowed with a snorkel in certain areas. Fishing with scuba gear is prohibited
- To protect archaeological sites, scuba diving is restricted - permission should be sought locally
- Chartering by foreign yachts is now allowed, but the vessel must be inspected and certificated according to Greek law, a process that involves a huge amount of red tape
Fees and Charges
- From 1 January 2014 all boats entering Greek waters are subject to a new cruising tax, irrespective of how long they stay. The tax is levied as follows: Overall length 7m - 8m: €200; 8m – 10m: €300; 10m – 12m: €400; Over 12m: €100/metre. There is a 30 per cent reduction for yachts permanently kept in Greece. For yachts over 12m, it is also possible to pay the tax on a monthly basis at a rate of €10 per metre. It appears that this new tax will replace all other current taxes, including the Transit Log, but until it is fully in force this is not absolutely certain. Athene of Lymington
- EU-registered yachts have for a number of years been required to obtain a Dekpa at their first port of call at a cost of 30 EURO, to be presented for stamping on arrival at and departure from each subsequent port of call. The Dekpa is valid until there is no more space for stamps, when a new one must be purchased. In practice, it is only required to be presented once a month for stamping. Currently it appears that the issuing and stamping of the Dekpa will continue after 2014 (when new regulations are due to be introduced to coincide with the introduction of the new cruising tax).
- Note: The Depka situation has changed from 14/4/2014. The Greek law is number 4256/2014 and the main points that affect private cruising boats are as follows: 1. it is only necessary for Greek flagged and EU flagged boats to obtain a DEKPA stamp once per calendar year (this will be when you pay the cruising tax - whenever they start collecting that). 2. Greek flagged and EU flagged boats only need to visit the port police on first entry to Greece and then only once per calendar year (Chapter D Article 10.1a). 3. Greek flagged and EU flagged boats do not need to report to the port police on entry or exit to/from any Greek ports (Chapter D Article 10.2). 4. The Depka requirement applies to yachts over 7.0 metres (previously, it applied only to yachts over 9.0 metres).
- As of 1st October 2015 Greece has re-adopted the EU-wide protocol for non-EU flagged yachts. Non-EU fagged yachts will be issued with a Transit Log on first entry to Greece that allows VAT-free movement anywhere in EU waters (including Greece of course) for up to 18 months. The EU rules also allow for an extension to 24 months, Greece has indicated that this extension will be available on application (HMRC in the UK reserves it for 'exceptional circumstances'). The 18 month clock can be stopped by placing the boat in customs bond (which in Greece means on the hard and local customs advised). Neither the EU, nor Greece, specifies how long a boat must be out of EU waters before it can return for another 18 month Transit Log. It is likely in Greece that evidence of leaving the EU will be required (a marina receipt for example) but it should be possible, on expiry of the 18 month Transit Log, to pop over to Turkey for a night and then return to Greece and obtain another 18 month Transit Log. The TPP (cruising tax) will have to be paid by non-EU flagged yachts at the same rates as EU flagged yachts (when and if it is ever introduced).
- Note that these provisions only apply to non-EU flagged yachts that are owned by a non-EU resident. Non-EU flagged yachts owned by EU residents will be given a Transit Log valid for only 30 days, after which the yacht must either permanently leave EU waters or be imported into an EU country and VAT paid. This provision is to allow EU residents to purchase a yacht that is not VAT paid in the EU and export it.
- All public harbours charge a mooring or anchoring fee based on the tonnage and length of the yacht that is usually around €8 for an 11.0 metre yacht, payable to the port police. Boats from EU countries pay lower fees than those from non-EU countries, while Greek flagged boats pay even less. A debate is currently taking place in the Greek marine ministry as to whether the new cruising tax should replace these local payments entirely – Athene of Lymington.
- If a boat is stored ashore a 'lift permission' is required, and a 'launch permission' to launch it. These are obtainable from the Port Police and cost a few euros - and some tax. Good boatyards will obtain these for you.
- Note: Non-EU boats may now be charged by the port police a fee (I paid 672 Euros in 2014 for a 10 metre sailboat) that was originally applied to non-EU fishing boats. I was told that this is a one time fee, due when a non-EU boat enters Greece for the first time. The port police in Lavrion are charging this fee but I am not aware of any other port police who are doing so. --Daphnoula.
Click on this link for details of Greece harbour charges, which has been compiled by YBW forum members. Updates and additions welcomed.
Health and Security
Prefer bottled water when not in big cities.
Key to symbols: || — Island || — Port of entry || — Harbor || — Marina || — Anchorage || — Needs data ||
|Epirus & Western Greece||Gulfs of Corinth & Patras||West Peloponnese||South Peloponnese|| East Peloponnese|
(Gulf of Argolis)
|Saronikos Gulf||Gulf of Evia||Pagasitikos Gulf|| Thermaikos & |
- Many flights to Athens and Thessaloniki. Also many islands are served by charter flights
- Ferry boats to most islands
- Travels with S/Y Thetis Vasilis Riginos has been cruising Greek and Turkish waters for over 25 years, as well as having crossed the Atlantic. He lives for 6-7 months of the year in Greece and is willing to help any fellow cruisers. Email: vasilis[AT]sy-thetis.org
List links to discussion threads on partnering forums. (see link for requirements)
References & Publications
- Obert Boulanger, Hachette World Guides Greece, Hachette Book Group, ISBN Unknown
- Richard Stoneman (Editor), A Literary Companion to Travel in Greece, Getty Publication, ISBN 0892362987
- Lamprine Vagena-Papaioannou & Dora Komine-Dialete, To Aigaio: Epikentro Hellenikou Politismou, (in Greek), Melissa, ISBN 9602040106
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