Cyclades Islands Luxury Yacht Charter Planning Guide
The Cyclades Islands Luxury Yacht Charter Overview - Top Destinations and Places of Interest on your Greece Yacht Charter
The Cyclades islands represent the most sought after destination in Greece, and one of the most popular places for luxury yacht charters worldwide. The Cyclades are an archipelago in the middle of the Aegean Sea, arranged into 2 layers or “semi circles”; the outer ring, closer to Athens, and the “inner ring” further away from Athens. Kea, Kythnos, Sifnos, Serifos and Milos islands comprise the outer ring, while Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santrorini are the most popular of the inner Cylades.
Mykonos and Santorini are the top attractions and their reputation for glamour and charm proceeds them. Mykonos is a desirable celebrity hotspot, similar to St Tropez and Ibiza, while Santorini is adorned with some of the best vistas worldwide. Furthermore, there are a multitude of islands in the Cyclades, which offer a plethora of dramatic cliffs, charming whitewashed towns, secluded coves, beaches, and bays to explore. One thing that the various Cyclades islands share in common is the renowned architecture of white and blue buildings, and the magnificent sunsets.
Cyclades Crewed Yacht Charter Types
Greece has the second biggest yacht charter fleet in the Med, after the French Riviera. All yachts are based in Athens, allowing fast access to the Cyclades islands while at the same time offering protection in case of Meltemi winds in July or August. There are motor yachts for all tastes and sizes, from mega yachts of 50+ meters to beautiful 70-80ft luxury motor yachts. With an average cruising speed of 20 knots for a semi displacement motor yacht, you can reach the “outer Cyclades” (Kea, Kythnos and Sifnos islands) in 2-3 hours cruising from Athens. Normally you will spend the night in either a nice cove or a port and make a fresh start the next day for Mykonos or the Central Cyclades. The advantages of a luxury motor yacht are the speed (which allows for fast island hopping), the high-end service and the overall glamour, ofcourse the fuel cost inevitably costs more.
Catamarans are in many ways as good and economy-wise even better than motor yachts. New, modern luxury catamarans are extremely spacious, offer all the luxury amenities found in motor yachts and have great crews (on the biggest crewed catamarans the overall service is comparable to motor yachts of the same size and cost). An important reason for the extreme popularity of crewed catamarans is the extremely low fuel expense, which however is related to the low speed, as a catamaran cruises at 10 knots. Overall, luxury crewed catamarans are extremely popular and as they are limited in numbers, they get booked very well in advance, so we recommend you getting in touch to get the ball rolling!
Luxury sailing yachts are the epitome of graciousness, and the Cyclades are their ideal cruising ground, despite the blowy winds! Sailing yachts have a very determined clientele as they represent the archetypical type of wind-propelled vessel. This however does not mean that crewed sailing yachts are less luxurious or service offered onboard is lower than in motor yachts or catamarans. In our opinion, there is nothing more exhilarating than cruising between the Cyclades under full sail; the wind, the sun, the lack of noise and the magnificent horizon, full of closer or distant islands create a magical atmosphere.
The only place in the Cyclades where luxury day charters are offered is the island of Mykonos. Mykonos represents the epitome of the high-end Med chic. With famous beach clubs, enjoy a lovely day at the sea onboard a luxury motor yacht, cruising to the mega-popular Southern beaches. Stop for a drink, lunch, swim or check out the action in Ornos, Psarrou or Platis Gialos bays, where the best spots are Nammos, Scorpios, Kalua, Paranga, Paradise, Cavo Paradiso and Super Paradise. All at the same level to the best French Riviera beach clubs-restaurants.
The Island of Kea is a magnet for sailors as it provides some of the most difficult and interesting wind conditions around. The area between Kea and the Attica peninsular known as Cavo Doro is characterised by a melting pot of different wind streams, none of which are blowing in the same direction. Not only this but this same area is a mecca for divers and snorkelling enthusiasts as it features many ship wrecks – some believed to be the Greek ships that sunk on their way back from Troy, while others we know for certain such as wreck of the Britannic, the sister ship to the mighty Titanic. If you are chartering in this area, guests can enjoy the Tale Festival, an event when fabulists from all over the world come and delight children and adults alike with their stories. There is also a plethora of cultural events that draw crowds at Ioulis between 1st – 19th of August.
If you feel like really letting your hair down, Mykonos is the place to visit. Come and rub shoulders with the jet set and the celebrities that often frequent this buzzing island. Why not go to one of the internationally famous clubs and bars such as Cavo Paradiso, Space or Astra? If you prefer a more laid back atmosphere where you can enjoy the serenity and simplicity of Mykonos life, then spend a day at Scorpios, a special beach club with an amazing restaurant and stunning coastal views.
Yet Mykonos is not just known for its nightlife. There are wide expanses of white sandy beaches or the beautiful ‘Little Venice’ to relax in and soak up the sun. It is also known as a paradise for water sports with surfing and windsurfing favourites here. If you like to explore below the waves then be sure to head for the southeastern shore of the island to see Anna II, a shipwreck from 1995 that plays host to an array of marine life. The nearby island of Dragonisi with its caves and underwater rock formations also makes for a memorable dive!
Paros is considered one of the most beautiful islands in the Mediterranean, its whitewashed houses and traditional cuisine that are indicative of the quiet, peaceful Greek atmosphere that can so easily revitalise the body and mind. Wander through the old Venetian port of Naoussa and take a table at Mario's where you can enjoy deliciously sophisticated Mediterranean cuisine. Watch the sunset from the terrace of Sommoripa Consolato with beautiful views and fabulous cocktails, this is sure to be a night to remember.
Its sun-kissed beaches and white rock formations lure sailors in from all of the Aegean, especially to Kolymbíthres beach where the natural clay acts like your very own spa. Just off the coast, the stunning islet of Antíparos is well worth a visit, as is the 15th century Venetian castle or the cave of Antíparos and its incredible stalagmite and stalactite formations. For diving enthusiasts, The Blue Dome make a fascinating dive with amazing lighting and beautiful anenomes dotted about or ju,mp in at The Doors, where colourful corals and thriving sealife will amaze you.
Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades, famous for its high mountains, fertile valleys, traditional villages, Venetian castles and stunning beaches. While not as popular as it neighbour Mykonos, it has delightful and more relaxed feel of its own. Naxos is well know for its wine, and many cultural events and traditional fairs such as the ‘Naxos Festival’, the famous ‘Wine Festival’ or the ‘Fisherman’s Feast’.
For those who want to make a splash off the coast of Naxos, the island offers some amazing snorkelling and diving and the oportunity to explore countless reefs as well as two plane wrecks. The World War One German Araldo plane is only 11m deep and makes the perfect easy dive or a great spot to snorkel from above. For one of the greatest dives in the Mediterranean, be sure to visit Graviera Reef with its small caves and canyons filled with an abundance of marine life, this is an unforgettable dive.
Ios is one of the many stunning islands that make up the Cyclades archipelago. It is a hilly island situated halfway between Naxos and Santorini and though just 18km long and 10km wide, boasts nearly 75km of beautiful white sandy beaches and turquoise coastlines for the charterer to enjoy. It has been inhabited since the early Cycladic period and is celebrated for its exceptional conservation efforts, particularly on Skarkos hill.
For a romantic evening meal and spectacular views of nearby islands, be sure to visit Ios Club Restaurant, located in Hora and offering everything from tasty cocktails to ana amazing Greek dining experiencewith a wonderfully sophisticated ambiance.
The blue flag beaches of Mylopotas, Manganari and Yialos are the ones to look out for as you cruise on by or stop for traditional dishes such as moussaka, souvlaki, oven baked lamb or pastitsio. And with over 40 bars and clubs, this islands nightlife also rivals anywhere in Greece!
One of the southernmost islands that make up the Cyclades, Santorini is well worth the visit and perhaps the most well known of the Greek Islands. The island curves around an active volcano and boasts some of the most impressive natural features in the world. The multi-coloured cliffs capped with white bungalows, spectacular sunsets, intriguing history, vibrant atmosphere and incredible beaches are a potent cocktail that draws guests from all over the world.
Santorini is a key stop on your Cyclades charter - reserve time to explore the amazing cliff top town of Oia, hike the volcano, swim in the hot pools and relax on white, red or black sandy beaches. For an amazing evening dining experience, try Koukoumavlos where fine dining, breath taking views and Mediterranean fusion cuisine will make for a fabulous evening.
Milos is the south westernmost island in the Cyclades. Its violent birth as a volcanic island has endowed it with a stunning and unique landscape characterised by spectacular rock formations and caves, thermal springs such as Kanáva, Alykí, and Provatá, and underwater caves that truly are a divers delight!
A stop in Milos on your Cyclades charter might include exploring the early Christian catacombs, sampling some delicious watermelon pies or bonbons with white pumpkin, and a stop at one of the 80 beaches at your disposal – perhaps Kléftiko, which can only be reached by boat.
Sifnos is a delightful island located in the western part of the Cyclades. Whether you are looking for supreme natural beauty, a moment to absorb its traditionally slow paced atmosphere or a chance to let your hair down a bit more, Sifnos has it all. The Monastery of Chrissopighi, the picturesque village of Kastro and the chapel of Kastro is a must for those who feel like exploring the history and culture of this wonderful island.
For a picturesque beach setting, sail for Chryssopigi, where this small and quiet bay offers beautiful clear waters for swimming and one of the best taverns on the island nearby for drinks and food of a traditional feel! In the evening, head to the centre of town for a more exuberant atmosphere and a great bar called Cosi. Here you will find fantastic drinks made with traditional Greek spirits and juicy exotic fruits.
In order to help you plan your charter, we have created several great itineraries that you may want to follow, or use as a a basic guide and amend to your tastes.
The Cyclades Islands enjoy unique micro climatic and geological conditions: fresh, local vegetables, fish and crustaceans from the surrounding seas, local meats and a unique cheese tradition combine with some of the most renown Greek wines (mainly of the Assyrtiko and Malvasia grapes).
The very proximity of these islands, the interesting sailing conditions, and the unbelievable beauty on offer makes this region one of the most desirable chartering destinations in the world. Boatbookings offers years of experience sailing in these islands and personal knowledge of the yachts we offer. We can find you the ideal charter yacht, be it bareboat, crewed, sail, motor or catamaran.