If considering chartering a yacht in Greece or going for a sailing adventure, sailing in the Cyclades is an excellent option. Cyclades is one of the largest sailing areas in Europe, featuring almost 200 islands and islets, situated in the heart of the Aegean Sea. The Cyclades stand out from all other island complexes in the world, due to their gorgeous architecture, fine harbors and picturesque marinas, the friendly seafaring conditions and, of course the amazing food.
Sailing the Cyclades – Tips and Hints
Sailing in the Cyclades is not for the light hearted; the complex might be stunning and impressive, but its climate and weather are challenging and intriguing, especially during July, when the strong northern winds called meltemia blow in the area. The weather conditions are usually quite friendly, but the Cyclades are characterized by the strong winds and the unpredictable changes in air pressure and currents.
When sailing the Cyclades, there are basically two areas that demand your absolute attention – and oh well, they happen to be the most beautiful ones as well: The devil’s triangle of the Cyclades, as the sailors call it, is located between Syros – Tinos – Mykonos. Even if the weather is perfect and the wind favorable in every other part of the Aegean sea, this little triangle is always on its own. You will see countless pictures and videos with sailing boats playing seesaw in this part of the Aegean sea.
The second part is a little larger and involves the area of the arid line – as Greeks call the line formed by Iraklia, Koufonisia, Schinoussa, Amorgos and little further by Santorini. Wind can be really strong in this area, which is usually recommended only to savvy sailors and yachtsmen.
Experienced and skilled sailors should also try test their skills in Milos, one of the most gorgeous islands in Greece that features the larger natural port in Greece – Adamas. Milos is a volcano island and thus, its geological structure is both impressive and bizarre; currents and undersea waves, as the locals call them, can make your sailing boat jump with no obvious reason, even with no wind!
Sailing in the Cyclades – Suggestions
Most travelers sail for the Cyclades from Alimos marina in Athens or Lavrion, whose port is well situated in the southeast region of Attica and is top notch, considered the gate to the Cycladic complex of islands.
Even if you are not in a mood to test your sailing abilities in the more challenging areas, you can sail from Alimos or Lavrion to Kea (also known as Tzia), and Kythnos, a small and underrated island, which is favored by Greek and foreign sailors due to its friendly and welcoming character.
Of course, if you are up to some adventure but you also want to enjoy a little of the infamous Cycladic glamour, you should sail to Mykonos – which is 91nm away from Alimos. Mykonos is famous for its architecture, the presence of local and international jet set and its bustling nightlife. Harbors and bays in Mykonos are flooded by motor boats and not sailing boats and there is a good reason for that – despite the glamour, Mykonos is not the ideal place to anchor due to the many unprotected bays, and in addition it doesn’t have a well organized marina to berth. The best organized marina close by is in Syros.
Serifos, Sifnos, Folegandros and Anafi, are among the least crowded islands for sailing; they usually attract motor boats although all of them have secluded bays and coves where you can safely anchor at night. If you want to avoid too crowded ports and bays, avoid Paros and Ios or at least visit them in June or late August and September, when crowds are smaller and you might find a safe place to berth and renew your water and oil supplies.
Unspoiled and volcanic sceneries, white and golden sandy beaches, secluded bays with pristine beaches, exotic settings and the most striking combination of white and blue await you in the Cyclades. Sailing in the Cyclades is an experience you should not miss when in Greece.