Today, follow The Octopus for a mighty cruise through the Cyclades archipelago!
In the heart of the azure waters of the Aegean Sea, the Cyclades islands are a true corner of Greek paradise. The birth of this mythical archipelago was the result of a divine act, as Poseidon, accompanied by his marine creatures, brought forth the Cyclades from the sparkling foam with a powerful sweep of his trident.
However, it was a mortal who gave his name to the sea that bears them. It was Aegeus, the father of Theseus, whose despair over his son’s presumed death at the hands of the Minotaur led him to plunge into these deep waters. Legends continue to flow with the epic of Ulysses, forever enshrining these islands in mythology.
A dive in Greek mythology!
Among the constellation of Greek islands, the Cyclades stands out by encompassing around 250 islands, 24 of which are inhabited, inviting travelers to discover them. These islands offer a unique experience, where the magic of mythology blends with the charm of this paradisiacal archipelago.
As we cruise through the Cyclades, Naxos, Santorini, Paros, and Delos showcase their geographical characteristics, cultural richness, and iconic places steeped in legends.
A mighty cruise in the Cyclades archipelago
📍Naxos, on the thread of Adriadne
⚓Anchor on port of Naxos
The first stop of our cruise is near the main port of the largest island in the Cyclades. Here, you will discover exceptional anchoring conditions! The Navily community recommends this anchorage as a reliable one; you will benefit from natural protection against winds from west to southeast by the north, and the sandy-muddy bottoms provide excellent holding. If you prefer to avail the facilities of the port, please note that with the current high season, availability information will only be provided upon your arrival.
Once settled, take a moment to admire the enchanting local architecture of Chora Naxos, the picturesque capital of the island. Its layout is unique, as it is built entirely on a hillside. Chora Naxos is a true labyrinth, where twisted cobblestone alleys intersect in a harmonious disorder. You will find a multitude of stairs, passages, arches, and charming little squares. Moreover, the village is crowned by the Kastro, an ancient Venetian castle dating back to the 13th century.
Moreover, you won’t miss spotting an emblematic marble structure in Naxos, the last remains of the Temple of Apollo. The temple illuminates in the evening, blending modernity with mythical splendor. According to legend, it is where this structure stands that Theseus abandoned Ariadne upon his return from Crete, after defeating the Minotaur. It is also here that the beautiful creator of the thread was found by Dionysus, who made her his wife. It is assumed that this is where the Dionysian cult and its festivities originated. A place where mythology replenishes the atmosphere…
Finally, Mount Zeus awaits you. You have the option to take a bus from Chora Naxos to get to the spot. Once there, you can finally enjoy a breathtaking view from its summit, which rises to 1000 meters in height. Furthermore, you will also have the opportunity to go spelunking on this mountain where Zeus is said to have spent his childhood. This time, you get to be the God of Gods.
⚓ Kalantos Anchorage
To continue our cruise through the largest island in the Cyclades, you can head to another anchorage located south of the island – Kalantos. It is a great place to anchor at as you are protected against winds from west to southeast by the north, and the sandy bottoms provide excellent anchorage. In case you are in the mood for food, don’t miss the chance to visit the little tavern on the shore to savor the delights prepared by Vasili. Naxos, a place to create your own legends and enjoy an authentic Greek experience in the heart of nature.
📍Santorini Island, lost Atlantis...
A volcanic island located in the Aegean Sea, famous worldwide for its white towns and panoramic views, but it is also rich in captivating legends. Did you guess it ? That’s right, this time the Octopus leads you to Santorini !
First on the list is the anchorage of Akrotiriou, located оn the southwestern coast of the island. There you’ll be protected from winds prevailing from northwest to east by the north. Although the anchorage might be a bit rolly, it still remains a good choice for visiting Santorini, considering that options are limited on the island. Once all settled in, you can rent a car from the village, allowing you to get to the activities more easily. In this regard, you might want to visit Fira, the most renowned town in the area.
However, The Octopus hopes you’re like him, a history enthusiast, because he wants to take you to the city of Akrotiri. This city was completely buried by a volcanic eruption around 1650 BC. According to legend, Akrotiri is believed to be the location of the ancient legendary city of Atlantis, mentioned by the Greek philosopher Plato.
The inhabitants of Akrotiri lived prosperously and in harmony with the gods until the wrath of Poseidon descended upon them. The god of the seas, jealous of their power and wisdom, supposedly submerged the city under the turbulent waters of the Aegean Sea. Thus, Akrotiri became the submerged remnant of an ancient civilization, preserved under the volcanic ashes of the cataclysmic eruption that also shaped the island of Santorini.
On the east coast of the island, the anchorage of Kamari is another good option for exploring Santorini. The anchorage offers protection from winds coming from southwest to north by the west, and you can easily anchor in sandy bottoms. It’s a typical Greek village that offers you the opportunity to satisfy your hunger, and it is also the starting point for many interesting excursions around the island.
Above all, do not miss the ruins of Thera, which are within walking distance from the anchorage. According to historical writings, Santorini, formerly named Thera, was said to have been inhabited by the descendants of the wine god Dionysos and the Phoenician princess Ariadne. The ruins of Thera bear witness to a prosperous ancient civilization that existed on this island thousands of years ago. Archaeological excavations have revealed remains of cities, houses, temples, and paved roads, showcasing the past grandeur of this ancient city. Santorini is much more intriguing than one might think…
📍Paros, frozen in marble :
⚓Anchor at port of Paros
The anchorage near the port of Paros gives you shelter from winds coming from northwest to south by the east. Furthermore, the shallow sandbanks composing the anchorage’s seabed, makes it a secure and safe stopover.
On the island, the revered figure is Demeter, the goddess symbolizing harvest and sister of Zeus. According to a well-known legend, the cult of Demeter, the goddess of agriculture, was established here. Rest assured, The Octopus brings you here so you can discover some curiosities from ancient times and not to partake in this cult.
In the hinterlands of Paros lies the ancient marble quarry of Marathi. This stone has been famous since antiquity for its exceptional quality and purity, making it one of the most important marble quarries in the Mediterranean region.
Marble extraction in Marathi dates back to prehistoric times, but it reached its peak during the Archaic and Classical periods (8th to 4th century BC). It was used for constructing many famous monuments and sculptures from antiquity, one of the most notable examples being the statue of the goddess Athena in the Parthenon in Athens. The translucency of Parian marble was particularly appreciated for sculpture, giving a unique brilliance to works of art.
Moreover, it is your opportunity to visit Parikia. The village is imbued with an authentic atmosphere with its cobbled streets, typical Cycladic white houses, and colorful bougainvillea adding beauty to every corner. The old town hosts historical sites such as the Church of Panagia Ekatontapiliani, one of the oldest Byzantine churches in the country.
⚓Agios Nikolaos Aliki
Finally, you can also anchor at Agios Nikolaos Aliki, located southwest of the island. It is renowned by the Navily users as an excellent holding in sandy bottoms. Here, only winds from the south might cause any disturbance!
In addition to immersing yourself in the relaxed atmosphere of Aliki or lazing on the beach with its translucent waters, you can visit the folk museum situated not far from the anchorage.
This museum is dedicated to preserving and presenting the island’s traditions and folk heritage. It displays unique miniatures of Cycladic tradition, created by Benetos Skiadas. Visitors can discover 30 years’ worth of work on artifacts that testify to the rich and vibrant history of the island. Imagine this: your mother is Gaia, and you are one of her Giants children strolling through the city!
📍Delos, exception of the rule
The final stopover of our cruise is in the heart of the Cyclades, on a small and unique island. To discover what Delos has to offer, anchor at Megalos Rematiaris. Here, you are protected from winds coming from the west-northwest and from the northeast to the east, but the wind can enter from the north. Moreover, you can easily anchor in sandy bottoms offering good holding.
However, it’s important to note that this island has a particular climate with winds blowing throughout the year. Therefore, you will be able to stop only for a few hours, just enough time for a brief exploration.
In this respect, listed as a UNESCO World Heritage site, Delos presents itself as an open-air museum, attracting the interest of numerous boaters that, like you, wish to to make their cruise through the Cyclades more interesting. According to legend, Delos is the birthplace of the twin gods Apollo and Artemis, born from the illegitimate union between Zeus and the nymph Leto. Due to the God of Gods’ infidelities to his wife Hera, she cast a spell on Leto, preventing her from finding a place to give birth.
It was Zeus who caused Delos to emerge so that the twins could be born there. In addition to its mythological heritage, Delos was also an important commercial hub in the Mediterranean during antiquity. Thanks to its strategic position, the island attracted merchants and travelers from diverse horizons. In fact, the name “Cyclades” comes from their circular arrangement around Delos.
Finally, on the homeland of Apollo, a visit to his sanctuary is a must. You can admire the remains and enjoy breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains. Another iconic site is the Terrace of the Lions, where five statues of these protectors of the twin’s sanctuary are still visible today. In addition to these outdoor curiosities, Delos houses an archaeological museum, offering a unique opportunity to better understand the history and significance of this island in antiquity.
An enriching experience awaits you on this small island!
This concludes our mythological cruise in the Cyclades. The Octopus hopes that you have been filled with the strength of Gods and Goddesses for your adventure!
For another enriching thematic journey, delve into our article on anchorages with views of Volcanoes.