8 Day Cyclades Islands Charter Itinerary - Santorini to Kusadasi
Ideal for Summer Season
When you sail around the Greek isles, you follow in the wake of millennia of travelers. Starting with such legendary figures as Odysseus, sailing around these rugged islands amongst deep blue waters has been a romantic, idealized venture. As you island-hop from ancient cities to ruined temples, from cyprus to olive groves, from sandy beaches to rocky cliff walls, from lively waterfront towns to lonely mountains, you are tracing the steps of those before you, rediscovering the same lands that have been known for much of human history. There’s a reason this part of the world has remained so beloved and magical for so long.
- Day 1
The celebrated Santorini stands strong and majestic, guarding well the secrets of Atlantis, the lost city. Santorini is different from the rest of the Cyclades group by virtue of its geological structure, which is the result of the eruption of a now inactive volcano for which the island itself owes its very own existence. The landscape is extremely imposing on the western side of the island, where crisp white villas with cerulean roofs perch on top of gigantic, steep rocks that plunge abruptly into the sea. In contrast to the sheer cliffs on the west, the coast on the eastern side of the island has endless stretches of beach with sand and colourful rocks.
- Day 2
Anchor in the south of Ios where you will spend the day either swimming or enjoying watersports before a stay in the port overnight.
Ios is famous for its lively nightlife, which can be experienced in the lively beach resort of Mylopotas and in the harbor Ormos. In addition to fun, Ios boasts many beautiful sights for its visitors. The coastline of this predominantly mountainous island is festooned with a multitude of picturesque little coves and a myriad of quiet and peaceful places. Combined with the innumerable churches and chapels, olive-clad hills and vineyards, crystal-clear air and sea, magnificent sandy beaches and excellent tourist facilities, Ios attracts a great deal of visitors to the island.
- Day 3
Cruise through the “Mini Cyclades” just south of Naxos Island. At night, make a stopover in either Parakias, the main port of Paros, or in “Naoussa” in the north of the island. If it is Naoussa then anchor in a sheltered part of the bay and tender into the port.
The island of Naxos was a cultural centre of classical Greece and of Byzantium. Venetian and Frankish influences have left their mark. Naxos is more fertile than most of the other islands and produces olives, grapes, figs, citrus fruit, corn and potatoes. Mt Zeus (1004m; also known as Mt Zas or Zefs) is the Cyclades’ highest peak and is the central focus of the island’s mountainous interior, in which you find enchanting villages such as Halki and Apiranthos. There are numerous fine beaches and the island is a wonderful place to explore on foot, as many old paths between villages, churches and other sights still survive.
Paros is one of the most popular destinations for good reason: exquisite sandy beaches, crystalline waters, traditional villages, lovely chapels, and exciting nightlife. The main town, Parikia, is one of the most cosmopolitan areas of the island. Visit the monastery of “Panagia Ekatontapiliani” which means “with the hundred gates.” Out of them only 99 have been found. Try and locate the 100th. Paros also offers great landscaping and superb swimming locations.
- Day 4
The next morning you will head to Mykonos for the day and night. There is a good beach to anchor off here in the day and in port for the night.
Perhaps the most cosmopolitan of all the Greek isles, Mykonos has an international reputation of impeccable beaches, friendly locals, fresh cuisine, and of course, a buzzing nightlife that attracts glamorous crowds of celebrities, intellects and well-known artists that enjoy
partying until dawn. After a day of exploring the main town walking amongst the gorgeous white Grecian villas, take to the night scene so your holiday can really begin. Dine at delicious luxury restaurants like Bakalo, Avra and Gola and after, head to the multitude of bars and clubs in the area and party until dawn under the mesmerizing Grecian moonlight.
- Day 5
For those interested in Archaeological ruins, a stop in Delos right off Mykonos can be arranged for a tour. Depart after lunch for Leros and stay overnight at anchor off the main town or at an excellent anchorage to the north of the island.
According to Greek Mythology, Delos was the birthplace of Artemis and Apollo and today, this 3km long uninhabited island is one vast archaeological site. Its remarkable monuments attract throngs of visitors who come to pay homage to a place that was once the cultural and religious centre of the Aegean. For the historical bunch, a visit to this island is essential.
Leros is situated between Patmos, Lipsi, and Kalimnos in the Dodecanese islands. Leros, like most of the Greek islands, consists of small fertile valleys sandwiched between rolling green hills, deep coves and pretty beaches. The capital of Leros is Agia Marina: a collection of little white houses, neoclassical buildings and narrow alleyways. Laki, Alinda, Xirokambos, and Partheni are charming seaside villages and the perfect settings to go fishing. You’ll find wonderful swimming and the perfect atmosphere to relax at the beaches of Agia Marina, Pandeli, Vromolitho, Alinda, Laki, Merikia, and Xirokambos. There are many picturesque tavernas and chic restaurants on every beach. In the evenings, bars, discos and nightclubs with local bouzouki music await you at Panteli, Agia Marina and Lakki.
- Day 6
The next day, head onwards to Leros, Arki & Lipso. You will then cuise onwards to Patmos where you will spend the night.
Arki is an island situated in the Dodecanese on the border of Greece and Turkey, and about 75% of the terrain is still uninhabited. The few locals that are settled on the island live day-to-day by fishing, farming and breeding animals. It’s most famous beach, Tiganakia, has crystal clear water and is surrounded by rocks, making it possible to sunbathe as well as swim even with strong winds.
Lipsi is a small group of islets in the Dodecanese, located between Patmos and Leros. Lipsi has relaxing beaches, the most famous being Lientou and Kambos, a rocky landscape and outstanding natural beauty. This tiny island has a well-kept natural port lined by many fish taverns and authentic restaurants.
Patmos (Paht-moss) is the northernmost Dedecanese island, and has an appeal to it like no other. Religious spirituality, history, and beautiful beaches are what bring it’s diverse visitors to Patmos. In AD 95 John the Devine was exiled from Ephesus and sent to Patmos by the pagan Roman Emperor Domitian. Entrenched in a cave, this is where he wrote the Book of Revelations. The book’s introduction states that its author, John, was on Patmos when he was given (and recorded) a vision from Jesus. Early Christian tradition identified this writer John of Patmos as John the Apostle. Given the island’s spiritual importance, it is now a pilgrimage for both Orthodox and Western Christians alike. Indeed, Patmos is, without a doubt, one of the best places to experience Orthodox Easter. In 1088 a monastery was built to commemorate St. John in the capital city of Chora. It looks more like a mighty castle than a monastery however, as Pirate raids required strong fortifications. Visitors can see the Cave of the Apocalypse where Saint John is said to have received his Revelation as well as the Monastery, both of which have been declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.
- Day 7
On the seventh day you will move on from Patmos and proceed to Kusadasi.
The bustling resort port of Kusadası isn’t much to see on its own; spend an afternoon on the quieter beaches just off the main strip, shop for local handicrafts and Turkish designer clothes in the historic center neighborhood of Kaleiçi, and enjoy cocktails in the Ottoman-built Kismet Hotel overlooking the Aegean before ditching the city in favor of the numerous scenic towns and historic sights in the area.
- Day 8
Spend the day exploring Kusadasi.
Half an hour outside Kusadası, the Roman city of Ephesus (Efes in Turkish) is the most renowned of the neighboring sights. One of the best-preserved Roman cities on the eastern Mediterranean, Ephesus was Rome’s major outpost in the region, and you could easily spend a day wandering the wide streets of the excavated city, from the colourful hillside mansions to the towering Libraryof Celsus. A guide is essential to the experience, and the best may even be able to get you into the as-yet-unopened excavation areas.
Pay a visit to the town of Selçuk, the gateway to Ephesus and home to the sixth-century Basilica of St. John, the apostle’s reputed final resting place, and the acclaimed Selçuk Köftecisi, whose veal meatballs have drawn visitors for decades. Continue through the picturesque countryside to the town of Sirinçe, whose rolling hills, white-washed stone buildings, and olive groves prompted Oprah to call it, “the Tuscany of Turkey.” Spend the night at the charming Güllü Konaklari hotel and dine on borek and fresh produce at Arsipel restaurant.
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*All distances are approximate