Updated on: 20 July, 2021
Anyone who lies on a beach near the large Alimos Marina in Athens and watches the sailing boats as the huge city port spits them out like small pearls shimmering on the water runs the risk of feeling the urge, even on one of these white ones, on the Water sliding beauties leave the Greek capital. Athens is not only the Greek capital, but also a perfect starting point to conquer the Greek islands from the water. Today I will tell you how this wish can come true. I will also take you on a sailing trip from Athens, the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades.
To see both sailing areas in one week is a special gift. But it also costs almost a day of travel. Because between the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades there are around seven to eight hours that you are on the water. No problem if this is done by a professional skipper, as is the case with us, but if you charter a boat yourself, it can be a bit too much. After the contribution you can certainly better assess whether it would be worthwhile for you.
If you want to really experience both beautiful regions, it is best to plan right away to spend two weeks on the boat. Because the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades are very different, I am pleased that I had the chance to get an impression of both in a short time and to be able to tell you about both “worlds”.
One thing applies to both regions: dreamlike bays and Greek city beauties await you. But there are also differences. The Saronic Gulf is much greener and the boat can often dock directly in great port cities. The Cyclades, on the other hand, are barren and brittle and the real city beauties, the capitals of the islands, often called Chora, are inland. But the cities of the Cyclades are exactly what corresponds to the German Greek cliché: White houses, churches with the beautiful blue domed roofs and turquoise blue water.
Our route in the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades
You will find out what else you need to know if I take you on my sailing trip to happiness now. It starts in Athens, where the tour will end again after a week.
Table of Contents
Grebe and Petros – Our lucky Greek duo
We are on a press trip with Dream Yacht Charter at the invitation of Argos Yachtcharter . Our boat the “Grebe” is a Lagoon 52 F catamaran (built in 2019), which is incredibly spacious and offers six double cabins. In addition, we can comfortably chill on seats in the bow and stern and have a great sunbathing area on the flybridge (the bridge over the saloon). All double cabins are equipped with a private bathroom. There are also berths in the saloon and two single bow cabins. A great feature of the catamaran is the desalination plant, which can treat fresh water (not drinking water).
The trip as we have experienced it can also be booked through the a company named Argos Yachtcharter. If you like to make it simple, just give them a call and get advice. Argos Yachtcharter customers particularly appreciate the personal service compared to many anonymous websites, as we learn on the way. Of course, you can also get inspiration on the website and have an offer made or browse through the catalog.
The year before I was able to experience a wonderful trip with Dream Yacht Charter at the invitation of Argos Yachtcharter. You can read about how we made the Kvarner Bay unsafe in Croatia in the article “Kvarner Bay: Experience Croatia’s dream scenery by catamaran” on my blog.
The great advantage of Argos Yachtcharter is the service. If there are problems on site, you can help from Germany. You often have to do without this service, especially with cheaper internet agencies. Another advantage of those who cannot drive a boat themselves (like me) can book a rental skipper through Argos Yachtcharter. There you can fall back on the experience of other customers and thus have the best chances of getting a good skipper who gets the best out of the short vacation time for his customers.
Our captain is Petros and we owe him to an Argos Yachtcharter customer who recommended him. Grebe and Petros are our Greek fortune for a week. While the boat is our home for a short period of time, Petros is not just the boat driver, but also our safety boss, guide and entertainer.
Day 1: Take over the boat in Athens
We get to know Petros and Grebe on a Saturday afternoon. Boats are usually chartered from Saturday to Saturday. Together with Petros we are waiting for the Grebe to be taken over. Because of Corona, the catamaran has to be disinfected and everything takes longer than usual this afternoon.
So we can only get on the sailing boat around 6 p.m. and before Petros knows us, he has to bring us the message that it is too unsafe for a trip on Saturday. Later we meet a sailing group who tried to go out that Saturday and had to go back because of strong winds. Petros would like to spare us such a start. When we hear each other’s story, we’re glad we didn’t try it in the first place.
Our boat has already been provided with provisions through Argos Yachtcharter. A basic set of food and drinks is already there. The advantage of leaving the next day is that we can now shop for personal needs. Going to the supermarket is our first community activity as a group.
Muesli, snacks, wine and beer end up in the car. The shelves are late in the evening around 7 p.m. when we turn up in the supermarket shortly before closing time, for example in the fruit and vegetable area as if we were empty. We are not the only sailors who are preparing for a wonderful week and stashing provisions.
When the purchases are stowed away, it’s time to go out to eat. We decide on a restaurant in the marina. The food is ok and the way is short. A first day like this is always exciting and, to be honest, waiting for the boat is often very exhausting. Before we go to bed, we decide to get up early in the morning and drive off. After all, we want to see something. We enter our spacious berths full of anticipation for what is exciting ahead of us.
By the way, we are five bloggers: Marion from Escape from Reality with whom I have already made Croatia unsafe, Eva from Hidden Gem , Synke from Synke on the road and Madlen from Puriy . Andreas from Argos Yachtcharter is also there. Because of Corona, we are accommodated alone in the double cabins.
Skipper Petros sleeps in the saloon or on the large flybridge and watches over us and the boat. He does not have a single bunk in the bow because he thinks it is too narrow. That differs depending on the skipper. Our skipper in Croatia used this bunk.
Generally there is a lot of space on the Grebe. Regardless of which port we are in on the trip, our Lagoon 52 F catamaran is actually always the largest of the chartered sailing boats.
Day 2: From Athens to Poros
Excitement defines our first morning on the boat on Sunday. Skipper Petros explains what kind of tour he is planning and agrees with our wishes. A little later we prepare for our departure in the orange-red light of the rising Athens sun. Before breakfast we loosen the moorings and the ropes and slowly push ourselves out of our parking position on Pier 3 of the Alimos Marina.
Some boats accompany us, some others are already bustling and people are still sleeping elsewhere. Finally we approach the fishermen who are standing on the quay wall of the marina and fishing there. Our boat slowly glides past them. We pass the quay wall, which is also the border of the marina.
The adventure begins…
Once on the water, however, I have to get used to rocking on a boat. I find a place and stare at the sea. How much I missed the blue of the water, the white whitecaps of the waves and the glint of sunlight on the surface.
The fact that our trip is accompanied by the golden light of the dawning makes everything even more beautiful.
First swim stop near the island of Aegina
Less than two hours later we reach our first swimming stop on the trip: the bay of Agia Marina on the island of Aegina. Some sailing boats have already found their way here. The island in the Saronic Gulf is not an insider tip, but neither is it a Greek tourist guarantee, although it is only 16 nautical miles from Athens’ main port, Piraeus. The island’s history begins with a Doric Temple of Apollo in the 6th century BC. Aegina is a little over 87m². Today around 13,000 people live there.
The water is very calm and shows itself in a perfect shade of blue. A sailing tour is perfect for swimming: simply stop the boat, anchor and dive. The Mediterranean is still around 25 degrees at the end of September / beginning of October. Eva, who was traveling with us, graciously refrains from swimming and makes breakfast. It’s not even noon and I’m already sure: a day couldn’t be more beautiful.
By the way, Aegina means goat island. We don’t see any animals from our bay. Also no olive trees and no pistachio trees, although Aegina is known as the pistachio island. But we look at the place that has the longest sandy beach on the island. It’s not enough to go ashore. Skipper Petros has only planned a shore leave for the last stop of the day – the island of Poros – in the evening.
Because the island is only 25 kilometers from Athens, tourists also come from there by ferry or excursion boats. The crossing from Piraeus takes 40 to 90 minutes – depending on whether you are traveling by speedboat or ferry.
We miss the highlights on land. If you have more time, you can experience the Óros mountain, which is the highest point at 531 meters above sea level, or the temple of the goddess Aphaia.
By the way, from the Aphaia temple you should have a great view of the bay of Aegina Marina, where we have our first swim stop. If you sail yourself and would like to moor here, you will find tips for this in a route suggestion from Argos Yachtcharter.
Emerald green and crystal clear: the island of Moni
We continue after our breakfast. It is not yet noon and we are anchoring before the second Greek island of this trip. The island of Moni. Here the catamaran can show why a sailing trip is one of the best ways to explore Greece: Because the bay of the bathing island can only be reached by boat.
We drive past large motor yachts and look for an anchorage for our boat. Before we even moored, we watch a tourist boat transfer that spits out day trippers on the bay. The crossing from Aegina to Moni takes ten minutes. Two worlds meet when the cheap tourist boat drives past the noble motor yacht. There is also a restaurant on the beach of Moni and those who like animals can take photos of goats or peacocks on the wooded island.
Or you can leave it at the jump into the wonderful water. I stare in disbelief at the emerald green shimmering crystal clear water while our skipper lets the stand-up paddle board that we have with us into the water. Overjoyed, I use this second swim stop and enjoy every second in the water.
A trip into the blue couldn’t be more beautiful.
Moni is also a great opportunity to give you a perfect introduction to the Greek island world. Did you know that Greece has over 3,000 islands? Like Moni, most of them are not permanently inhabited and they are often only a few square kilometers in size.
But let’s be honest, anyone who offers such a holiday paradise doesn’t need a lot of land to completely inspire their visitors, right?
Like Aegina, Moni is also a popular destination for the Athenians when they want to escape the big city. Some Greek boaters join us by lunchtime to also splash around in front of Moni. So after a good hour we leave the island with a heavy heart and continue our course towards Poros.
Swimming stop at Poros
But the stop in front of Moni should not have been the last swim stop of the day. Just in time for afternoon coffee or tea around 3 p.m., our skipper lets us decide where we want to dive into the water again. In the meantime we have reached the southwest of Poros. The island is known for its nice swimming stops. Three bays follow one another and we are spoiled for choice. More about the bays and our swim stop will follow in an extra article about Poros.
If you are wondering whether we will only swim on this trip, you will notice in the next few days that our skipper Petros spoiled us on this day and gave us time to arrive. The swimming stops will decrease on the following days, the next day the bath will be completely canceled for most of the group. But no matter what our days look like, they are all beautiful.
Overnight stop on Poros
Finally, our catamaran leaves Calypso Beach in the early evening and approaches the beautiful cityscape of Poros. The city panorama rises gently in front of us. At around 23 square kilometers, Poros is not even half the size of the island of Aegina, our first swim stop of the day. Anyone who approaches Poros by boat will quickly notice that you have the perfect photo backdrop.
That doesn’t change when we are on foot on the island. That night our catamaran is lying on the southern quay wall between the two ferry docks from Poros and next to other sailing boats that have chosen the island of Poros as their destination for the trip in the Saronic Gulf. The promenade is very long, goes around the tourist old town and is perfect for a stroll. When we arrive at 6 p.m. we go straight to the clock tower to catch the evening light on the bay.
If you let your gaze wander over the island, you will notice how beautifully green everything is. Even in October after many hot summer weeks, the green extends over the islands of the Saronic Gulf and makes them appear particularly beautiful when viewed from the blue water. But why is that so? Poros, Aegina and other islands in the Saronic Gulf are of volcanic origin. The volcanic region is still active. Even today, tectonic changes such as earthquakes or volcanic eruptions could occur. On the Methana peninsula, which we skip on our sailing trip, you can visit an overgrown crater.
Opposite Poros on the Peloponnese, the southernmost peninsula of Greece, is Galata. Anyone who takes a trip in the Saronic Gulf inevitably ends up close to the mainland, on which around a million people live.
As already announced with the bathing bays, I would like to tell you more about Poros.
You will soon find your own contribution to this.
Day 3: From Poros to Hydra
After we left for sunset the day before, we take it a little slower on our third day on the boat. A part of the crew procures more provisions when visiting a baker in Poros. In addition to fresh bread, there are many bakery items. Then we head for Hydra.
Our tour on Monday starts with the exit through a narrow strait between Galatas and Poros. This route is a successful start to a new day of sailing and a wonderful farewell to Poros.
The canal is just over 200 meters wide (there are also sources that speak of 300 meters). Again and again, the journey gives you rapidly changing perspectives of the picturesque houses built on the slope, of the green island behind and of the sailing boats lying in the shimmering blue of the water. Suddenly there is land everywhere and there is so much to discover while the slow moving boat feels way too fast despite the speed limit in the canal. So keep your camera ready so you don’t miss any of these moments.
We are not long on the way by boat. Strictly speaking, just over an hour and a half. The weather is a bit inconsistent with swell, which is why I like that we will moor again at noon and only continue the next day. I am a fair-weather sailor and always hope for calm seas.
In Hydra, our new travel destination, we got one of the best and most beautiful berths that one can have on the island. Our skipper Petros did everything right with an early approach to the island of Hydra. He’s just a professional and we can benefit from his knowledge and experience.
There are only a few berths in the first row where we moored and the harbor does not have room for too many boats. Our berth in Hydra is pure sailing luck that we will enjoy until the next morning.
Our catamaran turns into luxury accommodation in no time at all. Hydra is a very special island. Car-free and with a touch of retro, it is one of the most expensive places to buy property in Greece. In addition to cars, large hotel complexes, tennis courts or swimming pools are also prohibited. Also not allowed: satellite dishes or plastic chairs. A good location is the best luxury.
Our promenade residents can therefore easily keep up with a five-star hotel. They are extremely discreet on the island, as there are strict building regulations and no luxury facilities can be built. Billionaire Richard Branson tried that and failed.
No other place on this journey through the Saronic Gulf and the Cyclades will make my heart soar like this one. If it weren’t so decadent, I would love to spend several days sailing in Hydra, because of course the island also offers various swimming stops. I will therefore tell you in detail what else you can expect on Hydra elsewhere.
Day 4: From Hydra to Agios Emilianos
Leaving Hydra Island can become unexpectedly tricky for sailors once the famous Hydra anchor salad has formed. This, in turn, can be quite entertaining to watch for other sailors and so I drink my breakfast coffee at the port cinem
You only understand train station? I’ll take over the skipper job for a moment and explain it to you: Because the boats frolic close to one another in the narrow harbor basin, their anchor chains like to lay their anchor chains on top of each other. The result is the anchor salad, which is accompanied by funny anchor release maneuvers. Fortunately, all crews manage to free themselves or with the help of the fishing boat.
With our prime parking position, we are spared fishing a neighbouring anchor. Our night wasn’t completely relaxed either. A ring to which our boat was attached has come off the harbor wall. But everything went well. We glide relaxed out of the harbor, as Petros has probably done many times.
When I leave on Tuesday, my gaze falls once more wistfully on the amphitheater backdrop of Hydra. I would like to stay, but at the same time I’m looking forward to what’s coming. But the joy only lasts for a short time. As soon as we leave the protected harbor basin and are on the open sea, I notice how restless the sea is.
I’m sitting at the bow when I hear a loud scream from the steering position: “You have to get out of there, you’ll get wet.” I swayed out of the front area and while I was moving backward I heard the first splash of water on our catamaran. Unsatisfied, I look forward from the stern. The water even sloshes onto the high flybridge. Petros places the moisture protection there and begins to fight the waves.
I sit down and wait. Whenever we drive, that’s exactly what I do that day: wait. What am i waiting for That we arrive somewhere that is quieter. The water is not behaving as our skipper would like it to be. He wants to show us more of the Saronic Gulf that day. But what a real skipper is, can’t be deterred from a little wave hopping. And as long as I don’t have to move, I’m glad I don’t have to steer or be active, waiting for them to arrive.
Swimming stop in the bay of Agios Emilianos
We will visit our first stop of the day twice that day. During the day we only stop for a swim, but in the evening we will drop anchor there again and spend a wonderful night in the bay.
The bay of Aghios Emilianos belongs to the Peloponnese peninsula. When we drive in, the water shimmers in the most beautiful turquoise variations. But at the same time the sea is treacherous this morning, I dive in and immediately feel the current pulling me away from the boat. I get a fender and relax a bit on the boat on a leash in the water. It’s so much better than swimming against the current over and over again.
How much the sea in this bay is changeable will be seen later when we come back to sleep in the bay. In the evening, the bright turquoise color palette is replaced by a dark, rich blue. At the same time the current is gone. Now the water is so calm, as if someone had taken water in a bathtub.
Sightseeing trip: Hinitsa Bay and Porto Heli
From the swimming stop in Aghios Emilianos we continue to the bay of Hinitsa. Skipper Petros likes this place for swimming stops for his guests. But not that day. The sea is far too choppy and dangerous. The waves crash against the rocks that frame the bay. The beach is deserted. Swimming would be too dangerous at this point on this day. At the same time it is fascinating how beautifully light blue the water in the bay shines.
A week later, skipper Petros shares a picture from Hinitsa: mirror-smooth water, perfect for a swim stop. Who sails depends on the mood of the sea. Every trip is individual and therefore it is good that we have a skipper who knows the area and can still show us the most beautiful places.
We don’t really stop at our next destination either. We drive to the bay of Porto Heli. The water would be calm there, but our skipper is content to show us the place from the water. His mind is already at our actual stop of the day: Spetses.
Porto Heli (also called Porto Cheli) has to be a boater must-place. On land we see numerous hotels and a few water sports enthusiasts are out and about on the water. By the way, in the 50s the place was supposed to become a NATO zone, after there had already been some construction activities, the plan was rejected again in 1960. We take some pictures and then drive on, towards the real goal.
We stopped for swimming in the bay of Zogeria
After the sightseeing trip, we make a new swim stop. The bay of Zogeria is well protected from the island of Spetses. A pine forest surrounds the bay, which, with its deep, sapphire blue water, is said to be one of the most beautiful bathing spots on the island.
Here it pays off that we are traveling with a sailboat. Alternatively, taxi boats would be the best way to get to this beach. Or motorcycles and quads, because the gravel road should be rather complicated for normal cars. The Greek Orthodox Church of Agios Georgios can be visited at the rocky tip of the bay. Those who want to lie on the beach can also dine in a tavern. But you should be there early, as there are only a few loungers on the beach.
The island of Spetses (Spetsai) and its old town
Finally we head for Spetses or Spetsai in the late afternoon. Our port stop before we drive back to our anchor bay in Peloponnese. We moor on land, but have to struggle because of the waves when mooring. When we finally make it, we have exactly one hour for our visit.
Spetses separates the sailing areas of the Argolic and Saronic Gulf. Like Poros or Hydra, Spetses is a popular holiday destination for the Athenians. Again we see neoclassical captains’ houses and cannons, but the gigantic backdrop of Hydra is missing here. There is also a museum commemorating the Greek freedom fighter Laskarina Bubulina and the revolution of 1821.
The tour stresses me out. After Hydra, I’m no longer used to motorized transport rushing around the corner. Although private cars are not allowed on Spetses, taxis and motorbikes are allowed. This more traffic compared to Hydra strikes me negatively mainly because there are hardly any protective sidewalks.
You notice between Spetses and me the spark just doesn’t want to jump over. For Skipper Petros, who really wanted to show us Spetses and almost adores the island, it must be frustrating how little we like Spetses. When I tell him my less than enthusiastic conclusion, a great dissatisfaction covers his face. I ask him what he likes about Spetses. The answer is short. But even more than through his words, it becomes clear in the glow of his eyes, which look longingly towards the country, how much he loves this place.
He doesn’t say much, only that he went to Spetses with the family as a child. I quickly realise that love for this island is much more complex than I could grasp in an hour. For him, the magic of childhood lies there. For me, the arrogance of a traveller who is allowed to experience far too many wonderful impressions in a short time and therefore quickly makes a condescending judgement.
A little tip for you: if you are planning a stop in Spetses, take more time. If we had taken a break in one of the cafés and let the place sink in, our enthusiasm might have been greater. Also, you could try visiting Spetses before Hydra.
Overnight stay in a bay near Agios Emilianos, Peloponnese
From Spetses we cross over to the Peloponnese shortly. In fact, we’re going to Aghios Emilianos. The bay that we visited in the morning for a swim stop. We didn’t notice anything about the Greek Riviera, of which the municipality of Ermionida is part, to which our bay belongs. Not even from the old story. Can you imagine that the area was 3000 BC? Christ has already been inhabited?
There are also some beach accommodations to be found in the bay. We can do without these. Finally we have our sailing luxury camper on which we can prepare dinner.
For me, there is hardly anything better than sailing in a bay and enjoying the peace and quiet on the water. It’s wonderful to go swimming first thing in the morning. To briefly fight against your inner weaker self, because the sea actually feels wrong and cold in the morning. But as soon as you are in the water, you notice that it is not that cold, but actually very pleasant. More pleasant than during the day when the body is already heated by the sun. In the morning everything is peaceful and calm on the water.
Tip: If you are going sailing for the first time, please ask your skipper for a bay night. Harbor nights are always exciting and cooking in the bay is sometimes annoying, but the quiet of a morning in a bay is one of the most beautiful sailing experiences.
Day 5: From Agios Emilianos to Serifos
Between the tranquility of our morning bay in the Saronic Gulf and a new island world, namely that of the Cyclades, there is almost a whole day or seven hours without a land or water splash at five to nine knots. Depending on whether we are enjoying the luck of sailing or tormenting the engine.
The absolute highlight of the crossing on this Wednesday in the sailing area of the Cyclades, which many sailors from Athens head for directly, is the short encounter with a group of dolphins. Unfortunately I missed this encounter. When I wake up by stopping the boat, the fascination of the graceful dolphins is already a thing of the past. I only see the happy faces of the fellow travelers who were allowed to see the dolphins.
And although so little happens that day because we are on the water for hours, the day goes by quickly. Much too fast like so many days of sailing. I am a little bit proud when I feel hungry at noon and I prepare pasta in mushroom-tomato sauce despite the small waves, over which we “hop” again and again. When the moment is reached when I not only stare at the vastness of the sea in a little rough sea, but can move around on the boat and cook, I feel like I have arrived. It is still a long way until the bad-weather sailor can look forward to the high waves with good cheer. Whereby I am more convinced from sailing trip to sailing trip that the moment is coming.
In the afternoon we approach Serifos. We are not the only ones targeting the Cyclades island. With us the ferry approaches the port of the island. We have to slow down for a moment, because ferries always have right of way. It is impressive how the mighty ship passes our catamaran and the speed at which it approaches the port. But I didn’t want to swap with the ferry travelers. Once again I realize how beautiful a sailing trip is and what luxury it means to be on a floating home with a small tour group.
But it doesn’t matter whether you’re approaching by ferry or sailing boat. You need your camera again. Because the island capital is enthroned on a mountain above the port, extremely photogenic.
Hello Serifos! A Beautiful Greek Island
Have you heard of Serifos before? At first glance, the island looks rugged and barren. Just a Cycladic island. From a distance there is no green at all. Only while strolling along the beach promenade do we discover the beautiful tamarisks and palm trees that line the beach.
We arrive at the port of Livadi in the late afternoon, but quickly set off to see the island’s capital, the Chora. As already mentioned, the Chora is enthroned on a mountain above Livadi.
What is Chora? Chora stands for the capital of the island. Sometimes a chora has its own name, sometimes it’s just called chora. Then, as in this example, it is the chora of the island of Serifos. The next day we will visit the chora on the island of Kythnos.
A little tip for everyone who would miss exercise on a boat: Those who are sporty can walk to the Chora. There is an extra hiking trail. The ascent over the many steps should take an hour. Eva, who was with us on the trip, was on foot.
It will take a moment before you can read more about the Chora of Serifos and the port of Livadi here. Because you can expect a separate article about Serifos, which you can read here soon.
After our explorations in Serifos, a wonderful evening highlight awaits us on board. While we end the day with beer, ouzo, wine or simply water, we suddenly hear music. A sailor has a trumpet with him and delights us with a free trumpet concert. The music makes our sailing hearts beat to the beat. Such moments create the magic of sailing. As the trumpets fade away in the night, we and the other sailors clap on their boats.
When I think of this trumpet concert in the harbor, I can still feel my goose bumps and I wish so much for every reader that they can experience such a formative boat moment.
Day 6: From Serifos to Kythnos
It’s thursday already. We have a whole day of travel in the island world of the Cyclades. Before our schedule forces us to return to Athens. We leave Serifos and continue to Kythnos. As we approach the island, it looks a bit like a large sand castle. Its landscape is very rugged and bare. But of course our captain already has a goal in mind that leaves us speechless again.
Swim stop in the double bay of Kolona
Slowly but purposefully, Petros steers our large catamaran to Apokrousi beach. The beach is very shallow, making it ideal for children. The water is clear and shiny. But Petros has another goal in mind.
We turn and drive to the bathing highlight of the day: the double bay of Kolona. Actually a perfect bay to sleep there too. But because the weather is not suitable for this and the bay is quite full, our skipper prefers to refrain from it.
Instead we have a couple of hours at lunchtime to enjoy the beauty of the bay. A sandbank, on which yachts anchor to the right and left and bathers enjoy the water, connects Kythnos with the offshore small island of Agios Loukas on which a church stands.
Not only do we make the water unsafe, but we also take a short walk to this church. On the way there you can enjoy the panorama of the double bay. There is also a tavern on the beach, but we refrain from visiting. After all, we are out and about with our own floating bar.
Standing on the hill above the bay, enjoying the boats and the people and the unique combination of the barren landscape and the enchanting sea, makes me speechless and happy. How beautiful can a place be, please? Kolona is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in the Aegean and this is exactly at my feet. Wow.
A little tip: if you come by boat, pack your bathing shoes. Then you can swim to the sandbar and walk from there. Or you can do it like three of our fellow travelers. You can go ashore with the dinghy and postpone the paddling fun until after you go ashore.
Loutra and the Chora of Kythnos
Leaving Kolona is difficult for me. But the Chora of Kythnos (Messaria) awaits. We moor in the northeast of the island at the port of Loutra. The place is known for its hot springs. From the spa hotel, which is almost reminiscent of a lost place and has probably been empty since 1999, the thermal springs lead to the beach in a rusty canal. Before the water drains off, there is a small pool in which everyone can enjoy the thermal water, provided there is space in the pool. The thermal water mixes there with the sea water. The two hot springs gave Kythnos its real name. The island used to be called “Thermia”.
The Agioi Anargyroi spring is salty, 36°C warm and is said to help against arthritis, rheumatism and joint inflammation.
It rises inside the Kurhaus. The Kakavos spring has a temperature of 52 ° C and is said to help against skin and gynecological problems thanks to the bromide, iodide and sodium chloride it contains. It rises behind the spa complex.
The history of the use of sources goes back to antiquity. It became more specific in 1782 with the first bathhouse and bathtub. In the 1830s, King Otto’s wife tried to fulfill her desire to have children through regular cures. Finally, in 1857, a large spa house with 14 marble bathtubs was built.
There are fishing boats in the harbor. There are a few taverns for overnight tourists – but especially for sailors. But while Petros is happy to moor our catamaran for the night, our hearts long for a night in the bay.
The Chora of Kythnos
Petros is convinced that we only like the Chora of Kythnos when we see it in the evening. That’s why he wants to stay in Loutra overnight and send us to the Chora for dinner. But it is the off-season and we dare to doubt whether the Chora will really get fuller there. We agree on a compromise: We visit the Chora for a good hour and then continue to a bay to enjoy this special sailing experience again.
We need a taxi again. Petros calls it to us. Again you have to wait because there is only one taxi on the island. The other taxi is broken. So the five of us get into the little car. We would have to bear the consequences of an inspection, says the driver, taking us five girls, four of whom squeeze into the back seat, but for the normal fare of ten euros. After a little over ten minutes he will drop us off at the Chora taxi station, where he will pick us up again at the agreed time.
The Chora of Kythnos is enchanting but extinct, although this is where most of the island’s 1,500 people live. We meet a Spanish tourist couple and that’s it. Otherwise, some Greek women sit in their front gardens and throw us a friendly yassas (hello!) As we walk past.
The streets are painted white, as are many houses. Oleanders and bougainvilleas provide the perfect photo backdrop. Just like the cats, which of course cannot be missing on this island. In the travel guide I can still see brightly painted houses. We only find one thing, however. There are also a few bars, but they are still empty in the early evening.
The place Dryopida on Kythnos is said to be similar to the Chora. So if you are on Kythnos for a longer period of time, a stop here can also be worthwhile. If you come by ferry, you will land in Mericha. There is the ferry port that the ferry ships approach.
A night in Potamia Bay
But back to the Chora. The short time goes by and soon the five girls are sitting in the little taxi again. Back at the catamaran in Loutra, it has to be quick. The sun has already set and Petros would like to arrive in the anchor bay in the blue hour. As we drive north from Loutra, the moon rises over the sea. What a phenomenal start to our last night on the boat.
We anchor on the beach of Potamia. From the boat we can see a small church. Besides us, only one other sailing bay has moored here to spend the night in the bay. It’s a wonderful evening. We eat together and some of them go swimming again afterwards. While we are splashing, the band REM can be heard from our speakers with the song Nightswimming. Months later, I still hear the song in the car and I remember that evening. I don’t want to let go of the last evening and don’t go to bed until late. After a few hours, the bay soon conquered my heart again as I enjoy the sunrise and then dive into the water for a morning swim.
Day 7: From Kythnos back to Athens
Friday brings a surprise. Our catamaran does not have to be returned until 6 p.m. and in Greece we refuel at the marina, which is why there is no annoying refueling stop before dropping off. So we still have a whole day on the water. So we can comfortably leave our overnight bay around ten o’clock. For us it is also a farewell to the Greek islands, we are now approaching the mainland again.
The ride is beautiful. The sea is like an oversized bathtub: hardly any waves and a bright blue. Petros bravely tries to pull out the sails, but that is rather pointless today.
The god of the sea invites you to take a bath
After a few hours, the southern half-point of the mainland region of Attica appears and with it Cape Sounion. The Temple of Poseidon is located there at a height of 60 meters. Sailors and day-trippers like to visit it. We see from below how people are going there. We forego a temple visit, we don’t have enough time for that. But we also watch some crews drive ashore with their dinghies to take a look at the temple.
Instead, we throw ourselves again into the waters of the Aegean Sea at his feet. Now we can say that we bathed in front of the temple of the sea god. Those who anchor in the bay to spend the night can dine in the local tavern.
Our last swim stop on this trip
We have our last swim stop at Vouliagmeni in front of the expensive Four Seasons Hotel. We are not allowed to take the place our skipper chooses because we are in the way of a rich water sports enthusiast. So we drive a little further past oversized yachts.
This stop is a strong contrast to our tranquil and natural bay in the morning, which Kythnos visitors can only reach via a gravel road. But it’s also a slow return to reality. But still splashing around in the water is nice.