The Cyclades islands are the most well-known of the Greek Islands. The Cyclades are islands of contrast, from the lively nightlife of Mykonos to the natural beauty and architectural style of Santorini, to the cosmopolitan islands of Paros and Naxos, and the unspoiled smaller ports and anchorages of Irakllia and Koufonisia, with each island having it’s own very unique feel and character. The Cyclades islands are further apart than the islands in the other cruising grounds in Greece and seeing them all can involve some longer days sailing. In the summer months the Meltemi wind can blow from the north making this an area best suited to the more experienced or adventurous sailors. There are limited charter options starting on the Islands however the Cyclades are easily reached from the Greek mainland, either from Athens, or ideally from Lavrion which is just a few hours sail from the first Island (Kea) and easily accessible from Athens Airport.

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Sailing conditions

Unlike the Saronic Gulf and Argolic Gulf sailing areas, the Cyclades islands are not protected by any mainland. Their position out into the Aegean Sea means they are more exposed to the northerly ‘Meltemi’ wind which very much dominates the Cyclades islands. Sailing in this area can be challenging with winds averaging force 5-6 in July and August, sometimes increasing to force 7-8. For this reason we would highly recommend careful route planning. If possible a 2 week charter is better suited to this region to allow you to take in all it has to offer.

Getting there

There are daily flights with scheduled and low cost airlines from London to Athens, which is approx 30 mins taxi ride from Lavrion. If starting from Paros or Syros you take a connecting flight or Ferry from Athens. Alternatively there are limited flights operating into Mykonos.

Area map

Itinerary

10 day

Day 1: Santorini/Ios
Santorini was formed by a volcanic explosion and has fascinating ruins to visit. Ios has 365 churches and an wonderful blend of perfect beaches and classic Aegean architecture.

Day 2: Amorgos
This rugged island has a history of colonization dating back to 4,000 BC!

Day 3: Small Cyclades
Explore the quaint fishing villages and relax on the beautiful beaches.

Day 4 and 5: Naxos
Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic Islands. Visit the Byzantine churches, wander through ancient citrus groves, and soak in the beauty of Greece.

Day 6:
Syros has the stereotypical Greek whitewashed houses, terraced fields, and fabulous sandy beaches.

Day 7: Mykonos
Mykonos was the mythic battlefield where Zeus fought the Gigantes, but today it’s claim to fame is nightlife.

Day 8: Sifnos
Buy yourself a ceramic souvenir made on the island, eat olives fresh from the grove, and photograph the valleys of wild juniper.

Day 9: Folegandros
With its dramatic cliffs and wild landscapes, the tranquil charm of Folgandros belies its history as a place for the exiled and imprisoned, during both ancient and recent times.

Day 10: Santorini

SUGGESTED 2 WEEK SAILING ITINERARIES FOR THE CYCLADES

Total distance: Approx 355 nautical miles

Day 1: Join your yacht at Kalamaki Marina in Athens

Day 2: Athens – Sounio – Kea (Vourkari) (40 nm)
See the ancient temple of Poseidon on Sunio sitting on the top of a hill right by the Aegean Sea. Then head on to one of Kea’s beaches to recline on the sand with a drink in your hand.

Day 3: Kea – Loutra (Kithnos) (20 nm)
Experience the healing powers of Kithnos’ hot spring. It is clean, free, and frequented by the locals. Head to Archipelagos, a family-run tavern, for home-made Greek food that will not disappoint.

Day 4: Loutra – Siros – Mykonos (40 nm)
Walk along Matoyianni Street in Mykonos; it is filled with shops, cafes, bars, and more. It is simply breath-taking to walk along the little streets and see the white houses and beautiful flowers.

Day 5: Mykonos – Delos – Paros (25 nm)
Visit one of the oldest Christian chapels in the world, Panayia Ekatondapiliani in Parikia. The capital of Paros. There are tons of beaches here, so you are bound to find your perfect stretch of golden sand. You can engage in water sports like kitesurfing or windsurfing. Visit the seaside ruins of a castle built from the marble ruins of an ancient temple.

Day 6: Paros – los (25 nm)
The spindly windmills of Ios are like something from a storybook, and a visit to the Tomb of Homer (yep, that Homer) is an simply amazing. When the sun goes down, party it up at one of Ios’ many electrifying nightspots.

Day 7: los – Sikinos -Thira (20 nm)
At sikinos choose from spending time on the beach, hiking to ancient ruins, or going to one of the tavernas at the harbour.

Day 8: Thira – Folegandros (30 nm)
In the summertime Folegandros is rich with caper flowers, thyme and oregano. The church of Panaghia , on the top of a hill, offers a nice walk and a magnificent view of the Chora and of the west coast. There are many hiking paths around the island that offer stunning scenery.

Day 9: Folegandros – Kimolos – Sifnos (20 nm)
The two main towns on Sifnos, Apollonia and Artemonas are thought to be named after the temples of Apollo and Artemis, not far away. Shop for locally made pottery and woven baskets.

Day 10: Sifnos – Serifos (20 nm)
The impressive White Tower, a Hellenistic marble watchtower stands in Chora, Serifos. There are gorgeous beaches, great food, and few tourists here.

Day 11: Serifos – Merichas (Kithnos) (15 nm)

Day 12: Merichas – Poros (45 nm)
See the jewel of Poros, the Historic Clock, visible from every part of town. Poros has traditional local flair and modern facilities. Go horseback riding through the pine forest or along the coast.

Day 13: Poros – Aegina (30 nm)
Rich in history, Aegina is home to the temple of Aphaia, monasteries, and the church of Agios Nektarios (one of the most widely known Greek Orthodox Saints). Soak in the sun at one of the many beaches in the area.

Day 14: Aegina – Athens (25 nm)

Day 15: Disembarkation

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