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20140828 082503

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 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 on the island of Schinoussa before hopping over to the island of Koufonissi for the second half of your SwimTrek adventure.

In addition 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 many 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 advice with video playback
  • Six nights accommodation
  • All breakfasts
  • All lunches (excluding day five)

What's not included?

  • Travel to and from the start of the tour
  • Lunch on day five
  • 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

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 session of technique advice and video analysis to help you get the most from your open-water swims. After lunch 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 is a swim out to the beautiful island of Iraklia which sits directly opposite Schinoussa’s southern coast. 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 Koufonissi. 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 where you may encounter turtles and dolphins which have been spotted here in the past. Once we reach the harbour, we’ll be greeted by a representative of our accommodation, the Paradise Hotel, and transported to our new hotel for the rest of the trip.

Day 5

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

After journeying 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. 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. 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 the ferries, we recommend travelling with soft suitcases.

Temperatures

Month Water Temp (°C) Air Temp (°C)
May 16-21°C / 61-70°F 17-21°C / 63-70°F
June 20-24˚C / 68-75°F 20-25˚C / 68-77°F
July 23-27˚C / 73-81°F 22-27 ˚C / 72-81°F
August 23-28˚C / 73-82°F 22-26˚C / 72-79°F
September 22-25˚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
Schinoussa - Fidousa 2km Ano Koufonissi Coastal 1½km
Schinoussa - Iraklia 3km Glaronissi - Keros 3½km
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 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

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

While there are a number of travel options to get to Schinoussa, SwimTrek recommends flying into Athens and arriving into Schinoussa by travelling via Naxos island, one of the largest islands in the Cyclades. The recommended options are:

  1. Flying into Athens, then flying from Athens to Naxos (the nearest airport to Schinoussa) and taking a ferry from Naxos to Schinoussa.
  2. Flying into Athens, taking a ferry from Athens to Naxos, & another ferry from Naxos to Schinoussa.

Please note that the ferry from Naxos to Schinoussa leaves only once per day, usually at 14:00, 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. In some cases, you might need to stay overnight in Athens or Naxos in order to catch this ferry on the first day of your trip.

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.

While we have outlined various travel options below, they are subject to change and should be used as a guide only. Other travel options are available, such as from Santorini, and guests are welcome to contact our team if they want to look at other options. Because of flight and ferry times, its is a good idea to arrive a day early in either Naxos or Schinoussa to make sure you are on time for the start of the trip. 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. 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. 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. For information in taxis from the airport to Pireaus Port, please visit: taxi-athens.net.

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, 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.

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 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 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.

  • I am at my happiest in the ocean or on a sailing boat. The Greek Cyclades Swimtrek gave me both. I was in heaven for six days and enjoyed a magical experience that I will treasure for a long time!

    Nicky G, Aus - 2018
  • Another fantastic Swim Trek trip, great location and very helpful guides. My swimming technique improved over the week. Looking forward to booking my next trip.

    Susan M, UK - 2018
  • A great swimming trip in the Greek islands, explore two very different islands, swim in crystal clear waters with some like minded people. Perfect for those new to open water swimming, and with one or two surprises to see along the way too!

    Emma S, UK - 2018
  • A long awaited dream trip that surpassed my expectations - amazing guides, excellent group, well managed, safe and in the most idyllic location - thank you SwimTrek

    Anna G, UK - 2018
  • I couldn't think of a better way to move from swimming in a pool to open water swimming.

    Andrew F, UK - 2018
  • My experience with Swim Trek surpassed my expectations - not just for the stunning scenery & beautiful locations - but for the level of care and attention from the swim guides who were highly skilled & professional - making sure everybody was looked after & happy in the water...simply an amazing trip I will never forget.

    Zoe S, UK - 2018
  • This was the most exciting holiday I’ve had for a long time. It was so well organised and run by very experienced leaders, Telly and Sian made the trip exciting, fun and I always felt I was in safe hands. I’d recommend this trip to anyone who loves swimming, I’d just say do it, give it a go, you won’t regret it.

    Marie-Claire H, UK - 2018
  • 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