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Meltemi in Cyclades
3 Feb 2023
Meltemi Sailing in Cyclades

Meltemi is a wind phenomenon associated with the Greek Islands of the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea.

It is a strong, dry, northeasterly wind that typically blows in the summer months and is characterized by clear skies and warm temperatures. It is an essential factor to take into consideration when sailing the Greek islands, as it can cause strong gusts and choppy seas.

It is the most dangerous weather phenomenon that sailors in the area have to deal with. Winds can reach speeds of up to 50 knots and can cause rough seas and strong currents. It can be accompanied by sudden storms that can create hazardous conditions. Sailing during these times can be dangerous, and even experienced sailors should take extra precautions to ensure their safety. This is why it is vital to be aware of the potential dangers and take the appropriate measures to protect yourself.

With that being said, sailing the Cyclades when the Meltemi is present can prove to be an unforgettable experience. This phenomenon typically starts in May and lasts through September, often creating exciting conditions for experienced sailors. There are numerous marinas and anchorages located throughout the islands, providing plenty of places to stop and enjoy the scenery. The islands are full of charming villages and breathtaking beaches that can be explored during a Greek sailing vacation. During this time, the Greek Islands are filled with tourists from around the world, looking to enjoy the beautiful scenery, delicious food, and vibrant nightlife that the islands have to offer. With the Meltemi blowing, the crystal-clear water of the Aegean Sea is perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Or if you prefer, take a hike and explore the many villages and sights available in these lovely locations. Traveling to a Greek Island in the Meltemi season can be a great way to acquaint yourself with Greek culture and the stunning beauty of the Aegean Sea. With the wind blowing and the days full of sunshine, it is an excellent time to relax and enjoy the unique atmosphere of the Greek Isles.

The Meltemi typically blows from the northwest during the day, and from the northeast during the night. Sailing at this time can be a challenging but rewarding experience. As mentioned earlier, sailors should expect high winds, choppy seas, and potentially large swells. In addition, they should be prepared for sudden gusts, which can cause the boat to heel. Additionally, there may be strong and unpredictable currents which can make navigation more difficult.

safety sailing


To stay safe, everyone should always pay close attention to weather conditions and plan their sailing route accordingly. This is why it is important to plan your route in advance, keeping a firm eye on the weather forecast and the direction of the wind. It is imperative to be prepared for sudden changes in the wind's speed and direction. Be sure to have the appropriate safety gear and that all of your equipment is in good working order. As well as checking your anchor and mooring lines as frequently as possible.

It is easy to sense the excitement of seasoned sailors when the Meltemi begins to blow, due to the possibility of an exhilarating adventure. For first timers and amateur sailors this could be unpleasant sometimes creating a sense of anxiety, insecurity, and fear. This wind can be unpredictable, unexpectedly starting up even on the sunniest days, taking people by surprise. It is always advisable to do some research on the most suitable sailing spots in the Cyclades before you organize your sailing holiday. For the seasoned sailor, the Meltemi winds can be a thrilling adventure when they stir up a Mediterranean storm, but for those who prefer a more relaxing journey, these winds can be too tumultuous, frightening and tough to handle.

Sailing on a crewed charter during the Meltemi season can be a great introduction into the art of sailing. The winds can be strong and the seas can be choppy, but the sailing is usually beautiful and the crew will help you navigate the area safely. Make sure to book a boat with an excellent crew and to communicate any special needs or requests you have for your charter. With the right preparation and a professional crew, you can have an amazing sailing experience.

inside a sailing yacht

For those looking to embark on a bareboat charter during the Meltemi season, it is essential to plan ahead and be aware of the wind patterns and the best times to sail. Generally, the best times to sail during the Meltemi season are in the morning and late afternoon, when the winds are lighter and more predictable.  Additionally, it is imperative to be mindful of the weather conditions, as the Meltemi can quickly become strong and unpredictable if weather conditions change. It is crucial to be prepared for any potential emergencies that may arise while sailing during this time of year, such as storms or rough seas. Lastly, it is vital to check with local authorities and other boaters to ensure that the waters are safe to sail in.

A skippered charter during the Meltemi season is another great way to explore the Greek islands and enjoy the sailing conditions. During this time, the winds tend to be strong and steady, making for perfect sailing conditions. A professional skipper will be able to take you to some of the best spots and provide you with a safe and enjoyable sailing experience. Chances are you will also have the chance to visit more isolated islands and anchor in secluded bays, perfect for swimming and snorkeling.

Sailing the Cyclades during the Meltemi season can be incredibly rewarding. The islands are stunningly beautiful and the winds provide a great opportunity to explore the region in an exciting way. With the right planning and preparation, a sailing trip in the Cyclades during the Meltemi season can be an unforgettable adventure. It is imperative to keep in mind that the Meltemi winds can be unpredictable and can change quickly, so it is important to be aware of the local weather conditions and take precautions to protect yourself and your boat.

Featured Photo by Nikolaos Anastasopoulos on Unsplash


Additionally, it is essential to be aware of any local laws and regulations when sailing in the Cyclades, as they can vary from island to island. With the right preparations and knowledge, sailing the Cyclades during the Meltemi season can be very enjoyable and create memories of a lifetime