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Cyclades (Aegean) & suggested itineraries

CycladesIn the middle of the Aegean Sea, these islands are very picturesque (and extremely photogenic!) with their amazing architecture and rocky landscape. You probably know the island group already from photos; cute little whitewashed houses with blue doors and windows, windmills, tiny churches with blue domes, these are the typical images that never leave the memory of those who visited the Cyclades!

 

Cyclades - The little alleysFor a little bit of history, these islands were very isolated in the past and their inhabitants very poor. They only relied on fishing for a living and the barren wind-blown land didn’t make things any easier for them. The connection with the mainland was little to non-existent, so the locals had to be self-sufficient, that’s why you see hundreds of little terraces on this barren landscape, created to grow their vegetables. A fight for survival!

This all changed in the 70’s when photos of Mykonos and Santorini attracted Greeks from the mainland but also travelers from all over the world.

 

 

 

Map of the Aegean Sea

Map of the Aegean Sea

 

These gems of the Aegean became world-known and they are definitely worth a visit, but they are so many that a three week cruise wouldn’t be enough to visit them all. There are two types of islands; the bigger and famous ones like Santorini and Mykonos and the smaller ones that are out of the beaten track.



CycladesIf you don’t have enough time to see them all, you should definitely visit first the ones that are untouched by the thousands of cruise ship visitors and these are the smaller ones.

For a one week cruise starting and ending in Athens, we have created a very nice itinerary that will take us around the beautiful Western Cyclades, visiting the islands of Kea, Kythnos, Serifos, Sifnos, Kimolos and Milos.

 

Cyclades - A typical houseThe port we are using is Lavrio which is situated 50 kilometers east of Athens or Athens airport and is very close to the Cyclades. Also it’s only 10 kilometers away from one of the most famous ancient temples of Greece, the Temple of Poseidon, which you could visit just before or after your cruise.

One particularity of this area is the Meltemi gales blowing every summer from the middle of June until the end of August making a yachting holiday very unpleasant in that part of the summer, unless of course you are a hardcore sailor.

As we want our cruises to be pleasant and relaxed for everyone and actually the big majority of our guests have never been on a yacht before, we only cruise the Cyclades in the months of April, May and half of June and then again in October after our return from the Ionian Islands.

 

Cyclades - donkeys are a local form of transportBut even in the months that we cruise there, the occasional weather system may pass bringing strong winds and big waves in which case we switch our itinerary to the protected waters of the Saronic Islands for a pleasant cruise.

The Saronic itinerary will take us to the beautiful islands of Hydra, Spetses, Poros, Vathi, Angistri and Aegina.

 

Visiting the Cyclades

 

 

Cyclades - The little alleysThe Cyclades are unlike the Ionian and the Saronic Islands where the villages are located around the harbors. Here they are situated higher up on the hills as they needed natural protection from the pirates who infested these waters until a few centuries ago.

The maze of little streets in the picturesque whitewashed villages always forms a labyrinth which aimed to disorientate the pirates and give the locals a bit of extra time to run away!

 

CycladesFrom the harbor you can easily get to the village (usually called ‘chora’) by bus or taxi both of which are inexpensive. Or if you feel more energetic you can even walk, as sometimes the chora is 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 15-20 Euros or a car for 30-40 Euros. We’ll provide all the information for you when we get there :)

The picturesque whitewashed little villages that we visit every evening, the breathtaking views down to the sea from their rocky mountains and the magnificent sunsets, definitely justify the small effort of getting up the hill :)

 

 

 

 

SUGGESTED ITINERARIES


 

CycladesThe first itinerary below is very pleasant and that is our suggestion for a 1 week cruise, both on whole yacht bookings as well as cabin bookings. Sailing further east would require a 2 week cruise and it can only be done on whole yacht bookings.

A 1 week
Sun embarkation in Lavrio (Athens) at 5 p.m. and departure for Kea
Mon Serifos
Tues Kimolos
Wed Milos
Thur Sifnos
Fri Kythnos
Sat Lavrio
Sun disembarkation at 9 a.m. after breakfast

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

B 2 weeks
Sun embarkation in Lavrio (Athens) at 5 p.m. and departure for Kea
Mon Sifnos
Tues Kimolos
Wed Milos
Thur Folegandros
Fri Ios
Sat Ios (take the ferry to Santorini for the day, as Santorini doesn't have a yacht harbor)
Sun Paros
Mon Mikonos (if you want to visit ancient Dilos, plan to stay a second day)
Tues Tinos
Wed Syros
Thur Serifos
Fri Kythnos
Sat Lavrio
Sun disembarkation at 9 a.m. after breakfast

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

C 3 weeks
Sun embarkation in Lavrio (Athens) at 5 p.m. and departure for Kea
Mon Sifnos
Tues Sifnos (morning sail to a bay, after lunch moor and explore the villages with scooter or car)
Wed Kimolos
Thur Milos
Fri Milos (rent a scooter/car and explore the villages and beaches or go SCUBA diving)
Sat Folegandros
Sun Ios
Mon Ios (take the ferry to Santorini for the day, as Santorini doesn't have a yacht harbor)
Tues Amorgos
Wed Naxos
Thur Paros - port of Naousa
Fri Paros - port of Parikia
Sat Mikonos
Sun Mikonos (take a day tripper boat to ancient Dilos as yachts are not allowed)
Mon Tinos
Tues Tinos (morning sail to a bay, after lunch moor and explore the villages with scooter or car)
Wed Syros
Thur Serifos
Fri Kythnos
Sat Lavrio
Sun disembarkation at 9 a.m. after breakfast

 



Notes:

    Cyclades - sunset
  1. Santorini is a steep volcano and has no yacht harbor for big yachts, 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).
  2. 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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