Cyclades are so named because the many islands of this group lie in a circle around the the sacred island of Delos, the birthplace of Apollo.  Their location, south east of Athens in the middle of the Aegean sea, means they are exposed to the strong northerly ‘Meltemi’ wind that blows down the Aegean in peak summer.

While Mykonos and Santorini grab the tourist limelight (and their numbers), there are over 200 islands in the Cyclades. The beauty of a sailing holiday to this area is the ability to readily cast away from the ‘beaten track’ and visit undiscovered beauties such as Folegandros, Sifnos, Serifos and Kythnos. Picture relaxed gentle tourism that tends to stand back and observe the sights and sounds, rather than the mass sprawl that imposes itself on islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and to a lesser extent, Ios.

That’s not to say the main islands don’t have their attractions, especially if you’re a party animal! They are lively and cosmopolitan (in many places) with bars, clubs and restaurants, but have resisted the overdevelopment seen in some Spanish resorts, therefore retain a staunch character that provides a wonderful backdrop to your holiday.

The Sailing

The Cyclades are best suited to experienced sailors and skippered yacht charters, as sailing in the Cyclades can be challenging and is sometimes even impossible, especially during peak season. The winds can get very strong, up to Force 8 (gales), the sea state high and the legs between islands can also be quite long. Moorings tend to be on quays or anchored in bays. The larger islands have small marinas.

Day 1 - Alimos Marina (Athens)

Athens is a fantastic stepping stone to the Saronic Islands, though we wish that could be said of Alimos Marina. Government owned, Alimos does suffer from under investment in the number of berths and quality of the facilities so we do recommend getting out of there as soon as you can.

Day 2 - Angistri Island

Translated in English, Angistri means ‘fishing hook’, which goes some way to explaining the history of this small island and it’s primary harbour on the northern coast.  Angistri is the perfect place for beginning or ending a sailing holiday to the Sronic Islands. It’s small, idyllic, and just a short hop to Athens.

Day 3 - Epidavros (Mainland)

In its day Epidavros, on the Peloponnese mainland, was famed and revered as far away as Rome as a place of miraculous healing. Visitors came great distances to this sanctuary of Asclepius (god of medicine) to seek a cure for their ailments. Today visitors are more likely to flock to the site for its amazingly wellpreserved theatre, which remains a venue during the Hellenic Festival for Classical Greek theatre. Not surprisingly, Epidavros is a protected World Heritage site.

Day 4 - Poros Town (Poros Island)

Poros is separated from the mountainous Peloponnese by a narrow sea channel, and its protected setting makes the main settlement of Poros Town seem like a cheery lakeside resort. Its pastelhued houses stack up the hillside to a clock tower and make a vibrant first impression. Lush pine trees vegetation, crystal clear beaches, a lively waterfront adorned with shops, cosy cafes and restaurants.

Day 5 - Ermioni (Mainland)

Ermioni in Greece is a small seaside town on the eastern coasts of Peloponnese, in the region of Argolis. Constructed on the hill slopes around a beautiful port, this town has revived over the last few decades as many Athenians have holiday homes there. Mooring is available both to the North and South of the headland so make a decision based on the direction of the wind.

Day 6 - Spetses (Spetses Island)

Spetses is a small island, only 12km from one end to another. Island offers green landscapes with pine-tree forests and hilly mountains and nice beaches. The capital town is Spetses, same name with the island, the same as in most of Greece.

Spetses town is characterized with its whitewashed & blue-roofed houses, romantic alleys.

Day 7 - Vivari (Mainland)

Vivari is a small fishing village and was the location of one of the first commercial fish farms. A new one has replaced it but thankfully it is now out of site of the village. As you would expect you’ll find a wide choice of tavernas serving some fantastic fish dishes. The bay is well sheltered from the prevailing winds and you’ll also find a nice beach a short walk down the coastline.

Day 8 - Nafplion (Mainland)

Nafplion is one of the of the most beautiful towns in the Peloponeese and is rumoured to be the most romatic city in Greece. It was the first capital of the newly born Greek state between 1823 and 1834. Frankish, Venetian and Turkish conquerors all left their mark on the town and have strongly influenced its culture, architecture and tradtions. Ancient walls, medieval castles, monuments and statues are just some of the things you should expect to see when visiting this beautiful town.

Day 9 - Paralio Astros (Mainland)

Paralio Astros is a beach resolrt for the village of Astros. Given it’s location it’s a relatively untouched area and is popular with Greeks. There are two beaches one of which is sandier than the other. The village has a charming shopping street where you’ll find that shops are open in the mornings and evenings as siestas are popular here! You’ll find authentic Greek food and an ancient castle to explore, if you’re feeling energetic.

Day 10 - Plaka (Mainland)

Plaka is a small village just south of the river ‘Rema Dafnon’. There is a small quay which will provide mooring for around ten yachts. There is a small selections of tavernas near the waterfront. Alternatively the small town of Leonidhion is a six minute journey by taxi where you’ll find a range of shops and restaurants to wonder around.

Day 11 - Hydra (Hydra Island)

Hydra is truly the gem of the Saronic Gulf and stands alone among Greek islands as the one free of wheeled vehicles. No cars. No scooters. Just tiny marble-cobbled lanes, donkeys, rocks and sea. Artists (Brice Marden, Nikos Chatzikyriakos-Ghikas, Panayiotis Tetsis), musicians (Leonard Cohen), actors and celebrities (Melina Mercouri, Sophia Loren) and sailors (you) have all been drawn to Hydra over the years.

Day 12 - Poros (Poros Island)

You will already know what Poros town is like after spending a night there. However there are some beautiful bays to the west of the town which provide some fantastic bays for a relaxing night at anchor.

Day 13 - Perdika (Aegina Island)

Just 13 miles from Athens, in the middle of the Saronic Gulf, lies the island of Aegina. Beyond its bustling port, Aegina has the seductive, easygoing character of a typical Greek island but with the added bonus of more than its fair share of prestigious ancient sites. Aegina treats include a special, and delicious, pistachio nut, the splendid 5th-century Temple of Aphaia and the magical Byzantine ruins called Paleohora.

Day 14 - Alimos Marina (Athens)

The ancient city of Athens offers some of the worlds most amazing historical sites which should be on every vistors ‘to-do lists’. We’d recommend catching the tram, which runs past the entrance of the marina, into the city centre to explore places like the Parthenon.

Cyclades Sailing Conditions

Cyclades Islands compose a challenging sailing area. Main factor that defines wind force in summer months is the ‘meltemi’, the northern wind that blows from early July to mid August usually around 5 Beauforts, although gusts can reach up to 8. The wind blows stronger during mid day, so sailors usually travel early morning to avoid the strong wind. Wind direction is purely north, or North West.

Big waves can be also caused by the meltemi. The waves cover hundreds miles’ distance from North Aegean coast to Cyclades, so they can become pretty tall in these islands, 3-4 meters. Nevertheless, it can be interesting and fun to steer the wheel trying to avoid these waves and to feel the water spray they cause.

Sailing the Cyclades islands: Challenging wind and tall waves in July and August, ideal for committed sailors!

Calmer conditions for happy sailing in other months, from April to November!

The distance between most of the islands is another factor that increases the difficulty in Cyclades, when the meltemi is strong. This makes it hard to find a shelter if the yacht gets in the middle of strong winds. Although the marinas are small and it might be tricky to find a berth, wind direction is usually stable (north) and the wind speed loses during the night. So, you know what to expect, and usually, despite the strong wind, nights will be easier.

In terms of landscape, the main characteristic is the dry land of Cyclades. The rocks and the endless beaches compose a unique natural spectacle, which people have really fallen in love with. The houses of villages in Cyclades islands have the white color as main characteristic, unique combination of the bright sun and sky and the deep blue of the Aegean Sea. Traditionally they are built on stiff hills and cliffs, as a natural protection from pirates of previous eras. In some cases, you need to enter the bay in order for the main village (called “chora” in Greek) to become visible.

Athens charter base

Golden Compass Yachts – Alimos marina (Kalamaki)

Base Manager: Ioannis Tsimtsilis
Mobile Telephone: 0030 6936 102077
Address Marina: Alimos (Kalamaki)
Alimos Marina help desk: +30 210 9880000
Athens Hospital(Asklipieion): +30 210 8923000

Marina entrance coordinates: East: 23o 42′ 03’’, North: 37o 54′ 68”
Marina VHF channel: 71

Meeting Point: Our staff will wait for you at the end of Pier 6 where our boats are located. Once you land, please contact our representative.

Distance from airport – approximately 45 minutes.
Regular taxi (maximum 4 persons) – approximately Euro 40 – 45.
Mini van (maximum 9 persons) – approximately Euro 80 – 90.
X 96 Express Bus (24 hr. service) from Airport to Piraeus with 2 stops outside marina. Tickets Euro 5,- per person are bought from the kiosk outside airport arrivals.

There is a super market near the marina but you can also order with a provisioning list in advance (no extra charge) or use the private provisioning service in the marina. Finally, if there is an organized transfer we can arrange a shopping stop on extra charge. Contact us for more information.

It is important we are informed of your arrival details. Our staff will wait for you until sunset. If your arrival is later than this you will board alone, finding the keys on the chart table of the yacht. Check-in procedures will take place the following morning.