Exploring the Idyllic Cyclades: A Weeklong Sailing Adventure

The Cyclades are a stunning group of Greek islands in the Aegean Sea, known for their beauty, culture, and picturesque villages.

This route is ideal for those seeking a relaxing holiday, as the ports are typically quiet and peaceful, with the exception of Serifos and Sifnos. If you prefer a shorter route, you can omit the furthest destination, Sifnos, to reduce the total distance.

Keep in mind that this is just inspiration for the cruise. Each itinerary must be planned with the current weather conditions and other factors in mind.

Itinerary: Alimos Marina – Cape sounion – Kythnos island – Sifnos island – Serifos island – Kythnos island – Kea island – Alimos Marina
Difficulty: medium
Lenght: a week route (163 nm total)

Sailing through the Cyclades Islands, starting from Cape Sounion, is a thrilling adventure that takes you through some of the most beautiful islands of Greece. Kythnos, with its pristine beaches and hot springs, is a perfect place to relax and rejuvenate. Sifnos, known for its traditional pottery and mouth-watering cuisine, offers a glimpse into the authentic Greek lifestyle. Serifos, with its rugged coastline and sandy beaches, is a favorite among nature lovers. Kythnos, once again, is a great place to stop for a night before heading to Alimia, a secluded island with crystal-clear waters and stunning views. The sailing conditions in the Cyclades can be challenging, when strong north or south/southwest winds prevail in the Aegean Sea, but with proper planning and navigation, it's a journey worth taking. 

Whether you're an experienced sailor or a beginner, sailing through the Cyclades Islands is an unforgettable experience that will leave you with lasting memories of the beauty and culture of Greece.

Cape Sounion - Ruins of the ancient Greek temple of Poseidon.

Cape Sounion - Ruins of the ancient Greek temple of Poseidon.

Day 1 – Cape Sounion (23 nm)

The sailing excursion commences from the main marina in Alimos, Athens, and heads towards Cape Sounion, a recommended first-night destination due to the good shelter from north winds and the opportunity to swim and relax in the bay under the spectacular Temple of Poseidon. The distance from Alimos to Sounion is around 20 nautical miles and can be covered in about 3 hours, assuming an average yacht speed of 6-7 miles per hour. The length of this route is 23 nm.

View of the Kythnos Island.

View of the Kythnos Island.

Day 2 – Kythnos Island (22 nm)

As you begin your sailing trip early in the morning, you'll enter the main part of the renowned Aegean Sea and the Cyclades islands, heading towards your first destination, the Kythnos island. The Kolona cove, located on the northwestern coast of the island, will be your ideal stop, as the north winds create perfect sailing conditions for your yacht to reach the bay effortlessly.

Once you arrive at the Kolona bay, you'll find it perfect for swimming and relaxing, as it offers excellent shelter from all wind directions. Be sure to anchor on sand while avoiding the weed and minding the northern gusts. The sandy beach cutting the bay at two sides adds to the beauty of the rare landscape. You'll have the option to anchor at either side of the beach or spend the night in the picturesque Merihas port, the main port of Kythnos. Here, you'll find all the necessary supplies for your yacht, such as water, electricity, and market, in addition to the charming small village with traditional tavernas and mouthwatering seafood dishes.

The length of this route is 22 nm.

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View of Camares beach on the island of Sifnos.

View of Camares beach on the island of Sifnos.

Day 3 – Sifnos Island (33 nm)

You will set sail further south to the charming port of Sifnos, which will be your longest journey of the week. With any luck, the anticipated northern winds will be strong enough to push your yacht downwind, but you need to be vigilant and cautious when sailing in such conditions. Sifnos island is renowned for its exceptional gastronomy and architecture, making it a must-visit destination in the Cyclades.

You can explore the many restaurants in the port, the hilltop village of Apollonia, or the picturesque bay of Platis Gialos on the southern coast. Don't miss out on the traditional alleys, shops, and bars in Apollonia, while Kastro and Faros on the eastern coast boast stunning architecture and historical significance. You'll also find charming chapels scattered across the wild hills of the island that offer breathtaking views. Consider renting a car if you want to venture further inland, but be mindful of the narrow roads.

While Kamares is the most common docking option, there are several other possibilities to consider. You could anchor at the southwest bay of Vathi, the eastern bay of Faros, or the southern bay of Platis Gialos, which also has a small marina. However, docking at Platis Gialos can be challenging in strong winds.

The length of this route is 33 nm.

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From the peak of the castle, there is a sight of the island of Serifos.

From the peak of the castle, there is a sight of the island of Serifos.

Day 4 – Serifos Island (11 nm)

As you embark on your cruise, Sifnos will be the southernmost island on your itinerary. On the fourth day, you will set sail northward towards the island of Serifos. The port of Serifos is situated in the expansive bay of Livadi on the southeast coast of the island. While berthing at the pier may pose some challenges due to limited capacity, you can anchor on the south side of the pier to avoid the strong gusts of wind from the north.

However, even on the south side, be cautious of the shallow waters when dropping the anchor. You will need to be an experienced skipper to safely berth there. Alternatively, you can anchor farther from the shore and use a dinghy to get ashore. Just be sure to avoid anchoring on weed as it may be difficult for the anchor to hold in strong winds.

Once your yacht is safely docked, visiting Chora is a must! The small town is perched atop a hill, offering a breathtaking spectacle. Its little houses and alleys are steeped in Cycladic tradition, while the village offers a splendid view of Livadi bay and the open Aegean Sea. You can enjoy delicious food in the small restaurants and listen to music while sipping drinks under the stars in wonderful bars. You can take a local bus or taxi from Livadi port to reach Chora, which is only a 10-15 minute drive away.

The length of this route is 11 nm.

The Panagia Flampouriani church in Kythnos.

The Panagia Flampouriani church in Kythnos.

Day 5 – Back to Kythnos (18 nm)

Your next stop is the eastern coast of Kythnos, where you'll have the chance to experience the thrill of sailing with the possible northern winds pushing you up north. The destination is the small, traditional port of Agios Stefanos on Kythnos, where you can relax by taking a swim before indulging in some delicious seafood at one of the tavernas on the coast.

Alternatively, you could choose to dock at the small marina of Loutra, which has limited spots but offers some fancy restaurants in the port. Whatever you choose, you're sure to have a memorable time on this picturesque island.

The length of this route is 18 nm.

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View of the Kea Island.

View of the Kea Island.

Day 6 – Kea Island (20 nm)

As you continue your journey, the next destination on your itinerary is the island of Kea. Your destination is the beautiful cove of Koundouros, situated on the southeastern coast of the island. This leg of the journey covers a distance of 20 nautical miles, and you can expect to face some challenges while sailing against the anticipated northern winds. However, the rewards of the journey will be well worth the effort.

Koundouros is a serene cove that attracts many sailing yachts and motorboats on a regular basis. The area is perfect for swimming and provides excellent shelter from northern winds, making it an ideal spot to spend the night. Alternatively, if you're looking for a more bustling port to spend the night, you can visit Vourkari, located on the north side of Kea. However, be aware that Vourkari is further north, making it a longer journey from Kythnos, and the port is small, which means there may not be enough berths available for all the boats, requiring some to anchor in the big bay.

The length of this route is 20 nm.

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Alimos marina in Athens.

Alimos marina in Athens.

Day 7 – Alimos Marina (36 nm)

On the final day of the trip, take the time to enjoy a leisurely breakfast and have a refreshing swim in the beautiful sea. The journey back to Alimos marina will be the last one. You may want to consider a stop for another swim, either at Cape Sounion or in Anavyssos bay. Arriving at the marina early in the afternoon will give you the opportunity to spend a night out in the Athens city center, which is easily accessible by tram from the marina.

The length of this route is 36 nm.

The next morning, disembarkation will take place at 9 am, and you will return home with unforgettable memories of an amazing sailing cruise.

Reminder: The information given (distances, mooring details, etc.) is for information purposes only and cannot be relied upon completely. Please study the nautical chart before sailing to ensure a safe and enjoyable voyage.

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