A Guide to the Aegean Islands


The Aegean Archipelagos is the most beautiful seascape on earth, every rock in this sea seems to be associated with a four-thousand-year old story. Long before Odysseus the Gods lived here. Apollo was born on Delos, which was floating on the sea and was tied down by his pregnant mother Leto to deliver him and his twin Artemis. Delos is the center of the circle (kyklos) on which the Aegean world rotates. Sitting on Mt. Kythnos, Delos' island mountain, watching the sun turn across the sky, one is surrounded by the shadows of islands floating across the sea.
Ideally this world should be explored with a sailboat. But since Odysseus' time such a journey has remained the domain of the fearlessly courageous: Poseidon will still persue the daring intruder with sudden fierce storms. Today the less adventurous can take one of the big boats of Blue Star Lines. Incidentally, the greatest sufferers at sea are the Island Greeks....
And do bring a lover with you! This is a most sensual landscape - The Gods and Goddesses are alive in every bay and every stone....


The Cyclades

The North-Eastern Islands

The Dodecanese

Printer-friendly PDF files to download and take along - (each about 1.7 MBy = 25 pages letter-size)
Please do not download the above webpages to your computer wholesale, this will shut-down the website for a day.
Use the PDFs below instead. These printer files are not as luminous as the website, but they contain all pictures and text:




Ferry Boats and Schedules

Riding the ferry boats has always been one of my greatest pleasures of the Aegean. In the “old days” some of the rustiest, thrice recommissioned would plow the sea, and we lived down some frightning nights. Then two or three capsized in the island habors – the captain had been asleep – and before the Olympics the government forcefully retired anything older than 10 years. It was difficult to get to the islands in 2004, there were only the Blue Star Line boats left. I still would take them if I have the choice. But since the Aegean fleet has become much faster and reliable – if less quaint.,

If you go “steerage”, the only way we ever traveled – with a sleepingbag – you don't need reservations, but you should still obtain a current Timetable in Athens when you arrive at the Airport or at the Syntagmata Tourist Information kiosk to confirm that the connections and times are correct.
The following schedules may be helpful - they are
never accurate:
Good general ferry informations are found in OpenSeas
Best instant Ferry Time Table: Shiptracking.eu
For the larger islands use the reliable, modern boats of
Blue Star Lines (especially in bad weather!)

Sailing in the Aegean

Some of you, Patrick, Kate, and Ulysse are passionate sailors, you might entertain the idea of renting a boat..... A dream of mine since the 50s. But be aware the Aegean is no swimming pool. - I attach links to weather and boat rental services.

The summer weather in the Aegean is dominated by Etesian winds (meltemi in Greek) which come from the NE in the north and west Aegean and from the NW in the south and east. Usually it is a light sailing breeze of force 4-5 in the early morning hours but as the day progresses it strengthens to 5-6 by the afternoon and subsides by sunset. However from mid June to mid September you can count on the meltemi to become a gale of force 7-8 and occasionally 9. These gales usually last 3-4 days.
From October to mid May the probability is equal for either northerly or southerly winds. Winds of force 10 are not uncommon in the winter months. Violent thunderstorms are also probable by late October to early May. The southern winter winds are particularly treacherous and unpredictable.
Winds by the hour

Links to Boat Rental Services:
Try the following Rental Agencies (bare and crewed):
Odyssey Sailing
Greek Island Sailing
Matt Barrett's Sailing advice
A useful overview of Greece sailing is given in
Cruising/wiki includes a list of nautical charts to purchase.