Many pass through this bay every year to or from the Ionian and the Aegean. Therefore, it is easy to see why it is not generally considered a Yacht Charter touristic zone, but the truth is the Corinthian Gulf has many things to offer - historical cities, wild landscape and lovely coast sailing with lots of anchoring points.
Generally regarded as a corridor for Greece yacht charter sailing trips and commercial sea traffic between the Ionian and the Aegean Sea, the Gulf of Corinth, or the Corinthian Gulf is actually a 100km long stretch of water that can offer a lot in terms of a sailing holiday. So this is our advice to you, next time you sail though this region don’t just pass through the canal, but rather stop and take the time to visit this historical place.
This particular body of water separates the Ionian and the Aegean, while being bordered to the east by the Isthmus of Corinth and to the west by the Strait of Rion. The width of the gulf varies from 8.4 to 32km and has a maximum depth of 935m. Yacht Charter skippers know this region as one with intense traffic but to the people living on the shores, it is an active earthquake zone, one of the most active in Europe in fact.
The shores around the Corinthian Gulf are home to many cities, a great number of which are resorts but manage to retain that Greek feel, so appealing to foreign tourists. Part of that is the natural landscape, the vegetation, which yacht charter crews can admire from out at sea. It is mainly comprised of cypress trees, lots of olive groves (the neighboring Peloponnese peninsula is home to the famous Kalamata olives), Eucalyptus trees and Cephalonia pine trees that give that distinctive dark green look.
The weather in the Corinthinan Gulf is determined by its position within the Mediterranean basin, on the western side of the Greek mainland. This means that the general climate features hot and dry summers and mild and wet winters, which makes summer the best time for yacht charter groups to visit. During these times, the air and water periods often go into the 30s making it a pleasurable holiday with plenty of sunshine and warm waters to bathe in.
Inhabited since the dawn of man, the Gulf of Corinth has been the stage for many significant moments in history, like the Battle of Lepanto (medieval name of the gulf) in 1571 that saw the destruction of the Ottoman fleet. In antiquity, too the gulf saw a lot of traffic from the Greek town of Athens, which traded with many other cities across the Mediterranean. A trip along the coast can reveal many historical sights.
Here are some of the most important cities in the Corinthian Gulf. Nafpaktos or Lepanto is a small medieval harbor with a lovely waterfront, Galaxidhi which used to be a shipbuilding port (there’s a lovely nautical museum in town) but today is an upscale resort, the perfect stop point when visiting Delphi, and Corinth, the city which names the whole gulf is a large town in the southeast of the gulf with a large port and many historical and cultural sights for tourists (like the site of the ancient Corinth and Mycenae).
However, for those willing to go off the beaten path, the Corinth Gulf can offer some stunning gems, in the form of some secluded small fishing ports that have cheap prices and stunning views. Granted, the conditions will not be top notch, but you will get to see the real face of Greece, not just the fancy resorts.
Some examples include
The approach from the west is made through the gulf of Patras via the Rio-Antirio Strait and from the east through the Corinth canal. There are no major hazards in either direction for boats, as this route is also taken by larger commercial ships. However, the summer season is known to the local sailors for its westerly winds, which rarely exceed force 6. However, the meltemi can be powerful and catch you off guard, usually reaching its peak in the middle of the day.
In the autumn and spring, the winds tend to blow from the east and west, meaning that the yacht crews should take care if navigating here during this time of the year, as the weather can be very changing, sometimes with violent thunderstorms.
The overall infrastructure in the Gulf of Corinth is aimed at smaller yacht pleasure crafts and most of the marinas are crowded (except for Corinth) but it’s worth going out if your way and taking your time to look left and right.
Apart from the cities we mentioned, there are some more anchoring places in
For use as anchoring place of rental boats, you can also use the offshore islands
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