Thinking about taking a summer holiday in the Cyclades? Understanding the Meltemi winds is crucial when planning your sailing vacation.

The Cyclades Island group rests in the Aegan Sea and is a popular sailing destination in Summer.

The Meltemi Winds

The Meltemi Winds are named after the Greek God Etesians. These dry and powerful Aegean Sea winds last from mid-May to mid-September.

Expect anything from a strong breeze to gale force winds during a Meltemi. May, June, and September are the least windy months in the Aegean Sea.

Depending on where in Greece you are the Meltemi winds will come from the north, north-east, or north-west.

These winds are strongest during the day and usually die down at night but can last steady or days. These winds can be a welcomed treat on a hot July day.

Experienced sailors look forward to tackling these seasonal winds while offering an amazing sailing experience for charter guests.

This is a strong weather system similar to the strong winds of the Bora on the Adriatic Sea.

Meltemi Aegan Sea

How does this weather system come about? From a high-pressure system over Central Europe and a low-pressure system over Turkey.

The Meltemi winds are strongest during July/August and can still hit June/September.

The Meltemi winds offer a great opportunity for windsurfers and wind sailors. Tinos, Naxos, and Paros of the Cyclades offer dedicated teachers for windsurfers.

Sailing the Meltemi Winds

Only professional sailors should attempt sailing with the wind in rough waters. It’s best to keep the wind on your beam.

Sailing the Meltemi makes for an exciting time with an experienced skipper and should not be tried by novices. Be well provisioned with food and supplies for the trip.

Meltemi Sailing Instructions
  • Avoid sailing rhumb lines (marked in green on the map). Have an alternate route.
  • Have a flexible itinerary
  • Keep the wind at the beam. Looping southwards if need be
  • Head northward when the wind dies down
  • Avoid swells by staying in open waters as much as possible
meltemi winds

Sailing from Lavrion or Alimos to Ko (green line) will involve strong windward sailing. This first half of the trip takes you through windy straits and close to shores.

You’ll want to avoid sailing the rhumb line in even moderate Meltemi winds.

It is best to follow the yellow line on the map above when sailing Meltemi winds. This route provides more destinations, too. 

greece wind map agean sea

Following this rhumb line will take you into a beating windward wind. Looping to the south (purple line) makes for a better sailing experience!

The pink lines are prone to become katabatic and are best to be avoided.

The Meltemi winds can start suddenly and are dangerous if you’re out at sea. 

Signs of Meltemi Winds 24-36 Hours Out

  • Higher predicted atmospheric pressure over the Balkan/Northern Aegean.
  • A drop in humidity 
  • Small altocumulus clouds one day out
  • Improved visibility along with a rise in atmospheric pressure

We hope you enjoyed reading our guide on the Meltemi winds!

H2O Luxury Yachts Team can answer any questions that you may have. We are standing by to help arrange your Greek yacht vacation!

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