Ideal conditions and unparalleled Greek natural beauty have made Greece one of the most popular destinations for sports activities at sea. Sailing, scuba diving, kitesurfing and wakeboard. Which are the most beloved destinations for water sports in Greece? Discover them here!
Scuba diving: the most popular destinations in Greece
Discover impressive underwater caves with stalactites, shipwrecks (that date back to the Byzantine period and earlier), rock walls, breathtaking reefs, ancient amphoras, Mediterranean coral, fossilised plants, sponges and a multitude of fish. Scuba diving in Greece, where the water provides superb visibility, is a journey through natural underwater worlds and a search for treasures left behind by ancient civilisations.
The areas of underwater discovery in Greece are many, with the stars being the Greek islands. Specialised centres operate at each, with qualified and certified divers on hand for training, equipment to rent and speedboats to drive you out to the most interesting spots.
In Santorini, you’ll discover exceptional diving locations are the Taxiarchis shipwreck, Palia Kameni and Cape Tripiti on Thirasia. In Mykonos, you’ll find the haunting wreck at Kalafatis, the reefs at Paradise and Super Paradise, the well-preserved sunken ships Peloponnisos and Anna II. You’ll be in heaven exploring the seabeds surrounding the nearby islet of Rhenia.
In Paros, you’ll admire the shipwrecks of Marianna, Beaufighter and the underwater beauty of Frouros, Tourlitis, Vryokastro and the bay of Santa Maria. And finally in Kea/Tzia, you’ll witness one of the most famous shipwrecks in the world, the hospital ship HMHS Britannic (a sister ship of the Titanic), that went down in 1916 from an explosion caused a German mine, at a depth of 120m near the port of Kea. There are plans in place that will give divers access to the famous sunken ocean liner in the near future.
2. Ionian islands
In Kefalonia, scuba diving will be an experience of a lifetime. You’ll discover the wonders of the Melissani Cave. In Zakynthos, in the area around the Keri Lake, you’ll explore the caves, while at other spots on the island, if you’re lucky, you’ll swim with Caretta caretta loggerhead turtles and the famous Mediterranean monk seal, Monachus monachus.
It’s just a matter of time before supervised, organised diving is allowed in the National Marine Park of Alonissos. Within its boundaries, and very near the island of Peristera, there are two of the most important shipwrecks in the world.
The classic wreck of Peristera at Pethamenos changed scientific opinion about the shipbuilding capabilities of the ancient Greeks. Additionally, at Vasilikos Bay you’ll find the largest Byzantine shipwreck in the world. The number of amorphae here exceed 4,000.
You’ll be impressed by the underwater caves at Agia Pelagia, near Heraklion.
The waters off Leros have been likened to an underwater museum and boast vibrant and colourful seabeds, while Kalymnos is famous for its long tradition of sponge diving.
Sport Sailing: the most popular events in Greece
What is it that makes sailing destinations in Greece, in the Aegean and Ionian, so unique? The often perfect conditions that prevail in the Greek seas make sailing an exciting but safe activity for both beginners and experts? The close contact with nature at its finest, the deep blue of the open sea joining seamlessly with the azure of the cloudless sky? The singular beauty of the islands, the hospitable islanders, the secluded bays and the local festivities that always accompany rallies?
All of the above, not to mention the fact that summer starts here early and ends late, with temperatures hovering around 30 degrees Celsius, warming the wind and the waters. For all these reasons, many rallies take place in Greek waters each year and every time their organisers set a different course.
The Aegean Rally: the oldest and largest sailing competition in Greece, has been held annually since 1964. Organised by the Hellenic Off-shore Sailing Club (POIATH), it attracts boats from the world over and from every corner of Greece. It’s a demanding race that consists of four legs of 100 nautical miles each.
Aegean Regatta: The Aegean Regatta takes place in the Northern Aegean, with easy courses and lots of evening fun.
Ionian Rally: Organised along the same lines as the Aegean Regatta, it takes place in three different Greek islands in the Ionian Sea each year.
Attica: For those who arrive in Attica by boat, you’re sure to find a race to your liking, since hardly a weekend exists without a sailing event of some kind on the calendar.
Surfing, water ski, wakeboard: the most popular destinations in Greece
Surfing and Kite-surfing in Greece: From spring to late autumn, Greece is the destination for surfers and kite surfers. The best wind- and kite-surfing spots in Greece:
• Vouliagmeni and Vari
• Anavyssos and Lavrion (Athens Riveria)
• Horefto in Pelion
• Halkidiki: Sarti, Sani Beach
• Peloponnese: Kalo Nero, Voidokilia, Elafonissos
• Crete: Kouremenos, Falassarna, Elafonissi, Paleohora
• Lefkas: Myloi Agios Ioannis, Vassiliki
• Corfu: Halikounas, Acharavi
• Lesvos: Sigri
• Limnos: Keros, Gomati
• Mykonos: Kalafatis, Korfos
• Paros: Pounda
• Naxos: Mikri Vigla
• Tinos: Kolymbithra
• Rhodes: Prasonissi, Faliraki, Lardos
• Karpathos: Chicken Bay
On most beaches you can go windsurfing, and if you’re a beginner many beaches have schools and instructors on hand so you can take lessons as well as rent equipment. Vassiliki and Agios Ioannis on Lefkas provide special accommodation options where both you and your equipment are welcome.
Water ski in Greece:
If you love to water ski, you’ll find a plethora of options in Greece. You can water ski at all the organised beaches of the Greek islands, in Halkidiki, the Peloponnese, Attica and on some lakes, such as Ioannina and Kaiafas. Water ski is a favourite sport of Greeks as well as foreign visitors. For this reason there are many clubs, among them the Water Ski Federation that organise annual world-renowned competitions.
Wakeboarding in Greece:
Wakeboarding, although a relatively new sport, also has a fanatic following in Greece.
The most popular wakeboarding locations in Greece are the following:
• Athens and Attica: Anavyssos, Lavrion, Varkiza, Galazia Akti
• Paros: Chryssi Akti, Nea Chryssi Akti, Pounta, Agios Ioannis (which organises the Panhellenic Wakeboard Championships)
• Naxos: Agios Georgios, Mikri Vigla
• Mykonos: Ftelia, Kalafatis
• Rhodes: Trianta, Fanes, Prasonissi, Theologos
• Lefkas: Vassiliki
• Ios: Mylopotas