One week Cruise in the Cyclades: Start from Paros, Visit Milos island
A sailing trip in the breathtaking destinations of Milos, Ios and Folegandros islands
This is a sailing route in the Cyclades islands: start from Paros, the heart of the Cyclades and spend most time in Milos and the neighboring islets of Kimolos and Polyaigos, comprising some of the most impressive sailing spots in the Greek islands. Return to Paros via Folegandros and Ios, to meet the charm of the southern Cyclades islands. Paros is the sailing base that is located closer to the stunning destination of Milos, so if your plan is to reach Milos as easy as possible, this is the suitable route!
Click to view the Chart of the Sailing Trip
The route is considered one with mild difficulty. Sailing the Cyclades can be considered challenging at any time of the year, because of the unpredictable (in the long run) wind conditions in the area. Distances are not too long; the longest route would be around 4-5 hours, e.g. from Milos to Folegandros, and other than that, 3 hours should be the longest trip in this route. However, sailing conditions can be rough if the wind surpasses 5-6 beaufort (25 knots of wind speed). Always check the weather forecast and seek for local advice before sailing this route.
Day 1: Paros - Antiparos island (4 nautical miles)
We sailed this route few years ago, starting on Saturday afternoon from Paroikia, the main port of Paros, at the western coast of the island. However, we could follow the same route if we started from Naoussa (the port in the North), or Piso Livadi, located at the eastern coast of Paros, which is 13 nautical miles (around 2 hours distance) from Antiparos island.
Antiparos is the islet closest to Paros, so it is an ideal sailing destination for the first day, and it is a beautiful place, either you visit the port, at the northeastern coast of the island, or the large bay that is formed between Antiparos and the islet of Despotikon at the southern side of Antiparos. We followed the first option, visiting Antiparos port. As there is no dock suitable for sailing yachts in the port, we anchored just outside, in shallow depth, around 5 meters, dropped a lot of chain to secure the yacht and enjoyed the night falling.
Two persons stayed on the yacht for safety, while the others visited the small town, full with restaurants and bars. Despite the small size of the islet, there is a great number of young tourists visiting the islet, creating vivid nightlife in the small town and the places around.
The alternative of the cove between Antiparos and Despotikon is also a wonderful destination, very safe due to the shallow and sandy sea bottom and crystal waters. It is worth visiting this bay as well, due to the ancient temple of Apollon on Despotikon beach, just a couple of hundred meters from the shore. You can also visit the casual restaurant on Antiparos coast by the dinghy, just over the water.
Paros combines traditional architecture with amazing swimming spots and a vivid nightlife
The serene bay between Antiparos and Despotikon islets. The ancient temple of Apollo on Despotikon appears in the background (left)
Day 2: Antiparos - Kimolos island (32 nm)
Next morning we got up in a serene, Cycladic landscape, with the bright sun lighting the sharp stones of the islet while the sea shined its crystal blue color. We enjoyed a morning swim and left Antiparos, heading to Kimolos. The sea was calm, so we could enjoy breakfast on our way and soon we took advantage of the northern breeze to hoist the sails of the yacht. After a few hours, around 4, we arrived in Kimolos. First stop was the beach of Prassa, at the northeastern coast of the islet. This is a wonderful cove, surrounding a small rock (Prassonissi in the middle). The long, sandy beach has a white, bright color and the water has crystal clarity and amazing transparency. Swimming, snorkeling, relaxing in this place was a sheer joy, enjoying in the most beautiful natural colors.
Later in the day we decided to move further south for the night. A couple of miles away lies the small port of Kimolos, Psathi. The available berthing spots are quite limited, as the outer dock is destined only for larger motor boats, which is hard to explain. We were lucky to find a free spot at the inner dock, enjoyed a walk uphill and enjoyed dinner in the main village, a picturesque and calm place.
The port of Antiparos, view from South / Southeast
The colorful coast of Kimolos islet with crystal waters
The small port of Kimolos, view from North
Day 3: Explore Polyaigos, visit Sarakiniko and Adamas, the port of Milos (19 nm)
Next day we had a busy plan! After we left the port of Kimolos, we sailed first to Polyaigos, the uninhabited islet at the East. First stop was in the bay of Manolonisi for a swim, and then we continued south the exploration of the coast. It is comprised of rocky parts as well as sandy beaches. The rocks are amazingly colorful, obviously affected by the ancient volcano. There are many caves, tall rocks extending above the water line, where we could swim and explore. There is an endless beauty and serenity in the landscape.
At noon, we sailed from Polyaigos to the Northern coast of Milos, so we could visit the bay of Sarakiniko. This is another unique sailing destination, with very different, but again amazing rock formations. In Sarakinikon, the main rock is a shining, white limestone, spread across a large area by the sea. The rocks are sharp, creating tall cliffs ideal for diving, while the shining area extends for hundreds of meters on the land. Walking at this area and then diving the cliffs into the crystal sea was something we will hardly forget. It was just awesome.
Soon, we left Sarakinikon and headed to the main port of Milos, Adamas, inside the large gulf of the island. It is a trip longer than an hour and we already needed to get on time to the port, so we could get one of the berthing spots. We arrived before 5 pm and managed to berth the yacht in one of the last remaining spots. After a long day, we relaxed in the port and enjoyed dinner and a few drinks. The port is well protected to the North winds, but exposed to western or southern wind directions. The place is busy, with lots of tourists, as well as plenty of restaurants and a few bars. Adamas offers vivid nightlife but lacks the traditional architecture of other Cycladic ports.
The amazing coastline of Polyaigos. Crystal waters and colorful rock formations, affected by the ancient volcanic activity
The coast at Sarakiniko. Sharp, shining rocks comprise a unique swimming spot
Day 4: Adamas port - Bay of Kleftiko (14 nm)
As the sailing plan of the following day was not so busy, we started the day by visiting the main town of Milos, Plaka, located uphill. We took the local bus and soon we were walking on the small, traditional alleys of the picturesque village. That was quite interesting. On our way back, we visited the small fishport of Klima, with colorful houses, built just on the edge of the sea. Uphill, close to Klima, we visited the spot where the famous statute of Afrodite of Milos was discovered; in that area you can visit also the ruins of an ancient theater. The whole day was fascinating as we explored part of wonderful Milos, an island that we admire, not only for its spectacular coast.
We returned to the port early in the afternoon, and soon we sailed off to Kleftiko, another breathtaking spot at the southwestern coast of Milos.
Rock formations are unique in Kleftikon. The coast there is composed of steep, sharp rocks by the sea, some have fallen into the sea because of the years or the explosive volcano. The sea is crystal, very transparent and the sand on the sea bottom ensures a safe anchorage. Perhaps the most impressive spot is the cave, large like a cove, created by the huge fallen rocks in the sea. Boats enter that cove without been seen from the outside. This is a lovely place to swim and snorkel. Like most of these impressive swimming spots, one has to visit in order to admire and appreciate.
The winds were north during the day and night, so staying in Kleftikon on anchor was not an issue. The night view was also impressive, as the moon lit the sharp stones creating a marvelous spectacle.
Breathtaking rock formations of Kleftiko bay, Milos island
Day 5: Milos - Folegandros island (32 nm)
We left the bay of Kleftikon after breakfast and a fast swim, so we could get on time to Folegandros and get a spot in Karavostasi, the small port of the island. The sailing trip was fascinating. After we sailed away from Milos coast, we found some good wind of 16-20 miles per hour (knots), reaching the beam; the boat was running fast and we enjoyed a wonderful day. In about 5 hours we reached Folegandros and the port of Karavostasi. If the winds were stronger, probably the port would not be suitable. In that case, we would stay in the southern bay of the island, Vathi.
Karavostasi offers a limited number of berthing spots, so we were lucky to arrive early in the afternoon and find a spot. It didn't take long for the port to get full so later we saw yachts stay on anchor in the bay. Since the winds were not strong, this was not a problem. After we completed the docking and took a rest, we visited the town uphill. It is a spectacular place with amazing view around the Aegean Sea, definitely a must-see.
We arrived at night in the yacht and prepared for a good sleep, after a long, full day.
The picturesque port of Polyaigos
Day 6: Folegandros- Ios island (17 nm)
Next day started with the first light. We sailed upnorth to Ios island. The northern wind had gone stronger, at 20-23 knots, which created challenging sailing conditions, as we had to sail upwind. We were lucky because the waves were not too tall, so we could make it to Ios. It took us longer than expected, but we approached the island before noon. Instead of heading directly to the port, we visited the beautiful cove of Magganari, at the southeastern coast of the island; it was also easier for us to head more eastern than the location of the port, it have a better angle to the wind. Magganari is an amazing spot, with more small bays created inside the larger cove, with small, sandy beaches scattered across the shiny coast. We anchor and dove into the amazing sea, relaxing after the hard trip. After a couple of hours and some light lunch, we headed west to the port. On the way, we sailed into the cove of Milopotas, another awesome place in Ios. This is also a famous sailing destination, with a very long sandy beach covering a big part of the cove.
Both coves, Milopotas and Magganari offer an anchor point, even for the night, assuming that the prevailing winds have northern direction (common in summer months). The sea bottom is ideal for safe anchorage and the landscape is also marvelous! Overall, Ios is a unique experience.
We arrived at Ios port in late afternoon so we were lucky to get one of the last berthing spots in the port. The port is quite busy but overall safe with most wind directions but the southern. Once the berthing was secured, we visited the upper town, it is a nice walk of 15-20 minutes, although there are buses and taxis available for the ride. The town uphill has traditional atmosphere and interesting taverns and bars. In general, Ios is famous for its nightlife, mostly in the upper town. We enjoyed a beautiful evening and at night we returned to the boat.
The port of Ios island
Part of Ios coast: Turquoise waters, sandy beaches
Day 7: Return to Paros island (26 nm)
The next day, Friday, we sailed back to Paros. The northern winds stayed strong, so the trip was again hard. Things became smoother as we approached the coast of the island. We made a stop at the the islets of Pantieronia, two rocks in between the southern coasts of Paros and Antiparos. Although the place was rather busy, the turquoise waters were astonishing, and we enjoyed a wonderful swim. Soon we headed to Paroikia, the port of Paros. We anchored safely and had a wonderful sailing trip completed. At night we visited the town and enjoyed dinner and the nightlife in the busy bars close to the shore. We could not forget the amazing experience of a sailing cruise and the amazing destinations that we visited!
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.