The Cyclades by Gulet
Join us as we take a meandering route around the Cyclades islands by gulet. Discover atmospheric archaeological sites amidst rugged, sun-drenched outcrops of rock, which stand within sparkling azure seas. Travel to the sacred island of Delos, mythical birthplace of twins Apollo and Artemis. Standing amongst this sprawling ruin, we can easily imagine the magnificent city that once was.
Santorini’s multicoloured cliffs are certain to capture your imagination, as will the fascinating Minoan site of Akrotiri. Aside from our archaeological pursuits, we make sure to reserve time for a dip in the beautiful azure sea.
- Gulet cruising allows you to experience a completely different side to the Cyclades Islands. Enjoy a friendly and informal atmosphere on board - as each tour is limited to a maximum of 18 guests
- Explore the Terrace of the Lions, dedicated to Apollo; and visit the ancient and mysterious Castle of Andros
- Enjoy dinner overlooking the illuminated temples of Cape Sounion
Please note that whilst both tours will visit all of the same sites, they will visit them in a different order. The second date of our tour begins in Kea and ends in Santorini.
- Ancient Greek
- Special Access
- Small Group
- All Inclusive
We arrive in Santorini, where we board our beautiful gulet, our home on the water for the next ten nights.
Our first full day begins with breakfast overlooking Santorini's Caldera, a geological phenomenon which consists of collapsed overlapping volcanoes, mostly submerged by the Aegean Sea. It is thought that a major eruption here in the 17th century BC led to the creation of the Atlantis myth, as well as forever transforming the island's geology.
Following breakfast we visit the ancient city of Thera, a site that has been under excavation since 1904, and where several large statues of youths, known as Koroui, were discovered in its burial grounds.
Our next stop is Akrotiri, which was destroyed by a catastrophic volcanic eruption in about 1,500 BC. The discovery of a well-preserved Cycladic settlement here has earned this site the title of the “Pompeii of the Aegean”. After lunch, we enjoy a free afternoon in sun-kissed Santorini, with the option to visit some of its local museums, or stroll, perhaps, along one of its beautiful beaches.
We begin at the hilly island of Ios today, which excavations show has been inhabited since the early Cycladic period – with evidence of early sewer systems and two-storey buildings. Local folklore has it that the island was the home of Homer's mother, and that he himself was buried here. We visit the remote site of Homer's Tomb, which was discovered in the late 18th century, as well as the last remnants of the island's Roman Aqueduct.
We then set sail for Koufonisia, a magical idyll surrounded by turquoise crystal waters – the perfect opportunity for a reviving late afternoon swim. Following this we continue to Naxos, where we berth in preparation for two days of island sight-seeing.
The first of our two days in fertile Naxos, the largest of the Cyclades islands, sees us making a visit to the Archaeological Museum. Housed in what was once a Jesuit school, the museum displays an array of finds from the early Cycladic period, including art and detailed sculptures, providing us with fascinating insights into ancient regional culture.
We then journey across the island to see the two giant unfinished Kouroi which lie near quarries close to the villages of Melanes and Apollonas, amidst a grove of olive trees: a surreal scene that invites many an intriguing explanation.
This morning we continue to take in the historical gems of Naxos, and head for the ancient Sanctuaries of Dionysus and Demeter, monumental sites of great significance, and a joy to explore.
Our adventures on the island would be incomplete without a trip to its most famous landmark: the unfinished Temple of Apollo, which was erected by the tyrant Lygdamis in the 6th century. Its iconic Portara entrance towers over the island; a portal to a long-dead world.
We then board our gulet for a crossing to Paros to visit the Archaeological Museum. Among the many treasures here is the oldest Cycladic figurine to have ever been discovered: the extraordinary Naked Lady of Saliagos.
We skim across the crystal clear waves this morning, arriving at Delos, legendary birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. This incredible island is one of Greece's main archaeological hot-spots, rich with ruins and the traces of ancient worlds. On arrival here we wander the Maritime Quarter near the harbour, where the ruins of Hellenistic and Roman mansions can be seen, some still containing exceptional original mosaics.
Next we visit the Theatre District, on the south-east of the island – the location of a large and well-preserved marble theatre, and one of Delos's main attractions. We also pay a visit to the local Archaeological Museum, with its extensive collection of funerary statues, pottery and other excavated objects. Our afternoon is free to explore Delos at our leisure.
Overnight stays are not permitted on this island as it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. While the rest of its visitors are forced to return to distant hotels, we relax in the comforts of our gulet, moored peacefully in the harbour.
Our second morning on Delos sees our explorations continue. We walk the Sacred Way up to the Sanctuary of Apollo, centre of the island and once home to three significant temples. It is now the site of an informative museum, giving us the chance to picture the sanctuary in its former glory, and take a look at some of the artefacts unearthed here.
Our final stop on Delos is the famous Lion District, where the marble statues of nine lions continue to guard what was once the entrance to a great sanctuary, overlooking the Sacred Lake. We bid farewell to this amazing place and sail on to Syros, stopping at the little known, and uninhabited, Rhenia island, where the ruins of an ancient temple and Christian church still stand.
It is a real treat to wake at Syros. One of the smallest islands in the Cyclades, it is nevertheless the archipelago's capital, and relatively tourist-free. Here we view the collections of the Archaeological Museum of Ermpouli, one of Greece's oldest museums, and home to a highly unusual patterned “frying pan” from the Cycladic era. We also explore the Early Cycladic cemetery, an important site with over 600 graves.
We return to our gulet for a voyage up to Andros, the northernmost island in the Cyclades. Here we enjoy a picturesque walking tour, a fine introduction to the area, before rounding off the day with a lovely dinner.
Today we discover the further delights of Andros, through its fantastic Archaeological Museum. This houses an wide collection of locally-sourced artefacts, dating from Geometric to Roman times. The highlight here is a copy of Praxiteles’ statue of Hermes, a find from the nearby ancient city of Palaiopoli. A host of objects from local and Naxian workshops are also here to be seen up close.
The last full day of our great gulet journey begins on the island of Kea. This charming corner of the Aegean is characterised by its rocky spires, orchard-filled valleys, olive groves and excellent walking trails – a destination well away from the tourist track.
We then sail to Cape Sounion, said to be the location at which the King of Athens, Aegeus, jumped from the cliffs to his death – an act which gave the Aegean Sea its name. Sounion also features in Homer's Odyssey. The highlight here is the impressive Temple of Poseidon, where voyagers and locals once left sacrifices in order to placate the ocean god. Perhaps we will give our own thanks to Poseidon here, for allowing us to enjoy this wonderful journey!
Our celebrations continue this evening, as we indulge in a farewell dinner.
We say goodbye to our gulet and each other, and fly home.
- Expert Guide Lecturer
- Tour Manager
- Local Travel - Private a/c coach
- Meals - All meals included with wine at dinner
- Entries & Tips - Entry to all sites in programme; tips included
- Field Notes
- Hotel - On this particular trip, our hotel is a gulet.
The Halis Temel is a Turkish vessel that is currently undergoing refurbishment; Andante guests will stay in her freshly redecorated cabins with wooden floors, new bathrooms and new furniture. Here are some key points about the gulet:
- The gulet is powered by motor, not sail
- There is plenty of space on deck for relaxing and dining inside and out
- The vessel has an indoor and outdoor bar
- The decking is anti-slip throughout
- There are awnings to create shade in the heat of the afternoon, and pillows to cover outside seating
- The gulet has a licence to sail in Greek waters
- All rooms on the same level and are consistent in size
- The bathrooms are small in size but easily serviceable and en-suite
- The bed length is 6ft 2in with comfortable mattresses
- Twin cabins can be made into doubles if required
- The cabins are of a good size with storage space, sockets and lighting
- All cabins have AC, Satellite TV, towels, shower gel, soap, shower caps, hairdryers, and have a maid service every day
- Each cabin has wardrobe space with mirrors, a safe, life jackets and a small fridge
- Every cabin has a porthole that face outwards
- There is no laundry service on board, but it could be pre-arranged for the crew to take it onto an island for washing
- 1 Captain
- 1 qualified chef
- 5 other crew members
- All will be Turkish but speak excellent English
Compliance and Health & Safety:
- The gulet is ISM inspected every April
- There are smoke alarms and fire extinguishers in all cabins and throughout the boat
- There are red fire alarm boxes on different public spaces throughout the boat
- There is a ladder at other end of the cabin corridor which leads to an emergency exit to the deck
- There are 2 inflatable lifeboats on the decks
- Railings on the decks are about 1 metre high
- There will be a health and safety and fire safety briefing on the first day
For full information about Passport validity and Visa requirements as well as Health and Vaccination information please click here.