Rent a yacht in the Cyclades, an island group situated in the Aegean which is a short distance to the south east of Athens. The cyclades present travelers with paradisiacal beaches, hidden coves and festive activities that are perfect for families, groups of friends and even couples making them ideal for a great sailing vacation in Greece. There are many islands with picturesque marinas where you can pick the ideal catamaran, sailboat or motor yacht of your choice. You can directly contact the owners or allow a BednBlue travel expert to guide you with some suggestions.
You have plenty of available options:
If you are an experienced sailor and have a license, you can choose to rent a sailboat or speedboat without a skipper in the Cycladic islands. Otherwise, you have the opportunity to hire a sailboat or a catamaran with a skipper for a completely stress-free vacation. You can rent a boat in the Cyclades to tour your preferred destinations, you also have the option to combine your trips with the Saronic islands since they are both close to Athens. If you have booked tickets to head directly to the island, always consider the idea of hiring a motor yacht or speedboat that both have a fast cruising speed thus allowing you to visit the coastline and beaches on a one-day tour.
The name Cyclades comes from the greek word “Kuklos” which means circle, the islands encircle the sacred island of Delos where Apollos was born. The famous and bigger islands of the archipelago include Santorini, Mykonos, Milos, Ios, Naxos and Paros. Some of the lesser known yet smaller islands include Serifos, Sifnos, Folegandros, Kythnos, Tinos and Amorgos. Since the sea is close to the mainland, some of the earliest maritime routes and artistic expressions started in the Cyclades, meaning trade was a fundamental aspect in the Aegean Sea. Nowadays the whitewashes houses and rocks that are enclosed by the sea are a typical representation of Cyclades.The buildings are in perfect harmony with the natural environment and this has constantly brought visitors yearly who want to enjoy a great sailing vacation and admire the dramatic landscapes.
A yacht charter from Mykonos to Santorini is quite common but you can always plan your itinerary around the islands you prefer with a professional skipper who knows best. Mykonos and Santorini are in the top five most visited islands in Greece and are known for their typical whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches and windmills built by Venetians in the 16th century. Apart from the tranquil setting imposed by the buildings overlooking the towns and ports, Mykonos sets a vibrant social scene where many rich and famous arrive here on their mega yachts. You can be one of the many guests to hire a luxury yacht in Mykonos where you can have a night to remember by visiting the top nightclubs of the island. You also have the option to enjoy a one-day cruise to Delos where you can have a break for lunch on board your luxury charter yacht. Delos is great for visiting important historical sites and rounds a complete picture of ancient life, the fact that it is in the center of the Cyclades makes it a great stopover when sailing the Cyclades. If you have some extra time and want to take time recuperating from the nightlife in Mykonos, you can also head to Tinos or Symi where you can enjoy the traditional side of Greek culture and lifestyle. If you are visiting during peak months of August, then we recommend you to head to Symi in Finikas which offers good protection from the Meltemi winds, Tinos and Andros are the windiest islands in the Cyclades during this period.
Alternatively, if you choose to hire a yacht in Santorini you can head to Folegandros which has stunning beaches and the main town of Chora offers magnificent views of the vast Aegean Sea. You also have the option to go from Santorini to Milos on a day trip, both islands exhibit gorgeous landscapes due to the volcanic activity that occurred in the ancient years. Taking pictures on board of the multi-colored volcanic beaches including the white and black beaches of Santorini or the famous Sarakiniko beach of Milos will leave you breathless. For a 4-day charter experience you can go a little further and enjoy an adventurous journey to islands such as Kythnos which has numerous anchorages and beautiful serene bays that are also fairly untouched from tourism. Some great destinations in between include Sifnos which is famed for its pottery and known for it’s top cuisine in the entire complex. A little further you can reach Serifos which has been forever bound with the mythical Perseus, the bustling cobblestone streets by the harbour are a walking paradise. Finally if you wish to experience a weekly charter or more you can visit the islands in between Mykonos and Santorini, it is your choice where you begin your journey, you can even start from or disembark in Athens.
Your Cyclades island hopping itinerary can also start from Paros which is very well connected to a lot of neighbouring islands. The port of Naoussa sits in a picturesque bay and offers the largest fleet of fishing boats in the Cyclades, all types of yachts can depart from here. A lot of charterers head from the Port of Parikia to Naoussa So they can admire the golden sand beaches, hidden coves and beautiful caves. Do not miss the chance to visit the blue lagoon and Kolymbithres beach on a one-day cruise. From those renowned ports you can easily head to Ios, the island of Homer’s mother which has beautiful beaches and offers a vivid nightlife with exhilarating parties. You also have the option to go for sensational excursions to low populated or completely uninhabited islands such as Antiparos, Donousa, Heraklion, Kimolos, Koufonisia and Schinoussa. These islands offer an exotic escape, crystal clear waters and are ideal for a relaxing getaway. They are also easily accessible from the largest Cycladic island being Naxos which is a great family vacation place with its many beaches, restaurants and monuments including the temple of Apollo. A great way to finish off your trip is by visiting Amorgos which maintains an authentic greek character by welcoming visitors with great hospitality in a stylish atmosphere.
Beaches to explore in the Greek Cyclades
Every island in the Cyclades has unique beaches and traditional taverns ashore, so it is definitely worth rewarding yourself with a great swim followed by a Mediterranean cuisine underneath a magnificent sunset.
Mykonos: Rent a boat in Mykonos and explore the fine beaches of Platis Gialos and Psarou which are packed with restaurants. You can hop into Super paradise beach and Nammos beach bar which are known summer party spots that host big events and even concerts for the many celebrities that come here. Parking can become problematic in many beaches in Mykonos so renting a yacht will definitely save you lots of time and trouble.
Santorini: One can tour Perissa and Red beach to reach Santorini’s ‘Spiaggia Blanca’ (white beach) that can only be reached by sea and has consistently brought fans who love snorkeling. Santorini’s beaches are filled with white cliffs that surround the black pumice sand and have rocks with unique colors, Pori Beach on the east side of Santorini sets the example. It is more preferable to rent a small boat in Santorini to have access to many beaches at once in a shorter amount of time, you can depart from Vlychada Marina which has its own beautiful beach with calm waters.
Milos: Milos has seventy different beaches, Sarakiniko that lies in the northern coast of the island is the most popular one as it sits in a wonderful bay that is enclosed by a moonscape rock ( took its shape due to past volcanic activity). Kleftiko beach in the south is also an iconic beach with an impressive landscape and can only be reached by boat. Many people drop anchor with their catamarans or sailboats and dive into the crystal clear waters. If you rent a boat in Milos from the safe port of Adamas you can cruise into Papafragas beach which is only 15 minutes away and watch a mesmerizing sunset, you will also have the option to continue into Sarakiniko bay or visit Plaka Village a little further which has an amazing view of the stars.
Paros: Private boat cruises will take you to the beach of Tripiti or Kolymbithres which are the most famous in the north side of the island. If you want to head to Antiparos you can explore the fabulous waters of Glaronissi as you finally reach the blue lagoon which has crystal clear waters and is great for snorkeling.
Naxos, Koufonisia, Schinoussa: Rent a boat in Naxos near the capital, Chora and cruise into Agios Giorgios, Agios Prokopios and Agia Anna which are family-friendly and have stunning scenery. Psili ammos and Tsigouri beach have turquoise waters and are great beaches in Schinoussa for a relaxing adventure. Finally, the beaches of Pano and Kato Koufonisi are located on the south-east of Naxos and west of Amorgos and you will certainly not need a car to tour the beautiful beaches, boat rentals are available at Pano Koufonisi marina.
Ios: Lovers of the beach can cruise into Manganari beach which is great for water-sports and snorkeling, ideal for families because of the wide open bay and golden sand. Boats can depart from the main port and head to Chora, Mylopotas (a busy beach) and then to Manganari with comfort.
Agia Theodoti is an ideal beach for those who want to enjoy the crystal clear waters and reward themselves with an amazing meal close by the beach.
Folegandros: Boat rentals in Ios depart from Karavostasi Marina and can easily reach Folegandros which has the ideal setting for sailing, the unspoilt nature and tranquil waters of Agali beach and Katergo beach are very suitable for all travelers.
Before you climb aboard your Cyclades boat rental, you may want to know that the International Airport Eleftherios Venizelos from Athens offers flights to the Cycladic islands that have airports.
London, Munich and Venice are few international cities that fly directly to the Cyclades.
Rent a yacht in the Cyclades islands directly from the various marinas or harbours shown below, the islands that have airports are also listed below the marina.
Old Port in Chora, Mykonos: located in the western coast of Mykonos, several rocks are near the quays so when anchoring care should be taken, the North east has the best mooring spot but the new port in Mykonos offers better berthing sections.
Mykonos International Airport is 4km away from the main town Chora and is roughly 15 minutes away from the port by car/taxi.
New Port/Marina Tourlos, Mykonos: located 20km from the old port and has a 700 m length quay, the best berthing section is in the inner north side of the quay. Has good restaurants at a walking distance and the marina can accommodate up to 220 yachts at a length of 25m. Provides water and electricity supplies as well.
Vlychada Marina, Santorini: distance is about 20 minutes from Fira Village. It is a great marina and offers the safest anchorage in Santorini. However, a few berths are available at a shallow depth of 2-3m. This is not an issue since a lot of sailing vessels can just dock for an overnight only.
Santorini Thira International Airport is roughly a 10min drive from Vlychada marina.
Karavostasi Marina, Ios: Has a maximum length of 60m for yachts but gives immediate access to the Aegean sea and offers water and electricity supplies. Excellent shelter from the Meltemi.
Marina Naxos: offers 70 berths in total with a max length of 20m and a depth of 3.5m. Visitors will have access to water and electricity and amenities such as shops, bars and restaurants in close proximity.
Naxos Airport is 4km southwest from the island’s capital, Chora and is 10 min away by car.
Naoussa Marina/ Harbour, Paros: provides excellent shelter and has numerous shops and tavernas in the town. Although it can get crowded in July-August from both visiting boats and ferries, there is an excellent anchorage in Ag. Ioannis Cove on the N side of the bay which is very well sheltered. The marina has a berthing capacity of 70 yachts, fuel is available and there is a good bus service to Parika, the capital of the island. The south-east quay side is affected by the swell from the strong winds at times so make sure you moor alongside in calm weather.
Paros National Airport is roughly 30 min away from Naoussa Marina, if you want a more convenient port then head to Port of Parikia just 10 minutes away, also offering berths for all kinds of vessels.
Adamas/Adamantas Marina, Milos: great shelter from the W-E winds, excellent service with specialized staff at the dockside and facilities such as free-Wi-Fi and showers are available. Offers 50 berths at a depth of 5m.
Milos Airport is roughly 10 minutes from the marina by bus or by car ( 4.7km away). The flight from Athens to Milos is 40 min.
Marina Ermoupoli, Syros: Ermoupoli is the cosmopolitan main town and the capital of the Cycladic islands. The marina is active 24 hours a day and provides berthing for about 100 boats at a length of 40ft. Protected from all the weather conditions except the S-E winds.
Syros Aiport is 4 min away from the center and 2km from the marina. Flight from Athens is 30 min long.
Platis Gialos Marina, Sifnos: one of the most protected marinas in the Cyclades islands. It is very easy to berth here and has all the services and facilities you need.
The fastest ferry route between Athens and Cyclades is Lavrio to Kea which takes about 1 hour long
Anchorages spots for yachts in the Cyclades:
Megali Ammos, Mykonos: A large bay that is close to the town. An occasional swell may come in but usually in the north quadrant. Has a popular beach where many can relax and swim in the bay.
Rhenia islet: Has a great and quiet bay for a trip to Delos, good holding but make sure you keep to the middle to avoid the fishing buoy on the entrance.
Aliki Harbour, Paros: A small fishing harbor on the SW corner of Paros offering a quiet anchorage and good shelter year-round. The holding is good if you anchor in the sand. You can even land a dinghy in the tiny inner harbor. Aliki is close to the airport and so boat hire in Paros is also recommended here.
Marmara Bay, Paros: A well sheltered bay, open to the east coast of Paros. The holding is good and has depths of 5m. The village of Marmara is a 20 min walk away.
Ormos Mylopolamos, Ios: A great alternative to the main Chora harbor in Ios and much quieter. The holding in the bay is good at a depth of 8m. There is even a dinghy quay in the SE corner by the taverna close to the resort. Supplies can be obtained from the shops or resort.
Oia, Santorini: the anchorage here has reasonable shelter from the meltemi with about 8 buoys and you can view the Caldera from the cliffs in the town and admire the sunset.
Provatas Bay, Milos: in the south coast of the island which offers many room for yachts of all sizes, has good protection from the northern Meltemi winds.
Megas Bay, Syros: has 3 small bays where the east has the best holding with calm conditions and shelter from the south-westerlies.
Vari Bay, Syros: a large bay with clear water and good shelter, fishing harbor ashore where few smaller vessels tend to anchor.
Faros, Sifnos: You can anchor in the fishing harbor which has good holding and a great taverna above the small bay.
Myrsini cove, Schinoussa: a large narrow bay on the west coast of the island. Watch out for the ferries and moor alongside past the jetty. The anchorage is sheltered from all directions except southerlies. Some beaches, tavernas and shops are ashore.
Pori Bay, Koufonisia: a semi circular bay sheltered very well from the winds. A fine beach and a couple of tavernas are also ashore. In the bay to the north you can go snorkeling in caves.
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