Dear friend

As sailors and divers, we spend a lot of time sailing and exploring the islands of the Aegean Sea; the Cyclades and the Dodecanese. Although some of us have been working in the area for more than 20 years we still learn and discover new places almost on a weekly basis.

I believe that many of you have dreamt or wish to travel to the islands soon or in the future. With that in mind, I’ve gathered the following 18 facts about the Cyclades that I'd like to share with you!

 

18 facts few people know about the Aegean sea and the islands of the Cyclades

The Aegean sea is immensely impressive; the diversity of landscapes and reliefs among the thousands of islands, the numerous sandy coasts and phrygana-covered slopes, the cliffs and high mountains, sea caves and precious small wetlands, all these small and natural refuges for wildlife...

  1. The Aegean Sea holds more history and legend in its waters than any other body of water in the world. This is the sea upon which thousand Greek ships sailed when they set out to attack Troy and rescue the lovely Helen! The Aegean is where western civilization was born; civilizations such as the Phoenicians, Minoan Cretans, Ionians, Dorians and Persians inhabited its waters.

  2. Throughout the Aegean area, a couple of thousand islands large and small emerge from the clear blue waters, of which approximately 30 comprise the Cyclades. These are the mountain peaks of Aegais, the name given to a now-submerged landmass. The largest island, Crete (3,189 sq. miles or 8,260 sq. km.), is marking its boundary on the south.

  3. For its size, no other maritime area of the Mediterranean has comparable shoreline development. Both the continental shores surrounding the Aegean Sea and those of the islands are full of solitary bays and small fishing ports where seamen could find shelter at the dawn of European history, facilitating contacts between local people and those of three continents.

  4. The maximum depth of the Aegean is to be found east of Crete, where it reaches 11,627 feet (3,544 meters).

  5. With the exception of some islands close to coast of minor Asia which were connected to the mainland till the last ice age, most Aegean islands have a long history of isolation. The Latin term for the word island is "insula", which evolved to “isola” and the resemblance with the word “isolamento” is not accidental. In the limited insular ecosystems species had their time to change by piling characteristics and, generation-by-generation, distinguish into new subspecies. Nowadays islands are considered as natural laboratories where many theories can be tested.

  6. Endemism is exceptionally high justifying the term a "botanist's paradise" demonstrated by the presence of 80 endemic plant species and thirty six exclusive found on the Aegean islands.

  7. The Mediterranean monk seal, the most important mammal of the Aegean, and various species of dolphin, such as the long tip dolphin, black dolphin, grey dolphin, are included in the marine mammals that can be encountered while sailing around the islands. The monk seal has been a part of Greek’s natural and cultural heritage and is described in The Odyssey. The head of a monk seal was even found on a coin dated 500 B.C. Now, however, only 250 monk seals are left.

  8. The remainder marine fauna of the Cyclades is also exceptionally rich. It includes more than 200 species of fish (mullets, snappers, gilthead sea breams, groupers, wrasses) and also octopuses, squids, cuttlefishes, lobsters and seahorses. You will have the chance to sample some amazing fish dishes at the local fish taverns!

  9. Greece is the leading producer of sea sponges. Kalymnos, a small island in the Northeast Aegean, is known as the island of the sponge divers.

  10. The Aegean has a Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and mild to cool, wet winters. I would recommend if possible to travel out-of-season, in May, June, September or October. During these months, the islands are more relaxed and accommodation and travelling is cheaper. In May and June the islands of Greece are much greener and full of flowers. The temperature of the seawater is a bit colder, but you can still swim. In September and October the islands are more dry and less green than in the beginning of the season, but the water temperatures of the sea are better. Outside the tourist season (November - April) you can expect all kinds of weather, from thunderstorms, wind and even snow to lovely sunny days on which everybody rushes to the beach for a bbq and a dip in the water.

  11. Feta, which is made from goat’s milk, is Greece’s national cheese. It dates back to the Homeric ages, and the average per-capita consumption of feta cheese in Greece is the highest in the world. Still in every islands you will find local goat cheese that will blow your mind! 

  12. In Greek “panigiria”, people of all ages gather, usually at the main square of the village, and under the uplifting sounds of the local musicians, they eat, drink wine and dance… till dawn. Since the ancient times, feasts would take place in order to worship the god of Dionysus, the god of wine and festivity. Nowadays the ancient custom of the “panigiri” lives on and it could be a one-in-a-lifetime experience for the traveller in Greece. In the islands of the Aegean, there are feasts throughout the year. If you are planning to visit Greece, then I strongly recommend that you plan to attend one during your stay. Just ask us for dates and further information.

  13. Thousands of birds stop in the Aegean during spring & autumn migration as the islets, islands, rocks constitute a safe place to rest and, if possible, to feed.

  14. The saying “taking the bull by its horns” comes from the Greek myth of Hercules saving Crete from a raging bull by seizing its horns.

  15. After giving a compliment, Greeks make a puff of breath through pursed lips, as if spitting. This is meant to protect the person receiving the compliment from the “evil eye”. Introducing our guests to the local island culture and customs is an essential part of our trip!


Whether you enjoy relaxing on deck with a cold drink… feeling the wind and trimming the sails… walking ancient paths to picturesque villages… getting into the unspoilt lifestyle of the islanders… exploring the underwater life or spotting dolphins and sea turtles… you’ll experience what you’re looking for while sailing with us around the Cyclades!

Our sailing yacht Tahita and her crew will be sailing around the Greek islands between the 1st of May and 30th of October.

Check our sample sailing itineraries… and contact us for further information & special group offers at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.