The Cyclades offer some of the Greek’s famous yacht charter destinations like Mykonos, Santorini and Paros. The Cyclades are a great choice for an island-hopping journey. Except for bigger islands, there are numerous smaller islands which are worth a visit and much less crowded.
The Cyclades provide fine weather, strong winds in summer, beautiful beaches, small scenic islands, a clear sea and a lot more surprises to discover on a sailboat, catamaran or motor yacht. Many islands have hiking trails, bike trails, and ancient monuments to explore. Windsurfing or snorkelling is also a good option for a more active vacation. Sailors who want a more relaxed vacation will find a lot of small beaches and coves.
Why are the Cyclades Popular Among Sailors?
Mykonos is an ideal island if you would like more tourist destinations for your sailing holiday. The beaches are exceptional, there are many fine–dining restaurants and great nightlife. Beautiful beaches can be found in the southern part of the island. If you want to charter a yacht on the idyllic Paros, do so in the lovely and vibrant village of Parikia. Try the finest Greek dishes in its many restaurants and explore the island’s history by visiting Panagia Ekatontapiliani known as Church of 100 Doors.
From there, enjoy a relaxed sailing trip to the Chrissí Aktí on the southeast part of the island. Santorini is a nice destination to include in your sailing itinerary. It is a popular island with beautiful cliffs and picturesque white houses with blue roofs.
Yacht Charter in the Cyclades Sailing Region
You can start your sailing itinerary to explore the Cyclades on some of the bigger islands with an airport. In the Cyclades, popular airports are located on Mykonos (JMK), Santorini (JTR) and Paros (PAS). Also, all the big islands are connected by ferry. Another option is to start your journey in Athens or Lavrion, cities with the biggest selection of yachts in that area and sail to the Cyclades. The most popular marinas are Mykonos Marina and Paros Marina. Paroikia Port on Paros is also a good option to start your vacation.
As is the case with the rest of the Mediterranean, the best weather for sailing is from April to November. The high season is from July to August. That is also the time when meltemi winds are the strongest. Meltemi winds are typical for this area and cause harsh sailing conditions, so be sure to keep an eye out for them. Sailing conditions are also favourable from April until the end of November, so if you want to avoid crowds, the low season will be the right choice for you.
Best Places to Visit in the Cyclades Sailing Region
The Cyclades consist of many big and small islands. All of them are worth visiting but the most popular islands for sailing are the following.
Paros is traditional Greek Island offering whitewashed villages, beautiful, deserted beaches, and a clear sea. A good option for a more private crowd-free vacation. It is often considered the heart of the Cyclades.
Santorini is the biggest Island in the area and very popular on Instagram. The island has a lot to offer, and many beautiful, less-crowded bays can be accessed only from the seaside, by boat.
Mykonos is one of the bigger islands in the Cyclades, extremely popular due to jet-set tourism. Because of that, it is a more expensive island than the rest of the Cyclades. The best beaches are on the southern side of the island.
Kea is known as a green island; Kea is all about the valleys with oak trees and almond forests. We recommend it as a good idea for scenery changes in the Cyclades.
Kynthos is known as the island of Apollo. This island is an underrated gem with beautiful white houses above a clear blue sea. It has some of the best anchorage positions in the Mediterranean to watch the sunset.
Cape Sounion is a very famous cape that is known for its remarkable Poseidon temple. It is usually very crowded for a visit from the land but a very good option for a visit with a yacht.
Important Info for Sailing in the Cyclades Sailing Region
Best time to sail
April - November
Most popular marinas
Mykonos, Paros, Paroikia Port
Mykonos (JMK), Santorini (JTR), Paros (PAS)
Number of charter yachts
The islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Paros, Milos
Gastronomy Highlights of the Cyclades Sailing Region
The Cyclades' long and rich history influenced its gastronomy. It is typical Mediterranean cuisine with an international touch. As on many Greek islands, here you can taste locally produced cheese or olive oil.
Kakavia is also known as fisherman’s soup. It is a popular Mediterranean dish made by cooking different fish and parts of a fish, tomatoes and, of course, olive oil. There is a local variant in Syros made with shark meat.
Louza is a cured pork tenderloin, usually salted, or brined and then dry-cured or smoked. It is a local delicacy in Mykonos, Santorini, and many other islands. The spices used are different locally. For example, in Kea, orange peel is used and in Santorini, they add fennel.
This whole area is known for producing many types of cheese. Graviera and Myzithra are produced on Naxos from goat and cow milk. On Mykonos, Trovolia cheese contains sugar and dry figs. Xinomyzithra is produced on Paros and has a very sharp flavour.
Kopania is a local snack often found on Santorini. Barley crackers are crushed together with raisins and shaped into little balls. It is often sprinkled with roasted sesame.