Time is best spent on Saturday touring the many historic attractions in Athens. Arrive at Alimos Kalamaki marina for boarding at 17:00hrs. Unpack and a safety briefing may follow in the cockpit if time allows, but it is important that you read the safety information prior to boarding.
Dinner: A relaxed welcome dinner will be held at 19:00hrs at Edem restaurant just outside the marina giving you an opportunity to meet other cabin charter guests, flotilla staff and fellow flotilla guests. The first night is a sleep over in the marina so if you are arriving late, Edem restaurant can be a good meeting point as we are there from approximately 7pm.
Distances and sailing conditions: 12 miles – 2.5 hours. The Saronic Gulf area is known for light winds from the south in the spring and from the north in the summer.
Highlights: See the famous Temple of Aphaia (490 BC) by taking a 1.5-hour round-trip hike. This is one of the more challenging hikes on the tour. If you choose not to hike you can explore the quaint little village and have coffee overlooking the bay. Aegina boasts the best pistachio nuts in the world and they can be found in the local shops. Enjoy lunch from the cockpit followed by a swim in the crystal clear waters of the bay.
Distance and sailing conditions: 22 miles - 3 hours. Breezes tend to pick up in the afternoon but generally remain light.
Highlights: When viewed from seaward, Poros is one of the most beautiful towns in Greece – arriving is a great photo opportunity. After docking join an organized walk (20 minutes) up to the clock tower viewing local Mediterranean bougainvillea, jasmine, cactus, fig and cypress trees. Arriving at the clock tower you are rewarded with a panoramic view of the sun setting over the majestic Peloponnese Mountains.
Dinner: Dine at the beautiful Garden taverna, where octopus in wine sauce and a dish of baked lamb, potatoes, herbs and melted cheese (traditional kleftiko) are the specialties. Alternatively, busy Oasis taverna at the port, where wonderful fresh fish and barbecued octopus are highly recommended.
Distance and sailing conditions: 6 miles - 1.5 hours. Motor sailing along the coastline.
Highlights: The narrow channel between Poros and Spathi provides an excellent photo opportunity of the built up terracotta roofed town, passing fishing boats and the bustling harbor. At Bourtzi island take pictures of the Venetian fort that once defended this narrow passage. Spathi bay's clear water is good for snorkeling and Mediterranean marine life. Lunch is aboard the yacht anchored at Spathi or upon arrival at Hydra.
Distance and sailing conditions: 5 miles - 1 hour. In northerly conditions this is a nice broad reach.
Highlights: The tiny port of Hydra becomes congested in the summer months with yachts regularly rafting three deep bow to stern. After an exciting tie-up and informative town briefing, spend the afternoon wandering the cobbled streets and Venetian laneways of this famous historic port. To cool off dive in at Hydra's swimming area a five minute walk from the yachts or relax at one of the many cafes watching the donkeys pass by – Hydra's only mode of transportation!
Dinner: Kristina and Manolis taverna. This roof garden taverna is one of the best on our carefully researched gastronomic circuit. A range of small meze dishes allows for a taste of numerous delicacies including Kalamata olives, saganaki cheese, fava bean dip, grilled peppers stuffed with feta and breadcrumbs and oregano meatballs. Following dinner, great cocktails and dancing can be found at Amalour or Pirate's bar.
Highlights: A free day to explore the wonders of Hydra. For a relaxing morning, sip coffee at Pirate's bar; visit art galleries and shop for local handicrafts, exquisite clothing and jewelry. A 30-minute coastal walk or ten-minute water taxi ride leads to the rustic Miramare hotel and charming Mandraki beach. For the more adventurous a one-hour hike through ancient stairways and Venetian architecture allows a view from the top of the steep harbor. For the very fit, two more hours through an enchanting forest reveals the sacred monastery Profitis Ilias overlooking the harbor, Hydra Channel and the Peloponnese.
Dinner: Kodylenia's taverna (30 min coastal walk or 5 minute water taxi) is an open-air terrace restaurant over looking tiny Kamini harbor and offers an extensive menu including fresh fish and giant Hydra calamari. A pirate night and dance may be scheduled on this night - so bring costumes!
The passage into the Cyclades can take 1 of 3 routes as follows:
Distance and sailing conditions: 55 miles – 9 hours. Northerly winds in the summer months and southwesterly air in the spring makes this a favorable passage.
Highlights: The best sail of the whole trip is this leg from the Saronic Gulf to the Cyclades leading to a remote overnight anchorage. Arriving at uninhabited Kleftiko bay, moor with fore and aft anchors, then swim or snorkel in translucent waters. For a surreal experience, take a kayak through a maze of breathtaking caves admiring the surrounding white cliffs - some as high as 100m.
Dinner: Eating aboard under the bright Aegean night sky makes this stop one of the highlights of the tour.
This remote anchorage is weather dependent and maybe visited on day 5 or 6 or not at all.
Distance and sailing conditions: 38 miles – 5 hours. Northerly winds in the summer months and southwesterly air in the spring makes this a great sailing passage.
Highlights: The best sail of the whole trip is the leg from the Saronic Gulf to the Cyclades leading to a beautiful overnight anchorage. Anchor in Kolona bay and enjoy an afternoon swim to shore then into the natural thermal hot tub on the beach. The volcanic heated water is 38 degrees Celsius. In the evening enjoy a BBQ ashore. If the weather does not allow an anchorage, then yachts moor in the safety of Merikas harbour.
Dinner: Beach BBQ meal under the Aegean night sky. If the weather does not allow, eat at Yialos taverna at Merikas town.
Distance and sailing conditions: 50 miles – 6 hours. Northerly winds in the summer months and southwesterly air in the spring makes this a favourable sailing passage.
Highlights: Potentially the best sail of the tour from the Saronic Gulf to the Cyclades allows for a quick dip at a remote bay on the Northern tip of Kythnos before docking at Loutra harbour. At Loutra enjoy a nice evening meal and then soak in the healing, thermal waters at the large natural hot tub at the beach. Alternatively, if the weather is good sail further south for a beach BBQ at Aghios Yannis beach.
Dinner: A wonderful evening meal on the beach at Sofrano Taverna or a beach BBQ at Aghios Yannis.
Dependent on the previous day one of the following options applies.
Distance and sailing conditions: 12 miles – 2 hours. Motor-sail along the coastline.
Highlights: Rent small cars or minivans to see some of the phenomenal geology of Milos. Visit the spectacular volcanic creek of Sarakiniko and hike around the deep grotto of Papafraga. Later in the day see the charming fishing village of Madrakia and the ancient, Hellenistic amphitheatre at Tripiti where the statue of the Venus de Milos was found. Other sites include the geological museum near the harbor.
Dinner: In Tripiti there are two choices, Glaronisi and Ergina's Ouzeri which both specialize in local Miloan delicacies including thin spicy cheese pies (pitarakia), unique local lasagna, fresh seafood and meat with herbs in casserole. An exquisite choice at sea level is Glaros taverna at beautiful Pollonia bay that offers fried feta with sesame seeds and honey, fantastic pasta and salads. While dining you may be lucky and see the local seal splash around in the bay!
Dependent on the previous day one of the following options applies.
Distance and sailing conditions: 50 miles – 8 hours. Open Aegean north winds normally allow for a broad reach.
Highlights: Swim in the azure waters of the blue lagoon at Poliagos before continuing to Ios the halfway point on the tour. After docking, enjoy the luxury of Leostasis' 5 star hotel and spa. Swim in the infinity pool, reserve a massage or simply have a hot shower and cocktails watching the fantastic sunset over Ios harbor. In the evening participate in the famous Ios pub-crawl! If you are with us for 7-nights only, this will be your last night aboard.
Dinner: Leostasis' fine menu is prepared under the guidance of one of Greece's finest chefs. For a more bohemian and lively experience, Lord Byron's is the place to go for fantastic Greek fusion dining.
Distance and sailing conditions: 30 miles – 5 hours. Open Aegean north winds normally allow for a spirited broad reach.
Highlights: A spirited morning sail to Ios allows for an early afternoon tie up in the harbour, which can get busy in the summer months. Once the boats are all secured guest are invited to get spoiled at luxurious Liostasis 5 star hotel and spa. Swim in the infinity pool, reserve a massage or simply enjoy a cocktail at the exquisite sunset over Ios harbour and islands beyond. In the evening participate in an Ios pub-crawl! If you are with us for 7-nights only, this is your last night aboard.
Dinner: Leostasis' fine menu is prepared under the guidance of Greece's finest chefs and offers an excellent wine list and service. For a more bohemian and lively experience, Lord Byron's is the place to go for fantastic Greek fusion dining and a pub atmosphere.
Highlights: Following a full briefing in Ios, board a high-speed ferry for the 40-minute ride to Santorini. Drive a pre-arranged rental car on the magnificent road to Oia (Ia) - the most beautiful town in Santorini. A great lunch at Anemomilos hotel restaurant features Santorini's sweet cherry tomatoes and the best moussaka on the tour. Arriving at your pre-booked accommodation view the spectacular 6-mile round volcanic crater (caldera) formed in the eruption of 1500BC. Oia sites include: shops, art galleries and watching the world-renowned sunset at the northern most tip of town.
Dinner: 1800 offers 5-star food and service – reservations required. Skala offers good Greek food with caldera view. Karma offers excellent Asian fusion in a tranquil setting. Exquisite, fresh seafood can be found at Sunset taverna a short drive down at Amoudi bay.
*This excursion is optional but highly recommended. Transport, accommodation and meals are not included in the price of the trip. View Santorini accommodations.
Highlights: Leaving early visit the entombed Minoan town of Akrotiri (1500BC) thought to be the lost civilization of Atlantis and then the hilltop settlement of ancient Thira (900BC). Later enjoy lunch at the black sand beach Perissa, explore the original hilltop town of Pyrgos and sample excellent wines at famous vineyards (Sigalas one of the best vineyards is found near Oia).
Dinner: Pyrgos taverna serves a full range of island delicacies in a panoramic dining room overlooking the island. Senior Zorba's offers tasty Mexican fare with a spectacular open-air view of the caldera. Back at Oia, a second visit to Anemomilos hotel restaurant is well worth it for dinner as well.
*This excursion is optional but highly recommended. Transportation, accommodation and meals are not included in the price of the trip. View Santorini accommodations.
Distance and sailing conditions: 30 miles – 4.5 hours. This leg tends to be head to wind.
Highlights: After ferrying from Santorini and leaving Ios, stop for a swim in the crystal clear waters of Tigania Island. Navigate the tricky 14ft deep passage between Paros and Andi Paros to arrive in Paroikia in time to see this charming harbor town. Visit the 4th-century Panagia Ekatontapyliani (Our Lady of a Hundred Doors). The oldest remaining Byzantine church in Greece has exceptional architecture, religious icons and an exquisite marble baptismal chamber. Wander the bougainvillea-fringed streets and explore a maze of shops offering fashion, jewelry and local handicrafts.
Dinner: Apollon Garden restaurant is beautifully set in an open-air atrium and is a guest favorite on the tour. A gourmet menu of local and international dishes includes: shrimp avocado cocktail or vegetable spring roll appetizers, followed by stuffed lamb or fresh pesto linguini. The chocolate soufflé dessert is not to be missed.
Distance and sailing conditions: 15 miles – 2 hours. Close reach.
Highlights: After ferrying from Santorini to Ios and if the weather permits, venture further east to a small group of islands south of Naxos known in sailing circles as 'Les Petit Cyclades' with charming quiet coves, bays and beaches and little traffic. Sailing into the tiny fishing cove of Skinoussa there is room to dock a few yachts on the pier and a few in the tiny bay. What is special about this little know island, is the lovely beach across from the yachts, the tiny 'Chora' hilltop town of 147 inhabitants and a fabulous restaurant. After dinner the 15 minute walk down to the yacht is breath-taking with stars and constellations lighting your way and a peaceful silence all around except for the echoed buzz of the cicadas.
Dinner: Sweet Deli and a divine meal with our host Dimitri who explains the wonderful island produce from the sweet white bean salad to the juicy kalamari the fishermen bring in each day. The view is also remarkable, with the setting sun illuminating animals grazing on golden hills sloping to the sea and countless islands in the distance.
Highlights: A free day to explore by rental car the oldest cave in Europe* (45 million years old) on neighboring Andi Paros. This ancient cave features stalactites/mites and an area known as 'the alter', where the French Ambassador to Constantinople gave a secret Christmas Mass in 1673. Optional lunch and a swim at the rustic Stillwater* restaurant is an Asian fusion delight. Returning to Paros, tour the island stopping at Butterfly valley*, the ancient interior town of Lefkas, abandoned marble quarries and the picturesque town of Naoussa. * seasonal
Dinner: Free night to explore Naoussa or return to Paros to enjoy a second night at wonderful Apollon Garden restaurant.
The next morning cross the narrow channel separating Skinoussa and Iraklia, in search for a particular deserted bay to stop for a swim and coffee break. What is not known to visitors is that the bay is the resting place of a WW ll German Messerschmitt aircraft, felled by the British in 1945. The bay has crystal clear waters and a lovely sandy beach, but the highlight is the plane which is just 10-12 meters underwater and surprisingly intact. After a coffee a swim and some photos move on to Tigania for a second swim stop and then to Paroikia Paros for the night.
Distance and sailing conditions: 20 miles – 2.5 hours. With northerlies this is a tack or motor sail.
Highlights: An early departure allows a morning visit to sacred Delos, the most important archaeological and religious site of ancient Greece. Delos remains in an excellent state of preservation allowing you to wander through an amphitheatre, stadium, private palaces and Roman baths. Finish your exploration with a climb up sacred Mount Kythnos for a divine panoramic view of the Cycladic Islands. Eat lunch aboard followed by a swim in the clear waters of Delos channel.
Distance and sailing conditions: 6 miles – 1 hour. Tacking in northerly winds.
Highlights: A spirited tack allows mooring at Mykonos' new marina in the afternoon. Explore the labyrinth of Mykonos town, and enjoy fantastic shopping, fine dining and world–class nightlife.
Dinner: Nikos taverna, the busiest restaurant in town offers well-priced daily specials, good service and captures the flavor of Mykonos with its outdoor seating - ideal for people watching. Scandinavian bar offers the best nightlife on the tour with its full dance floor.
Distance and sailing conditions: 18 miles – 2.25 hours. Beam reach in northerly winds.
Highlights: This central island has two safe harbors: Ermioni the capital of the Cyclades has 30,000 population and features old mansions, neo-classical buildings and colorful houses cascading down to the harbour. Arriving by yacht into Syros is one of those special moments never to be forgotten, and stepping off the yacht a visit to both the Catholic and Orthodox cathedrals on their respective hills offers a great view back down to the harbour. Mazi is worth a visit for dinner, this beautiful lush vegitated dining courtyard is surrounded by 19th century arches meeting 40ft in the air! Said to be an old ceramics factory, but more likely to have also been a church at some point.
Dinner: Open night to explore the town.
Distance and sailing conditions: 58 miles – 9 hours. The area around Mykonos tends to be windy. Sailing close hauled in northerlies.
Highlights: A longer passage and the most challenging of the tour. The little known island of Kea is surprisingly one of the most interesting. After mooring at the quaint harbor of Vourkari, walk around the bay to find the deserted ruins of a 3000 BC pre-historic settlement. A swim at a beautiful beach five minutes walk from the boats is a delightful way to relax before sunset.
Dinner: Aristos taverna, steps from the gangplank is a sailor focal point and provides tasty meat dishes, great local seafood and pasta.
Distance and sailing conditions: 41 miles - 6 hours. With northerlies a nice beam reach, with north westerly's more close hauled.
Highlights: Visit the traditional town of Ioulis by bus, take an enchanting 45-minute walk through the town and valley beyond and see the Petrified Lion. At twenty-one feet, this is the largest example of ancient Greek sculpture dated at 600 BC. The fascinating archaeological museum is something else not to miss and can be visited on the way back to the bus. Sail across the Kea channel and arrive in Cape Sounion on the eastern tip of Attica, enjoy lunch and the last swim of the tour in the shadow of the famous Temple of Poseidon (440 BC).
Dinner: Arriving back at Alimos Kalamaki Marina in Athens, celebrate the end of tour with a toast in the cockpit and a return to Edem taverna for a goodbye dinner.
Please note: Due to weather it may be necessary to change the order of the itinerary, the number of days in one location or visit other islands. The Captain is responsible for the ultimate safety and comfort of the vessel and its passengers. It is within the Captain's jurisdiction to change the sequence of stops and ports if necessary due to inclement weather conditions, high or low water levels, dock and lock schedules, technical, logistical or scheduling reasons. Additionally, sailing vessels will motor in light winds to ensure vessels arrive in port by sunset.