Cruising to the Cyclades
“One of Greece’s top three cultural holidays 2014” - The Telegraph
“One of the top 10 cultural holidays in Greece 2015” - The Telegraph
Join us for the ultimate Greek islands tour and explore the astonishing historical wealth and natural beauty of the Aegean Sea in spring when the sites are carpeted with wild-flowers. Clear blue waters, vast island-dotted horizons and a stunning range of ancient and medieval treasures combine to make Cruising to the Cyclades the quintessential Greek islands experience.
This two-week cruise through the Dodecanese and Cyclades archipelagos includes over a dozen Aegean islands in its itinerary. They are a carefully chosen mix of the world-famous (such as glorious Santorini, laid-back Kos, mountainous Naxos and UNESCO-listed Delos) and rarely visited secrets of the Aegean (such as remote Astypalaia, picturesque Nisyros and tiny Anafi), each one with its own distinctive character and beauty.
This region has been a crucible of history from the very earliest times. Its archaeological sites range from whole Bronze Age cities to Classical temples, Roman towns, Byzantine monasteries and Crusader castles, as well as countless traditional villages and towns. Our expert guides will bring them all to life, and as the islands glide by you will travel through the pages of history.
Avoiding the hectic crowds and the hustle and bustle of conventional island-hopping, you will travel in style aboard a beautiful and traditional gulet. The delicious meals prepared by the on-board chef will be a constant highlight of your journey, as will the many lunches and dinners ashore, all carefully chosen to showcase authentic Greek cuisine and traditional hospitality.
On this tour you will feel the excitement of discovery, crossing wide open seas or narrow straits to drop anchor at a new island, be it in a bustling port town, a tranquil seaside village or a peaceful cove, and there will be plenty of time to relax, swim, snorkel or kayak, or just lie back and watch the ever-changing island scenery.
Why not join us for a unique experience of exploration and relaxation, a perfect mix of culture and nature, in a truly epic maritime setting?
Day 1: Our gulet is about 30 minutes from Kos Airport in Kos Harbour. Welcome drinks and dinner.
Day 2: We make an early crossing to Pothia, the harbour of Kalymnos, where we visit the Early Christian church of “Christ in Jerusalem” with its elaborate mosaics, and the archaeological museum’s extraordinary collection of Classical Greek sculpture. In the afternoon, we drop by the Turkish harbour of Turgutreis for cabotage formalities before returning to a cove off Kalymnos.
Day 3: Wonderful maritime scenery abounds as we make the long westward crossing to the picturesque harbour of Katapola on the stupendously rugged island of Amorgos in the Cyclades.
Day 4: On Amorgos, we visit the ancient hilltop city of Minoa, the striking Chora (island capital), and the Chozoviotissa monastery, perilously clinging to a cliff-face overlooking the Aegean. Weather permitting, we continue our cruise northwestwards, towards the famous island of Mykonos.
Day 5: We make an early morning crossing to Delos. One of Greece’s most important archaeological sites, the islet is nearly entirely covered in ancient remains. As the birthplace of Apollo, Delos was a place of great sanctity, which attracted the wealth that made it a major commercial centre. Its shrines, theatre and other public buildings, its streets, squares and houses and its rich array of public sculpture make for a fascinating visit. In the afternoon, we continue to Naxos, the largest of the Cycladic islands.
Day 6: In the morning, we explore the best of the medieval Naxos town and castle, including its superb collection of prehistoric Cycladic figurines. Later, we head inland to visit the 1500-year old church of the Panagia Drosiani and the ancient marble quarries at Flerio, where unfinished 2600-year-old statues lie as if asleep on the ground. Back in the harbour, there is a chance for a sunset visit to the famous Portara, the huge marble gateway to a long-lost temple.
Day 7: We cross to pretty Paroikia on the island of Paros. Here, we visit the stunning Ekatonpyliani Church, one of the most important Byzantine monuments in the Aegean, and the local archaeological museum, illustrating the use of the famed Parian marble for sculpture.
Day 8: Onwards to Santorini, where we anchor within the enormous volcanic caldera, one of the most astonishing sights in the Mediterranean. In its glamorous capital, Fira, we visit two museums dedicated to the island’s extraordinary Bronze Age civilisation and enjoy the unforgettable views.
Day 9: An excursion to the miraculously-preserved Bronze Age town at Akrotiri, the Pompeii of the Aegean, followed by a visit to a traditional winery. In the afternoon, we have time to relax in the stunningly pretty village of Oia.
Day 10: Conditions permitting, we drop anchor at the small, rarely visited and unspoiled island of Anafi, with its single village and a Byzantine monastery built over an imposing ancient temple of Apollo, before continuing to a beautiful cove on the island of Astypalaia.
Day 11: On Astypalaia, we take a leisurely walk through the stunning chora, one of the most beautiful in the Aegean, with its grand Venetian castle offering breath-taking views across the blue sea.
Day 12: We make an early crossing to Nisyros. After exploring the labyrinthine port town of Mandraki with its excellent archaeological museum, we have lunch in the tiny village of Emporio, perched dramatically on the rim of the volcanic caldera, before visiting the awe-inspiring volcanic crater of Stefanos. In the late afternoon, we admire the superb ancient fortification of Paliokastro.
Day 13: We return to Kos harbour. Here we visit the Crusader Castle and stroll through Kos Town, a beautiful and beguiling mix of ancient, medieval and modern.
Day 14: In the morning, we visit the Casa Romana, one of the best-preserved Roman private homes in Greece, and the island's excellent archaeological museum with its rich collection of ancient sculpture. In the afternoon, we complete our tour by exploring the grand hillside sanctuary of Asklepios, one of the most famous healing centres of the ancient world. There is a final chance to shop, snack or just relax in the bustling town square.
Day 15: Transfer to Kos airport about 30 minutes away.
Arrival and Departure Information
Arrival Airport - Kos Island International Airport (Hippocrates)
Departure Airport - Kos Island International Airport (Hippocrates)
We plan for the gulet to be in Kos Harbour (approx. 30 minutes from Kos Airport) from around 17.00. You are more than welcome to arrive earlier to drop off your bags, but please be aware that the crew will be busy cleaning and tidying making everything ready for your group so you may not be able to settle in to your cabin. If you arrive at the gulet after 17:00, we will do our best to enable you to join the tour at a convenient time and place. Departure time can be subject to change depending on weather, harbour or other conditions.
Disembarkation in Kos Harbour is around 09:00. We will arrange local transfers from Kos Airport and to Kos Airport on the first and last day of the tour.
Booking Flights If you are staying in or connecting via Athens then the easiest way to get to and from the gulet is to fly. There are a number of airlines that offer domestic flights in Greece such as Aegean Airlines and Olympic Air. Both Airlines have a wide selection of flights on these days. The cheapest way to book flights is directly with the airline online.
Please note: Flights are subject to change. Please contact the airline for exact details.
If you prefer to book with a travel agent, we are happy to recommend specialists in a number of countries around the world, please contact our office for more details.
Travel Insurance Travel insurance is a requirement of our booking conditions and we recommend you investigate the options thoroughly to make sure that your trip is properly covered. Please be advised some insurers may require you to take out a policy within 15-20 days of booking your holiday to receive all of their insurance benefits.
Visas A Visa is required to pass through Turkish customs during the cruise. Visas are easily obtained online at eVisa and must be purchased before you travel.
Citizens of European Union or Schengen Treaty member states need no visa for Greece, those from the United States, Canada and Australia do not need to apply for a visa to visit Greece for trips of less than 90 days duration.
Athens, Kos and the Greek islands If you are planning to stay in Athens before or after your tour we have included below links to more information and things to see and do. If you intend to add time on Kos or any other Greek island, we are happy to offer information and advice.
Nature of the Cruising to the Cyclades itinerary
Cruising and Itinerary: This remarkable cruise has a character very different to that of most of our other gulet cruises. We will be crossing some stretches of wide open sea between the islands and covering considerable distances on some of the days. In so doing you’ll gain a wonderful appreciation of the nature and beauty of this part of the Aegean, a thoroughfare for sailors since the Bronze Age. There will be some early starts so we can make passage in the early morning before the wind picks up in the afternoon. While the average travelling time will be longer than our normal coastal gulet cruises, there will be opportunities to swim each day (schedule and weather permitting).
As with all of our gulet cruises, we have spent a great deal of time crafting the itinerary to be as good as it can be, but we are travelling aboard a boat and may need to make changes according to the weather and the captain’s advice.
Overnights: Compared with our coastal gulet cruises in Turkey and Italy, where we tend to spend a good number of nights moored out in isolated bays, on this trip we will be spending more nights in harbour on the islands. This means you’ll have the chance to explore not only as part of the expert led outings, you’ll also be able to go ashore and wander in the mornings and evenings when we are tied up in the picturesque Greek harbour towns.
Food: The boat is a Turkish gulet with a Turkish crew including a chef who will be cooking up wonderful meals throughout your cruise. As such the food served on board will be traditional ‘Turkish’ or Eastern Mediterranean. We will be going ashore to eat authentic Greek food in family run tavernas at intervals along the way and your tour leader will ensure you’ll have the chance to sample a good many of the local Greek delicacies of the islands. The gulet will be stocked with Greek wine and spirits and your guide, Heinrich, something of a Greek wine connoisseur, will introduce you to some of the best beverages (alcoholic and non-alcoholic) the Greek islands have to offer.