Family sailing vacations in Greece

Seeing Greece by boat is a brilliant idea – especially for families. You can island hop with ease, stay cool and create some quality time together. If your family has trouble getting out of the hotel in the mornings, traveling with kids can be stressful. But once you’re all safely installed on a sailing boat, there’s no need to worry about packing and unpacking, missing the last ferry, or getting stranded in the heat. Instead, you can get down to the business of being on vacation. Discover ancient myths, bioluminescent bays, and second helpings of moussaka.
Greek myths are gloriously gruesome. Don’t spare the details for a great bedtime story, then let the boat rock little ones to sleep.
Safe to say, your kids may want to be Greek by the end of their sailing trip. After all, Greek school kids get three months off in the summer. You’ll often see them staying up late and dining with the adults. When you go into a taverna and get your table for four, or six or ten, you’ll be greeted with open arms and restaurant staff will often make a big fuss over little ones. Your whole family will feel welcome in the country, whichever port you visit.

What does family sailing in Greece entail?

Some family sailing trips in Greece use traditional wooden caiques; fishing boats found mainly in the Ionian and the Aegean, which look like they've sailed straight out of a storybook. If you go bareboat or flotilla sailing, you’ll get a more modern vessel, but it will prove completely kid-proof, able to withstand countless clamberings over the deck, and unlimited attempts to climb up the anchor chain.

The minimum age for some trips with kids is seven years old, but on flotilla and bareboat, where you’re sailing the boat yourselves, there’s no minimum. Note that some trips are for adults only – like sailing and yoga vacations.

Flotilla sailing with kids

Flotilla sailing is a great way to get your kids into sailing. You can show them the ropes on board in the day, and in the evenings they can make friends across the fleet of boats – let them clamber on board your neighbour’s boat in the harbour to eat their pre-dinner crisps for a change. If you’re sailing on flotilla with kids then try the Ionian Islands. This is one of the safest areas for family sailing. There are no tides or currents, the sea is flat and the wind is kind. Most anchorages are very safe, though in deep water. But this depth means dolphins: tell kids to keep their eyes peeled, especially off the northern shore of Kalamos.

In the Ionian Islands, you’re never more than an hour by boat from a great beach: make the most of them. To prevent boredom between beaches you can give your kids easy little jobs to do such as putting fenders out, coiling lines and helming, and factor in plenty of swimming spots.

You might want to pre-provision your boat if you’re worried about getting everything on board, especially if you’re coming with young children or babies. You can order supplies in advance through your charter operator.

Our top trip

Greece sailing holiday for families

Greece sailing vacation for families

Sailing trip for families/friends in Greek islands

From £750 to £960 8 days ex flights
Small group travel:
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If you'd like to chat about Greece sailing or need help finding a vacation to suit you we're very happy to help.

Special considerations for sailing with kids

Safety is taken very seriously as sea, but rigorous safety briefings shouldn’t put you off sailing vacations with kids – if anything, they’re reassuring. Get your kids familiar with a few simple rules and everyone should feel happy and safe. Make sure children wear lifejackets on deck, especially if they want to venture outside the cockpit. You can also make sure that they wear a harness and are kept clipped onto the deck at all times. Make sure everything fits comfortably, and wearing them should become second nature. In general, children under the age of 16 aren’t allowed to operate motorised tenders alone – but of course everyone can have a go at steering the boat itself – it’s often one of the most fun things about the vacation. There’s no minimum age for taking your family flotilla sailing, though you might be more comfortable if your kids are good swimmers; it will be hot when you anchor, and swimming off the boat soon becomes second nature.
Written by Eloise Barker
Photo credits: [Page banner: Alex Antoniadis] [Intro: Explore] [What does family sailing in Greece entail?: Richard Martin]