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 - Merichas (Kythnos Island)

Merichas is situated on the west coast of Kythnos island and is a small seaside village. Thankfully it has kept its traditional appearance throughout the years. The village itself only has a few permanent residents, but the village gets much more lively during peak season. You’ll find plenty of tavernas offering fresh fish with tables right next to the water.

Day 3 - Ermoupoli (Syros Island)

Ermoupolis is the capital of Syros island as well as the whole of the Cyclades. The town was founded in 1821 by people from various parts of Greece who were fleeing from the massacres organised by the Turkish. The town itself has a beautiful selection of neoclassical architecture with old mansions, marble paved streets, imposing churches, monuments and statues. Thanks to all of these the town has developed the nickname of ‘Little Milan’.

Day 4 - Mykonos (Mykonos Island)

Along with Athens and Corfu, Mykonos is probably one of the most well known places in Greece. Famed for its cosmopolitan atmosphere, exciting nightlife and picturesque architecture it is a must visit place for anyone sailing in this area. The island is located in the heart of the Cyclades and promises vistors plenty of things to do. We’d recommend hunting out Little Venice or perhaps one of the renowned beaches.

Day 5 - Gavrio (Andros Island)

Gavrio is located on the west coast of Andros island and is the only active port connecting Andros and Rafina. The village started life as a small fishing village but over the last 20 years the town has grown and attracted more tourists. There are lots of sandy beaches along the north coast of the island which you can catch day excursions to if you fancy being on land for the day.

Day 6 - Vourkari (Kea Island)

Vourkari is located in the north of Kea island. The village is well protected from the prevailing winds and is home plenty of small fishing boats. The tourist industry has bought more traffic to the island looking for a peaceful little stopover. Kea is home to some fantastic restaurants serving fresh fish, lobster and other traditional dishes. If you’re looking for a really quiet anchorage we’d recommend the bay around 100m from the port.

Day 7 - 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.

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.

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