CycladesIn the middle of the Aegean Sea, these islands are very picturesque with their amazing architecture and rocky landscape.

The little whitewashed houses with their blue windows, the windmills and the churches at the highest points of the steep barren hills with their characteristic blue dome, are a sight that will not leave your memory for many years!

 

 

 

These islands were very isolated in the past, their inhabitants were very poor as they only relied on fishing for a living and the barren wind-blown land didn’t make things any easier for them. This all changed in the 70’s with the development of tourism and now the bigger ones have hundreds of thousands visiting them every year, while others that don't have frequent ferry connections have been left in peace.



Map of the Aegean Sea

Map of the Aegean Sea

 

 

Fortunately, our cruises in the Aegean take place early and late in the season, so even on the bigger ones we never meet these hordes of tourists, but we also suggest to our guests to avoid places that are visited by cruise ships, such as Mikonos.



CycladesThe smaller islands are just as pretty, they are untouched by tourism which makes them even more attractive, the locals are very easy-going and friendly and what’s more, only yachts can fit in their tiny harbors.

Don’t forget that cruising on a yacht gives you the great advantage to go to places where the typical tourist coming by airplane, ferry or cruise-liner cannot get to!!!

 

 

 

Cyclades - A typical houseHowever, as a sailing area this is more demanding than the Ionian or the Saronic, because the winds can be a lot stronger, followed by big choppy seas which can make things quite uncomfortable.

Having said that, it is also not uncommon to have no wind at all for days on end, with the sea being flat like a mirror! This is because the sea breeze which is created by the big land masses closer to the Greek mainland, doesn’t exist here. But, that’s where our powerful engine comes very handy!!!

Unlike the sailors of the past, these days we receive very reliable weather forecasts from 3-4 days in advance, so we plan our route to avoid any bad weather or to use the strong winds to our advantage by sailing downwind (with the wind from behind us).

 

 

Cyclades - donkeys are a local form of transportAs the distances between these islands are bigger, in this area we can’t follow the relaxed cruising schedule that we have in the Ionian or the Saronic.

For most of the crossings this means that we can only have a very short stop for a swim (or sometimes no stop at all), lunch on the way and quite a few hours every day at sea.

 

 

Cyclades - sunsetThe picturesque whitewashed little villages that we visit every evening however, the breathtaking views down to the sea from their rocky mountains and the magnificent sunsets definitely compensate for the more demanding sailing conditions of this area.

 

 

Cyclades - The little alleysUnlike the Ionian and the Saronic where the villages are located around the harbors, here they are situated higher up on the hills so they could have better protection from the pirates who infested these waters until a few centuries ago.
The maze of little streets always forms a labyrinth which aimed to disorientate the pirates and give the locals a bit of extra time to run away!

From the harbor you can easily get to the village (usually called ‘chora’) by bus or taxi both of which are very inexpensive, or if you feel more energetic you can even walk, as it is usually just a couple of kilometers away. Many of our guests who want to see a bit more of the island, just rent a scooter from the harbor for an average of 15 Euros.

 

 

CycladesFor our Cyclades cruises we are using Piraeus (the port of Athens) as a base, so it’s easy for our guests to get to us from Athens airport or the city center by public transport or by taxi.

Because of the longer distances involved in these cruises, it doesn’t make sense to sail to the Cyclades and back within a week, as you will not get the chance to even have a taste of these islands.

 

 

 

Cyclades - Chappel and winmillIf you would like to join us for a cruise in this area, you would need to consider booking the whole yacht for a 2 week holiday, or if you would like to do it in a more relaxed way spending a day every now and then exploring the island, you should consider a 3 week cruise.

If you can’t take that much time off, then maybe an idea would be to get a bigger group of friends together, book the yacht for two weeks and organize 2 one-way trips. The first group would have a one week cruise from Athens to Ios (the furthest island) from where they would return to Athens by ferry. Similarly the second group will come by ferry to Ios and finish their cruise a week later in Athens.

Just an idea for you to think about, as it has been quite popular with our guests in the last few years…!

 

 

You can click on the links below if you would like to read more about a specific island:

Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Folegandros, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos

 

 

 

 

 

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES


 

CycladesCruising around the Cyclades is quite different comparing to other sea areas. For a start we should mention that as the distances between most of these islands are a lot longer, it doesn't make sense to sail against the wind because of the amount of time it will take to get to our destination.

For those who don't know, we should explain that a yacht cannot sail in a straight line against the wind direction, but you have to keep tacking (zig-zagging) which doubles the distance.

 

 

 

Cyclades - The little alleysHere is an example:

Let's assume we were to sail from Kythnos to Syros. It is 30 nautical miles in a straight line and with a wind of force 5 in the Beaufort scale we would get there in 4-5 hours if we have the wind from a favorable direction, while it would take us 8-9 hours tacking against the wind.

We know from experience that although people find it exciting and pleasant to sail against the wind for 2-4 hours, it gets a bit boring and tiring if it is for longer, especially considering that in this open sea you are fighting against big waves in the same time.

 

 

 

CycladesThe way to enjoy sailing in the Cyclades is to use the winds to your advantage, which means you cannot set a route to follow from the beginning of your cruise. Having said that, we would still make a suggestion of an itinerary when you come onboard just so that we have a plan, but this is likely to change very soon!

The islands are so many and spread in such a way, that once you leave the harbor in the morning you have plenty of options for your destination depending on the wind.

 

 

 

Cyclades - A typical houseIn our example above, if we set sail from Kythnos with the wind from an easterly direction we would have decided to leave Syros for another day, and just sail north to Kea, or south to Serifos or Sifnos.

Going to Serifos (23 miles away) we might have to sail in a close reach (as close as a yacht can sail against the wind direction), but because we would not have to tack, it would only take us 3 hours of nice and exciting sailing to get there.

This would leave plenty of time for anchoring in a bay to have lunch and a bit of swimming/snorkeling and still arrive at the little harbor around 4-5 o'clock so that you have a few hours of daylight to explore the place.

 

 

Please remember that these villages are very pretty (and very photogenic as well, for those interested in photography), so it's a pity to arrive there just one hour before sunset and not have the time to wander around and enjoy the place. All you will have achieved then is to just tick them off your list!

 

 

Cyclades - donkeys are a local form of transportCyclades - anchored in a bay

 

 

 

 

 

 

Below are a few suggested itineraries (very likely to change on the way!!!):

 

 

A 2 weeks (including Santorini)
N.M.
Sun embarkation at the marina in Piraeus at 5 p.m. 0
Mon
Kythnos 55
Tues
Serifos 23
Wed
Sifnos
12
Thur
Milos 26
Fri
Folegandros 30
Sat
Ios 19
Sun
Ios (take the morning ferry for a visit to Santorini and return to Ios in the evening) 0
Mon
Paros 25
Tues
Syros 25
Wed
Kea 35
Thur
Poros (Saronic) 42
Fri
Perdika (Saronic) 15
Sat
Marina at Piraeus (Athens) 20
Sun
disembarkation at 9 a.m. after breakfast


327
B 2 weeks (including Mikonos)
N.M.
Sun embarkation at the marina in Piraeus at 5 p.m. 0
Mon
Serifos 68
Tues
Sifnos 12
Wed
Folegandros
25
Thur
Ios 19
Fri
Ios (take the ferry to Santorini for the day) 0
Sat
Paros 25
Sun
Mikonos (if you want to visit ancient Dilos, plan to stay a second day) 20
Mon
Tinos 12
Tues
Syros 12
Wed
Kythnos 26
Thur
Poros (Saronic) 42
Fri
Perdika (Saronic) 15
Sat
Marina at Piraeus (Athens) 20
Sun
disembarkation at 9 a.m. after breakfast


296




C 3 weeks
N.M.
Sun embarkation at the marina in Piraeus at 5 p.m. 0
Mon
Kea 46
Tues
Syros 35
Wed
Tinos
12
Thur
Tinos (morning sail to a bay, after lunch moor and explore the villages with scooter or car) 0
Fri
Mikonos
12
Sat
Mikonos (take a day tripper boat to ancient Dilos) 0
Sun
Paros 20
Mon
Naxos 17
Tues
Ios 26
Wed
Ios (take the ferry to Santorini for the day) 0
Thur
Folegandros 19
Fri
Milos 30
Sat
Milos (rent a scooter/car and explore the villages and beaches or go SCUBA diving) 0
Sun
Sifnos 26
Mon
Sifnos (morning sail to a bay, after lunch moor and explore the villages with scooter or car) 0
Tues
Serifos 12
Wed
Kythnos 23
Thur
Poros (Saronic) 42
Fri
Perdika (Saronic) 15
Sat
Marina at Piraeus (Athens) 20
Sun
disembarkation at 9 a.m. after breakfast


355



Notes:

  1. There are always 2 long days, the one is getting to the Cyclades and the second is returning to the Saronic.
  2. Before our return to Athens, we spend the last 2 days of the cruise in the Saronic.
  3. Santorini is a steep volcano and has no yacht harbor, with water depths all around the island at least 250 meters making it impossible to anchor. It's really worth a visit at least for a few hours however and the best way to do it is by leaving the yacht in Ios and taking the ferry there and back (45 minutes).
  4. If you organize 2 one-way cruises with your friends, then the first group can finish their week in Ios, take the ferry for a visit to Santorini, then return from there by ferry/airplane to Athens. The second group can do the opposite going from Athens to Santorini, then take the ferry to meet us in Ios and start their cruise from there, finishing one week later in Athens.
  5. On a 3 week cruise you would visit almost all the islands of the Cyclades, in the same time having a relaxed holiday, as you would be able every now and then to spend a whole day on the land exploring the island and getting a taste of the local life. A few islands where you could easily spend a day are: Milos, Sifnos, Tinos, Mikonos, Santorini and Syros.

 

 

 

 

 

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