Cyclades Islands compose a challenging sailing area. Main factor that defines wind force in summer months is the 'meltemi', the northern wind that blows from early July to mid August usually around 5 Beauforts, although gusts can reach up to 8. The wind blows stronger during mid day, so sailors usually travel early morning to avoid the strong wind. Wind direction is purely north, or North West.
Big waves can be also caused by the meltemi. The waves cover hundreds miles' distance from North Aegean coast to Cyclades, so they can become pretty tall in these islands, 3-4 meters. Nevertheless, it can be interesting and fun to steer the wheel trying to avoid these waves and to feel the water spray they cause.
Sailing the Cyclades islands: Challenging wind and tall waves in July and August, ideal for committed sailors!
Calmer conditions for happy sailing in other months, from April to November!
The distance between most of the islands is another factor that increases the difficulty in Cyclades, when the meltemi is strong. This makes it hard to find a shelter if the yacht gets in the middle of strong winds. Although the marinas are small and it might be tricky to find a berth, wind direction is usually stable (north) and the wind speed loses during the night. So, you know what to expect, and usually, despite the strong wind, nights will be easier.
In terms of landscape, the main characteristic is the dry land of Cyclades. The rocks and the endless beaches compose a unique natural spectacle, which people have really fallen in love with. The houses of villages in Cyclades islands have the white color as main characteristic, unique combination of the bright sun and sky and the deep blue of the Aegean Sea. Traditionally they are built on stiff hills and cliffs, as a natural protection from pirates of previous eras. In some cases, you need to enter the bay in order for the main village (called “chora” in Greek) to become visible.