Sailing the Cyclades – the Aegean Sea
The Cyclades are a Greek group of islands situated in the Aegean Sea, SE of the central part of Greek mainland Attica and N of the island of Crete. It consists of some 220 islands, mainly small and uninhabited.
As this area is one of the most popular Greek tourist destinations, heavy traffic and a lot of tourists are to be expected during the high season. However, supposing that your yacht was chartered in Athens, the suggested route would start by heading to the island of Kea, some 12 miles NE from the Cape Sounion on S Attica peninsula. A mooring safe from Meltemi (characteristic etesian NNW wind at the Aegean Sea) could be found at Ormos Livadhi in the S arm and at Vourkar in the NE arm of the bay of Ayios Nikolaou on the NW end of the island. In the ancient times, there were four cities on the island, where lyric poets Simonides and Bacchylides were born, as well as the physician Erasistratos.
The next leg of the sailing trip leads to Mykonos Island, some 50 miles away from Ayios Nikolaou to the ESE, surrounded by the islands of Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos. This island is a well-known tourist destination, especially adored among youngsters due to rapturous nightlife. Safe mooring is available at Mykonos Marina, only because mooring in the old harbor is banned. Although you moored in the marina, keep in mind that Meltemi gusts complicate maneuvering.
After partying at Mykonos, it is about time to take off towards Paros, some 20 miles SSW off Mykonos. Throughout history, this island was famous after its fine white marble. Recommended berths would be at Naousa Town on the N end of the island or at Paroikia at the W coast of the island. The interesting fact about this island is that lyric poet Archilochus, who invented Iambic verse, was born there.
Continuing the journey towards S, it is recommendable to visit the island of Ios. The well-indented coast around the Port of Ios offers lots of opportunities for safe anchoring in the area full of sandy beaches.
In case that you had enough sailing and want to take a break, it is recommended to take a day trip to Santorini, a tourist pearl of the Aegean.
Serifos Island at the W end of the Cyclades is the last stop before returning to Athens. Its S end offers several anchorages, while the marina is located at Ormos Livadhiou, surrounded by the best taverns on the island.
Since the Cyclades got their name after a Greek word meaning “to surround”, as they had surrounded the sacred island of Delos in the ancient times; it is time to sail around them and complete the circle at the starting point – back in Athens, not more than 70 miles from Serifos. It is a long journey, but with a favorable wind and a good crew, every distance seems to be shorter!
I wish you a calm sea, a fair wind and a strong mast!