Just a mere mention of the name Cyclades Islands and you will be conjuring up picture postcard images of white wash buildings, churches perched atop rocky terrain and the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea. There are few more beautiful places in the world than this magical archipelago of islands, with the most hospitable of people and views that will simply take your breath away. One of my first holidays as a child was to the Greek Islands and I immediately fell in love! Several years on and I’m pleased to say that this part of the world remains a firm favourite of mine with numerous return journeys having been made. With around 220 islands to discover, the very best way to uncover some of the lesser known Cyclades Islands is by boat tour. Not only will you be able to sit and relax as your captain navigates you through the spectacular azure Aegean waters, but they will have local knowledge of the area and will transport you to all the best places. With boat trips and transfers being such a popular market with tourists, it can be difficult to decide whom to book with so we have been busy doing our research and have chosen ten of the very best tours and transfers offered by experienced operator, Escape From Reality.
The “Ultimate” Trilogy Sifnos – Kimolos – Polyaigos
Departing from the port of Pounta, this exclusive tour is the perfect combination of the three Greek gems, Sifnos, Kimolos and Polyaigos. After a short cruise, your captain will introduce you to the delightful Sifnos, with its imposing mountainous terrain and magnificent unspoilt beaches. Take some time to browse its renowned pottery shops or grab a bite to eat in the popular OMEGA3 restaurant, situated on the delightful beach of Platis Gialos. Next on your tour will be a visit to the petite island of Kimolos which is to the south west of the Cyclades. It’s a destination of simplicity, and hospitable people where the beautiful beachside restaurants and cafes allow for moments of quietness. Crystal clear waters and the most beautiful uninhabited island of Polyaigos is your last stop of the day before you gently cruise back to Paros.
The “EFR Signature” Trilogy Paros – Antiparos
The epitome of the Cycaldes Islands, this tour is a must do for anyone wanting a real taste of the very best that Greece has to offer. Sit back and relax on your 10m Great White boat which includes facilities such as a fresh water shower, sunbed, swim ladders and MP3 player whilst your skipper guides you around the mesmerising sanctuary of the Blue Lagoon Panteronisia, 30+ metres beneath which is the cave of Amphitrite. Discover the uninhabited island of Despotiko, a surrounding island of Antiparos and a haven for archaeology enthusiasts. Stop and take a dip in the tranquil warm turquoise waters of Fira and Faneromeni where the snorkelling is out of this world. Your boat comes complete with a selection of light edible delicacies however, we’d recommend stopping at Agios Georgios, Antiparos – this stunning small beach is perfectly sheltered in a picturesque bay and has a couple of nearby taverns where you can sample freshly caught seafood, all washed down with a glass of local beer or the traditional distilled spirit, Souma.
The “EFR Signature” Trilogy Paros – Antiparos half day
Just because you don’t have a full day to spend exploring the stunning Cyclades Islands, it doesn’t mean to say that you can’t experience a taste of all that this myriad of islands has to offer. Escape From Reality offer a superb half day cruise from Paros to Antiparos which will have you hooked and ready to book your full cruise when you next return to these beautiful islands. If you ask anyone who has experienced a sea trip around the Cyclades Islands, one of the most memorable parts by far, has to be dropping anchor and diving into the warm azure waters and that overwhelming sense of exhilaration when you look down into the deep crystalline waters below! With swim stops at the mesmerising Blue Lagoon and the serene waters of Fira, this tour will not disappoint.
Paros – Irakleia – Schinoussa
This two destination tour starts with the tiny fisherman’s island of Irakleia. This is somewhere off the beaten track where you’re unlikely to visit any other way than by sea. It can be found at the western edge of the Cyclades Islands and is jam packed with scenic bays and natural caves. A highlight is definitely the cove of Alimia where if you’re in the mood for an underwater experience you can catch a glimpse of the sunken war plane from World War II! Return to your boat and sail onto Schinoussa, voted by Forbes Magazine (2012) as one of the six must visit places in Greece and known as the ‘island of tranquillity’. This tiny remote island with its wild landscape and isolated beaches is sure to captivate all visitors that grace its breathtaking shores.
Paros – Sifnos
Departing from Paros, you will cruise the serene Aegean waters onboard your fully skippered boat. Your knowledgeable captain will guide you to the beautiful island of Sifnos, located in the western end of the Cyclades Islands. Choose to spend a lazy day soaking up the sun and the cosmopolitan vibe of the blue flag beach of Platis Gialos, or perhaps opt to experience the authentic charm of the white villages and numerous churches. Take a short bus ride to the beautiful village of Apollonia, Capital of Sifnos or discover the Venetian Castle of Sifnos from where you will experience some of the best views of this island’s natural beauty.
The Paros – Ios
If you are looking for beaches worthy of featuring in an award-winning movie, then this trip to Ios is for you! Featuring in ‘Le Grande Bleu’, the blue flag Manganari beach is a series of sandy coves that gracefully combine into several smaller beaches and is easily accessed from your boat. The shallow waters and uncrowded, peaceful location make it ideal for families and children. If you visit at the right time of day, you may even witness flocks of goats on the sand from time to time! As well as its stunning coastline, you will be able to discover the many churches and chapels of Ios, allegedly 365 in total, one for every day of the year.
Delos – Mykonos
Your Aegean Sea quest from Paros to Delos, with a final stop in Mykonos, is on board the magnificent Almyra, a stylish 10m Great White RIB. Boarding at Paros, your experienced captain will guide you across the beautiful Aegean waters until you reach the archeologically impressive, Delos. One of the most important historical sites in all of Greece, excavations on the island are among the most extensive in the Mediterranean. During your stop, you will have the opportunity to view many of the artefacts that have been unearthed in the local area, currently on display in the Archaeological Museum of Delos. Cruise a little further and discover the mesmerising beaches of the southern Mykonos coast and stop at the incredibly romantic Little Venice, close to the famous windmills. With its Venetian style buildings and colourful wooden balconies precariously situated on the edge of the sea, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Italy. Choose between enjoying exquisite Greek fare on board your boat or perhaps opt to explore the maze of little streets that offer a plethora of trendy bars and restaurants, where you will be able to grab a bite to eat before returning to your boat and gentle cruise back to Paros.
Paros – Folegandros
This cruise from Paros to the small island of Folegandros in the southern part of the Cyclades, is a journey of discovery. This untouched jewel boasts several outstandingly beautiful beaches, with the most stunning, only accessible by boat. Close to Santorini and Milos, this small island has only a few hundred inhabitants. Take time to walk the stone zigzag path to the beautiful church of Panagia, dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin Mary. With its white wash villages spectacularly built on cliff edges, it is sure to take your breath away.
Paros – Kalados (Naxos) – Koufonisia
If you are looking for unspoilt beaches, minimal tourists and a little taste of paradise, then this tour is for you. Sail across the translucent Aegean water to the southern tip of Naxos to discover the beautiful expanse of beach known as Kalados. This unique location offers a handful of cafes where you can grab a bite or a cool drink before embarking on your boat which will take you to the breathtaking islands of Pano (upper) Koufonisi and Kato (lower) Koufonisi. With its charming village of Hora and total population of 366, Pano is a tiny eastern Cycladic island. Meander the narrow streets and visit its traditional windmill before heading off to its contrasting little sibling island of Kato Koufonisi. This fascinating island with its ten or so houses, is almost uninhabited and is a protected archaeological site.
If you are seeking a personalised transfer from Paros or, to and from many of the surrounding islands of the Cyclades Escape From Reality offer a reliable and flexible alternative to local ferries. Whether you are continuing your journey through the Cyclades or wanting to catch a flight home, their attention to detail, reliability and flexibility allows you to customise your journey, adding a touch of luxury to your Cycladic adventure. Perfect for taking the stress out of your travels, you are able to contact Escape From Reality directly to arrange bespoke transfers at competitive prices.
Disclosure: Most reviews are sponsored by the proprietor or brand being appraised. All opinions remain our own & are in no way influenced.