While choosing a sailing trip to Greece, consider yacht charters in the Cyclades archipelago – the most popular destination for renting a Boat in the Aegean Sea among boating enthusiasts. Having the 2nd largest yachting fleet on the Mediterranean, Greece offers most of the boats for charter in Athens, the capital of the country, from where one can easily reach the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea. Allied Yachting, a highly reliable yacht charter operator on the Mediterranean, will be happy to provide all the arrangements for your trip in this part of the world and help to choose the proper boat for your needs, as the Cyclades archipelago is equally attractive for motor yachts and sailing vessels such as Gulets and Catamarans. There is lots to experience and see on these well-known islands from the ancient times. The Cyclades archipelago consists of more than 220 islands some inhabited and some not, but among the most popular ones we shall mark out: Kea, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Naxos, Ios, Paros and Antiparos, Sifnos, Serifos, Kithnos, Milos and of course Santorini.
ATTRACTIONS OF THE CYCLADES ARCHIPELAGO
Yacht charters in the Cyclades archipelago is a fantastic opportunity to visit the places which names have been mentioned already thousands of years ago, to taste magnificent Greek food and wine, to admire excellent views and its famous whitewashed villages, to enjoy the sun on the heavenly beautiful sandy beaches, go in for various water sports, have fun in the local nightclubs and bars or simply relax on a luxury yacht in the middle of the turquoise waters of the Aegean Sea.
Start your yacht Charters in the Cyclades Archipelago from the port of Piraeus in Athens in the direction to the first Island of Kea – one of the most popular places, where locals spend their week-ends, which speaks for itself in regard to the attractions and comfort for travellers. This hilly island with dry climate is known for its fantastic opportunities for scuba diving and snorkelling, thanks to the vast amount of wrecks of ships from different times. Probably the most attractive one is Britannica, the sistership of the famous Titanic. The water temperature here is normally 20-26C and the natural beauty of the caverns and the marine world along with the underwater visibility are amazing. Among other entertainments it would be interesting to attend the Fairy Tales Festival, held during the last week of July, where narrators from all over the world tell the unique exciting stories, thus exchanging their cultural traditions with the other participants. Yacht charterers are delighted with the magnificent experience in the Cavo Doro, where they are challenged by a mixture of dozens of winds all blowing in different directions.
41 nautical miles to the East lies the picturesque island of Andros offering its visitors an interesting combination of neoclassical and typical Cycladic architecture in white marble, picturesque beaches, ancient sites and old orthodox monasteries. Do not miss the chance to visit the local Museum of Modern Arts and enjoy some windsurfing at the Ormos Beach or just getting some great suntan on the golden sand of Chrissi Ammos beach. Try local specialty of Fourtalia – a type of omelet with potatoes and pork sausages and of course some local wine.
Right next to Andros is the remarkable island of Tinos, known for being the Greek center of pilgrimage both for orthodox and catholic believers. During the top pilgrimage seasons of 25th of March and 15th of August, the Island also turns into the playground for various ventures, where one can taste the local delicatessen. Tinos is also a fantastic place for those who are in love with the Cyclades architecture – there are numerous little towns and villages, welcoming visitors with the traditional spirit. Come to see the town of marble artists Pyrgos; the picturesque village of Agapi, with its houses decorated with fancy lentils; a treasury of the orthodox culture and a breathtaking view of the village of Arnados; the houses built into rocks of Volax village, also known for its wine, honey and herbs; the village of Kalloni embraced by olive-trees valleys; the churches of Komi; the 17-18th century icons of Steni and the historical village of Falatados. In all these locations, one can taste some splendid grilled meat and local wine. No doubt, that for those, who are looking for some natural beauty, there is a lot to see and experience: mountains, panoramic views, relaxing beaches and crystal clear waters will satisfy any demanding expectations.
40 nm down to the south, you will reach the island of Mykonos, beloved by celebrities and fortunate personalities. This island is rich in luxury and glamour, fantastic views of the whitewashed world-famous Greek houses and windmills, gorgeous cliffs, intriguing coves, welcoming beaches and eventful nightlife. Mykonos proposes entertainment and attractions for all tastes, starting from the archeological sites up to a vast number of exciting activities. If you are interested in history, Mykonos is the right place to see with your own eyes how people lived centuries ago: start with the ruins of castle Kastro Panigiraki dedicated to a love story and hanging above the sea providing breathtaking views, then visit the site of Ftelia and the bay of Panormos next to it, where the first community of the island was formed, see the ancient fortifications built by the Byzantines on the hill of Paleokastro and explore the 2200 year old Thule Tomb. More historical information can be found in the Archeological Museum, demonstrating ancient Greek treasures.
There are a number of other museums, which tell the visitors about local history, such as folklore, maritime and agricultural. Once on the island do not miss the opportunity to see local landmarks, among which are the “Little Venice” with its mid-18th century fishermen houses and numerous artist shops; the Mykonos windmills – one of the main attractions of the island; the picturesque Armenistis lighthouse, a charming feature of the island’s maritime history; the remarkable only six meters deep 3 identical wells, specific due to the local soils and of course the fish market, where one can get the freshly caught fish and enjoy its magnificent taste. There are 3 monasteries and 6 churches on the island, worth visiting to learn about Mykonos religious history and architecture, and 26 art galleries, showing and selling contemporary local and international masterpieces.
Mykonos is the mecca for those looking for entertainment, thanks to the variety of activities offered here: touch the hidden parts of the waters around the island from the Glassbottom – a boat with a transparent hull; enjoy a ride on a unique hand-made luxury old-style boat Phoebus; take a tour into the island’s natural beauty and lifestyle on a horseback at Horseland; enjoy different kinds of watersports with numerous operators of these services and experience unforgettable diving at the local diving centers or simply relax at one of the 35 fantastic beaches. In the evening, plunge into the exciting nightlife of Mykonos, represented by the vast number of clubs, restaurants and discotheques, matching any taste.
While on Mykonos, you should also spend a day-trip to the neighbor island of Delos, the centre of the Cyclades Archipelago from the ancient times, where it was believed that the Greek God Apollo and his twin-sister Artemis where born. Thousands of years ago it was an important cultural and religious centre, a sacred island, which had been worshiped in a special way, thus today it has become the richest archaeological site, where the guides help the tourists discover a lot about old times’ life and see the remains of the once glorious city. By all means, this is a “must-see” island in the whole Greece.
Further south with the yacht charters in the Cyclades archipelago you will reach the island of Naxos, acknowledged to be a family island, thanks to the variety of activities, entertainment and magnificent beaches, with the villages and towns breathing with ancient and medieval history and fantastic food and wine, non-tolerant to any but natural ingredients. Plan to spend a day or two here, as the territory is big and there is much to see and experience. For sightseeing – come to see the 10 m high ancient marble statue at Kouros Apollonas and the impressive portal of the temple at Portara; visit the 13th century Venetian Castle in the old town of Naxos with a Roman Catholic Cathedral hidden behind its walls; while wandering along the old narrow streets of the town, admire the ancient doors, each being absolutely unique; take a look at the Old Market, not only to enjoy some shopping of the local textiles and jewelry, but also to feel the charm of this place.
One can find interesting museums at Naxos, describing the historical aspects, among which are the Byzantine Museum and the Archeological Museum. Besides seeing the sites, there is a lot of fun to the island – there are plenty of activities related to the sea and the beach, like scuba diving, canoeing, windsurfing and snorkeling. On the seashores and in the numerous beautiful villages, there are lots of fantastic restaurants offering delicious food, cooked only from naturally grown products, which is one of the features of the fertile Island of Naxos. The many bars and beach clubs allow the tourists spend some exciting time and admire magnificent sunsets. The island is also famous for its colorful events, among which are traditional fairies, Wine and Fisherman’s Festivals, so there is no chance one could ever get bored on Naxos.
A bit to the west from Naxos, is located the island of Paros, acknowledged to be one of the most beautiful Islands in the Mediterranean. It is a peaceful place with traditional white houses with blue roofs, preserving the typical Greek atmosphere, some historical sites and fantastic beaches. The island is popular for its unusual golden sands and clear waters as well as for being a great place for wind and kite-surfing. The best beaches of the Island include: Kolymbithres, unusually rocky-shaped and rich in clay, thus making it a natural spa; Golden Beach with soft yellow sand and perfect for wind sports; Santa Maria Beach fully equipped for various water activities, providing magnificent views and rich in underwater life to see; Parasporos Beach famous for its bars and parties; Monastiri Beach popular for mooring yachts at anchor, close to the Monastery and great for snorkelling – just to name a few of over 30 wonderful beaches of Paros.
Among the most attractive villages of Paros we can mark out the charming fishermen village of Naoussa, known as one of the most beautiful of the Cyclades with the remains of the Venetian Castle and several remarkable churches; the capital of Paros Parikia with its shiny-white houses, painted wooden doors and labyrinth of stone-paved streets, churches, ancient temples and medieval castle; and much less flooded by tourists, located on the hill and embraced by the olive and pine trees Lefkes, with its marble Church of Agia Triada, keeping rare Byzantine icons, Greek and venetian houses; Marathi, known for its marble since the ancient times. Paros is a perfect place for romantic vacations or family trips, due to its calm ambience and fantastic views; local taverns and restaurants will impress you with the delicious dishes of the local cuisine, including the ancient fish soup Kakavia, similar to the French bouillabaisse.
Right next to Paros, is the little island of Antiparos, where one can admire its 15th century Venetian castle and the famous cave of Antiparos with millions of intricate stalagmites and stalactites.
Sailing to the south you will reach the stunningly beautiful Ios island, with its hilly landscape, white soft beaches, clear turquoise waters and charming architecture. The picturesque coastline can perfectly match any taste for the relaxation with sun and sea bathing. Its most popular beach of Mylopotas welcomes guests with various water entertainment activities, bars and restaurants; another option for good scuba diving, snorkelling or fishing is the gold-sanded Gialos or Koumbara, close to the main village Chora and rich in taverns and places to stay. For those, who prefer a quieter rest there are more calm beaches of Manganari, Agia Thodoti, with a nice little chapel above, or the deserted beaches of Kalamos, Papa and Valmas.
The best beach for those, who are enjoying yacht charters in the Cyclades archipelago is Kolitsani, perfect for dropping the anchor and relax in the clear waters, admiring pleasant views. Besides the variety of the magnificent beaches, there is still a lot to do on Ios. Start your site-seeing with the most picturesque Chora village of the Cyclades, which has everything a tourist is looking for: narrow winding streets with the typical houses, flowers, taverns and cafes, small shops, boutiques and little art galleries and of course churches, museums, traditional windmills and historical sites. The Evagelismos Catherdral and Panagia Gremniotissa church are the perfect examples of the Cyclades’ white and blue architecture, not just for being gorgeous and beautiful, they are built at the best spots to contemplate the local colourful sunsets and wonderful views of the Island.
For the navigation enthusiasts it is also interesting to explore the Port of Yialos, equipped with all modern infrastructure and welcoming visitors with many restaurants, cafes and some places to see around, such as the 17th century Agia Irini Church, the 18th century lighthouse and the Early Bronze Age settlement of Skarkos – an important archaeological site. For more historical sites, come to visit the legendary Homer’s Tomb in the North of the Island and the 14th century Byzantine-Venetian Castle Paleokastro on the eastern side of Ios. Try some traditional food, such as moussaka, souvlakia and pastitsio and of course the wines. The island is rich in the events and nightlife entertainment, so literally – there is everything a fine tourist would wish to get.
More to the south from Ios, you will reach the luxurious island of Santorini, full of chic and entertainment, unforgettable beauty, and rare black and red sandy beaches. There was a volcanic eruption on the island in the ancient times, which has defined its unique scenery and founded the legend of the Atlantis. The island is considered to be one of the best global tourist destinations, so once here, do not miss a thing! – The best two points to admire the view both of the Caldera (Volcano) and the Aegean sea are the famous villages: calm and charming Oia and busy and marvellous Fira. Oia is the best for contemplating the romantic sunsets and wandering peacefully along traditional white-blue winding streets, visiting little shops and art galleries, and enjoying freshly caught and cooked fish in the taverns and restaurants.
Fira, the hanging on the rock capital of the island, keeps the 18th century Cyclades’ houses and churches and is wide open for the flows of tourists, offering different kinds of shops, restaurants, clubs and hotels, providing amazing views. There are two interesting museums narrating about ancient and recent times: the archaeological one and Megaron Gyzi with a remarkable collection of photos of Santorini. The village is rich in churches and monasteries, among which are Agios Minas, the Cathedral of Christ, the Catholic Cathedral, the monastery of Panagia ton Dominikanidon, just to name a few. Fira can be perfectly seen from the distance, once you are in the neighbour village Firostefani, also entertaining the visitors with nice little shops and great restaurants. This is the right place to taste the local specialty – fava, a yellow beans puree, great as a dip.
There are several other villages, where one can admire the views, the architecture and find some entertainment, such as Imerovigli, Pyrgos, Finikia, Karterados and Ammoudi. If you are interested in seeing the local cave houses come to visit Vothonas, a wonder of local building craft; or Messaria, known also for its vineyards. Another option to taste some magnificent local wine is to visit Mesa Gonia, with one of the vineries dating back to 1856, remarkable also due its Church of Panagia Episkopi – a monument of the Byzantine heritage. To enjoy more local architecture, visit the village of Emporio, with its medieval ambience, or Akrotiri, an important archaeological site of the island and home to a once gorgeous Venetian castle. The main attractions of the island are its unique beaches, covered by the sand, originated from the volcano.
There is the famous Red Beach, with the rocks of the intricate colours, which can be admired both from the outside and while snorkelling; the fully equipped for sunbathing and water activities black-sanded Kamari, Perivolos and Perissa beaches; the isolated and embraced by the wild nature beauty Cape Columbo Beach; the family oriented Monolithos and great for yachts mooring at anchorVlychada beach. There are a lot of entertainment options on the island including food and wine tasting tours, donkey rides, hiking up the volcano, swimming in the volcanic hot springs and of course vast variety of dancing clubs, bars and restaurants making the local nightlife vivid and exciting.
On to the west and your yacht will enter the waters of another volcanic origin island, the legendary Milos. This is the most colourful island, thanks to the painted balconies and the entrances of the houses along with its natural variety. There are over 40 beaches on the island, each having its unique beauty. The most popular one is Sarakiniko due to its moonlike landscape composed of the huge round shaped by the salt waters rocks. The shiny white colour of these rocks makes a fantastic combination with the emerald and dark blue waters around them. Another amazing beach, only reachable from the water is Kleftiko, famous for its caved rocks, acknowledged to be a geological wonder. Among numerous beaches of the island one will certainly find the one best matching his wishes, and of course will be touched with the beauty of this exceptional coastline.
On the way back of your yacht charters in the Cyclades archipelago voyage, drop your anchor in the sheltered waters at the island of Sifnos. It is much quieter than Santorini and is good for some relaxation and contemplation of the beauty of the rocks and colourful sunsets. There is also the 14th century Venetian castle, a splendid Panagia Vouno Church and the monastery of Virgin Mary of the Golden Well with a magic icon of Virgin Mary, believed to have healing power, some traditional white stone villages, with Apollonia, being the capital, and pretty fishing little port towns, offering magnificent dishes to taste, including the famous local Mastelo cheese. Further to the north is another great place for relaxation, good food, beautiful architecture and variety of beaches for any taste:
The Serifos island is a beloved place for locals to spend their vacations, so it is not too busy with foreign tourists and commercialization, which makes it a perfect match for those looking for a quiet resort and a friendly atmosphere. There are some sites to see, such as the ancient citadel in the Chora village, an archaeological museum, showing the evidence of the local life starting from the 7th century BC and the 16th century Taxiarchon monastery.
To make your yacht charters in the Cyclades archipelago tour complete, stop by at Kythnos island, right north from Serifos and in 56 km away from Piraeus. It is a cosy island ideal for romantic or family rest. As every island of the Cyclades archipelago, it has whitewashed charming villages, orthodox churches and magnificent beaches surrounded by crystal clear waters, and as on every island, there are unique features in its many sites. In the picturesque Chora village an interesting aspect is that the local churches have been topical for pilgrims both of catholic and orthodox belief, providing space for praying at the different parts of the buildings.
Not far from Chora, one can relax and even might get some magic powers in the natural hot spas with thermal springs at Loutra, believed to have a healing effect. The Driopida Village is featured with the red-tiled roofs, which is unusual for the rest of the villages, with the houses with flat roofs. There is also the ancient cave of Katafiki in this village, one of the biggest in Greece, which served as a shelter for the natives thru the ages. At Merichas, the main port of the island, one can have some nightlife fun in the local clubs and bars, popular among the visitors. Touch the history by visiting the ruins of the ancient temples and houses of the Roman times. The Kanala village is proud for its unique for the whole archipelago refreshing pine tree forest and a magic icon of Virgin Mary, kept in the local monastery. All local beaches are quiet and picturesque, some sandy, some pebbled, with the most known being the Kolona beach, which is a tiny strip of sand between the two pieces of land.
Yacht charters in the Cyclades archipelago allow you to enjoy the best way to travel in this area, which is called “island hopping”. Yachting is the best way to see the best of the Cyclades and choose the island or the beach of your like and to enjoy the variety of magnificent views, interesting sites and taste different kinds of food, grown right on the islands and wines, produced at the local vineries. At Allied Yachting we care a lot about your comfort during the voyage, so we’ll be happy to help select the proper vessel and work out the best itinerary taking into consideration your wishes and expectations, in the meantime we suggest you view our proposed one week Cyclades Yacht Charter Itinerary.
For further details on the voyages in the Aegean Sea, please see our previous articles on Greece Yacht Charter Destinations and Yacht Charter Destination Turkey, which will introduce you to other Eastern Mediterranean boat rental destinations. You’re welcome to read these articles in our BLOG.