The Aegean Sea is not only beautiful but also very vast. It offers many options for week-long (but of course also longer) cruises. In the previous article, we looked far to the southeast and visited the world-famous Santorini (called Thira in Greek).
So today, for a change, we're setting our course towards the east, with the island of Ikaria as our final destination. We’ll enjoy a sporty and exploratory cruise with longer crossings (including one overnight cruise), visit historical sites, and see many natural attractions.
Athens, the capital of Greece, will be our starting point once again, as it offers excellent transport links and a wide range of tourist and cultural activities. The offer of charter boats is also more than rich, as are the possibilities of catering and all ship services.
Suggested 6-Day Itinerary Around Mykonos
Most people have Greece on their bucket list. We have charted a path across the captivating Mediterranean seas. Here is our recommended itinerary:
- Day 1 & 2: Athens - Ikaria (130 nm)
- Day 3 : Ikaria - Patmos (40 nm)
- Day 4 : Patmos - Mykonos (60 nm)
- Day 5 : Mykonos- Kea (70 nm)
- Day 6: Kea - Athens (50 nm)
Sailing Route From Athens - Recommendations
If you plan to sail the Athenian coastline, you are in for a treat! Here is an in-depth itinerary with suggestions of the best spots to look out for, where to anchor your choice of boat and more! Let’s dive in:
Day 1 & 2: Athens - Ikaria (130 NM), Sunday-Monday
The first leg of the cruise will be the most challenging - at least in terms of length. We have about 130 NM to sail, so we should expect 24-28 hours of continuous sailing in normal conditions. After we have picked the boat on Saturday and stocked up on groceries to last us through the upcoming week (it will be possible to replenish groceries with fresh ingredients or anything else we have forgotten along the way), we will leave Athens early on Sunday morning, ideally before sunrise.
The Initial Challenge
The first part of the cruise is southeast along the Attica coast. On the starboard side, we will maintain a reasonable distance from the segregated sailing zone leading to Piraeus, the giant port northwest of Athens. Depending on the current winds, we will choose the most suitable detour around the islet of Fléves and similarly avoid the island of Patroklos a few miles beyond. Our route turns east here, and the remains of Poseidon's temple, god of the sea, can be seen on a high cliff from afar. We will save our visit for the return journey.
We circumnavigate Cape Sounion and continue on an easterly course towards the island of Kea. If conditions are favourable, we will gradually change course to the northeast, leaving Kea on our starboard side. After circumnavigating it, we can take a direct course east into the narrow strait between the islands of Andros and Tinos. We shall undoubtedly approach it after dark. To get a good orientation, we will use the lighthouse on one of the small islands at the eastern edge of the strait (Fl 10s 16 M). As we approach the channel, we must be careful - large transport ships pass through the channel in both directions, which we must avoid.
After passing through the strait, it is high time to send the part of the crew that’s not currently on duty to bed. The rest of the night leg of the voyage is spent on the high seas, and some rest is also needed.
On Monday morning, we arrive at the port of Evdilos on the north coast of Ikaria. The marina has a massive newly constructed concrete breakwater, but shortly after its completion, it was damaged by one of the relatively numerous local earthquakes. We walk around it at a fair distance and land sideways by the pier on the south side of the inner marina. We secure the boat and enjoy a sumptuous breakfast at one of the restaurants. It is also necessary to stop at the port police (based in the town’s streets on the hill above the marina).
After a short rest, it’s time to go sightseeing. We find a car rental office right in the marina, and after a few minutes, we drive along the local narrow roads westwards along the coast. Our first destination is the beautiful beach “Paralia Nas”, about 20 km away. An ancient temple dedicated to the goddess Artemis stood nearby until the 19th century. It was then used as material for the construction of the local church. Today, there's nothing left. The bay was also an important natural port. We can take a break on the beach and walk around its wild surroundings. If the weather is good, we will use our visit for swimming.
Refreshed, we set off on our journey. This time we’ll go inland to the island’s southern coast. On the way, we cross the main east-west ridge (the highest hill is over 1000m) on a mostly unpaved road and descend back to the sea in wild serpentine descents. We stop at the beautiful stone beach “Paralia Seychelles”, with crystal clear water, which is usually much more relaxed than the one on the island’s north side.
As evening falls, we will return to the harbour where we left the boat and can have dinner at one of the local tavernas. Finally, the 6-Day Itinerary around Greece has turned into a reality.
Day 3: Ikaria - Patmos (40 NM), Tuesday
We have a relatively short stretch on Tuesday, but since we want to go sightseeing, we’ll leave early in the morning if possible. The journey will take us first along the coast of Ikaria, further east to its end. We will circumnavigate it and head south into the narrow strait between the island of Thimena and the Fournoi archipelago.
Leaving it behind, we adjust our course slightly to the east to circumnavigate the east coast of Patmos and enter its deep bay with the port of Skala. Large cruise ships, sometimes with thousands of tourists on board, often dock in and in front of the harbour. You have to be very careful when you manoeuvre around them. The port is visited by large and fast ferries that create connections with the surrounding islands and the mainland (Piraeus).
The yacht pier can be found behind the commercial port at the end of the bay on the western side. Mooring is done in the traditional Greek way, and the stern is turned to the pier, and the anchor is dropped from the bow. When dropping anchor, be careful not to cross the anchor chains of nearby boats, as it can be pretty busy here.
Right by the anchorage, we can find a car rental, and after a few minutes, we can head to the local landmark - St. John’s Monastery. Its high grey walls, rising on a hill above the harbour, are easily visible from a distance. On the way, we can stop at the cave where, according to legend, St John lived and wrote his apocalyptic revelations. Three iconic windmills with views of the harbour far below will provide the next stop. The fortified monastery complex offers a walk through its narrow streets, a tour of the rich museum and spectacular views of the surrounding area.
Afterwards, we can enjoy the bustle of this tourist centre on our way back to the boat.
Day 4: Patmos - Mykonos (70 NM), Wednesday
In the morning, it is necessary (at least for part of the crew) to get some sleep again. Since the daily route is 70 NM, we should start around 4 am in order to reach the finish by 6 pm.
We will sail out of the bay, around the island from the south and head west to the island of Mykonos. Most of the cruise takes place on the open sea. Unless there are windless conditions, we must expect the waves.
We will head for the lighthouse on a small island just south of the entrance to the strait along the west coast of Mykonos. We’ll leave it on our port side and abruptly change course to the north. Now we have the Mykonos coastline on our starboard side. On the port side, the Delos island plays a significant role in Greek mythology. It is considered a sacred sanctuary and the birthplace of the gods Apollo and Artemis. You can visit a large archaeological complex with a museum there.
Continuing north along the strait, we head to the new marina north of the capital Mykonos (it’s a good idea to book a berth here by phone at least a day in advance).
As soon as we've anchored, we'll explore the old town. The city ferry (locals call it the "sea bus"), which runs between the old and new marinas until late at night, will save us a long walk. Large cruise ships often dock here and can flood the city with hundreds of tourists. But if we’re lucky, there won’t be any right now, and we’ll be able to enjoy all the nooks and crannies of the old town in peace.
In case of an emergency at sea, a helicopter runs from Mykonos to Patmos.
Day 5: Mykonos - Kea (50 NM), Thursday
Finally, we’re in no hurry to get anywhere and can get a night of proper sleep and enjoy breakfast in the quiet of the marina. After setting sail, we take a course northwest towards the northern end of Syros. Given the current weather conditions, we will leave this on our port side and decide to sail around the next island, Gyaros, on our port or starboard side. Our destination will be Spathi Bay on the northeast coast of Kea. It is well protected except for the south-easterly wind. If this occurs and the wind gets stronger, choosing a bay on the opposite side of the island would be a better option.
We will anchor inside the bay at an ideal depth of about 4 to 5 metres. We can enjoy a swim or take the boat ashore. At the bay’s northern end, we will find a small hotel with an excellent restaurant (but it is usually open only during the summer season). You can also go hiking on the surrounding bare hillsides, for example, to the church of St. George on the hill southwest of the bay.
Day 6: Kea - Athens (30 NM), Friday
On the last day, we’ll sail around 30 NM. If we leave on time, we can stop at the bay below Sounion and visit the archaeological complex around the temple of Poseidon. During ancient times, sailors gathered here to wait for good winds and offer something to the gods in return for success and good luck before sailing on important expeditions. After exploring this fascinating historical site, we will have a refreshment at a local café. All that remains is for us to sail back to Athens, the starting point of our voyage.
The best rental options
We hope you found our 6-Day itinerary around Athens helpful when planning your cruise. A stress-free holiday requires a credible boat rental company. At Boataround, we prioritise the comfort of our customers. With over 1274 boats to pick from while sailing in Athens, you’ll find your preferred choice quickly. Contact us today!
When is the best time to visit Athens?
Your preferences will determine the season you choose to visit. From our experience, spring and especially autumn are the most attractive for sailing and tourism.
You will likely avoid the endless crowds of tourists on land and the increased boat traffic at sea. In addition, you won't probably deal with the dreaded “Meltemi,” i.e., strong dry northerly winds, which are typical for the summer months in this area. Meltemi can turn into a powerful wind (Bf 7 - 8).
They usually occur mainly during the daytime hours but can sometimes blow continuously for several days and nights at a stretch in clear weather.
How many nautical miles will I cover during the journey?
You will cover at least 320 NM in a week. You’ll see several beautiful Greek islands and visit historical sites and attractive tourist centres. You can also try longer routes, including night cruises and have many opportunities to practice classical navigation.