Written by Missy Johnston
Kea Temple of Athena
Join your yacht in Athens, unpack and relax as you begin your cruise to Kea, a 40-mile steam. The exceptionally picturesque island of Kea lies 15 miles from the southeast coast of Attica. The mountain masses, which are encountered in most of the Cyclades, are broken up by small valleys sparsely planted with vines and fruit-trees and run right down to the sea, opening out into pretty little bays.
Visit one of the island’s peaceful beaches at Pisses, Korissia, and Koundouros. Cruise to the western side of the island into Agios Nikolaos Bay and deep within it to the port of Korissia, which is considered to be one of the safest natural harbors in the Mediterranean
Kithnos inherited its name from Kithno, king of its first settlers, the Dryopians. Thermia is its second name, which has to do with the thermal springs of Loutra, and is used mostly of the locals. The small island of Kithnos is mainly mountainous but full of pretty little bays. Chora or Messaria is the island’s capital noted for the beautiful churches with their fine wood-carved, sanctuary screens and icons. At the south of the island lies the island’s former capital Driopida and in the northeastern lies Loutra, a resort with warm sulphurous spa-waters with its curative qualities.
Sightseeing on Kithnos includes the Church of Panagia Flambouriani, which stands in the village of Flambouria, southwest of the town of Kithnos. According to tradition, there are traces from the steps of the Virgin all the way from the beach to the church. In summer, lilies blooming in the area give off their sweet smell. In the souvenir shops, one can find beautiful folk art objects, shells, leather products, ceramics and wood-carved objects, as well as woven fabrics with beautiful designs, in vivid color
As your vessel glides into the port of Livadi you’ll catch your first glimpse of the towering hills of Serifos flecked with the white, sugar-cube houses of Chora. The curious rock formations resemble human figures, which call to mind the myth of Danae, Perseus and Medusa, as if these prehistoric inhabitants of the island had been turned to stone. Perseus, the mythological hero that killed the medusa, the terrible monster with a woman’s face and hair as serpents was born on this island. The fortress-like monastery Moni Taxiarchon near the village of Galani, which houses some fine wall paintings and important books and manuscripts, is of special interest. The village of Panagia commands a panoramic view of the whole island.
The greatest attraction of Serifos is its magnificent beaches. The beach of Psilli Ammos, which lies about 2 km to the east of Livadi, beckons with the softest and whitest sand. Close to the monastery of Moni Taxiarchon, there is a small village on the north coast named Platis Gialos with Platis Gialos bay, which consists of about three rather small beaches. Koutalas is a nice village with a beautiful bay and lovely beach, secluded from the winds. It is also the site of the old mine delivery cranes, rusted remnants of which are found on the left side.
Naussa Harbor on Paros Island
Cruise to the east to the large island of Paros to Naussa. Paros Island is basically a sloping, 2500 foot mountain, famed for its beautiful beaches. Naussa is a lovely little vary traditional Cycladic village with a square on the harbor filled with Tavernas. This is a very relaxing and scenic location for a meal or simply to sit for a drink and enjoy the ambiance. In Naussa, it is easy to see what Mykonos main town once was like before tourism.
While there, visit the abandoned monastery of Agios Antonios, located on the hilltop of the village of Kephalos on the eastern side of the island. Around are the ruins of a medieval castle which was raided by the Turkish admiral Barbarossa in 1537.
The chief source of wealth of Paros was Parian marble, which was exported from the 6th century BCE onwards. The great Greek sculptor Praxiteles used this marble to create his masterpieces. Several of the marble tunnels left from the quarrying of marble can still be seen and at the entrance to one of them is a bas-relief dedicated to Pan and the Nymphs.
For the evening perhaps cruise one mile to a lovely quiet anchorage on Antiparos, just next door to Paros.
White Cliffs and Caves of Milos
The Cycladic Greek Island of Milos is fast becoming one of the most “trendy” islands to visit during the long warm Greek summer months. With a relaxed attitude towards having fun, Milos is gaining a reputation for a fun and active nightlife. Modern times on the island of Milos today may reflect ancient times; as the very famous statue, Venus de Milo, now in the Louvre, was found in ancient ruins on Milos. Perhaps, like today, Milos, one of the five largest Islands in Greece, was an ancient island of happiness and love.
A volcanic island, Milos was well known in ancient times before the Bronze Age, and possibly as far back as the 6th century BC. Milos had a large geological cache of obsidian, a glass like volcanic sharp stone with which islanders formed weapons and implements for household and farming use to sell abroad. A much sought after export, Milos was an active and wealthy trading island. The natural main harbor on the island was once the volcano crater, and hot volcanic sulfur springs can still be found ashore. The island’s somewhat lunar landscape was created by volcanic rocks and minerals, some of which are mined today for export.
Archaeological Museum of Milos: Housed in a Neoclassic Building in Plaka, the capital city of Milos; within, all found on Milos, are a prehistoric collection from Fylakopi, a collection of sculptures and bas-reliefs, an obsidian collection, and a collection of inscriptions. While the actual sculpture of Venus de Milo is currently housed in the Louvre Museum in Paris, the Louvre Museum created an exact replica of the statue, for the people of Milos, which is in the entry way of this museum. Also, within the museum are artifacts from as early as 4200 BC, including items from an early Cycladic civilization.
Spetses Old Port
Spetses is an old fishing village, situated on the picturesque Bay of Argolis, spread out along a lovely beach. Fighters from Crete, who were being persecuted by the Turks, came as refugees to the land of Argolis and settled it in 1831. In its sparkling sea you’ll be able to enjoy swimming, fishing and every kind of water sport. Unforgettable scenes of natural beauty are created by the combination of crystal clear waters and ageing pine trees. Countless picturesque coves around the island of Spetses, offer visitors moments of peace and tranquility. Either by land or sea, various forms of transportation make every part of the island fully accessible.
One should not miss visiting the Museum of Spetses, situated in the mansion of Hadziyiannis Mexis, the mansion of heroine Laskarina Bouboulina, now a private museum, and the historical monastery of St. Nicholas, where, on April 3, 1821, the locals took the oath “Freedom or Death” and joined the revolution. Visit ‘Patrali’ near the waterfront in Kounoupitsa for fish dishes. ‘Exedra Taverna’ on the old harbor front is great for fresh fish and Greek specialties.
Hydra is perhaps the most beautiful port village in all of Greece. A tiny harbor, ringed with cafes, restaurants and gold shops, it is surrounded by a village of stone houses and villas that rise up the hills like an amphitheatre. But one of the best things about Hydra is that there are no cars. Everything is transferred and moved by donkey, including groceries, building supplies, people and their luggage. Little shops, boutiques and tavernas ring the main harbor. Explore the little winding alleyways and foot paths through the village. The Monastery of the Panagia is right in the port, with its entrance by the clock tower. And one of the most famous Maritime Academies in Greece is right by the harbor.
Located right next to the mainland, Poros is a lovely little island with one main village clustered next to the quay. Little ferry boats run back and forth from the main village to the mainland just across the straits. In ancient times it was two islands, Spheria and Kalavria, which gradually joined by an isthmus of sand. Kalavria, the larger island, was wooded and had lots of water. Spheria, which is now the town of Poros, was a volcano. The approach by sea is probably one of the most beautiful in Greece. You could start your day by visiting the Archaeological Museum in the port of Poros as well as by taking a walk as far as the clock-tower, the town’s highest point and the island’s “trademark”.
Cruise back to Athens from Poros to disembark.