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Tour Highlights

  • Experience island-hopping swims around some of the most scenic islands in the Mediterranean

  • Explore tunnels, arches, caves and dramatic underwater topography as we complete breathtaking coastal swims on several different islands

  • Enjoy a smaller group feel while sailing and swimming in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean Sea

  • Savour the friendly local atmosphere and narrow streets in the small island villages of Schinoussa and Koufonissi

Join us on the original SwimTrek adventure on our classic Greek Cyclades swimming holiday. Running since 2003, this island-hopping getaway gives you the chance to swim amongst some of the most beautiful scenery, isolated beaches, and dramatic coastlines in the Mediterranean Sea.

One of the most unique aspects of this trip is the opportunity to stay on two different islands over the course of the week, with your first three nights spent at the Archipelagos Hotel on the island of Schinoussa before moving over to the Paradise Hotel on the island of Koufonissi for the second half of your SwimTrek adventure.

In additional to the beautiful scenery above the water, our coastal swims are also the perfect way to experience the area from a truly unique perspective as we explore the sea caves, tunnels, arches and other underwater topography that exist along the shorelines of the various islands that we visit.

Who is this trip for?

This trip is designed for the swimmer that is looking for a combination of both island-hopping and coastal swims. Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average daily swim distance of around 5km (split over a minimum of two swims) prior to the start of the trip.

What's included?

  • Fully guided swimming holiday in the Greek Cyclades
  • Swim guides and full safety escort on all swims
  • Technique coaching and video analysis
  • Six nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches (Excluding day four)

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Lunch on day four
  • Evening meals

Related Links


Daily Itineraries

Please note that the below daily itineraries are an example of the swims that may take place during the course of your trip, however, actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and sea conditions. Your SwimTrek guides and local boat pilot will determine the most suitable swim locations each day and will communicate the plan with all guests as soon as possible.

Day 1

You arrive into Schinoussa on the Express Skopelitis ferry, the island’s only connection with Naxos. After some time to check into your room and freshen up, we meet at 17:00 on the terrace of the Archipelagos Hotel. In the light of an incomparable Aegean sunset you enjoy welcome drinks, introductions and discuss the daily schedule in the pre-trip briefing. Then it’s off for dinner at one of the island’s beautiful boutique tavernas.

Day 2

A relaxing start this morning with an acclimatisation swim held in the fabulous Tsigouri Bay, accessed by the hotel’s own private path. Following this, we hold a coaching session with a focus on open-water technique. After lunch at the beach side café we swim to the uninhabited island of Fidousa, with its steep rocky shore and curious mountain goats. The early evening is given over to a session on video analysis where we play back your stroke from the earlier morning session.

Day 3

Our first significant crossing as you swim out to the island of Iraklia which sits directly opposite Schinoussa’s southern coast , finishing in beautiful Mourto bay. Following an onboard lunch and some rest in the bay we continue our swimming to navigate the spectacular underwater cliffs, stone beaches and hidden treasures of Iraklia’s southern coastline.

Day 4

Today we have an early start, departing Schinoussa for our new accommodation on the island of Ano Koufoníssi. In true SwimTrek style however, we will be swimming most of the journey! Heading out from Schinoussa’s isolated eastern shoreline, we make our way to the tall and foreboding cliffs of Kato Koufonissi (“Lower Cave”) Island. After some well earned sustenance you can spend time bathing in the island’s remote caves and perhaps enjoy the company of turtles and dolphins which have been spotted here. In the afternoon we’ll resume our journey to the upper island of Ano Koufonissi, tracking along the sandy bays and cliffs of Kato Koufonissi’s southern shoreline.

Day 5

After breakfast, we set out to make the exciting crossing to the uninhabited island of Keros. This island was once the centre of an ancient Cycladic community and its demise is shrouded in mystery. The island is also known as a site of important archaeological significance with excavations both above and below the water.

After opening up our up the sails on our journey back to Kofounissi, the rest of the afternoon is yours to either kick back and relax or explore the island at your own pace. A spectacular walk to the northern beach of Pori Bay, with its hidden caves and a secluded lagoon, is highly recommended.

Day 6

Today is another day of great swims; coastal or crossings, bays or reefs, it’s a great way to finish your swimming odyssey. The fascinating outcrops of the islands south of Keros is a swimmers paradise with nice sheltered crossings on show. Your swim distances are flexible, so choose to swim as much or as little as you like.

Day 7

We hold an early morning swim before breakfast. We make sure the timing of the morning swim ties in with the Express Skopelitis ferry which departs from Koufonissi at between 08.00 - 09.00. It’s a last chance to check with your guides on any swim technique issues before the tour ends at Koufonissi harbour.

Trip Schedule

Start Point: Archipelagos Hotel, Schinoussa

Start Time: 17:00 on Day 1

Finish Point: Paradise Hotel, Koufonissi

Finish Time: 08:00 on Day 7

Trip Information

Equipment Checklist

In addition to your daily non-swimming clothes, we also recommend that you bring the following items:

Item Item
Swimming Costumes (x2) Towel
Swimming Goggles* (x2) Small Daypack
Sunhat and Sunglasses Walking Shoes / Sandals
Waterproof Sun Cream Sweater / Fleece
Waterproof Jacket Aqua Shoes

*Try to bring one clear lens and one tinted lens for different light conditions.

Please note that SwimTrek will supply swim hats and provide water and electrolyte drinks in shared water bottles on your safety boat. If you prefer to use your own drink bottle, please feel free to bring one along. If you would like to use a wetsuit, rash vest or fins during your swims, please ensure that you bring these with you.

Luggage Recommendation

Due to restricted space on both the ferries and the yacht we recommend traveling with soft suitcases.

Temperatures

Month Water Temp (°C) Air Temp (°C)
May 19-21°C / 66-70°F 22-24°C / 72-75°F
June 20-22˚C / 68-72°F 23-25˚C / 73-77°F
July 21-23˚C / 69-73°F 27-29 ˚C / 80-84°F
August 22-24˚C / 71-75°F 29-31˚C / 84-87°F
September 22-24˚C / 71-75°F 28-30˚C / 82-86°F

*Please note that these temperatures are indicative and should be used as a guide only.

Weather Caveat

For safety reasons, we rely on decent weather conditions when carrying out our swims. As a consequence, open water swimming holidays require a certain degree of on-trip flexibility which can result in changes to the planned itinerary. These changes often add a touch of uniqueness to your trip and will be communicated to you by your SwimTrek guides as quickly as possible.

Swimming Distances

Swim Distance Swim Distance
Schinoussa - Fidousa 2km Kato Koufonissi Coastal 1 1/2km
Schinoussa - Iraklia 3km Ano Koufonissi - Keros 4km
Iralklia Coastal 2km Keros Archipelago Island Hop (Megali Plaka-Tssouloufi-Lazaros) 3km
Schinoussa - Kato Koufonissi 3km Keros Archipelago Island Hop (Lazaros-Andreas) 2km

Please note that these swims are an example of the what may take place during the course of your trip and should be used as a guide only. Actual swim locations and distances will vary according to local weather and sea conditions.

Swimming Conditions

Swimming in the sea is a fantastic experience, however you should be aware that certain marine life such as sea lice, jellyfish, sea urchins and coral could be present during the swims. In all cases we will work on reducing your contact with these creatures, however if you suffer from anaphylaxis, please consult the office prior to booking.

Walking Distances

Walk Distance
Schinoussa (Main village to Psili Amos) 2km
Koufonissi (Main village to Pori Bay) 3km

Please note that most walks take place on recognised paths and tracks, however there may be cases where we walk along trails or other unsealed surfaces and care should be taken in these areas.

Group Size and Boat Support

This trip has a maximum group size of 11. The group will be split into a maximum of three groups, based on speed, with each group being accompanied by their own safety vessel/escort. 

Boat support on this trip includes one main support vessel and two inflatable boats to be piloted by your SwimTrek guides and a local boat pilot. Please note that this boat support is subject to change without notice and cannot be guaranteed.

Getting There - General Information

The trip will start at the Archipelagos Hotel on the island of Schinoussa and finish at the Paradise Hotel on a different island called Koufonissi. Please ensure that your travel is arranged accordingly.

There are number of travel options to get to Schinoussa, with the closest airport being located on the island of Naxos. Naxos serves daily flights from Athens, with a flight time of approximately 35 minutes. From Naxos, guests can take a ferry to Schinoussa which takes approximately two hours. Please note that the ferry from Naxos to Schinoussa leaves only once per day, so it is important to book this journey in advance and arrive in time to board the ferry in order to ensure that you reach the island of Schinoussa on the first day of your trip.

Please note that ferry schedules are often not updated until late March - early April. Overnight stays may be required during transit in order for your flights to match up with suitable ferry departures. Whichever route you choose to take, we recommend confirming your flights and other travel arrangements as early as possible in order to avoid price rises and availability issues.

While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. We suggest that you use the following websites to search for alternative flight and ferry options for this trip.

Flights: Skyscanner

Ferries: Open Seas or Danae Travel

IMPORTANT: While it is recommended that you purchase your ferry tickets online in advance, it is worth mentioning that neither ferry operators nor third party websites will issue an ‘e-ticket’ at the time of booking, i.e. you will not be able to print your ticket prior to travel. You will have the option to either have your ticket sent to you via courier (upon payment of a postage fee) or to pick up your ticket when you arrive in Greece. Pick-up locations can vary from one ferry operator to the next and often include locations in central Athens, as well as offices which are located at your selected departure port. For any enquiries about ticket collections, please contact the ferry operator or booking agent directly.

Getting There - Via Athens

Flights to Athens

To search for available flights into Athens International Airport, please visit Skyscanner.

Flights from Athens to Náxos

From Athens airport you can fly directly into Náxos via Olympic Air, if their schedule permits. Once released, flight schedules and availability can be found at Olympic Air.

Ferries from Athens to Schinoussa

While it is possible to catch a direct ferry from Athens (Piraeus Port) to Schinoussa through Blue Star Ferries, please note that these run infrequently throughout the season and don’t always offer daily departures. It is worth noting that in past years these ferries have often not matched up well with incoming flights from European destinations. Ferry schedules, once released, can be found at Open Seas or Danae Travel.

Ferries from Athens to Naxos

From Athens airport, you will need to catch a bus to Piraeus Port in order to catch a ferry to Naxos. For airport bus timetables, please visit: Athens Airport Bus.

Depending on the ferry service that you book from Athens to Naxos, the journey time can vary significantly, however, in general the trip takes approximately 5-6 hours. The price of the ferry is approximately €45-€60 for a one-way trip and are available to purchase online at Open Seas or Danae Travel, or from one of the local ferry agents, such as Alkyon Travel, who are located along the Piraeus Port harbour front.

Ferries from Naxos to Schinoussa

Once on the island of Naxos, you will need to catch the 'Express Skopelitis' ferry to Schinoussa. Please note that this ferry usually only departs from Naxos once per day at 14:00, however, this is subject to change and should be confirmed at the time of making your ferry booking. Tickets for this ferry, once released, can be booked online via either Open Seas or Danae Travel.

If you arrive to Schinoussa on the Express Skopelitis on Day 1 of the trip, you will be met on arrival for a transfer to the Archipelagos Hotel. If you are on an alternative ferry, please contact Panagiotis on hotelarchipelagos@gmail.com to arrange a free private transfer.

If you are unable to catch the ‘Express Skopelitis’ ferry at the beginning of your trip, private water taxis can be arranged by contacting Panagiotis on the email above, however, please note that these cost approximately €200 and are subject to availability.

Getting There - Via Santorini

Flights to Santorini

To search for available flights into Santorini International Airport, please visit Skyscanner .

Ferries from Santorini to Náxos

From the airport you can take either a taxi or shuttle service to the port. Please note that there is no public bus connection between the airport and port. This takes roughly 15-20 minutes. It’s worth pointing out that there is no ferry ticket office at Santorini Airport, so it’s advised to book your ferry tickets in advance. For ticket availability and ferry schedules, once released, please visit either Open Seas or Danae Travel.

Ferries from Naxos to Schinoussa

Once on the island of Naxos, you will need to catch the 'Express Skopelitis' ferry to Schinoussa. Please note that this ferry usually only departs from Naxos once per day at 14:00, however, this is subject to change and should be confirmed at the time of making your ferry booking. Tickets for this ferry, once released, can be booked online via either Open Seas or Danae Travel.

If you arrive to Schinoussa on the Express Skopelitis on Day 1 of the trip, you will be met on arrival for a transfer to the Archipelagos Hotel. If you are on an alternative ferry, please contact Panagiotis on hotelarchipelagos@gmail.com to arrange a free private transfer.

If you are unable to catch the ‘Express Skopelitis’ ferry at the beginning of your trip, private water taxis can be arranged by contacting Panagiotis on the email above, however, please note that these cost approximately €200 and are subject to availability.

Return Travel from Koufonissi

The trip will finish on day 7 on the island of Koufonissi. The most popular option is to take the ‘Express Skopelitis’ ferry back to Naxos and make your onwards journey from Naxos to Athens, as per the travel advice from ‘Option 1’. Alternatively, there may be ferries from Koufonissi to alternative locations (e.g. Santorini) in Greece, so please check Open Seas or Danae Travel for ferry route options, schedules and tickets, once they are released.

Accommodation Whilst Travelling

Staying in Naxos

Naxos is an ideal island on which to stay either prior to or after your tour. We recommend the Hotel Grotta, a superb family-run hotel only 10 minutes walk from the ferry terminal and with lovely views over the islands of Mykonos and Paros. It has been SwimTrek’s home away from home on Naxos for the last 14 years. You can book via the following website: Hotel Grotta.

Staying in Athens

The Hotel Phidias is a great hotel if you need to stay overnight in Athens prior to or after your SwimTrek trip. A free shuttle service to the hotel is available for all guests from the airport, port, metro or railway station. To book this shuttle, please ensure that you contact the hotel prior to travelling, by emailing mphidiasgr@otenet.gr or calling +30 210 4296 480. For further information on getting to the hotel, please visit: Hotel Phidias.

Practical Information

Accommodation

During your stay in the Cyclades we use basic, locally-owned hotels. Both hotels offer a range of twin-share rooms with en-suite facilities. There are a limited number of single supplement rooms which can be reserved during the booking process, subject to availability.

Archipelagos Hotel

The first three nights are spent on the island of Schinoussa at the Archipelagos Hotel which is located on the south side of Schinoussa near the most popular beach on the island; Tsigouri. The local village is also only 700 meters away making this an ideal stay in Schinoussa. The rooms at the Archipelagos Hotel vary significantly from one room to the next, so please pay attention to the room description (including the room size) during the booking process. If you require additional accommodation at Archipelagos Hotel prior to your trip, please contact Panagiotis via e-mail: hotelarchipelagos@gmail.com

Paradise Hotel

The last three nights are spent on the island of Koufonissi at the Paradise Hotel which is only 200 meters from the port and like the Archipelagos boasts some of the island’s most and beautiful beaches right on their doorstep. If you require additional accommodation at Paradise Hotel at the end of your trip, please contact Manos via e-mail: info@paradisekoufonisi.gr

Meals

All breakfasts and lunches (except Day 5) are included in your trip price, however, dinners are at your own expense. This gives you a fantastic opportunity to sample the abundance of traditional family-run tavernas over the course of your trip. The average cost of dinner is between €20 - €30.

Extra Expenses

You should bring extra money with you to cover such items as dinners, drinks, entertainment, souvenirs and your ferry transfers both to Schinoussa at the start of the trip and Koufonissi at the end of the trip. The local currency in Greece is Euro (€). A single ATM machine is available on both islands you stay on but these can be unreliable so we suggest withdrawing money before your departure or in Naxos.

Passports and Visas

Greece is part of the European Union. Non-residents of Croatia require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of most countries, including all E.U. member states, U.S., Canada, Australia and New Zealand do not require a visa to enter Greece. Please note that visa regulations are subject to change and we advise that you check your own visa requirements prior to travel.

Health Information and Recommended Vaccinations

For comprehensive health information for people travelling to Greece, including all recommended and required vaccinations, please visit Travel Health Pro. Please note that this information is subject to change and you should re-check this site regularly prior to your trip.

Travel Plugs & Electricity

For a useful source of information on the different electrical outlets, electrical plugs, and electric sockets, please visit ElectricalOutlet.org.

  • Going on a Swimtrek holiday was a long held ambition of mine. I started the week not knowing whether I could complete the swims and with the tentative ambition of enjoying the experience. I realised my ambition had been exceeded as I found myself as I swam smiling involuntarily at the deep blue of the waters of the Aegean. My thanks to the guides and to Swimtrek for this life affirming experience.

    Helen K, UK - 2017
  • Fabulous week in the Greek Cyclades. Brilliant mix of coastal swimming to admire the rock formations, with fabulous crossings to allow for an increase in tempo and challenge if you are in the mood. Fantastic individual guidance from extremely knowledgeable guides - and brilliant guides with good sense of humour and chilled attitude, it is a holiday after all!

    Stephanie W, Ireland - 2017
  • I waited 14 years to do my Greek Cyclades trip after reading about it in a magazine all those years ago and I wasn't disappointed. I struggle to put the swimming experience into words.

    Robert O, Australia - 2017
  • This was without any doubt one of the most rewarding and wonderful experiences of my life. Bruce and Telly created an atmosphere where we felt safe, cared for and challenged all at the same time. It was hilarious, spontaneous and SO MUCH FUN ... We all felt able to be ourselves, feel child-like excitement and be responsible - all at the same time ... I think that's a beautiful thing, it is not often that we are able to feel that way - it was a complete JOY!! Best of all, we all felt like caring for each other ... I LOVED every minute of it.

    Humphrey C, Tanzania - 2017
  • Had a marvellous first experience with Swim Trek, I hope to do it again in the near future.

    Manny, USA - 2017
  • This trip was fantastic and just the holiday I needed. Even for people who haven't been swimming for too long (like myself) it's the perfect opportunity to do open water swimming. The guides took such good care of me, thank you!

    Martha M, Germany - 2017
  • Swimtrek folk are always fab, friendly and sociable. At the end of every trip there is always a sadness to say goodbye but hope that you will meet again for another swim experience.

    Sharon P, UK - 2017
  • Outstanding in everyway. Don't miss this experience.

    Josh S. USA - 2016
  • Yet again the holiday exceeded expectations, a perfect way to spend a week with two of my children. They are definitely converted to the SwimTrek way.

    Emma B. UK - 2016
  • What a fantastic trip! I loved the crystal clear blue waters and the mix of coastal swims and crossings. The Greek islands are stunning, the locals so friendly and our guides were top notch! Thank you, SwimTrek, I'm already planning my next trip with you!

    Sally T. UK - 2016
  • It is very easy to fall in love with Open Water Swimming when you are in such stunning locations and part of a team with common goals.

    Amy S. UK - 2016
  • Magnificent Greek Islands of the Cyclades with brilliant blue waters and fabulous swimming crossings.

    Vida G. Australia - 2016
  • It's a stress free active holiday with the opportunity to meet new interesting people, have a laugh and get a tan.

    David M, UK - 2017

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Accommodation

Archapeligos and paradise  cyclades  small
Archipelagos Hotel & Paradise Hotel

During the tour we stay at both the Hotel Archipelagos and Hotel Paradise. The first three nights are spent on the island of Schinoussa at the Archipelagos, a local family owned hotel with spectacular sea view. Half way through the week we switch to the Paradise Hotel on the island of Ano Kouffonissi. This hotel has the traditional Greek white washed walls and stunning views of the coastline.