Great Mediterranean Sailing Routes for Beginners


Eager to plan your first voyage? If you’re a less experienced skipper, assembling your first itinerary can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be. With its dramatic coastlines and relatively calm conditions, the Mediterranean is a picturesque playground well suited to the novice yachtsman.

Need some pointers?

Whether you’re looking to meander through the Greek islands or take a maritime tour of Turkey, we’ve got you covered.

Greek sailing routes

We’ll get one of the trickiest destinations out of the way first. While the waters themselves are calm enough, windy conditions and busy commercial routes can make sailing off the Greek coast fairly challenging.

There are countless places you can start your Mediterranean journey here, although it’s the Greek capital that offers with Piraeus the largest port in the country. Furthermore, Athens is served by a large international airport, offering convenient travel connections if you’re heading in from further afield.

If you do decide to rent a boat, there are several beginner-friendly routes to consider.

Unlike the Aegean, the Ionian Sea is fairly calm, making it ideal for skippers with less experience under their belt. Head to the Ionian Islands if you’re departing from somewhere like Corfu, or make the Saronic Islands your destination if you’re setting sail from Athens.

Sailing boat in the Mediterranean Sea.
Sailing boat in the Mediterranean Sea.

Turkish sailing routes

Compared to the likes of Spain and Greece, Turkey is somewhat overlooked.

However, any established yachtsman will be well aware of the spectacular sailing opportunities this country provides. With clever waters and stable wind conditions, navigating off the Turkish coast requires minimal effort. While you won’t need bags of experience, you will be rewarded with gorgeous views and some of the most historic routes in the Mediterranean.

If you’re heading in from abroad, make Dalaman International Airport your first destination. From here, you’ll be better positioned to reach one of Turkey’s many ports. While Turkey’s Mediterranean coast delivers plenty of remarkable routes, it’s the country’s Aegean coast that offers the most potential. The city of Mugla is an established yachting hotspot and is home to several sailing resorts and bustling ports.

Looking to escape from civilization for a little while? Depart from ports at Gecek or Fethiye and explore the sleepy fishing town of Kas or soak in the historic sights of Gemiler Island. If you’re looking for something more cosmopolitan, head to Marmaris.

Boats at the blue hour at the Turkish coast in the Mediterranean sea.
Boats at the blue hour at the Turkish coast in the Mediterranean sea.

Spanish sailing routes

Spain enjoys a storied maritime past. Once a global sea power, it’s now home to some of the most passionate yachtsmen in Europe.

Heading to one of the Balearics? You’ll find direct flights to the islands of Ibiza and Mallorca departing from many European cities.

People have been sailing off the coast of Spain for centuries. As such, it boasts an extensive yachting infrastructure. You’ll find countless marinas to call home for a night or two, while there are plenty of wild anchorage points for the more daring skipper.

The coastal stretches of the Spanish mainland deliver some of the most awe-inspiring scenery. Sail past historic cities like Barcelona and Valencia, with easygoing conditions the entire way.

Further afield you’ll find the Canary Islands. Closer to Africa than Spain itself, wintertime temperatures are more akin to what you’d expect from late spring. Islands like Gran Canaria are often referred to as a continent unto themselves, boasting a multitude of magnificent landscapes that can be savored as you sail by on Atlantic waters.

If you’re setting sail from one of the Canary Islands, your best bet is to book a flight to Tenerife or Gran Canaria Airport. Keep in mind that you are sailing in the Atlantic Ocean here, where you have to expect rougher conditions.

Sailing yachts at a beach in Ibiza, Spain.
Sailing yachts at a beach in Ibiza, Spain.

Start planning your route today

If you’re looking for a challenge, make Greece your first port of call. With hundreds of islands to explore, not to mention often challenging wind conditions, you’ll definitely earn your sea legs here.

Want to take it easy? Turkey’s clear waters and non-demanding wind make it the perfect choice for a novice yachtsman.

If you’re after more variety, mark Spain as your next sailing spot. From the subtropical Canaries to the cosmopolitan hotspots of the Spanish mainland, you’ll never sail the same route twice.

  • Travel Dudes

    I’m sure you’ve had similar experiences I had whilst traveling. You’re in a certain place and a fellow traveler, or a local, tip you off on a little-known beach, bar or accommodation. Great travel tips from other travelers or locals always add something special to our travels. That was the inspiration for Travel Dudes.

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