One week sailing in the Cyclades islands - Start in Lavrion
Cyclades is the most popular sailing destination in Greece. The traditional atmosphere of the islands, the reputation they have for ideal holidays, as well as the golden beaches in all of the islands, attract an increasing number of visitors from Europe and the whole world.
Sailing conditions are rather challenging. During the summer months, the 'Meltemi' prevails, which is a constant, north wind that can reach up to 7-8 beauforts, but it's actual force is hard to be predicted. The meltemi starts almost every year in early July and lasts till mid August; the rest of the time is easier to sail around the islands.
Athens has two main marinas for sailing yachts; Kalamaki on the south coast and Lavrion port at the east coast. Lavrion is closer to Cyclades islands; only 14 nautical miles (nm) from Kea island. This itinerary prescribes a sailing cruise starting from Lavrion and visiting 5 of the nearest, but yet most beautiful of Cyclades islands.
Click the photo to view a larger view of the chart and read below more details about the itinerary
Day 1: Lavrion - Kea (14 nautical miles)
The trip starts on Saturday evening from the port of Lavrion, at the east coast of Athens. Use the morning and afternoon to get the food supplies from the stores near the port; sail before 6 pm so that there is adequate time to arrive before sunset in Koundouros bay, at the southwest coast of Kea. This is a cozy bay, protected from only the north and east winds; avoid it at the (rare) case of south winds, in which case only the northern side of the island can offer a good shelter.
Days 2, 3: Kea - Mykonos (54 nm)
On Sunday morning prepare for a long trip, up to 9 hours to the island of Mykonos. It lies 54 miles to the east, so, you will probably enjoy a pleasant sailing trip under beam reach; the northern wind will blow from the side of the boat, creating ideal sailing conditions. Have a swim first in the crystal waters of Koundouros and a light breakfast. The day comes ahead with a challenging route, as wind force near Mykonos is one of the strongest across the Aegean Sea. Late afternoon you should be arriving to the port of Mykonos.
The picture of the sunrise was shot during this trip, from Kea to Mykonos, early morning. When we were approaching the north coast of Syros, the sun appeared over Tinos island.
Take a good rest and enjoy the night in Mykonos town, one of the most famous resorts for its night life.
The next day relax in Mykonos island; there are many options. From visiting the nearby islet of Delos, the sacred island in ancient times, to sailing the south coast of Mykonos or just have a relaxed day in the town, meeting celebrities in the streets and the coffee shops.
Day 4: Mykonos - Paros (18 nm)
On Tuesday, continue the trip to the next destination, Paros island.Depending on weather conditions and wind force, decide where to berth, either in Naousa, the port at the north, Paroikia, or even Livadi, a smaller port but with good protection to the strong north winds. Another option could be Antiparos, the little islet at the west side of Paros, especially for those who wish a relaxing day at the golden beaches of the islet.
Since the trip from Mykonos to Paros is not so lengthy (2-3 hours), if you leave Mykonos early morning you may have a quick stop in Rhenia islet, an awesome place for free mooring and swimming for few hours. It is expected to be a a pleasant sailing day, travelling down wind.
Day 5: Paros - Serifos (36 nm)
In a way Paros island is the farthest destination of this itinerary. Since the return day is only 3 days away, the first route to head back starts from Paros and turns west, to the island of Serifos. The route is expected to last for 6-7 hours, so it's a good advice to start early morning (by 6 am) to arrive early noon in Serifos and find one of the few available spots in the beautiful port.
If possible, choose to berth at the south side of the small pier, so when docked, have the wind coming from the aft-side.
Spend the night in the bars of the town over the hill, with a panormic, breath-taking view to the endless Aegean Sea.
Day 6: Serifos - Kithnos (25 nm)
On Thursday the itinerary continues north, to the island of Kithnos. Either you sail by the east coast of Serifos and then head west, either you sail by the south coast and then head north (as depicted in the chart above), the distance does not change significantly and when there are strong winds, each option has the 'hard part' heading north. We found the second option harder, as we were travelling with strong winds over 7 beauforts.It was impossible to sail up wind, with gusts stemming out the strait among Kithnos and Serifos. The solution should be to sail further west, avoid the effect of the strait, and then tack to north-east and the port of Kithnos. Never the less, sailing in that area was a highly challenging and unforgettable experience.
Either you decide to berth in the fish port of Merichas or in the beautiful bay of Kolona, you will be amazed by the beauty and the charm of the dry land of Kithnos island. The small tavernas on the port of Merichas offer a good option for dinner ashore.
Day 7: Kithnos - Lavrion (24 nm)
On the last day of the trip, head northwest toward the base port of Lavrion. You can enjoy first the swim in Kolona bay but it's recommended to start 1-2 hours earlier so you can have another swim in Sounion bay, under the Temple of Poseidon. Lavrion port lies another hour to the north.
View more pictures from Cyclades islands!
Note: Above data (distances, berthing information, etc.) are included merely for informational purposes and are not accurate. Please assess a nautical chart before your trip, to ensure a safe and pleasant trip.