The Cyclades Islands & The Saronic Gulf

 

Stretching out south of Athens this vast group of islands is a great sailing area to explore for enthusiastic crew with an experienced skipper.

The white washed houses and clear turquoise water resemble the traditional ideal that most people picture when they think of Greece, however each island has its own unique charm.

From the chic and cosmopolitan towns of Spetses and Hydra and the lively party destinations of Mykonos and Paros in the Cyclades and Poros in the Saronic, to the more traditional and peaceful villages on Kea and Kythnos you can explore stunning and vibrant destinations, soak up the charm of traditional sleepy villages and witness awesome ancient Greek sites.

 

The Saronic Gulf & Cyclades Islands

The Saronic gulf sits west of Athens and stretches out towards the Peloponnese, the furthest west island is Spetses, from there you will find Hydra, Poros and Aegina as you move north east towards the coastline of the Peloponnese.

The Cyclades is a group of islands strung south and east from Athens. Kea is the first island you come to, followed by Kythnos and Serifos. From here you can choose to head east towards Mykonos or south east to Paros.

Finding your way around The Cyclades Islands & The Saronic

Navigation in the Saronic is fairly simple and is predominantly by sight with almost no tide or currents and very few hazards.

Navigating the large group of Cyclades islands, many of which have fairly large distances between them can be fairly tricky. A clear passage plan and familiarity with both electronic and manual navigation equipment is required. You need to watch out for commercial shipping heading to Piraeus and the Corinth canal as well as fast ferries and hydrofoils serving most of the islands.

What's it like to sail in The Cyclades Islands & The Saronic Gulf?

The Saronic Gulf, Argolic Gulf and eastern coast of the Peloponnese is a protected cruising area with consistent winds, averaging Force 4-5 in the summer. Some of the area is affected by the Meltemi wind and in the evenings there can be katabatic winds off the high mountains of the Peloponnese although these are usually isolated and only last for a few hours before dying down.

Strong Meltemi winds, especially in the height of summer, open seas and greater distances between islands means that to sail in the Cyclades requires an experienced skipper and an enthusiastic crew with good sea legs.

 

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Aegina

Despite being only 12 miles from Athens, Aegina remains an island unspoilt by mass tourism. A visit to Aegina is a chance to experience the Greek way of life; enjoy a coffee at one of the beach front cafes, swim in the crystal clear sea from one of the sandy beaches, then round off the day with a late dinner and an ouzo at one of the many fantastic authentic tavernas.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Hydra

Over the years Hydra has attracted artists, musicians and travellers from all walks of life, Leonard Cohen and Sophia Loren among others have fallen in love with the Island. Whilst the town has a great choice of stylish bars and restaurants in the harbour there are no wheeled vehicles on the island and donkeys remain the primary means of heavy transportation! This is a nice metaphor for Hydra where chic meets tradition.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Mykonos

Once best known as the location of a great battle between Zeus and Titans, more recently Mykonos has become known as Greece’s most stylish and cosmopolitan tourist resorts. Enjoy cocktails and people watching at one of the lively waterfront bars and hear world class DJs play at one of the super clubs or visit one of the beach parties which happen all day and go on well into the night.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Kea

With no direct ferry connection Kea remains an untouched gem often overlooked by tourists. Consequently Kea is a relaxed place where locals and more refined travellers mingle, eat well and relax on the quiet beaches away from the usual bustle of Greek tourist resorts. There are many spectacular walks around the craggy cliffs, rocky spires, orchards, olive groves and almond and oak trees. Recently voted one of Europe's 18 best secret islands in the Telegraph's Travel section!

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Kythnos

Kythnos is a wildly beautiful, mountainous island. The spectacular beaches are secluded and, with little to do other than walk or swim, ideal for relaxation. The picturesque villages offer a glimpse of the traditional Greek lifestyle and cuisine. The sunset at Marko’s bluff may be the most beautiful in the Cyclades.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Syros

Syros merges traditional and modern Greece despite being one of the smallest islands in the Cyclades. Ermoupoli the main town on the island is the administrative capital and is home to many unforgettable cultural highlights. As the ferry hub for the surrounding islands it is a buzzing place where Greek tradition and western influence meet.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Spetses

Popular with high-society Athenians, Spetses brims with natural beauty and history. This pine clad island is the most secluded of the Saronic group of islands and contains lots of secluded coves and bays with crystal clear water and plenty of waterfront cafes and restaurants where you can sip cocktails and watch the sun go down. Visitors love the relaxing and elegant atmosphere.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Poros

Poros is a small, volcanic little island of great beauty, popular for visiting charter yachts.  Poros town has a lively waterfront with shops, cafes, bars and restaurants as well as some clubs right on the quayside for those wanting to see the sunrise. It is a vibrant and lively destination that attracts many young visitors who can enjoy it’s stunning beaches and lounge style nightlife.

Island Sailing
Island Sailing
Island Sailing

Athens

One of the most historically important cities in Europe, Athens is the perfect place to begin and end your holiday. Why not give yourself an extra day or two in the city to explore the ancient temples and ruins.

In the evenings this cosmopolitan place comes alive with street entertainments and market stalls, lively bars and excellent restaurants.

The Cyclades Islands & The Saronic Itineraries

 

 
Cyclades Islands & The Saronic Guide

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