Holiday Sailing Area: The Cyclades

The Cyclades deriving their name from the Greek word “kyklos”, meaning circle, because they surround the sacred island of Delos, the Cyclades are the most visited islands of Greece. The islands were the cradle of the Cycladic civilization (3000-1000 BC). The early Cycladic culture developed in the Bronze Age and has inspired artists ever since with its white marble figures.

MAP & INTRO

The Minoan’s from Crete colonized the island during the middle Cycladic era, making Akrotiri on Santorini a major trading place. During the late Cycladic period the Mycenaeans dominated, and Delos became their religion capital. The Dorians invaded the islands in the 11th century BC, a calamity that marked the start of the Dark Ages. There are 56 islands in the group, 24 inhabited, some tiny and undisturbed, others famous holiday playgrounds. Most of the Cyclades are rocky and arid, with the exception of wooded and lush-valleyed Andros, Kea and Naxos.

Arguably, every single one of the 56 islands in the Greek Cyclades is worth a visit for one reason or another, however, chances are you’ll only be able to visit a handful during your upcoming trip. Unsure where to start? In this section, we try to shed some light on the different options while exploring the Cyclades by sailboat, catamaran or motor yacht.

Greek Island Yacht Holiday Map of the Cyclades

The Cyclades islands deliver on the promises made by travel posters: rocky islands with terrific beaches and white cubist villages that soar above an impossibly aquamarine sea. Named after the word ‘kyklos’ meaning circle, they circle the sacred island of Delos and are the most visited islands in Greece.

Unlike Crete, Rhodes, or the larger Ionian Islands, these are compact islands that quickly reveal their unique character and personality, derived from their unique traditions, geography, and historical development.

THE BEST WAY TO SAVOR THE CYCLADES

The Cyclades comprise one of the world’s most beautiful and varied destinations with 2,200 islands, islets, and rocks — only 24 islands are inhabited — and they have a World Heritage site.

A yacht holiday provides access that can not be achieved in any other way — your floating hotel suite allows you to travel effortlessly and provides access to the finest islands, villages, beaches, and experiences.

With so much to see and visit, we recommend you allow at least two weeks to explore this paradise or opt for the extra costs of a one-way trip starting or ending in the middle of the Cyclades.

WHEN TO VISIT THE CYCLADES

The islands are at their best in late spring (starting end of April, mid-May) when the landscape is still green, although the sea has not yet fully warmed up for swimming, and when the tourist crowds have yet to arrive. Another option is early autumn (starting 1 September) when the sea is at its warmest and few tourists remain.

Avoid visiting in July or August as the Cyclades bears the brunt of the ‘meltémi’ seasonal wind, which can make moving by boat and sailing uncomfortable and scatters sand and tablecloths. Towards the end of  November, many facilities close and storms are possible. If you must holiday at these times we will be happy to recommend to visit other boating destinations.

DESTINATIONS IN THE CYCLADES

When sailing the Cyclades from Athens you have two choices to start from; Athens Alimos/Kalamaki Marina or Lavrion (Port Marina and Olympic Marina). The biggest selection of quality yachts can be found in Athens Kalamaki – Athens Alimos Marina. Lavrion Port Marina or Olympic Marina are situated further south on Attica and thus much closer to the Cyclades, but the downside is that there are fewer quality yachts available from Lavrion.

 

Greek Island yacht holidays provide the best access to the islands of the Cyclades.

You’ll be surprised at how reasonable your private floating hotel suite (yacht with captain and cook/host) is.

Contact us now for a quotation on your magic Cyclades yacht holiday.

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SAIL AND STAY

Some of our clients like to extend their Yacht Holiday by staying a few days before or after their cruise in Athens or on one of the islands.

A few days in Athens can be a great holiday starter, and if your group is flying in from different or distant countries this allows you time to catch up and recover from jet lag before your cruise. If you’re interested in history and art you may enjoy a visit to the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens and the National Archeological Museum that between them house most of the islands best historic art.

We are happy to recommend great places to stay, dine, explore and shop and can book your hotels and arrange airport and port transfers for you.

If you plan to spend some days on one of the islands, here is a brief overview of tourist numbers you can expect to encounter.

TOURISM IN THE CYCLADES

The Cyclades have been popular with visitors for centuries — today they suffer the impact of tourism more severely than anywhere else in Greece.

The three main islands are dominated by tourism season:

  • Mykonos – with its teeming old town, sophisticated restaurants, clubs and hotels, and selection of nudist and gay beaches  is the most popular island
  • Santoríni – the volcanic island provides a dramatic natural backdrop for luxury cruise liners and attracts upmarket tourism
  • Ios – the original hippie island is a paradise for hard-drinking budget tourists and backpackers

Páros, Naxos, and Mílos are popular and their beaches and main towns are busy at the height of season.

Naxos, Amorgos, and Folegandros have become fashionable destinations.

Kythnos, Serifos, Sikinos, Kimolos or Anafi remain relatively low in tourism. Tinos with its imposing pilgrimage church and Syros with its elegant Venetian architecture provide authentic experiences without large crowds.

Andros and Kea are popular weekend havens for Athenians, and Sífnos is a smart, chic destination for tourists of all nationalities.

 

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ANTIQUITIES

The earliest signs of human habitation in Cyclades are remains of Neolithic settlements discovered in Kythnos that date from 9000 BC. The history of Cyclades begins from the Neolithic

The history of Cyclades begins from the Neolithic and early Bronze age. The islands were the cradle of the Cycladic civilization (3000-1000 BC). The early Cycladic culture developed a style of white marble figures that have inspired artists for centuries.

The Minoan’s from Crete colonized the island during the Middle Cycladic era, making Akrotiri on Santorini a major trading place. During the late Cycladic period the Mycenaeans dominated, and Delos became their religion capital. The Dorians invaded the islands in the 11th century BC, a calamity that marked the start of the Dark Ages. There are 56 islands in the group, 24 inhabited, some tiny and undisturbed, others famous holiday playgrounds. Most of the Cyclades are rocky and arid, with the exception of wooded and lush-valleyed Andros, Kea and Naxos.

The northern-most of the Cyclades, Andros is lush and green in the south and barren in the North. The fields are divided by distinctive dry-stone walls. The island was first colonized by the Ionian’s in 1000 BC. In the 5th century BC, Andros sided with Sparta during the Peloponnesian war. After Venetian rule, the Turks took power in 1566 until the War of Independence.

A craggy yet green island, Tino s was first settled by Ionian’s in Archaic times. In the 4th century BC it became known for its sanctuary of Poseidon and Amphitrite. Under Venetian rule from medieval times, Tinos became the Ottoman empires last conquest in 1715. Tinos has over 800 chapels, and in the 1960s the military Junta declared it a holy island. Many Greek Orthodox pilgrims come to the church of Panagia Evangelistria in Tinos

Mykonos, one of the most popular of the Cyclades, was under Venetian rule from 1207, then independent under the Community of Mykonians from 1615 when the island flourished as a self-sufficient society. Visited by intellectuals in the early days of tourism, today Mykonos thrives on its reputation as the glitziest island in Greece.

PLACES TO VISIT

 

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REVIEWS

02-09/07/2016

Dear Captain Peter, Andriana, and beautiful Malena…from the very first moment stepped on Malena you have treated us very lovely and since then the time has flown, and here we are on our last night on board. We would like to thank you for all the good memories and your hospitality. Peter, you are a great Captain with a big sense of humor, you were always been available for us and you did your best, to make all have an unforgettable time. With your guideless, we ‘ve seen beautiful places, dined at wonderful tavernas, swimming in amazing waters. It was an unforgettable week for us and we would definitely come back to explore new places and to live a new adventure with you if possible. From now on you have a family in Istanbul and we know that we have a friend in Greece! Thank you again for the unforgettable journey!

Google Reviews

Ocean Nomads On Google

ori goren
ori goren
16:36 21 Nov 18
We sailed with a charted boat this November, both Walter and the boat were amazing, Walter was super cool, had a lot of patience during our inquirys before, gave us the bast recommendations and tips. All and all great service, lots of fun.
Gilad de Vries
Gilad de Vries
20:06 20 Nov 18
Amazing welcome and service by Walter, highly recommended. Very trustworthy and worked really hard to make us happy customers!
Gal Sivan
Gal Sivan
19:38 20 Nov 18
We chartered a bare boat from Walter and had a great time. We really enjoyed the boat and the service of Walter was super. All our needs and wishes were attended with a smile. Checkin and our were quick and effective. Everything was as agreed and described - Walter is surely trustworthy and we highly recommend his services. We hope to do it again soon!
Yvette Yong
Yvette Yong
00:31 03 Nov 18
Walter was fantastic! We left the itinerary up to him and he planned the perfect trip. He's an extremely capable skipper and excellent company as well. Highly recommended!
Ben Duncan
Ben Duncan
14:57 27 Sep 18
Before my wife and I even arrived to bareboat charter ‘Argo’ for two weeks in September '18, Walter had provided us with exceptional communication and service that was a step above any regular company. When we eventually arrived to the immaculately prepared and meticulously maintained 'Argo' we immediately knew he was true to his word, and the boat was exactly as described. Cruising the Cyclades aboard ‘Argo’ was effortless and stress-free knowing the highest level of care and attention had gone into the boat – it felt like our own yacht, not a charter boat with thousands of miles under her keel! We found Walter to be highly professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and his local knowledge and advice aided us to have a wonderful two weeks on board. Thank you again Walter, and we hope to see you again for our next Greek Islands adventure!!
Brianna Niles
Brianna Niles
22:15 16 Dec 16
Best vacation of my life! I was hesitant about being on a sailboat with 2 toddlers, but Walter's abilities and attention to our family (along with his wife, loveliest ever, Aleca) made us feel right at home and in trustworthy hands. Walter considered all of our needs and wishes and was willing to go out of his way at any point and time. I not only hold this trip dear to my heart, but Walter and Aleca as well.
Stas Blokhin
Stas Blokhin
00:07 16 Dec 16
Thanks to Ocean Nomads! I had one week on board of "Argo". Yacht is good, clean, and it is very easy to sail. Walter is an owner, and he assist with all issues. Great man and experienced skipper. Highly recommended!
Claude Cloutier
Claude Cloutier
17:27 11 Apr 16
We spent one week touring Athens and the surrounding area and then ten days touring the islands by sailboat. One of the highlights was swimming in the caldera at Santorini and another was watching the pod of dolphins swim by the sailboat. Walter and his wife, who's a fabulous cook, we're the most gracious hosts. Walter arranged for everything we could ask for. We loved our vacation and would do it again in a heartbeat. You can't go wrong with Ocean Nomads!
Pete Popov
Pete Popov
22:57 26 Feb 16
Since 2007, Walter has been our skipper every summer. Sailing in the Mediterranean is my favorite summer experience. So many unforgettable memories. Walter is a great sailor and a fantastic skipper. He quickly became a friend and someone we enjoy having with us on the boat, at dinner, etc, summer after summer. Walter knows the Med very well - the swimming spots, the good tavernas, the marinas and the anchoring spots, the local hidden bars and other gems. Highly recommended.
Christian Billen
Christian Billen
14:58 24 Feb 16
My family sailed with Walter and his wife and we had the most amazing vacation. The sailboat was in perfect condition, the sites changed every day and were beautiful, his wife prepared fresh meals for us every day from the different local markets where the boat docked. We highly recommend this experience of a lifetime to anyone.
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Greek Island Yacht Holiday
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Iakovos Papadopoulos
Iakovos Papadopoulos
2019-07-05T10:06:29+0000
Full recommended!Great experience!
Yvette Yong
Yvette Yong
2018-11-03T00:27:31+0000
Walter was fantastic! We left the itinerary up to him and he planned the perfect trip. He's an extremely capable skipper and excellent company as well. Highly recommended!read more
Ben Duncan
Ben Duncan
2018-09-27T14:54:01+0000
Before my wife and I even arrived to bareboat charter ‘Argo’ for two weeks in September '18, Walter had provided us with exceptional communication and service that was a step above any regular company. When we eventually arrived to the immaculately prepared and meticulously maintained 'Argo' we immediately knew he was true to his word, and the boat was exactly as described. Cruising the Cyclades aboard ‘Argo’ was effortless and stress-free knowing the highest level of care and attention had gone into the boat – it felt like our own yacht, not a charter boat with thousands of miles under her keel! We found Walter to be highly professional, knowledgeable and extremely helpful, and his local knowledge and advice aided us to have a wonderful two weeks on board. Thank you again Walter, and we hope to see you again for our next Greek Islands adventure!!read more
François Dugast
François Dugast
2018-09-15T09:02:42+0000
We spent two weeks sailing around the Cyclades with a bunch of friends and captain Walter. If there is a word that can describe these vacation it is: perfect. Perfect skipper, perfect routes, perfect tavernas, perfect beaches, perfect sea, perfect food. Thank you Walter. We’ll try to come back next year.read more
Brent Jones
Brent Jones
2018-07-16T19:28:59+0000
My wife and I spent a fabulous 2 weeks with Captain Walter on board the “Argo” exploring the Cyclades Islands. It was the proverbial trip of a lifetime every stop seemed to be more beautiful than the last and every morning I felt like I was waking up in a picture postcard. Walter’s many years of sailing experience in the area made him the perfect travel advisor giving us valuable advice on where to go and what to see when we were in port as well as helping us navigate the various Greek specialties on the menus of the local “Taverna’s As a non sailor non boater of any type I was a little nervous about being on a sail boat for two weeks never mind concerns about motion sickness but after a few days watching Walter in action I could see he was a very safe and experienced sailor, in addition after 2 or 3 days of sailing I was happy to find my sea legs and didn’t require any anti nausea medication whatsoever! In conclusion I highly recommend Captain Walter and Greek Island Yacht Holiday you will not be disappointed 👍🏼😎read more
Mark Loon-en
Mark Loon-en
2018-07-14T06:55:17+0000
Sailing => ok i have (18yrs) and 1500+ hours of sailing/cruising, sail racing (yachts& dinghy) and about the same hours on repairs and maintenance in Canada... and read many books on sailing around the world. The opportunity came up to sail the Greek Islands by sailboat... and i have never done “International Sailing” and I said = for sure... and with another couple we signed up with Walter & Argo for 2 week Greek Island trip beginning of May 2018. Walter was great & we explored approx 17 islands, learned a bit about the history, ancient sites, local culinary foods, language, greek mannerisms, caving, snorkelling, hiking, swimming in hot springs, shopping, and good sailing... the list goes on and I am still not finished sorting photos Walter is also very safe on the water and I was totally comfortable even in high winds as his sailing skills are extremely good. I definitely learned a few extra sailing & boat handling tricks. I was completely relaxed and totally rested by the end of this vacation.. Would I go again = yes.. and longer Absolutely appreciated Mark Member of the LMYC Lower Mainland Yachtread more
Bobi Asenov
Bobi Asenov
2018-03-30T16:30:41+0000
Camellia Andreeva
Camellia Andreeva
2018-03-16T15:33:28+0000
BE HAPPY AND GO TO TRAVELING WITH ISLAND YACHT HOLIDAY!!! CAMELLIA ANDREEVA GENIUS OF THE WORLD
Sahka Urumova
Sahka Urumova
2018-03-16T15:32:07+0000
Била съм в Гърция по работа с личния си автомобил, обикалях много. Това което видях е направо рай. Едно място докоснато от Бог, което си заслужава да видите и изживейте.read more
Ray Zandvoort
Ray Zandvoort
2017-12-08T20:52:33+0000
Rex Bleau
Rex Bleau
2017-12-08T20:21:54+0000
Bonjour. Excellente page avec toujours de belles photos invitants au voyage. Merci
Erwin Kruk
Erwin Kruk
2017-12-08T18:34:39+0000
Donald Maureen Conrath McKay
Donald Maureen Conrath McKay
2017-11-15T15:23:14+0000
A wonderful way to explore Greece and learn about the culture. If you are prone to sea sickness, Walter has the cure down pat. He supervises you steering the big wheel while staring at a given point on the horizon! Amazing!read more
Snejanka Pantcheva
Snejanka Pantcheva
2017-09-24T15:28:58+0000
It was exceptional experience. Thank you, Ocean Nomads and thank you, Walter, for making it possible for the first timers to fall in love with sailing in Greece.read more
Cnneal Wang
Cnneal Wang
2017-06-29T22:00:04+0000
Ricardo Ortiz
Ricardo Ortiz
2017-06-29T14:28:35+0000
Keith Shirlaw
Keith Shirlaw
2016-12-14T17:02:36+0000
Had a absolutely fabulous time on ARGO in July this year all around the Greek Islands, the boat was immaculate on boarding for our adventure and Walter made us feel right at home.We sailed with 3 persons on the boat and really appreciated the stability and speed of ARGO, A great time on a great boat,well done Walter and Ocean Nomads Greece.You guys rock !!!!!!read more
Evgeni Shatzki
Evgeni Shatzki
2016-11-10T11:10:58+0000
Отличный скиппер,замечательный человек. Много знает и многому может научить. Рядом с ним на яхте ты чувствуешь себя уверенным.Две недели проведенные вместе многому меня научили.read more
Λευτέρης Μακρής
Λευτέρης Μακρής
2016-05-04T19:55:55+0000
Keri Vincent-Dykes
Keri Vincent-Dykes
2015-07-16T14:57:23+0000
We enjoyed everything about our time with Walter and Alexandra!!! If you want a great experience----look no farther!!!!This is who you want for your boat charter. Beautiful coves- great meals-definitely a 5 star experience.read more
Mark Dykes
Mark Dykes
2015-07-09T07:41:50+0000
I can't say enough about Ocean Nomads with Captain Walter and Aleka. If you ever considered a crewed Greek charter you must do it with these guys. My entire family loved this charter more than any other and it's because everything was done top notch and the trip was truly carefree. Feel lucky we found them!read more
Soeredj Monorath
Soeredj Monorath
2015-04-16T13:22:59+0000
Great life needs active sailing with Walter and his crew! Thanks again for a wonderful two weeks of sailing. See you next year!read more
Dan Mitchell
Dan Mitchell
2014-06-29T05:43:46+0000
Taraneh Lajevardi
Taraneh Lajevardi
2014-06-28T16:31:02+0000
Dimitris Anafiotis
Dimitris Anafiotis
2014-03-20T18:42:54+0000
Luigi Theunissen
Luigi Theunissen
2014-03-02T23:45:49+0000
Riza Pipe Akter
Riza Pipe Akter
2013-12-14T22:50:56+0000
Douglas Wagar
Douglas Wagar
2013-12-09T22:52:09+0000
Sheila Anne White
Sheila Anne White
2013-10-22T18:49:45+0000
Eugenia Tigris Altaica
Eugenia Tigris Altaica
2013-09-29T20:40:18+0000
Fer Corallo
Fer Corallo
2013-09-19T03:33:40+0000
Romualdo Silva
Romualdo Silva
2013-09-18T23:07:02+0000
Gilberto Menhinick Messeder
Gilberto Menhinick Messeder
2013-09-12T09:48:22+0000
Ricardo Gil
Ricardo Gil
2013-09-09T21:08:15+0000
Monica Terço de Menezes
Monica Terço de Menezes
2013-09-09T20:05:41+0000

Site Reviews

  • A fantastic week sailing! | Erik
    We are a family of 8 and wanted to sail for a week on the Greek islands. As we are not advanced sailors, we chose to hire a skipper. We had the luck to get Walter as a skipper in the Piraeus Marina, where we started for our week in the Saronic Sea. Arriving on Saturday, we started our sail ...
  • Sailing the Argo-Saronicos in July 2017 | Melissa
    My two daughters and I sailed with Walter and Aleka in the Argo-Saronic in July and couldn’t possibly have had a better experience. From the planning stages, it was a pleasure. He was helpful finding a sailboat that fit our needs and budget. We were very inexperienced in sailing, so his input led to the right boat and the right ...
  • Thanks to Ocean Nomads! Highly recommended!
    I had one week on board of “Argo”. Yacht is good, clean, and it is very easy to sail. Walter is an owner, and he assist with all issues. Great man and experienced skipper. Highly recommended! Stas Blokhin