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By No owner — last modified Nov 09, 2016 03:03 PM

 Greece - Profile

Facts

  • Although the more popular places on the Aegean are quite crowded, especially during the high season, there are still plenty of less frequented places dotted around the rim of the Aegean and some of the more remote islands rarely see more than a handful of yachts.
  • The crowds are also seasonal and it certainly pays to cruise Greece outside of the peak summer months, ideally around Easter, which is the main holiday in the Greek Orthodox calendar. The autumn months are just as attractive; both winds and weather are more pleasant than in the meltemi-swept months of high summer.
  • The recent expansion in yachting has been accompanied by a parallel development in facilities, but fortunately none of the picturesque ports have been ruined by the construction of pontoons in centuries old harbours. Most marinas have been built inside newly built breakwaters or reclaimed land and in most islands yachts still either come stern-to the existing quay, if there is space, or stay at anchor. Most of the new marinas are on the mainland and this is also where the best repair facilities are.
  • If looking to take an annual contract in a Greek marina, be aware that it may well stipulate that you avoid the marina during the summer months, or have your boat on the hard during the summer. This may be due to availability of space available for charter fleets or for visiting yachts, which is where most marinas here make their money.
  • Harbour dues are applicable in all harbours in Greece, although in many places these are not collected. Some harbours also have local fees in addition, usually where there is a recent new extension.
  • The greatest concentration of facilities is in the Athens-Piraeus area, where there are several boatyards with hauling-out facilities and a full range of repair services. Haul-out facilities are available at Alimos, Aretsou, Flisvos, Glifada, Mandraki, Lavrion, Patras, Porto Carras and Zea.
  • Marine Spares: Now more readily available and in the main no more expensive (perhaps even cheaper) than elsewhere in the EU. Essential spares may need to be ordered from abroad however locally produced products can normally be used instead.
  • In summer in some of the smaller islands it may be difficult to obtain any large quantity of water, so one should try to arrive with full tanks from the mainland.

Security

April 2016: Security levels at ports raised when cruise ships in dock due to terrorism concerns. Whilst on the whole most cruise ship docks are seperate from yacht marinas/quays in Greece, there are some ports (such as Zante) where the 2 share the same quay. As the port authority secure the dock whilst the cruise ship is in port, with no prior warning, this can be very inconvenient for yacht crew wishing to get off or on their boat. It is recommended to enquire if berthing at a shared cruise ship dock if/when the next cruise ship is expected, so you can plan accordingly.

Migrant Crisis: See news items adjacent for updates and recommendations regarding the Migrant Crisis.

Gov.UK is a travel update and warning site.  For those sailing (or flying) to Greece this spring/summer, you may follow this link for the news below and updates: https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/greece

There are regular strikes. These are sometimes called at short notice and can cause disruption to public transport in and out of Greece (including air travel and ports). Demonstrations take place regularly in central Athens, and have also taken place in other towns and cities. You should avoid all demonstrations and follow the advice given by local security authorities. See Major pre-planned strikes and demonstrations.

In the early hours of 10 April 2014 there was a large explosion outside the Bank of Greece in central Athens. There were no reported injuries.

The emergency services number in Greece is 112. Calling 999 from a UK mobile in Greece will automatically transfer you to the Greek emergency services.

Last updated May 2016.

Weather

Spring and autumn weather is the most pleasant, while the summer is hot and dry. Winters are mild in Crete and Rhodes and cooler as one moves north as well as inland. The prevailing winds of summer are northerly. The seasonal wind of summer, called etesian in Greece because of its seasonal character, but better known by its Turkish name meltemi, sets in about May and lasts until September. It blows at its strongest in July and August when it can reach force 7 and even 8 on occasions. Violent storms occur only in winter, February being a particularly bad month, but overall the weather is pleasant and extreme conditions are rarely known.

Main Ports

Crete: Ayios Nikolaos * , Hania * , Iraklion * , Rethimno

Cyclades: Amorgos , Andros , Ios * , Kea (Ayios Nikolaou) , Kithnos , Mikonos * , Milos , Naxos , Paros , Serifos , Sifnos , Siros * , Small Cycladian Islands , Thira (Santorini) , Tinos *

Dodecanese: Astipalaia , Halki (Chalki) , Kalimnos * , Karpathos (Pigadhia) , Kastellorizou * , Kos * , Leros , Lipso , Nisiros , Patmos , Rhodes (Mandraki) * , Simi * , Tilos

Eastern Sporades: Lesvos (Mitilini) * , Limnos (Mirina) * , Pithagorion (Samos) * , Port Khios (Chios) * , Vathi (Samos) *

Evia & Northern Sporades: Alonnisos , Evia , Evripos Canal (Khalkis/Chalcis) , Lavrion * , Nea Marmara (Evia) , Skiathos , Skiros , Skopelos

Gulfs of Patras & Corinth: Corinth Canal , Galaxidi , Itea * , Kiato , Korfos , Messolonghi , Navpaktos , Trizonia

Ionian: Argostoli (Kephalonia) * , Corfu Port (Corfu) * , Gaios (Paxos) , Gouvia (Corfu) * , Ithaca , Kalamos , Kephalonia (island of) , Kithera , Lakka (Paxos) , Lefkas , Mourtos , Othonoi Island (Corfu) , Palairos , Petriti (Corfu) , Platarias , Preveza * , Zakinthos *

Northern Greece: Alexandroupolis * , Kassandra Peninsula , Kavala * , Nea Marmaras , Sinthonia and Akti Peninsulas , Thasos , Thessaloniki * , Volos *

Peloponnese: Astrous , Ermioni , Hydra (Idhra) , Kalamata * , Katakolon * , Kiparissia , Koroni , Methoni , Monemvasia , Nafplion (Navplion) * , Patras * , Pilos * , Porto Kheli (Heli/Cheli/Xeli) , Spetsai * , Yerakas (Limin Leraka/Gerakas) , Yithion (Githion)

Saronic Gulf: Egina (Aigina) , Glifadha * , Kalamaki (Athens) , Perdika (Aigina) , Piraeus (Athens) * , Poros , Sounion & Lavrio , Vouliagmeni *

* indicates port of entry

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Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Oct 22, 2016 11:39 AM

Posted on behalf of Mark & Lisa Powell

A warning to non-EU cruisers in the Med.

We would like to pass on our experience yesterday with French customs. As the website correctly states, non-EU registered boats may remain in EU waters for 18 months before payment of VAT is required. We entered the EU last July, after crossing the Atlantic in May and then spending some time in Portugal and “resetting the clock” in Gibraltar in July. Therefore, the boat could stay in the EU until Jan 2017 without paying VAT. However, before returning the US for the winter, we obtained a “Precinto” (6-month customs bond) in Spain. This basically put the boat in bond while we went back to the U.S. for 6 months. Our understanding was that this Precinto would stop the Temporary Importation (TI) clock for 6 months, effectively extending our time to 24 months in EU waters before VAT payment is required.

Yesterday, while motoring along the south coast of France (near Bandol/Toulon), we were approached and boarded by French customs. Because out boat has only been in EU waters for since last July (13.5 months), they were very cordial and we had no problems. We also showed them our Precinto from Spain. They were completely unfamiliar with this document. I also showed them the paragraph in the IMRAY cruising guide describing the customs bond and 6-month extension. In no uncertain terms, they told us that France does not provided such an extensions and that they would not recognize or honor this Precinto from Spain. They kindly suggested that we sail to Tunisia for a day to “reset the clock” before our 18-month deadline in Jan 2017.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 11, 2016 11:09 PM

Reported by SY Funny Girl - September 2016:
Porto Kaio (Kayio) - Gulf of Lakonika, Southern Ionian
A nice natural harbour, but with westerly winds of 18 knots there are heavy gusts into the bay. We anchored the most westerly we could, very close to the beach, good holding in places but not everywhere.
There is a little floating pontoon - place for 2 or 3 yachts.

svgoldenglow
svgoldenglow says:
Oct 02, 2016 03:17 PM

When Scirocco winds are blowing hard from Africa (we experienced 50+ knots winds off southwestern Crete), none of the bays from Ak. Lithinon all the way to the Southeastern-most point of Crete, including Lerapetra which is promoted as a sheltered anchorage, will offer calm water, and the swell will be big and rough.

svgoldenglow
svgoldenglow says:
Oct 02, 2016 01:11 PM

Car Rental in Greece. Be aware that in Greece, unlike in most other Mediterranean countries, they want to see an international drivers license, which you cannot get online instantly. The larger agencies will not rent you a car without this. In Cios Greece (the large island off Cesme Turkey), despite having a pre-paid online car rental reservation, the agent could not give us the car. We walked down the street to a local agency who did rent to us without a problem.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Nov 09, 2016 03:02 PM

Update from Peter Pelo from Poros - 6 November, 2016:
About DEKPA
A policeman told me there was a governmental communication, in the gazette of 26th of September this year, about the DEKPA.
From what I understand, the DEKPA forms have been renewed and will now cost 50€.
Another thing I heard was that all old DEKPAs wil lose there validity at the end of August 2017.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Oct 03, 2016 11:46 AM

Further feedback from Peter of SY Funny Girl:
Today (30th September) I had a nice conversation with a port police officer.
He told me that there are no new Dekpa forms because there is coming a new form next year.
Everybody should pay for that new form as the existing ones become obsolete.
He could not tell me about the cost etc., but he had phoned with his office in Athens after running out of Dekpa forms.
The explanation of this, higher level, office in Athens gave him this information.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 15, 2016 11:31 AM

We have checked with our contacts in Greece whether the shortage of DEKPA forms indicate that the regulations have changed. It appears not. He suggested the best solution was to have a signed note added to your Crew list and to have a Customs office issue you with the correct form when you find one which has any available. He said he has not heard of any problems arising from this solution.
Presumably, they are all aware of the shortage.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 15, 2016 11:29 AM

Reported by Dutch Sailing yacht "Funny Girl":
I went to the port police in Preveza (Ionian) last Sunday, friendly people there, "we are sorry Sir, we have no DEKPA forms anymore!"
My question: when will they come? Answer - no idea, maybe never!!
But I insisted for a paper that I was there and wanted some proof, because if the police or so catch you without a DEKPA it can be a high fine.
So I get a paper where it is mentioned that I was in the police station asking for a DEKPA, plus a nice stamp from the Preveza Port Police office.
At my request the lady called to all nearby police stations, Corfu, Lefkas, and Gouvia marina, result: they all have no forms any more.
But with the paper she gave me I can sail around in Greece and do not need stamps because there is no space for it on the paper.
This all cost no money.!

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 17, 2015 02:46 PM

Posted on behalf of MY LeeZe (who posted this elsewhere on the site):
We just spent the last 3 months cruising the NW Aegean. When we checked at Alexandroupolis, They did not charge for the transit log (we think that was a mistake) but they did charge 15 Euros to process our entry. Our passports were stamped. We checked OUT in Mytilini (we do not recommend… see other entry) and they stamped our passports and transit log and we left. IF you are stuck in Greece after your visa expires, and cannot leave because of weather, check out on day 90 and stay on board until you can leave. The Greek authorities in Mytilini and Myrina both told us that is authorized and there is no fine. Mytilini will probably move you to the Customs dock though.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Sep 04, 2015 09:37 PM

Posted on behalf of Bruce Hops - SY Twins
Today, Monday 31st. Aug., we arrived in Vathi/Meganisi. The marinero there indicated to us where to tie up. A minute later we were told that it was a private marina and that a lot of boats were expected, hence we should move to the old port at the far end. According to Rod Heikell's guide book we should be welcome there - figure it out ... .
The said "old port" has an easy access and good holding, but the water there is filthy. Practically everything floats around and falling in would be a horror. The electrics are not operative and there is water at one end only.

vas
vas says:
Oct 22, 2015 07:46 AM

It is known that diesel distributed in Greece (probably also abroad) is allowed to contain up to approx 15% of biodiesel. I personally use apart some additives the premium diesel versions that contain max 5% of biodiesel. Of course i mind to use fresh diesel.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Aug 06, 2015 03:48 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Twins:
We have been cruising the Ionian Islands & the Peloponnese for the last six years. Obviously we often use the engine on our GibSea 31. The diesel in this area seems to be only biodiesel or mixed diesel at best. Many boat owners have to get their tanks cleaned out and the tubing also, as the diesel deteriorates and creates a mass, blocking the fuel from reaching the injectors. Left longer in the tank and filters, it eventually takes the aspect of treacle. The problems encountered with engines stuttering and falling silent are very unpleasant and sometimes dangerous.

We welcome any feedback from cruisers who might have a solution to this problem. B.T.W. none of the additives ever made a difference - just in the wallet!

Bruce
S/Y Twins

Spais
Spais says:
May 22, 2015 07:32 PM

I would like to inform all the people that are interested to visit Greece by sailing that the new tax system that was about to be applied -which was very...cruel- finally will not...

Also, some things that was opposite to European Law, like the duration of staying in EU waters -vessels with no EU registration and not VAT paid- is about to change soon...

So visit Greece with no any hesitation...

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 23, 2015 11:24 PM

Wdragon sent us an update:
Thanks for the advice. I eventually “settled” at Samos for an amount or 325 euro !! New log and penalties included. They started off with a penalty of some 995 euro – 65 days at 14euro/day plus 85euro + …….

Eventually I had to sign letters of apology, etc ………………………….. all in Greek so I hope it’s all legal and then they reduced it to 325.

In future one needs to hand the log in at the nearest customs office for safe keeping and to prove that you are not using the yacht, so one could in actual fact “stretch” your 6 months log over a year or more should you not be sailing.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 01, 2015 12:17 PM

Non-EU cruising boats only get 6 months cruising in Greece now in every 12 months. The good news is that the transit log rules state that if your boat is "laid up for the winter" (in other words, in a marina or boatyard and vacated and not active), this time does not count towards the 6 months. Be sure to hand in your transit log to Customs when leaving your boat for the winter, and keep marina or boatyard receipts to prove that you were not on board.
If however you remained on board over the winter, it is very likely you will be penalized. Official fees are 88€ for out of the deadline exportation plus 14€ for each day you have stayed in Greek waters after the 6 month deadline.
Good luck!

Wdragon
Wdragon says:
May 21, 2015 10:16 PM

We entered Greece in Sept 2014 on our Non EU registered yacht and we from South Africa. The 6 months cruising permit expired in March 2015 and now we are led to believe that we will not be able to extend our stay? And even more worrying is the mention of penalties ! Any idea of the amount of these penalties and what i should do?

Scarcity
Scarcity says:
Oct 02, 2014 06:27 PM

We spent two months cruising the Ionian, and waters around Athens this 2014 summer. We found some excellent service providers, engineers, electricians etc who were both competent and interested in the customer. Our experience with marina staff and management however, left much to be desired. Overall, imagine you were in Africa with a few brilliant spots in between. The Greek waters remain outstanding sailing/cruising grounds on many levels but, generally, the local industry is completely uninterested in the customer. This is sad.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jul 01, 2014 04:30 PM

Posted on behalf of Bruce Hops:
We are at present in Galaxidhi and have discovered that the DEKPA has been (re) introduced for all boats above 7 meters. The 10 meter rule hasbeen cancelled. We sail a 31ft. sloop - DEKPA price €29,35. The port seems much more busy than in the past.

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 30, 2014 04:07 PM

Re. the Stephanielee posting above and payment of a 945 euro tax.
Similar incidents reported this year have shown that the boat had paid a backlog of non-EU boat cruising tax (old style). That tax will be replaced by the new tax as and when it is introduced. The Ministry of Maritime have still not decided when they are going to start enforcing the new cruising tax. Keep up to date on this new tax at www.cruising.org.uk/news/greektax

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 26, 2014 03:33 PM

Posted on behalf of SY Funny Girl: 12 June, 2014
We are back at our yacht (Funny Girl), for the summer in Greece.
We had our boat wintering at Aktio marina, very close to Preveza, at their drystanding. It is, for us, a very good place, also you can sand your boat etc. and every boat has his own electricity and water connection.
Hauling in and out of the water goes quick and professional and at the time you want.
Then we went to the port authority, we get a friendly explanation that our insurance needs to be updated to the latest Greek insurance law (Greek law 4256/14). The lady officer let us go but we had to promise that we should contact our insurance company about this. The lady also told us that maybe another port station could make (more) trouble about this.
Then the famous DEPKA form, she gaves us two stamps, one for the fact that we landed in the water this Tuesday and another one with a validity for a whole year, and....... we have for this whole year never to go to a port police station or other authorities.
At my question what to pay, she said "you do not have to pay anything". The next question from me was..no tax for boats?? she replies "no NOTHING".
This all was in a friendly atmosphere.
Peter Terhaar
sy / Funny Girl
Jeanneau Sun Oddysey (Dutch flag)

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
Jun 20, 2014 01:55 PM

On behalf of Stephanielee;
We received a receipt for the 945 euros. We are 13.1 metres and we entered Greece May 15th 2013. The boat has been out of the water for the past 10 months.

DIMANT
DIMANT says:
Jun 04, 2014 08:43 PM

The law has been changed since 2012.First of all the invoice should be given by the Customs office since the flag in non an EU country.If you had stayed in Greece for the last 9 months and you have paid the tax then you don't pay a new tax. Can you please tell me the ship's length in order to find out the right amount of money you have to pay? And furthermore I need to know when you entered the Hellenic seas for the first time.

Thanks

Stephanielee
Stephanielee says:
Jun 04, 2014 04:18 PM

We are an Austalian registered yacht and entered Sami in May 2013. We wintered the boat in Levkas and on returning in May 2014 we went to collect our transit log at the Port office. They required us to pay the cruising tax of 945 euros. We paid this in cash at the local tax office. I think this is for the past 6 months and the next 6 months. I am not entirely clear exactly which period we have paid for. So it seems it is a requirement depending where you are and at what office you go into! Stephanie James

Sue Richards
Sue Richards says:
May 15, 2014 03:11 PM

Posted on behalf of Michael Lutz - Catamaran Swanie
Many cruisers have heard of the new Greek Cruising Permit for non-EU citizens. For our boat it would have cost about 400 Euros for 3 months. We just entered Greece the end of April, 2014 and no mention was made of this permit. Remember that every port of entry and every officer is different, but clearly this requirement is not uniformly enforced at this time.

ray fuller
ray fuller says:
Apr 04, 2014 11:30 AM

April 2014.
We were launched on Tuesday 1st April from Cleopatra MArina.
We visited the Port Police as required. Our papers were duly inspected and stamped, end of story. No money was requested or changed hands.
It would seem that this CRUISING TAX that we have all spent the winter worrying about is not going to happen this year, if at all.
The problem seems t be that it is uncontrollable and un enforcable at the moment.
The rumor is that the Port Police have refused to become involved with collection.
This is our personal experience so far, and is also confirmed by talking to numerous locals who are like us not in favor of this ill thought out scheme.

Ray & Mandy
SY Josephine.
Levkada

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Jan 14, 2014 10:20 AM

Note that as US citizens, you are only permitted to stay in the whole of the Schengen Area (which includes Greece) for a total of 90 days in a six month period. As you discovered, over-stays incur substantial penalties and will also affect any subsequent visit to a Schengen Area country.

A non-EU boat can remain in the EU for 18 months before having to leave (or officially import the boat). A short, documented visit to a non-EU country will ‘re-set the clock’ for another 18 months.

The 6 months refered to by the Greek Customs official, is the initial Transit Document (log/cruising permit) issued at the first port of entry and only applies to Greece. It is extendable to 18 months.

The Noonsite Team

Val Ellis
Val Ellis says:
Jan 14, 2014 09:56 AM

We entered Greece on our boat at Samos in 2013 and got our 90 day visas for US citizens. But the customs official was explicit that we now had 6 months in Greece. So we stayed for 4 months and ran into trouble in Mitilini on Lesvos when checking out. They said we overstayed for one month and the fine was 600 Euros per person, paid then or when we next re-entered Greece in the next four years. We suspect the customs official might have been referring to the boat having 6 months, but we are not sure. This was a bittersweet ending to a grand circumnavigation of the northern Aegean Sea.

Michael A. Lutz

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Another New Tax for Cruising Boats in Greece - Updates (31 Jan 2013)

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Channel Island Boats Beware in Greece (18 Oct 2012)

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Ionian, Zakynthos: Updates from Cruisers (24 Sep 2012)

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Cyclades, Paros: Latest Updates (18 Aug 2012)

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Short Update for Vlychada Marina, Santorini (Thira) (17 Aug 2012)

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Greece, Messolonghi: Thieves on board - July 2012 (30 Jul 2012)

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Greece: A Visit to Messalonghi Marina (21 Jul 2012)

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We can all help Clean up the Med! (20 Jun 2012)

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Corinth Canal: Latest Transit Information (12 Jun 2012)

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Greece, Lefkas Canal: Latest Information (10 May 2012)

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Exchanging Gas Cylinders - Be Cautious (28 Apr 2012)

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Cruising from Greece to France in 2011 (10 Jan 2012)

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Greece: Recommendations from Cruisers (29 Nov 2011)

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Proof of Competency for European Countries (04 Nov 2011)

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Santorini Update - August 2011 (04 Aug 2011)

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Caution for NZ Yachts Entering Greece (11 Jul 2011)

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Volos for Repairs and Provisioning (26 May 2011)

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Messolonghi, Trizonia and Lefkas Canal Update (18 May 2011)

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Anchoring in Mesolongi - Update (22 Sep 2010)

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Kos and Tilos Updates 2010 (17 Sep 2010)

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VAT and Schengen Visa Clarification (04 Jul 2010)

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Experience at Loutra on Kithnos, Greece (31 May 2010)

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The Lefkas channel (18 May 2010)

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Experiences of the Taxes in Greece (14 May 2010)

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Useful Information on Communications in Greece (13 May 2010)

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Santorini & Milos - Cruiser's Comments (04 May 2010)

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Turkey to Barbados in One Season (30 Apr 2010)

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Greece: Ionian, Mitikas - Burglaries (19 Apr 2010)

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Greece: Zea Marina Athens - Burglary at night (19 Apr 2010)

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Corinth Marina - Potential Theft (14 Nov 2009)

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Greece - Bad News for Non EU yachts commanded by EU citizens? (24 Oct 2009)

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European Regulations Regarding Insurance Cover and AIS Equipment (13 Sep 2009)

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Netherlands to Greece: Inland Route (20 Mar 2008)

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Ionian: Review (06 Mar 2008)

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The Ionian Cruising Companion: Review (06 Mar 2008)

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Passport stamps in Greece (04 Mar 2008)

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The High Price Of Greek Cruising Taxes (26 Jan 2008)

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Prices in Greece and Turkey (14 Jan 2008)

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West Aegean Book Review (06 Dec 2007)

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Greek Waters Pilot: Review of Latest Edition (06 Dec 2007)

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Central Mediterranean Cruising Guide Book Review (01 Nov 2007)

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Mediterranean Westbound Passage Notes from Argonauta 1 (2004) (23 Jun 2006)

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Worrying Midnight Encounter (19 Aug 2005)

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Cruising From Turkey To Greece (12 Jul 2005)

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Cruising North From Port Said (11 Dec 2004)

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Idyllic Greece (09 Mar 2003)

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