The Cyclades Islands are the most famous holiday destination in Greece. There are 39 islands, of which 24 are habitable, all known by the whitewashed churches that dominate majestically in every tourist print, creating a contrast to the deep blue of the sky and the sea.
Their name refers to the islands forming a cycle around the sacred island of Delos, the mythological birthplace of Apollo and Artemis and Greece’s holy sanctuary in antiquity.
Discover the Cyclades islands
Among them are Mykonos, Santorini, Naxos and Paros, among the most popular islands of Greek and foreign tourists. Mykonos is certainly the most famous one, with a sophisticated, cosmopolitan lifestyle, stunning natural beauties, and picturesque whitewash villages, as well as a jewel little harbor-capital, Mykonos-Town, or Chora, that bursts with life from morning to late night. Its golden beaches are meeting places for jet setters and ravers, wannabes, and backpackers alike, and sometimes the parties start from one morning and carry on to the next. An island of awesome beauty, Santorini or Thera, along with its nearby islets, are the fragments of a volcano that massively erupted about 1625 BC. Its exceptionally atmospheric character is a blend of awe-inspiring rock, white villages perched along its edges, and the deepest blue seawater you can imagine. These fusions are almost surreally beautiful in the day under the clear sunlight, while the spectacular sunsets turn the landscape into a series of dreamy pictures. Its beaches are not white and sandy but dark and volcanic, yet no less extraordinary. Many claim that the island’s “magic” energy comes from the volcano itself and imbues everything.
Classy and elegant, Syros never fails to charm its guests, full of beauties and surprises: from its beautiful Ermoupolis, the capital of the Cyclades, amphitheatrically built with a plethora of neoclassical mansions and historical buildings, to its picturesque settlements, and from its stretchy beaches to the diversity of its inland.
Then there is Paros, always popular among the younger ages, and a windsurfer’s paradise. Tinos, a beautiful island with the famous old church devoted to the Holy Mother (Panagia tis Tinou), to which dozens of miracles are attributed. Andros, the green exception to the typically arid Cycladic landscape, lush and rich with famous springs and beautiful beaches. Naxos is where you’ll find serenity and plenty of surprises in your explorations, while Ios has more “hippyish” and youthful vibes, a “party” island for enjoying fun and nature, with a lively atmosphere. Amorgos, another gem of the Cyclades, the place of the “Big Blue” film, mountainous and steep, surrounded by the clearest waters.
Apart from the remarkable points of interest that can be visited, they offer guests many entertainment venues such as bars, cafes, restaurants, clubs as well as the opportunity to develop any kind of activity.
Cyclades at a glance
The Cyclades is a complex of islands located in the heart of the Aegean and includes some of the most famous Greek islands such as Mykonos, Santorini, and Naxos. The capital of the Cyclades is Syros, which is located in the northern part of the complex.
The Cycladic islands are one of the most popular tourist destinations for Greek and foreign holidaymakers. During the summer period, the Cyclades islands are flooded by travelers arriving from all over the world to enjoy the unique views and scenic landscapes, the remarkable historical and archaeological sites and, of course, the beautiful beaches and the crystal blue waters of the Aegean Sea.
Each island of the Cyclades has its own unique charm, offering magnificent scenery and an unforgettable view stretching over the Aegean as the eye can see. Although some of the islands have modernized their infrastructure to encourage tourism development in the region, all the Cyclades still maintain their traditional style intact.
If you are looking for calm and relaxing holidays enjoying the magic of the natural landscape, or if you prefer spree and adventure, in the Cyclades you can have the choice you want.
HOW TO GET THERE
The islands can be reached by ferries, flying dolphins, hydrofoils, or catamarans that leave from Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion. You can travel by a “normal speed” ferry, but there is also a variety of faster vessels (high-speed ferries) to choose from if you want to cut the trip time to almost half.
By ferry from Piraeus
Information: Piraeus Port Authority, tel.: (+30) 210 4226000
By ferry from Rafina
Information: Rafina Port Authority, tel.: (+30) 22940 22300
From Athens, you can get by plane to the four islands where there are national airports. In the summer time, there are also many charter flights flying directly to Mykonos and Santorini. During that period there are also flights connecting Mykonos with Santorini.
Flights to Santorini
You can get to Santorini Island by plane from most international airports via Athens. The flying time from Athens to Santorini is of 40 minutes. Most of all international flights arriving in Athens allow the connection with a flight to Santorini. In the summertime, many charter flights fly directly from different cities of Europe to the island.
During the summer period, Santorini is also connected with flights to and from Mykonos, Rhodes, Crete, and Thessaloniki.
From Santorini, Olympic Airways operates at least six flights daily to Athens, five weekly to Rhodes and Mykonos, and two weekly to Iraklio. Air Manos flies to Athens six days a week, and also to Mykonos, Samos, and Thessaloniki.
Almost all of the travel agencies sell ticket flights to Santorini etc.