There is a group of islands south and east of mainland Greece called the Cyclades, and if you haven't had the pleasure of approaching these gems from the sea, then you've come to the right place. Use this itinerary to envision a tour of these fantastic islands. The Cyclades are comprised of over 200 islands, and this itinerary aims to highlight just a few. This island group stops at the Sea of Crete, but there’s plenty of coastline to experience before you go that far!.
Enjoy this sampler of the islands of Greece. Charter yacht itineraries are very flexible and designed for you, e.g. if the weather prevents you from exploring a particular place, your captain will certainly offer great alternatives for you. The winds can blow on occasion in the Cyclades, but other island groups are easily accessed from Athens, such as the Ionian Islands.
Begin your adventure of the port of Piraeus, home of some of the 2004 Summer Olympics events. This is the largest passenger port in Europe, and your time in this oft-congested spot is limited because you'll be leaving immediately for Kea (also known as Tzia)! Kea is a small, rocky island with a great beach. People use Kea as a weekend yacht destination because it's casual, relaxing, and extremely appetizing! Visit the fishing village Vourkari or any number of taverns to experience the best in fresh fish, fried calamari, or Greek salads.
Set sail from Kea to Mykonos and get ready to switch gears from casual to cosmopolitan. Mykonos is popular with tourists because it's never deserted, and there's a fine nightlife selection. The largest town on the island (also called Mykonos) is on the west coast. Seek out the rolling hills, beautiful beaches, and a cold shot of ouzo to get the full effect of Mykonos. This is the location of the epic battle between Zeus and the Titans so prepare for a feisty atmosphere!
Depart for Delos on your third morning aboard the yacht. Delos is an uninhabited island currently renowned for its archaeological sites. Delos had been a cultural center of the Aegean so its artifacts are widely prized. Check out some of the finds on display at the Archaeological Museum of Delos. Retreat to your chartered yacht after exploring to read or rest. Then reflect upon the unique qualities of these islands: how many vacations have you had that actually bring mythology to life?!
Part two today is a trip to Paros, which is an island of party beaches and quiet coves. Though white marble used to be quarried from here, people now come to Paros to see the Monastery of 100 Gates or to partake in some serious watersport action. On land or in the water, Paros is very entertaining!
Leave for Ios and get set for some spectacular sights. The island Ios drops off into cliffs on most sides, and there are many coves down along the coastline. Ios also has vineyards, olive groves, and churches that all make for peaceful rest stops along your island tour. The presence of resorts on Ios means that there are tourist facilities available. But you can always return to your charter yacht if you want to get a snack and regroup more privately.
Take a day trip to Santorini to soak up the bleached white scenery and to see what all the pictures are trying to capture. The essence of Santorini’s appeal is the landscape and the tightly packed houses clinging to the sides of steep rock. The stark white houses are accentuated by the surrounding blue water and the random smattering of blue trim and doors. The scene is both calming and electrifying. The bizarre landscape is the result of a now inactive volcano. Return to Ios for the night. This is the southernmost point of the Cyclades and a good turning point in your trip.
After a second night anchored off Ios, head up to Sifnos to see another piece of Greece's living history. The village of Kastro is holding steady on a clifftop in northwestern Sifnos; it hosts medieval remains and an archaeological museum that are fun to wander and explore. Afterwards, head into town and buy some of the delicious honey you’ll find for sale that is unique to this land. It's a great souvenir to have onboard or to give as a gift.
Cruise on to Serifos where you’ll make your way to land and find a picturesque town on top of a hill. The town is surrounded by walls and offers wonderful panoramas of the island and sea. In Roman imperial times, Serifos was used as a place of exile, and you’ll question what aspect of this island was intended as a punishment. The allure of the sea or the calm of warm breezes? Self-imposed exile, on the other hand, is always encouraged!
Put on your bathing suit because today is all about the beach! Kithnos is next on the agenda, and you'll see that its small cafes are there to keep you going throughout this sun-drenched day. There are dozens of sandy beaches, and not all of them are accessible by road. This is good news if you’ve arrived by boat! The captain can arrange for you to be at a more or less exclusive spot, depending on your group's mood. Go to the port town of Merichas if you want to converse with someone in English.
Make a stop at Sounion on your way back to Piraeus. Sounion is an absolute must on your Cyclades tour, because it is here that you can see the Temple of Poseidon, dating from 440 B.C. Mariners used to come to the temple to leave gifts for Poseidon. As a fellow mariner, you can simply stop by and offer your appreciation for such ancient, yet substantial, architecture. At the end of your whole last day, try to catch a sunset from a seat among the ruins.
Return to Piraeus to disembark and get your transportation home (unless you're extending your stay in Greece with a night or two in Athens)!
NOTE: This is intended as an outline of some of the cruising locations in the Greek islands called the Cyclades. You will work with your Captain to tailor your charter to your preferences, both before you arrive and while you are onboard. Alterations likely will be made along the way based on your preferences and mood.
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