In this region, "The Big Blue" is everywhere.
It's one of the reasons Luc Besson chose to film
a big part of his movie in the Cyclades.
These islands sprinkled all over the Aegean sea have in common
this divine sunlight, crystal-clear water beaches and charming traditional villages.
However each one has its own unique identity.
Sail the Cyclades and discover the beauty of the Aegean.

Cyclades

Paros

Paros is a civilized and powerful island from the 1st millennium BC, thanks to its rich land of olive groves and vineyards and its white marble of incomparable purity. In the Parian marble were carved, among other masterpieces, the Venus of Milo, the Victory of Samothrace and the Parthenon frieze.

The beauty of its beaches, its landscapes and its villages seduce immediately its visitors. The old town of Paroikia, just behind the port, has all the charms of a small Cycladic town,  with its labyrinth of alleyways, arcades, its Venetian Kastro, the white and blue colours that dominates and the bougainvilleas all around.

Countless beaches are scattered on the East and West coasts. Such as Kolimbithres, with its amazing rock sculpures, Chrissi Akti, with turquoise waters, Molos Bay and the bay of Vigla. At the South, we can find the less frequented beaches of Glifa and Tripiti, and on the south-east, facing Antiparos, the beach of Pouda, a renowned spot for water sports. Some excursions in the villages of Lefkes, Marpissa and especially the port of Naoussa in the north, are recommended. Though being very crowded, Naoussa has an undeniable charm where you can enjoy  fresh fish and seafood at the port.

You can embark from Paros but the choice of boats is limited.

Paros sailing

Syros

An island like no other. Its all unique identity is first found in harsh contrasts of nature, with the northern, steep and wild, and the south, with a milder land and where the coastline is embellished with small coves and beautiful beaches. But it is especially the history that is behind the duality of Syros. Between the 13th and 16th century, Syros was the refuge of Catholic francs chased by the Turks. These settled on one of the two hills of Syros, Ano Syros. Thus, even today, over Ermoupolis, the capital, we distinguish two cathedrals, on top of the two hills, symbolizing the two communities on Ano Syros, the Catholic cathedral, and on the left, on the hill of Anastasi, the Orthodox Cathedral. Upon arrival of the refugees and until the 19th century, Syros experienced a very important commercial and handicrafts development. In honor of Hermes (the god of commerce), the inhabitants named their town Ermoupolis. The beautiful neoclassical houses in ocher and pastels colors and the shipyards, still testify this glorious past where Syros was the commercial and intellectual capital of Greece. Today, it is the administrative capital of the Cyclades.

Two ports can accommodate pleasure boaters: the main port of Ermoupolis where you can moor at the dock and the port of Finikas, in the southeast of the island: it is well protected and allows berthing and mooring. It includes all the necessary supplying for fuel, water, food, etc … as well as taverns and cafes. In this region (South – South East) you can find the beautiful beaches of Galissas, Kini, Delfini.

Do not miss a walk to the top of Ano Syros, typical example of a medieval district of the Cyclades, with its small houses and a network of streets and squares. If you love the “rebetiko” music, please note that its best performer, Markos Vamvakaris, was born there. You can find a few smoky taverns organizing events of this popular and rebellious music, sprinkled with ouzo and raki.

Finally, the Miaouli square and its surrounding streets offer an admirable architectural ensemble. If you have time, stop off at the Archaeological Museum, one of the oldest in Greece.

You can embark from Syros but the choice of boats is limited.

Sailing in Syros

Mykonos

Like Tinos and Andros is a very windy island, especially in August with the meltemi.

Mykonos’s reputation needs no introduction. It is first an island of outstanding natural beauty, with beautiful beaches of golden sand and crystalline waters such as those of the peninsula Diakofto, Megali Ammos, Paradise, Superparadise, etc … for more calmness prefer Agios Sostis or Panormos .

No one remains indifferent to the charm of the town of Mykonos, Hora, the capital, which is extremely picturesque.

Walk through its narrow streets, on the Place of the Three wells in the neighborhoods of Little Venice, the Old Port, of Kato Mili (the Mills), the cathedral with the red dome.

It is also a very busy cosmopolitan island, with vibrant nightlife, where many international celebrities and the gay community meet up. Unfortunately, the intense tourism development has not always been done without harm.

You can embark from Mykonos but the choice of boats is limited.

Sailing in Mykonos

Santorini

Santorini is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful islands in the Aegean Sea, and in any case the most impressive. The arrival on the coast of the island, facing the huge cliffs with all the colors of volcanic rock and crowned by white villages is an unforgettable experience.

The current configuration of Santorini which was until the 16th c. J.C. century an island all round, called “Strogili” (meaning “the round island”) is due to the massive explosion of the volcano which occupied the center. The island collapsed in the middle, giving birth to Caldera, from which emerged two small islands, Palaia Kameni and Nea Kameni that still show volcanic activity (there are hot water thermal baths).

Archaeological researches have uncovered the remains of a very developed civilization of the Minoan era, of which the earthquake led to the ruin.

According to Plato, it is here, in Santorini, where we should locate the mythical Atlantis.

The current name of the island, comes from the era of  Latin occupation and means “Saint Irene”.

To dock in Santorini, you have the choice between the Marina of Vlihada in the south of the island (but spaces are very limited), or mooring buoys found in Oia in the north of island, or in Caldera around Nea Kameni and Palaia Kameni. The sea being very deep (nearly 400 m.) It is impossible to anchor elsewhere than around the buoys.

Finally, there is the small port of Korfou Bay in the island of Thirasia, west of the Caldera.

Centers of interest

Sail along the coast of Caldera between Fira (or Thira), the capital and Oia (pronounced IA) and you will enjoy stunning sceneries, and admire the white villages or pastel colors of Firostefani, Imerovigli, Oia.

Oia, the romantic is famous for offering one of the finest views of the sunset.

By navigating along the south coast, you will walk along the white beach, the red beach and the black beach in Perissa, all recalling the volcanic island identity.

If time allows you, Thira is worth a visit, as well as the site of Akrotiri, where was located the ancient city (Atlantis?).

Finally, note that Santorini is famous for its vineyards. So do not miss a tasting.

You can embark from Santorini but the choice of boats is limited.

Sail yacht in Santorini

Andros

Second island of the Cyclades after Naxos for its size.

A Cyclade that surprises by its originality and its antitheses, sometimes arid and mountainous, sometimes covered by a thick vegetation and watered by numerous sources.

A good part of the island is reserved to Natura, natural reserve, shelter for eagles, hawks and other protected species.

 

The main port is Gavrio, but pleasure boats can also call at the harbor of Batsi, a pretty village where you can walk around, have a drink or dine in one of the many taverns aligned along the wharf.

However, it is advisable to avoid docking in Batsi under strong Nothern winds.

After a long period bent on itself and away from the tourist development, Andros is however suitable for interesting excursions in the nearby villages of Hora to the east of the island and south around Korthi via its hikes trails very well maintained.

One can find wild fortified residences but also elegant neoclassical houses.

Springs and fountains are present all over in these villages.

Do not miss of course a trip to Hora, the capital, which, under the influence of wealthy families of shipowners, has preserved its authenticity and elegance.

One of these families – The Goulandris has endowed Andros with a modern art museum, renowned internationally.

The numerous beaches of sand but also of white pebbles, on the West and the Northeast coasts, are one of the great strengths of Andros, giving the water a turquoise color and an incomparable transparency.

Finally, if the winds allow it, you can anchor in the Gulf of Paleopolis, Andros capital in antiquity, where one can still distinguish the ruins of a sunken harbor.

Voile a Andros

Amorgos

An island in length, gravelly and wild, with an austere charm and breathtaking landscapes. It is no coincidence that Luc Besson chose it as the setting for his movie Le Grand Bleu.

Don’t miss Hora, typical Cycladic village with its network of narrow streets and its citadel where the view is stunning, but above all visit the monastery of Hozoviotissa built on 8 floors on the cliffside.

Two ports are serving Amorgos: Katapola, near Hora, the capital, and Aegiali, in the Northeast, which is quieter.

Some beautiful beaches are to discover, at Agia Anna, around Aegiali and the islets of Gramvousa and Nikouria, accessible only by boat.

Amorgos is also of archaeological interest. Among other Cycladic islands, the famous white marble idols have been discovered here.

Sailing

Delos

In a trip featuring Mykonos, Tinos or Syros, you will not miss a stop at Delos.
Sacred island, place of birth of Apollo and Artemis, it is with Delphi, the main sanctuary of ancient Greece, dedicated to Apollo, god of the sun and the Arts.

It is an open air museum that takes you to another journey: a journey back in time 2000 years ago.

There is no possibility of accommodation in Delos, but you can drop your anchor and spend the night on your boat in the bay at Rinia.

 

 

Sailing Delos

Tinos

Island often very windy especially in the summer with the Meltemi.
Tinos is primarily known for being the equivalent of Lourdes for the Orthodox.
Its basilica of Panagia (Virgin Mary) with its miraculous icon is a place of pilgrimage and the influx of the faithful is uninterrupted.

However, Tinos is much more than this and its backcountry offers some of the most beautiful villages of the Cyclades, in the middle of a backdrop of hills scattered of Catholics and Orthodox  chapels (750!), of pigeon houses with very finely worked architecture , mostly dating from the 18th century during Venetian occupation (the most beautiful are at Tarabados). Take some time to visit these villages, especially Kardiani and Pyrgos, famous for its marble workshops. Some beautiful sandy beaches in the West (Agios Fokas) Kionia, Pachia Ammos in the South East and Kalivia, Kolimbithra and Livada, pebble beaches,  in the North East.

Tinos Greece

Folegandros

Folegandros has been left apart for a long time ,due to difficult living conditions, raids of pirates and Turks, and later because of its status of deportation island for political prisoners. Its tourism development is therefore very recent.

You can get there by sailing boat, in the lovely harbor of Karavostasis (which also means the stop of the boats). It is one of the smallest Cyclades and one of the most austere, by its arid landscape of mountains and cliffs.

Its two assets are the beauty of Hora, one of the most beautiful Cycladic villages , built around a citadel where the sea view is stunning, and the beautiful beaches with crystal clear water, difficult to access for hikers, but where sailors will be happy to stop in the bays of Katergo, of Agkali (well protected from the wind) and the cove of Fira.

Greek island

Ios

Ios offers the typical image of the Cycladic landscape: relief of arid hills, vibrant white villages, 12 mills on the heights of Hora, from where the view is breathtaking, picturesque maze of alleys. What makes the reputation of Ios? It claims to house the tomb of Homer, in the north of the island. But it is mostly famous by its intense nightlife that attracts, in the summer, many young tourists lovers of parties and of sleepless nights. If you are not a fan of noise, you should avoid  the port of Gialos at Hora and its surroundings. However, you will love the beautiful southern beaches, some of which are accessible only by boat, such as Klima and the beaches of Manganari bay.

 

Sailing in harbor of Ios

Kea

Close to Attica, a few miles from Sounion, Kea is a very green island, which formerly was called Hydroussa, because of its numerous sources.
Very crowded on weekends, it still remains, however, outside of mass tourism. Kea is named after Keos, son of Apollo, and many vestiges still testify to its ancient civilization, in particular on the site of Agia Irini, in the peninsula of Koka.

Two bays to anchor are located on this peninsula, Vourkari and Otzias.
Vourkari is a small port where it is possible to moor and to enjoy the taverns and cafeterias that line up along the quay.
Otzias is a deep bay with sandy seabed, ideal for mooring; you will find 2 -3 taverns with local dishes and fresh fish.
Kea is also characterized by a set of beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters like the Bay of Spathi, Psili Ammos Kalidonichi, on the east coast, the Bay of Koundouros in the West and Agios Emilianos, well sheltered from the north wind – North East, where the sailboats can anchor.
The capital (Hora), Ioulida is also worth a glance; it is one of the most beautiful villages in Greece with a very special traditional architecture.

Ancient Greek ruins in Tzia

Kithnos

A quiet island with arid landscape out of the tourist circuits.
It is famous mostly for its thermal hot springs, at Loutra.
Yet, especially for pleasure boaters, Kythnos holds many charms: first many sandy beaches, often accessible only to boats. The most beautiful beaches are located south of Hora, especially Levkes, Zogaki, Kouri, Naoussa, Agios Stefanos sheltered from the winds, bathed in crystal clear water.
Hora, the capital, is a typical Cycladic village where it is pleasant to walk. At the small port of Merihas, appreciated by pleasure boaters, you can enjoy excellent fish and seafood. Kythnos has also the reputation of an island where you eat well.

Finally, do not miss a trip to the beautiful village of Driopida.

Kolona beach in Kythnos

Milos

With its volcanic  tormented terrain, its strange landscapes of cliffs, of caves, of jagged coasts, Milos certainly presents a unique geological interest.

Since antiquity, mines of many minerals were exploited , including obsidian. In the deep Gulf of Volos (Ormos Milou) at Adamas port, you can find an interesting museum of the mine. Just to the north of Adamas, the friendly village of Plaka, capital of the island has a beautiful archaeological museum where you can admire beautiful Cycladic statuettes, and a copy of the famous Venus of Milo (which is in the Louvre) .

Sailyacht Arianna at Milos and Poliaigos

Naxos

It is the larger of the Cyclades, dominated by the Mount Za or Zeus reaching 1001 meters. It offers multiple attractions. Long and beautiful sandy beaches extend along the southwest coast: Agios Giorgos, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna, family friendly and rather quite popular. Further to the south, you can find Mikri Vigla, internationally renowned spot for windsurfing and kite surfing and Pirgaki, a less crowded beach to relax.
The rich historical heritage of Naxos is also of particular interest. Its fertility and rich marble and emery quarries, gave the island a leading role since antiquity: we have the proof when arriving in the port, where the door of the temple of Apollo stands, but also by discovering the two Kouros of Flerio and Apolonas (10 meters long) which lie on the ground since the 6th century BC.
A walk in the Kastro, the fortified medieval city, its maze of alleys and arcades will plunge you into the Byzantine and Venetian time.
Finally, if you want to add to the pleasures of navigation, the ones of mountain hiking, dare to climb Mount Za, 1one hour walk from the village of Filoti, at the other end of the island. Down from its 1001 meters, Mount Za dominates the Cyclades.

Portara Naxos Greece

Antiparos

Etymologically: opposite to Paros.
Small island in the southwest of Paros, life is concentrated in Kastro, fortified village, that has become very touristic. Beautiful beaches with crystal clear waters await you on the East Coast (Glifa, Soros) and West (Agios Giorgos).
Popular with hippies years ago, it has become more cosmopolitan with the construction of new holiday rentals, with modern but discreet  architecture, keeping a Cycladic kind.
You can, optionally, have a quiet night in the sandy shallow bay of Despotiko in the south of the island, or choose a mooring / docking at the port of Antiparos and go out in the many bars of the Kastro, finishing your night at the famous disco “La Luna” with an open-air dance floor.

Gulet au mouillage a antiparos

Small Cyclades

West of Naxos,  some tiny islands are all mini-heavens: Pano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi, Iraklia, Schinoussa, Keros, Donousa.

Dream beaches, trails to wander, and for boaters, wind sheltered coves where sailboats can anchor.

Many of the beaches being inaccessible by foot or by motorized vehicle, you will certainly have the opportunity to anchor in a deserted bay, independently.

Beach in Donousa

Koufonisia consists of 3 islands: Pano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi, Keros.
The Hora of Pano Koufonisi (3.5 km2) where most of the population is concentrated (about 300 inhabitants) offers an enchanting setting, but it is better to avoid the high season, to truly appreciate its charm. You can either put your boat in mooring, or at the dock of the small port. At the North of the island, caves form a sort of natural pools with turquoise waters where you can snorkel. You can also anchor in the large protected bay of Pori with its sandy beach in the shape of a crescent moon.
Kato koufonissia. Sparsely populated with some fishermen’s houses, one church and two taverns, it has beautiful landscapes.
Keros, it is the largest of the small Cyclades, but it is prohibited to anchor there. It is an island that has played a very important role during the Cycladic civilization. Full of ruins and marble quarries, it is nowadays deserted.

 

Koufonissia

Iraklia (19km2, a hundred inhabitants)
Beautiful beaches, especially Livadi, in the north of the island, which is not crowded, and in the South, Karvounolakos and Alimia. Diving enthusiasts can explore the wreck of a fighter aircraft in a bay, in the South of the island. Ask us about it!
Schinoussa (9km2, about 200 inhabitants)
The port, Mersini is located in a deep cove and is well protected from winds. There are numerous beaches, coves with clear water, accessible only by foot or… with your boat.
Donoussa (15 km2, between 100 and 150 inhabitants)
An island with authentic charm, with its flowery villages, especially Mersini or Stavros, its small fishing port and its pretty beaches (Kendros and Vathi)

Swan moored in Iraklia

Serifos

Homeland of Perseus who beheaded the Medusa, Serifos is an island with an austere and stripped relief, crowned on its top by its capital, Hora, dazzlingly white: the view that you discover upon arriving at the port of Livadi will enchant you.

But, Serifos reserve as well many other beauties, starting with its many beaches with crystal clear turquoise waters, usually bordered of tamarisk trees: in particular, near the south eastern harbor, the beaches of Avlomonas, Livadakia, and, much calmer, the beach of Karavi.

In the East, the coast draws gulfs and deep coves, whose beaches are gorgeous: Tsilipaki, Lia, Agios Sostis with lagoon colors, and Psili ?mmos with fine white sand.

In the south, the coast has deep bays, sheltered from the wind pleasure boaters will enjoy. These include the beautiful beaches of Kato Ambeli, Koutalas, Vagia and Gonema.

Do not miss the trip to Hora, the capital, which has preserved its medieval character and typical Cycladic, colors with its white houses, standing out against the intense blue of sky and sea, and its maze of picturesque streets.

At the top of the village, there is a magnificent view over the south of the island. Another excursion to recommend: in the center of the island, the village of Panagia, which is at the top of the island, at Mont Troulos (585m) . The view is gorgeous.

Port de Serifos

Sifnos

Sifnos concentrates all the characters and typical Cycladic beauties: an arid and austere terrain, planted with olive trees and vineyards, white villages, blue domes of churches, landscapes dotted of windmills and multiple chapels not to mention some very beautiful beaches.

Baie de Sifnos

 

Sifnos, with all its qualities, is a popular island in summer, which knows how to keep its authenticity. It also has a reputation for its gastronomy, a significant asset.

Kamares, the port is a seaside resort, vibrant and with a long and beautiful beach.

In the southwest of the island, we find the beautiful beach of Vathi, with its small harbor nestled in a sheltered bay, where you can enjoy fresh fish.

Worth to be seen is Apollonia, the capital, spread out in an amphitheater on the hills, followed by its small blue and white villages (Pano Petali, Artamonas, Katavati, etc …). Sifnos also have long tradition of crafts (fabrics, embroideries and mostly pottery), you should visit the museum and the shops around.

Kastro, beautiful village set in a Venetian fortress, has become fashionable,with a unique architectural interest.

Anafi

Anafi is a small island situated close from Santorini, at the South of the Cyclades. It is an island hard to access, both in ferry or sailing boat. There are few well-protected anchorage or bays.

However, if you have the chance to sail south of Anafi, you will have the chance to admire the largest monolith in Europe after Gibraltar.

According to the Greek mythology, the Argonauts, caught up in a storm, began to pray the god Apollo, who led them safely on the island of Anafi; in order to thank him, the Argonauts, erected a temple at the bottom of the monolith.
You can still finds some ruins.

Le monolithe d'Anafi

Suggested itineraries in the Cyclades

One week in the Cyclades

One week in the Cyclades 
Departure from Lavrio

Kea, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos (Delos & Rinia), Syros, Kithnos and return at Lavrio’s marina

One week in the South Cyclades

One week in the Cyclades
Departure from Lavrio

Kea, Syros, Sifnos, Serifos, Kithnos and return to Lavrio’s marina

Two weeks in the Cyclades

Two weeks in the Cyclades
Departure from Lavrio

Kea, Kithnos (Loutra), Syros (Finikas), Mykonos, Paros, Ios, Santorini, Folegandros, Milos, Sifnos, Serifos, Kithnos (Merichas) and back to Lavrio’s marina

 

 

Sailing the Cyclades and the lesser Cyclades

One week

Departure from Mykonos or Paros

Naxos, Donoussa, Koufonissia, Amorgos, Santorini, Antiparos

 

Two weeks in the Cyclades

Two weeks in the Cyclades
Departure from Alimos

Alimos, (Sounio), Kea, Kithnos, Serifos,
Sifnos, Milos, (Poliaigos), (Antiparos), Paros, Syros,
Kithnos and back to Alimo’s marina.

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