Kalamaki Marina is home to countless charter companies and is easily reached from Athens Airport, less than 20 miles (30km) away. It is also handy for the centre of Athens, 5 miles (8km) to the north. There’s even a beach next door.
That’s the good news. On the other hand, although it has improved greatly since the days when you had to step carefully to avoid the junkies’ discarded syringes, the marina has a run down air, being very much functional rather than glamorous.
The restaurant and bar on site are expensive. There are cafes on the beach but they tend to close once the crowds go home. However, central Athens is only a short ride away. The main coast road outside the marina has bus and tram stops which run in to the centre. Here you’ll find a great choice of restaurants in areas such as Plaka. And of course there are all the usual shopping facilities you’d expect of a city centre.
The city itself is of course blessed with a wealth of history and even if you’re not big on old ruins, you really should try to spend some time seeing the sights whilst you’re there, even if it means checking in to a hotel for a night or two.
Kalamaki serves two cruising areas; the Saronic and the Cyclades. Geographically, it’s not the best starting point for either when you could start in Poros, at the centre of the Saronic, Athens Lavrion which is closer to the Cyclades, or Syros or Paros, both in the middle of the Cyclades.
However, Kalamaki has two great advantages; its proximity to the Airport and the excellent transport links mean you can board your yacht half an hour after leaving the terminal, much quicker than you could reach any of the above bases (except Lavrion which is a similar distance from the Airport).
And the sheer number of yachts available exceeds any other base in Greece, albeit that I don’t rate the quality of some operators too highly. Let me know if you’re looking for the cheapest option, otherwise I will only offer you bareboat charters from the better operators – it doesn’t cost much more.