Enjoy a yacht charter in the Cyclades, the most well-known of the Greek islands. It’s perfect for island-hopping with 200 islands to discover although you might want to extend your itinerary to 14 days instead of a week as the islands are spaced further apart. The Meltemi wind can blow from the north in the summer, which is great for more experienced or adventurous sailors. There are limited charter options starting on the islands but the Cyclades are easily reached from the Greek mainland, either from Athens, or, ideally, from Lavrion, which is just a few hours sail from Kea and easily accessible from Athens airport.

Cyclades highlights

  • Mykonos – Known for its wonderful nightlife, whitewashed houses and windmills, beautiful cobbled streets and soft sand beaches. It’s also popular with the rich and famous
  • Kea – Find pretty coves, quiet beaches and walk the olive groves ashore
  • Santorini –  A highlight with its impressive colorful architectural style and active volcano with its underwater crater
  • Ios – A great place to dive and ashore you’ll find 365 churches, including Panayia Gremiótissa at Hóra
  • Kynthos – Visit the natural hot springs in Loutrá and Katafiki Cave on this peaceful island
  • Paros and Antiparos – Paros is known for its golden sands and its kayak-friendly coastline. Nearby Antiparos is known for its beauty and has a cave with the oldest stalagmite in Europe
  • Aegina – Stroll ancient sites including the Temple of Aphea Athena and Temple of Poseidon and try local food in Aegina town
  • Naxos – Smell the lovely scent of the citrus groves
  • Irakliá – Spot marine turtles and seals at this small island with attractive beaches
  • Koufonisia – Sail to these two islets separated by a narrow strait, also known as the “Hollow Islands” because of its huge caves

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.

You’ll enjoy a Mediterranean climate from spring to fall, between April to October, with temperatures around 80ºF in the summer. Mid-summer, you can expect long evenings, spectacular sunsets and calm seas.

To charter a yacht in Greece, there must be at least one certified skipper and one experienced crew member, both over 18 years old. Skipper is REQUIRED to have one (1) of the following:
• ICC (International Certificate of Competence), International – Prerequisites: RYA “Day Skipper Course” or similar/equivalent certification from any recognised sailing association or complete the ICC Assessment form to prove competence from previous experience
• ASA “104 Bareboat Cruising Course”
• RYA “Day Skipper Course”

You can fly direct to Athens from Philadelphia, New York, Toronto, and Montreal. Talk to our team for advice. The Lavrion base is easily reached from the airport either by taxi and takes about 30 minutes. If starting from Paros or Syros, you take a connecting flight or ferry from Athens. Alternatively there are limited flights operating into Mykonos.

10 day Cyclades islands

Day 1: Sail to Santorini, which was formed by a volcanic explosion and has fascinating ruins to visit. Head onwards to Ios, with its 365 churches and wonderful blend of perfect beaches and classic Aegean architecture.

Day 2:  Make for Amorgos, a rugged island with a history of colonization dating back to 4,000 BC.

Day 3: Visit Small Cyclades to explore the charming fishing villages and relax on the beautiful beaches.

Day 4 and 5: Enjoy Naxos, 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: Head to Syros with its wonderful whitewashed houses, terraced fields and fabulous sandy beaches.

Day 7:  For something more lively, make for Mykonos, the mythic battlefield where Zeus fought the Gigantes, but now known for its amazing nightlife.

Day 8: Sail to Sifnos and 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 is worth a visit with its dramatic cliffs and wild landscapes. Its tranquil charm belies its history as a place for the exiled and imprisoned, during both ancient and recent times.

Day 10: Head back to Santorini

14 days Cyclades islands  (355 nautical miles)

Day 1: Join your yacht at Kalamaki Marina in Athens

Day 2: See the ancient Temple of Poseidon on Sounio sitting on the top of a hill right by the Aegean Sea, before heading onto one of Kea’s beaches to recline on the sand with a drink in your hand.

Day 3: Experience the healing powers of Kithnos’ hot spring at Loutra. 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: Head to Siros and then Mykonos. Walk along Matoyianni Street in Mykonos, filled with shops, cafes, bars and and see the white houses and beautiful flowers.

Day 5: Sail to Delos and Paros. Visit one of the oldest Christian chapels in the world, Panagia Ekatontapiliani in Parikia, the capital of Paros. There are plenty of beaches to choose from, so you are bound to find your perfect stretch of golden sand. You can try water sports, such as kitesurfing or windsurfing. Visit the seaside ruins of a castle built from the marble ruins of an ancient temple.

Day 6: The spindly windmills of Ios are like something from a storybook. Visit the Tomb of Homer, a monument to one of Greece’s most famous poets. When the sun goes down, enjoy a dance and cocktail at Ios’ many exciting nightspots.

Day 7: Make for Sikinos and Thira. At Sikinos, choose to spend time on the beach, hike to ancient ruins, or go to one of the tavernas on the waterfront.

Day 8: Sail to Thira and Folegandros. In summer, Folegandros is rich with caper flowers, thyme and oregano. The church of Panagia, on the top of a hill, offers a nice walk and a magnificent view of Hora and of the west coast. There are many hiking paths around the island that offer stunning scenery.

Day 9: Head to Kimolos and Sifnos. The two main towns on Sifnos, Apollonia and Artemonas, are thought to be named after the nearby temples of Apollo and Artemis. Shop for locally made pottery and woven baskets.

Day 10: The impressive White Tower, a Hellenistic marble watchtower, stands in Hora, Serifos. There are gorgeous beaches, great food, and few tourists here.

Day 11: Make for Merichas on Kythnos.

Day 12: See the jewel of Poros, the historic clock, which is 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: 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:  Head back to Athens.

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