Cyclades is a complex of islands in the middle of Aegean Sea western to the main continent land of Greece. It may be the most famous sailing area in the country, with well known islands like Mykonos, Santorin, Paros, Syros, Ios etc. The prevailing wind is the infamous meltemi, blowing from the North – North East usually over force 6 and up to 8. The wind starts blowing in July and reaches at full force in August. Experience (especially if you charter bareboat) and bigger yachts (such as catamarans) are needed to sail the area during this period, better to sail during May –June or September if relaxing sailing vacations is what you need. Distances are longer thus you have to narrow your itinerary, selecting carefully your route is order to visit the islands of higher interest. Mykonos area, a popular destination, can be proved difficult to reach as it is located at an area that the meltemi blows at full force. In this case, it is suggested to have an alternative itinerary in case you meet strong winds during your sailing week.
One week itinerary in Cyclades
Starting from Athens, a first long sailing leg is required in order to reach the area. First island to visit is Kea at around 45 miles (Korissia main port at the NW of the island). Although some times is better to go to Kythnos (52 miles) as from cape Sounion is difficult to sail NE to Korissia port due to the strong winds and high waves. On your way to your first destination, you can have a break to swim and lunch on anchor at Sounion cape, just under Poseidon’s temple.
Next island to visit is Syros. There are nice protected beaches at the western coast, but Ermoupoli at the East is a very interested to berth place with a big and safe port, building of a particular style, Catholic and Greek orthodox temples to see, local food to try and much more. It is worthwhile to spend a day on the island to visit Ano Syros on the mountain, a Middle Age village with an old Catholic Monastery.
Leaving Syros, Mykonos looks the next “not to lose” destination! It is worthwhile to stop in Delos on your way to Mykonos to visit the archeological place. If the wind is too strong, then better to forget Mykonos and start returning to Athens.
Leaving Mykonos you cannot avoid a long leg to Kythnos or Serifos. Serifos is a windy place so better to avoid it if the weather forecast looks like not supporting this option.
If time left, then you can enter Saronic on the way back to Athens. Serifos – Poros or Kythnos – Poros could be an option. Poros will look like a relaxing and hospitable place after your cruise in Cyclades!
Keep in mind that crossing Sounion cape to Kea or Kythnos, the sailing conditions will change dramatically as you leave Saronic and enter an open sea. If your crew feels uncomfortable to the way to Kythnos then better to enjoy the sandy beaches of Mericha golf, (Kanala beach is top option!) and then return to Saronic visiting Hydra, Poros, etc rather to ruin your sailing vacations. This will be proved a wisdom choice as later on will be too late to make such a decision!
Resuming, we could say that the possible itineraries with variations could be the following:
1. Athens – Kea – Syros – Mykonos – Kythnos – Athens.
2. Athens –Kythnos (Loutra port ) – Syros – Kythnos (Merichas port) – Poros – Athens
3. Athens – Kythnos – Hydra – Poros – Aegina -Athens