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Cyclades

These quintessentially Greek islands glow with bare sun baked rocks, spectacular sunsets, blindingly white houses, dazzling aquamarine seas and partying till the sun wakes up. Mykonos, Santorini and Los offer hedonism and hangovers – but sidestep just a little to Andros, Serifos or Sifnos and are rewarded with unspoilt shores, countryside paths, whitewashed villages and lip-smacking traditional Greek fare.
Cyclades Sunset (Santorini)

Cyclades Sunset (Santorini)

Island hopping in the Cyclades is easy and rewarding, as the islands are closely grouped together yet idiosyncratic. The islands are so named because they form a circle (kyklos) around the World Heritage-listed island of Delos, one of the country’s most significant archaeological sites and the birthsite of the original Olympian Games. With the ancient history of Delos at their centre, and all those whitewashed sugar-cube houses, potted geraniums and golden beaches, the Cyclades are more than a match for the glossiest island holiday brochures.

Lions of Naxians, Delos

Lions of Naxians, Delos

 

Itinerary ~ Athens/Cyclades/Athens

 

Day 1-  Board yacht in the Marina just outside of Athens. Have lunch onboard while cruising to Kea. This is an exceptionally picturesque island that lies close to Cape Sounion. It is a popular escape for local Athenians, especially during the summer. The village of Vourakari has excellent restaurants and tavernas. The Kea Lion is an excellent example of 16th century carving. The bay is large but protected and will make a calm first night anchorage. 49 miles total. 

 

Kea Lighthouse

Kea Lighthouse

 

Andros Taverna

Andros Taverna

Day 2-  After breakfast depart for Andros. This is the northernmost island in the Cyclades chain. Here you will find pine forests, citrus & olives and mineral springs whose sparkling water quality rivals that of Perrier in France. The Goulandris Museum contains outstanding archeological and modern art. You will also find Byzantine churches and monasteries on Andros. In Andros town there are many neoclassical mansions, stone walls and beautiful beaches. You may have lunch ashore and afterward your captain and crew will prepare for an afternoon departure for Tinos, which is 30 miles away. Tinos is the original place of pilgrimage for every Greek Orthodox. In 1822 a discovery of a miracle-producing icon of the Virgin Mary brought many followers to this island. There is a town market in Tinos, mountain villages and well crafted Bell towers. Anchor out for the evening.

 

Day 3-  Today we leave Tinos for the island of Myconos. Myconos is probably the most well known island in the Cyclades chain. Its whitewashed house and windmills add a charm, which other islands lack. Photographers and artists abound here because the lighting in Myconos is like nowhere else in the world. There are many shops in Myconos and the island also offers an opportunity for cosmopolitan-style nightlife. Many restaurants abound in Myconos so you may wish to ask your captain to arrange for dinner ashore for you and your guests. Space in the harbor is limited so call ahead.

 

Day 4-  After breakfast, the island of Delos is an absolute must for anyone even mildly interested in archeology. This fantastic and sacred island was once the cultural and political center of the islands. It has been speculated that this is also the birthplace of Apollo. Delos is one of the most important archeological sites in all the Greek islands. As you walk around the island (it is literally an open air museum), you can almost picture the activity and the energy, which must have filled the air. It is a very moving experience. The island closes at 3:00 PM and you are not allowed to even anchor in the harbor due to strict government protective measures to keep all the artifacts intact. After your visit here, depart for Paros where you will spend the night. Paros has many charming villages and nice light beaches. There is also shopping here for those who wish to imbibe. This is a trip of about 20 miles.

 
 
Paros

Paros

 

Day 5-  Today we are off to Naxos, which lies approximately 15 miles away. The highlights of this island are a Medieval Castle and excellent beaches. It is where you will find the “Portara”- the entrance of Apollo’s Temple that still remains relatively intact today. It is considered the largest and most scenic island in the group, where rugged mountains meet fertile evergreen valleys. Back to the yacht for lunch where you may dine underway for our trip to Ios. This is a young person’s island and will suffice as a nice stopover before departing for Santorini tomorrow. This small and picturesque island offers numerous churches, gorgeous views, colorful back streets, sandy beaches and nightlife. 

 

Bell Tower in Santorini

Bell Tower in Santorini

Day 6-  Santorini is a very unique island and considered by many to be the most spectacular “Black Pearl” of Greece. It is a giant volcano with a submerged volcanic crater approximately 6 miles long by 4 miles wide. On first approach it looks to be a vineyard field and chapel dominated island. The entire hillsides are dotted with houses and villas that are carved into the face of the cliffs. It appears that they are all inter-connected. There is a small tram ride available for the faint of heart that does not wish to climb to the top themselves. The sunsets are spectacular and there is lots of exciting nightlife to partake in should you wish to do so. The approximate distance is 22 miles. 

 
 

   Day 7-  We will have an early departure for a longer run to the island of Serifos, passing directly by several islands in the chain that offer much of what you will already have seen. You may wish to stop briefly in Sifnos to visit the medieval village of Kastro or have lunch there in one of the taverna’s. We want to travel approximately 80 miles total today and put some distance under the keel. It is a perfect time to lie in the sun or shade with your favorite book. We are beginning to work our way back to the mainland (Peloponnese) of Greece to enjoy some of the other ports of interest. There is not too much ashore here but it will make a good spot to spend the evening.

 

 Day 8-  Mid to late morning departure where we will make landfall in a lovely harbor called Hermioni. It is quiet with a few boutiques and nice beaches. We can either stay the evening here just relaxing at anchor or we can go further into the Peloponnese into Nafplion, a large town of mostly 18th & 19th century buildings and cobblestone streets. The back streets of Nafplion lend themselves to discovery for there are many quaint shops and taverna’s tucked away. There is also a Venetian Citadel, the Palamidi, that is well preserved and worth the visit.  

  

Day 9-  Leaving Hermioni or Naplion, we stop at the island of Spetses. This island is unique as there are no vehicles (cars) except horse & carriage and motorbikes. You may browse the many shops here or take a carriage ride. Lunch can be taken ashore at one of the cute café’s. Next we go on to Hydra or Poros where we will overnight. It is a fashionable resort for the rich and famous and offers many shops, especially jewelry. Cats abound in Hydra and there is a world famous Pelican who wanders the streets! If you are not in the mood for music, do not choose to overnight in Hydra because the harbor is a natural amphitheater. The Discotheque at the top of the hill will keep you awake until late into the night.  

 

Nightime Street Scene - Nafplion

Nightime Street Scene - Nafplion

Day 10-  The island of Poros is very popular, especially on weekends when the Athenians are all trying to get out of the city. It is a volcanic island and is covered in pine trees and white-washed houses with red roofs. The harbor is interesting as you can see the vendors openly drying their catch of Octopus and Calamari. Shops and restaurants abound so it is easy to find a bite to eat. We are very close to Athens now so we can spend the entire day here or move on to Aegina, another charming island very close by. Aegina has an evidence of history that dates back to 1000BC. It is famous for the hillsides covered with Pistachio trees nuts and it is a great place to buy them to take home for souvenirs. This bustling port is filled with caiques, 19th century mansions and winding streets. You can either spend the night here or proceed on to Athens.

Day 11-  Disembark from the yacht at noon.

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Please note that as with all itineraries around the globe, this is only an example of what you might do on your 10 day cruise. The captain will be able to make suggestions to you also and at SWC, we have found that it pays to be flexible when traveling by yacht. The main thing to remember that the Greeks are of another culture and they may view things differently than we do from time to time. “Go with the flow” and you will not be disappointed in your visit to this magnificent and diverse country.

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