Greece, Cyclades, Santorini and transport from Vlychada to Fira - SailNet Community
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post #1 of 5 Old 09-14-2010 Thread Starter
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Greece, Cyclades, Santorini and transport from Vlychada to Fira

After a few days I am going with a company for a week charter from Athens. Although I have been there sailing 5 or more times last two years, I have never been to Santorini. But the company want to go there, so we will try.
Everywhere on the net is written that Vlychada is the only one acceptable marina on the island.

1. Is that true?
2. Whatever anyone can tell me about this marina will be useful - conditions, place. prices etc.
3. (the main one!) How can we go from Vlychada to Thira (Fira)? I read that there were busses, is that true? Is there a place in Vlychada we can rent a motorbikes or scooters (or cars) and go with them to Thira?
4. What about stopping at Thira? Possible and how?

Thanks in advance to all !
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post #2 of 5 Old 09-16-2010
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Santorini Docking, Mooring, etc.

I was recently (July 1 - 3) in Santorini with a Bareboat Sailing Charter (monohull -- draft: 2.4 meters) and can make the following observations:
Vlikadha is the only real marina on the Island. I did not stay in the marina, but did drive to it in a rental car (actually a Jeep, but 4 wheel drive is not needed) to take a look at it for future trips.

The problems associated with Vlikadha are well documented on the interweb, but to briefly recap:

1. The approach/entrance is a slalom-like course of poles and other markers.
2. The Marina is too shallow.
3. The Marina is too crowded.
4. The Marina is too far away from everything else.
5. The Marina is unappealing.

Here is what I observed/comments as to the above points:

1. Come on -- grow a pair. Itís marked just fine. Get the Heikell book if you havenít already.

2. This is a big one and the reason I did not take my boat there. It has a tendency to shoal up. In late June, a charter boat captain I spoke with was reporting the shallowest part at 3 meters. The Heikell Book and the interweb report depths of anywhere between 1.7 meters and 2.4 meters. I donít know if there has been more dredging since I spoke with the charter boat captain, but I seriously doubt you can count on anything more than 2.4 and probably less. I did see a couple of Beneteaus in there from a distance and they looked to be 46 - 51 feet long. However, these models could have drawn as little as 1.7 meters.

3. It was pretty packed in July. I donít know what it will be like in September. If you have some guts and are a good boat handler (and your crew is a good line handling crew) you will be able to work something out. A bow thruster (if on a monohull) would be very nice.

4. The Marina is as far away from everything else as you can possible get. I would not rely on buses. I would rent a car or scooter, probably a car, if you want to get up to Oia, the very picturesque village on the North end of the Island. I believe most car rental agencies will come to the Marina to pick you up at no charge. Fira on scooter is do-able.

5. The pictures of the Marina are misleading. It is not that nice. It was never completed and there are piles of gravel throughout the Marina. The pictures I have seen make it look clean and quaint. It is rough and almost industrial in nature. I had a high maintenance crew and boy am I glad I didnít go there.

There is a helpful website about the Marina at

As for the main town of Fira, I took a 17 foot motorboat in there. There is no dock whatsoever. There is a seawall with steps. You CANNOT Med Moor to the seawall due to the depth and the constant and tremendous ferry wakes. As you view Fira Harbor from the water, to the right hand side of the harbor, I saw two Beneteau monohulls moored there. There were either on one or two commercial sized moorings. You MUST run lines to shore. Most likely, you will have to launch your dingy and put someone physically on the mooring (they are large cement moorings) to tie on the mooring lines.

I spoke to the guys on Shamrock V who spent one night in Fira Harbor on a mooring (but not the one I am referring to here). They said it was a horrible night; they had to left their launch out of the water due to the constant ferry wakes. They only stayed there one night before moving. If you donít know what Shamrock V is, Google it. If they had a hard time (120 feet -- 120,000 pounds), imagine a smaller boat.

Most advice I got was to leave the boat in Ios and take a ferry. I did not do that. It really depends on what you draw. If you are 2 meters or under, I think that the Marina is OK, but as I said, you'll have to rent a car.

Lastly, one week is not enough time to go from Athens to Santorini and return unless you have near perfect weather and donít mind sailing all day for 2 days down and 2 days back.

Hope this helps.

Last edited by formermdrvandal1; 09-16-2010 at 02:55 PM.
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post #3 of 5 Old 09-18-2010
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I was in Santorini last year with a 45-footer (2 m deep keel) and certainly suggest Vlychada quasi-marina port for overnight stay and visiting the island. Just follow the sailing directions when approaching (the dredger was in operation at the entrance of the harbour which silts permanently) and there will be no problem. Even if it is crowded you will not be left out. Renting a car at the marina is possible and the assistants at the office will help you. Distances are reasonable, one full day will allow you to go as far north as Oia (remenber the sunset!) and as far south as Perissa. In Septembre there is much less people than in August, I was in July and it was not unbearable. Click on the following two Youtube links to watch videos from the cruise and views of Santorini:
YouTube - Cyclades cruise 2009 part I
YouTube - Cyclades cruise 2009 part II
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post #4 of 5 Old 09-18-2010
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My commentary is from 2 years ago..the marina is correctly described by the earlier can contact Captain Ted at , I am sure he can give you real time specifics as to the marina. I highly recommend his boat as well.

There is a VERY small fishing village underneath OIA, I am not sure of the mooring situation, however there are a number of 20-30ft center console fishing types moored there.

Thira is a couple hour stop at most...and DO NOT ARRIVE when the cruise ship are in port... Oia is far nicer. Rent a smart car, easy to park and can get all over the island and there are many great places to stop and see.

Santorini is known for its white wine, Boutari Vineyards and other smaller ones.

The sunset in Oia is legendary, get there early and sit on the old church wall, well worth it.

Esperas House in Oia is an excellent place to stay if you need to get off the boat...cave houses and the staff is outstanding...

The island is HOT, HOT, HOT and there is ALOT of walking, do not be surprised to get passed by some 80 something YiaYia as you traverse the hills. The walk down to the small fishing village (the traveling pants movie was filmed there) is marginally technical...bring water.

S/V Monovasia
Dana Point California and the Soggy Dollar Jost Van Dyke
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post #5 of 5 Old 09-22-2010 Thread Starter
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Thanks to everybody !

Finally, we went to the Cylades (but not Santorini) and in fact I am still there, in Syros, stacked in by the weather.

Although, your answers are very polite and useful, thank you.
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