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Swimtrek greek cyclades 020

Tour Highlights

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

  • Stay on two different island over the course of your week's holiday

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

  • Enjoy a smaller group and shorter swim distances 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

Discover the stunning beauty of the Greek Islands on this short swims holiday in and around the islands which make up the Cyclades. This adventure is based on the original SwimTrek trip which has been running since 2003, however, the shorter daily swim distances are designed for those who are relatively new to open water swimming holidays or simply enjoy a little more time out of the water.

Island hopping between two different islands, you’ll have the opportunity to discover isolated beaches and breathtaking coastlines on several of the islands which make up this picturesque corner of the Greek archipelago. The first three nights of your trip are spent on the island of Schinoussa before we hop over to the nearby island of Koufonissi for the second half of our trip.

With a combination of short crossing between islands and beautiful coastal swims, you’ll have the chance to explore the diverse scenery which exists amongst this unique island group. From sea caves and tunnels to arches and islets, there is no shortage of beautiful topography and landscapes to explore, above and below the water.

Who is this trip for?

This short swims trip offers a combination of both coastal swims and classic short crossings. Distances average around 2-3km per day, so it’s equally suited to those who are relatively new to the open water and those who prefer shorter daily swim distances. Swimmers should have a basic understanding of open water swimming and be capable of completing the average daily swim distance of around 3km (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 advice with video playback
  • Six nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches (excluding day 5)

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Lunch on day 5
  • Evening meals
  • Overnight Stay Tax

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

After arriving in Schinoussa on the Express Skopelitis ferry from Naxos, you will be picked up by our local hotel partners and transferred to the Archipelagos Hotel. After some time to check into your room and freshen up, we meet at 17:00 on the terrace of the hotel. In the light of an incomparable Aegean sunset, we’ll enjoy some 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

We hold an acclimatisation swim in the fabulous Tsigouri Bay, accessed by the hotel’s own private path. Following this, we hold a short technique advice and video analysis session which focuses on the basics of open water swimming. After lunch, we head out to the remote and uninhabited islands of Fidousa and Agrilou, which lie off Schinoussa’s southern coast. Here we carry out a coastal swim down Fidousa’s eastern coast followed by a crossing over to Agrilou. 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

We head out over to the island of Iraklia, where we spend a day swimming around its craggy coastline featuring underwater cliffs. The swim around Cape Tourkopigado is stunning as is the swim over the sunken wreck of a former German World War II plane located just 9 metres below the surface in Alimnia Bay. It’s a great day of relatively short swims with lunch onboard or on the beach.

Day 4

Today we have an early start, departing Schinoussa for our new accommodation on the island of Ano Koufonissi. In the morning we traverse along Kato Koufonissi’s dramatic east coast, featuring numerous islets and sea caves. After lunch on board our boat, we have a hike across the island finishing at the Chapel of the Virgin which dates back to 1651. From here, we have exhilarating views across to the uninhabited island of Keros, a wonderful island to explore.

Day 5

This morning we head out 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. We will carry out two coastal swims along the steep cliffs off the North Coast. Underwater sea stacks abound during these swims.

After heading back to Koufonissi, 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. Please note that lunch is at your own expense upon arrival back to Koufonissi.

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. Your swim distances are flexible, so choose to swim as much or as little as you like. Time and conditions permitting, swims today may include Naxos’s southern coastline under the gaze of Mt Zeus, reputed birthplace of the King of the Greek Gods. The coastline here is dramatic with countless coves and peninsulas in and around both Cape Patsouras and Cape Panormou.

Day 7

We hold an early morning swim before breakfast. 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.

Temperatures

Month Water Temp (°C) Air Temp (°C)
June 20-24˚C / 68-75°F 20-25˚C / 68-77°F
September 23-25˚C / 73-77°F 20-25˚C / 68-77°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
Fidousa - Agrilou 2km Cape Tourkopigado, Iraklia 1½km
Alimnia Bay, Iraklia 1½km Kato Koufonissi Coastal 2km
Glaronisi Coastal 1km Cape Spili, Keros 1½km
Vathi Limenani, Keros (Tssouloufi-Lazaros) 1½km Cape Patsouras (Southern Naxos) 2km
Cape Panormou (Southern Naxos) 1km

*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
Koufonissi (Main village to Pori Bay) 3km
Kato Koufonissi (Main port to Chapel of the Virgin) 2km

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 vessel and two support 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 is connected to Athens with daily flights, 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.

Please do also note that from April 7th 2019, the Hellenic Police will be implementing systematic passport control checks for all European citizens travelling to/from destinations outside the Schengen area (including the UK). Waiting times at passport control may be affected so please ensure you arrive to the airport in good time.

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. 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 direct public bus connection between the airport and port. This journey should take 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 the morning of Day 7 on the island of Koufonissi. The most popular option is to take the early morning ‘Express Skopelitis’ ferry back to Naxos and make your onwards journey from Naxos to Athens. 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 15 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 simple, locally-owned hotels. Both hotels offer a range of twin-share rooms with en-suite facilities. There are a limited number of single occupancy 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. The hotel has a mix of standard rooms, newly refurbished superior rooms plus suites and junior suites. These can only be booked locally and are subject to availability. 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. Please note, the Greek Ministry of Tourism has introduced an Overnight Stay Tax. This is payable upon arrival at Paradise Hotel, at a rate of €1.50 per person, per night.

Passports and Visas

Greece is part of the European Union. Non-residents of Greece require a full passport to enter the country, which should be valid for six months beyond the expected length of stay. Citizens of 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 worldstandards.eu.

  • The scenery above and below the water was simply stunning. With the guides help I have grown in confidence and ability. I’m looking forward to holidaying with SwimTrek again in the future.

    Jo S, UK - 2018
  • Exceeded my expectations. Not just excellent swimming, the enjoyment of which was much enhanced by the coaching but the people who participated were all great!

    Reed K, Germany - 2018
  • A swim to satisfy your soul!

    Bernice L, Australia - 2018