Is the northernmost island of the group with a great naval tradition and no landscape like the postcards from the Cyclades: apart from the sandy beaches, there are rocky coastlines, mountain ranges alternating with fertile plains, lush vegetation and abundantly flowing streams.One of the most enchanting yet less known islands of the Cyclades Andros, or Andro (Greek: Άνδρος) is the northernmost island of the Greek Cyclades archipelago, approximately 10 km (6 mi) south east of Euboea, and about 3 km (2 mi) north of Tinos. It is nearly 40 km (25 mi) long, and its greatest breadth is 16 km (10 mi). Its surface is for the most part mountainous, with many fruitful and well-watered valleys. The area is 380 km2 (147 sq mi). The largest towns are Andros (town), Gávrio, Bátsi, and Órmos Korthíou. The island is famous for its Sariza spring at Apoikia where the water comes out of a lionhead. Palaeopolis, the ancient capital, was built into a steep hillside, and its harbor`s breakwater can still be seen underwater.
is the religious centre of the country thanks to the church of Panayia Meyalóhari (the Blessed Virgin Mary). Pilgrims from all over the country come here to fulfil their vows and to seek spiritual comfort. One of the most famous destinations worldwide and a favourite holiday spot of the jet set,
Enchanting yet still unknown to the majority of tourists, this Cycladic island mostly attracts Greek pilgrims travelling there twice a year, on March 25 and August 15, to visit the church of Panagia Megalochari (the Blessed Virgin Mary). From all over the country, people come here to fulfill their vows and to seek comfort. Tinos is the most important Orthodox centre of worship in Greece but, in the same time, an important Catholic centre too; this so rare in Greece mix of religious traditions gives to the island a particular character.
But a pilgrimage is not the only reason for getting to know the amazing island of Tinos, with the beautiful beaches and the 40 traditional villages, or, according to the philosopher Kastoriadis, the “hand-made Tínos”. This island is the homeland of renowned great artists of marble carving such as Gyzis, Lytras, Chalepas, Filippotis and Sochos, who have been the last famous names to have held the baton of the island’s marble-carving tradition. According to the legend, the famous sculptor of the ancient times, Fidias, had taught the secrets of his art to the locals. Their admirable craft is displayed in chapels, fountains, arches and pigeon lofts. In the village of Pýrgos the Marble Art Museum is worth a visit as much as the Gallery of Tinian Artists right next to the church of Virgin Mary.
The scenic villages of Tinos .Pyrgos, the village of the marble artists, Agapi, Arnados, Volax.
Beaches of Tinos
Agios Ioannis Porto, Agios Sostis, Agios Romanos, Agios Fokas and Kionia are just some of the beautiful and calm beaches the coastline of Tinos is dotted with. Clear-watered and soft-sanded, these beaches provide perfect places for relax. But when visitors have to choose just one, they tend to prefer Pachia Ammos, a wonderful thus very popular beach in the South.
is extremely beautiful and well known for its bare hills, the amazing sandy beaches, the white country chapels and the Cycladic architecture. Due to its proximity to Attica Welcome to Greece’s most famous cosmopolitan island, a whitewashed paradise in the heart of the Cyclades. According to mythology, Mykonos was formed from the petrified bodies of giants killed by Hercules. And did you know that the island took its name from the grandson of Apollo, “Mykonos”? Set out on a journey to discover a fascinating world where glamour meets simplicity. On Mykonos celebrities, college students and families mingle together to celebrate the Greek summer. Whether you are an entertainment junkie out for a real good time, or a visitor who wishes to explore the island’s history and tradition, Mykonos will certainly meet your expectations.
One of the most scenic corners of the island is Alefkántra or “Little Venice”, an 18th century district, dominated by grand captains’ mansions with colourful balconies and stylish windows. With balconies perched over the sea, pictures of the famous Italian city spring to mind. Relax at a waterfront café and admire the view of the quaint windmills standing imposingly on the hillside above, set against a luminous blue backdrop.
The second traditional settlement of Mykonos is Áno Merá, situated around the historic monastery of Panayia Tourliani (a 16th century church with a brilliant carved wooden iconostasis). To the north, in Fteliá, lies an important Neolithic settlement, and a 14th-13th century BC Mycenaean tomb.The island is a paradise for water sport enthusiasts! It is only natural that the “Island of the Winds” should attract surfers and sailors from all over the world! There is a great choice of beaches for windsurfing; however, the most secluded ones are considered to be the best. Choose from Kórfos, Fteliá, Meyáli Ámmos and Kalafátis, where surfing lessons are also available. Play tennis or mini golf at Ayios Stéfanos, beach volleyball at Ayia Anna or try sea parachuting or jet skiing at Eliá or Kalafátis. Diving fans can do a little exciting exploration of the underwater magic of Mykonos. September is thought to be the best month for diving, as the water is warm and visibility is good down at the seabed.
Due to its proximity to Attica, Kéa (also called “Tzia”) is an easily accessible beauty with a scenery variety: steep mountains, small fields, olive groves, vineyards, valleys, picturesque coves, exciting hiking trails and off-the-beaten-track beaches. On the island with the largest oak forest in the Cyclades bird-watching is a real delight. For those who are into geology, there are plenty of small caves (like in Kálamos and in Áyios Timótheos). 36 km long cobbled trails will lead you to the four city-states of the ancient times: Ioulis, Karthaia, Koressia, Poiessa).Situated in the centre of the island, at the site of the ancient city-state by the same name, the capital of Kéa (or Tziá), Ioulis, is a very picturesque town with ceramic-tile roofed houses, cobbled streets, arched passages, steps and squares. Kea is one of the most visited islands for the aficionados of sailing, due to its proximity to the Attica land. The area between Cape Sounio, Kea and Makronissos (means “Long Island” in Greek) is named Cavo Doro (Kafireas during the ancient times). Due to different steams and winds blowing from several directions it is considered to be one of the most difficult passages in the Mediterranean Sea. Actually, the meaning of Cavo Doro is not “Cape Gold” but a paraphrase of Cavo Duro, which mean Hard Cape.
Crescent-shaped Santorini (or Thíra), the precious gem of the Aegean, is actually a group of islands consisting of Thíra, Thirassiá, Asproníssi, Palea and Nea Kaméni in the southernmost part of Cyclades. Did you know that the whole complex of Santorini islands is still an active volcano (the same as Méthana, Mílos and Nísiros) and probably the only volcano in the world whose crater is in the sea? The islands that form Santorini came into existence as a result of intensive volcanic activity; twelve huge eruptions occurred, one every 20,000 years approximately, and each violent eruption caused the collapse of the volcano’s central part creating a large crater (caldera). The volcano, however, managed to recreate itself over and over again.
Firá is the picturesque capital of the island; perched high up on the edge of the Caldera, it looks like a marvellous painting. Firá, together with Oia, Imerovígli and Firostefáni located high above on a cliff, make up the so-called “Caldera’s eyebrow”, the balcony of Santorini, which offers an amazing view of the volcano. Other famous smaller villages are Akrotíri and Méssa Vounó, with their famous archaeological sites, Pýrgos, Karterádes, Emporió, Ammoúdi, Finikiá, Períssa, Perívolos, Megalohóri, Kamári, Messariá and Monólithos: some of the villages are cosmopolitan some more peaceful; they are surrounded by vast vineyards; whitewashed cliff-top towns with castles affording amazing views out over the Aegean. Soaking up the villages’ distinctive traditional atmosphere is a very rewarding experience.
Venture into Santorini’s seaside treasures and enjoy deep blue waters and beaches with white, red or black sand or volcanic pebbles, spectacular rock formations and impressive lunar landscapes.
Santorini, the youngest volcanic land in the Eastern Mediterranean, is waiting for you! You can reach it by plane or by ship from Piraeus. Don’t think twice! Experience for yourself the once-in-a-lifetime romance and charm of this pearl of the Aegean.
Also called “Thermiá” on account of its thermal springs, Kýthnos is very close to Attica; still, it is one of the less visited islands of the Cyclades. The island’s harbour (Merihas) and capital (Hóra) as well as Loutrá and Dryopída are located in the North. In the south, only the areas by the bay of Ayios Dimitrios and Panayia Canála are inhabited (where a famous monastery is situated within a pine forest).
The most impressive of the 65 sandy beaches of the island is Kolóna, where a lane of sand connects the islet of Ayios Loukas to Kýthnos. Low stone fences run for many kilometres on bare Cycladic hills with 350 white country chapels here and there. The typical Cycladic style equally appears in the villages: cobbled narrow streets, white houses, squares, chapels and windmills. Follow the paths that connect the villages to each other and taste apricots and wild mulberries on the way to Katafýki cave, one of the biggest caves in Greece with beautiful stalactites and stalagmites. Kýthnos is definitely the place for thermal tourism.
A modern spa centre is in operation in Loutrá, with two hot springs in the area. The following springs have been famous for their therapeutic effectiveness since the ancient times, namely the spring of Ayioi Anárgyroi, inside the spa facilities, and the spring of Caucasus, at 50 m. from the first one, with a temperature reaching 52 degrees Celsius.
A paradise of pristine beauty and “exotic” beaches washed by crystal clear waters, had emerged from the bottom of the Aegean sea to give shelter to the Argonauts. Greek Mythology has it that Anáfi, a paradise of pristine beauty and “exotic” beaches washed by crystal clear waters, had emerged from the bottom of the Aegean sea to give shelter to the Argonauts. Upon entering the bay of Ayios Nikolaos, you can see a marvellous Hóra unfolding as in an amphitheatre. Built on the ruins of a Venetian castle, Hóra is a picturesque image of whitewashed dome-roofed houses and narrow stone-paved alleys. It is this image that had once inspired the craftsmen who left their home island in the Cyclades to build the scenic settlement of “Anafiótika” at the base of the Acropolis Rock in Athens, back in 1860-1870
Walk, cycle or go donkey-riding all around the island through the 18 km long trails and see the old farmhouses with the extremely large oven, called “oven houses”, and the “mnemoria”, the charnel houses.
Explore the ancient town of Anáfi on Kasteli hill and visit the remarkable necropolis with the monumental tombs and their sculptures. Keep on until you get to Vríssi and rest under the plane trees and by the brooks.
In the east part of the island visit the rock of Kálamos that is the second highest monolithic limestone after Gibraltar; a must-see for climbers who will enjoy a great challenge here. Furthermore, the ancient temple of Apollo the Anafian and the Monastery of Zoodóchos Piyi lie on the foot of the rock. For fitter climbers, there is another monastery on the top of Kálamos, where a breathtaking view of the sea and the nearby islands will compensate their effort.
Ios means “flower”. Did you know that? Ios or Niós, as the locals call it, is one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades, like a flower, as its name “Ion” denotes. According to the ancient tradition, Íos was the homeland of Homer’s mother and the final resting place of the great epic poet.
Upon reaching the island, the view before you is enchanting: as pretty as a picture, Hóra lies very close to the harbour in Ormos and greets the travellers, built in an amphitheatre-like manner on the slope of a hill, on the top of which there are ruins of a mediaeval castle. This is a listed traditional village, one of the finest examples of Cycladic architecture. Snow-white little houses, picturesque arcade-covered alleys (“stiyádia”), the twelve windmills, churches with arched belfries and light blue domes create a unique residential area. Hóra’s sheltered alleys is the “stage” where Koúnia, an ancient local custom is performed every May, as follows: young men make swings for young ladies who rock themselves while listening to traditional love songs being sung to them in the form of a dialogue.
Explore! Mylopótas, Magganári, Psáthi, Yialós, Kálamos and Ayia Theodóti beaches are known worldwide –among others– to be top choices for dives in the island’s emerald waters. In order to explore the inland, follow the paths that shepherds prefer to take (Ayia Theodóti-Hóra, Ayia Eirini-Valmás Beach, Hóra-Pýrgos-Psáthi, Hóra -Ayios Spyridonas-Perivólia-Ayios Prókopas-Pelekaniá) and discover the pristine natural beauty of Íos through magic scents and colours.
Shining under the Aegean sun, Folégandros was named after the son of king Minos. This off-the-beaten-path destination captivates the visitors with the untouched beauty of its beaches, the luminous blue of its waters, and the unadulterated style of its architecture.
This small island in Cyclades is full of pebbly beaches covered with tamarisk trees. The scenic harbour of Karavostássis with its beautiful beach is the perfect starting point for an exploration of the glorious beaches of Hohlídia, Vitzétzo, Latináki, Pountáki and Livádi, a village with a sandy beach, turquoise waters and a camping site. Those of you, who don’t feel like walking, can take a caique from Karavostássis to Kátergo, the most beautiful beach on the island, with thin pebbles and crystal-clear waters. Sheer cliff drops and azure waters embrace Agali beach to the west of the island. A trail from here will take you to the clothing-optional beach of Ayios Nikólaos, where a small taverna with delicious food and a marvelous view awaits you. In the northeastern part of the island lie the beaches of Voriná, with green stones peculiar-to-Folégandros, Ayios Geórgios and Serfiótiko, accessible only by caique or on foot.
is a typical Cycladic island with white villages, quiet harbours, golden beaches, bare hills and beautiful landscapes. The mild tourism growth has not affected the island’s nature and traditional features. Serifos Island, with its rugged mining sites, ladened with history, has its own distinct Cycladic flair. The island exudes a calm atmosphere and speaks directly to your senses. Despite its arid and wild land characteristics, Serifos is gracefully embraced by the deep blue colours of the Aegean Sea and has some magnificent beaches.
Lots and lots of beaches
Beach-goers will have plenty of beaches to choose from while visiting Serifos Island; rocky, pebbly or sandy ones accompanied by crystal blue waters will satisfy all tastes. Beaches are reached either by car, walking trails or by sea.
Chora town is built amphitheatrically on a rocky hill commanding the island from the top. It is one of the most elegant Cycladic towns that will inspire you, even before the ship docks, on your arrival to Serifos. You’ll get to visit two neighborhoods; Pano (meaning upper) Chora and Kato (meaning lower) Chora connected by a stairway. You’ll find some bars, cafés and tavernas in the town’s narrow streets blending in with the whole scene harmoniously. It is worth taking a 10 minutes walk up to the Venetian castle, built in the 15th century, to drink in the view of the blue sea!
This tiny and extremely beautiful island lies in the western part of the Cyclades, close to Milos island. Possessing a volcanic soil and a unique variety of minerals, it is famous for its fantastic beaches, ranging from thin sand to pebbles. The capital of the island is made up of two quarters, Méssa and Éxo Kástro (meaning interior and exterior part of the castle). Méssa Kástro is a typical Cycladic village, with its houses forming the external wall of the castle. Éxo Kástro was built in the 17th century around Mésa Kástro to add plain square shapes to the domes and arches of Méssa Kástro’s architecture. Trails take you and the locals to every part of the island. A marvellous ecosystem awaits you, where myrtle and fig trees, lentisks, reeds, vines and blue lizards prevail.
Moreover, the Mediterranean seal Monachus monachus’ haven is in the north and uninhabited side of the island. This is where you will find “Skiadi”, a natural sculpture resembling a gigantic mushroom.
For those who are into thermal springs, go to the beaches of Ayioklima, Prassa (where they used to excavate chalk), Therma and Kastro, the beach with the red stones.
Polyaigos, the largest uninhabited island of the Aegean sea, is accessible only by boat from Kimolos and is an ideal spot for bird-watching.
It’s a UNESCO world heritage site. It’s an ark of history, floating lazily on the waters of the Aegean Sea, just a few miles away from cosmopolitan Mykonos. It’s a chance to walk around the revival of the glory of the Greek civilization. It’s the head priest of the Cyclades, the birthplace of the immortals. It’s Delos.
In the ancient times, the myth of god Apollo, god of light, and goddess Artemis having been born there rendered the island sacred: no mortal would ever be allowed to be born on its land. But, a cradle of gods as the island has been, no mortals would ever be allowed to die on it either. So, apart from it being a conspicuous religious and economic centre, the island had also been exclusive in that: even during the years of peak of the Delian Alliance, women on the brink of childbirth and people close to dying would be carried to the neighbouring island of Rineia. The whole of the known world of that age was aware of the sacredness of the island and of its uniqueness.
Unrivalled natural beauty, beaches with crystal clear waters, unrivalled Byzantine footpaths connecting traditional villages and breathtaking landscapes make Paros, located at the heart of the Cyclades, one of the best loved holiday destinations in Greece.
Parikia the capital of Paros, is a beautiful Cycladic village with whitewashed cubic houses and impressive neoclassical mansions. A well preserved 13th century Venetian castle stands proudly on a hill at the centre of the village offering an amazing view of Parikia. In the capital you can also admire an important ecclesiastical monument, the 6th century church of Panayia Ekatontapyliani, also called Katapoliani. The name “Ekatontapylianí” means the church with 100 gates (“Ekato Pyles” in Greek), one of which is a secret one! Don’t miss the chance to visit the baptistery (4th century AD), one of the best preserved baptisteries in the Orthodox East, and the Byzantine Museum. The Parikia Byzantine Museum is housed on the ground floor of the church. Its exhibits include icons, wood-carved iconostases and other heirlooms from various monasteries and churches on the island.
Sun-drenched beaches, like Chrissí Aktí, Santa Maria and Poúnda, welcome sun-loving visitors who want to enjoy the crystal clear sea, the sun or even their favourite water sports! Every year Chrissí Aktí is the venue for the Windsurfing World Championship. On the sea bed at Alykí beach, to the southwest, you can explore the ruins of an ancient town!
The biggest and the greenest island in Cyclades with impressively high mountains, fertile valleys, lush green gorges, stunning seascapes and traditional villages perched high on mountain tops, where the inhabitants still wear their traditional dress and live off the fruits of the land! Nàxos is also an island of beautiful old churches, monasteries and Venetian castles coexisting harmoniously with Cycladic cubic houses.
Discover the varied landscape of the island by following numerous breathtaking routes (Chora–Melane-Halki, Halki–Danakos-Apeiranthos, Skado-Apollonas, etc.); follow the hiking trail from Apiranthos (or Aperathos), along the emery mines (12 km), where you’ll have a breathtaking view to the Archipelago up to Moutsouna Beach! Climb to the top of Zas Mountain, Cyclades’ highest mountain (1,004 m) and Fanari Mountain (908 m) or follow beautiful biking routes around the mountains! On your way to Zas’ top, don’t forget to visit the beautiful cave of Zas and observe its impressive stalactite formations. Note that the cave used to be dedicated to Zeus in ancient times.
Explore among others the Bazeos Tower in Sagri, the Crispi-Glezos Tower (Chora), the Belonia Tower at Galanado and Della Rocca- Barozzi Tower (Chora).
Being the most fertile island of the Cyclades, Naxos has a major agricultural production. Taste quality local products, like olive oil, potatoes, spoon sweets, the island’s famous liqueur (called Kitron), mouth watering wine and above all the renowned cheeses of Naxos: graviera (hard cheese), xinomyzithra (sour myzithra, made of goat or sheep milk, yeast, and salt), xinotyro (sour cheese), arseniko (a tasty hard cheese made of goat and sheep milk); these culinary treats will tickle your palate!
is located at the centre of the Small Eastern Cyclades island group, south of Náxos and north-east of Irakliá. It is a tiny island with three villages: Hóra, Messaria and Mersini. It took its name after the bushy plant lentisk (Schino in Greek) that flourishes on the island. Mersini, the island’s port, is a haven for small boats, preferred by many across the Aegean; during the summer it is a popular mooring spot for sailing enthusiasts. With Mersini as a starting point, follow a beautiful hiking trail around the island (it will take you only 2 hours!), enjoy the unspoiled natural landscape and discover beautiful gardens, exotic palm trees and sun-kissed beaches along your walk that will steal your heart away!
is the northernmost island of the Small Eastern Cyclades is located east of Nàxos and north of Amorgos. The island has a land area of 13.5 sq. km and numerous coves some of which hide magnificent sandy beaches.
The island has a land area of 13.5 sq. km and numerous coves some of which hide magnificent sandy beaches. There are 110 inhabitants in the following four beautiful villages: Donoússa or Stavrós (the biggest village and a port), Mersini, Haravgi and Kalotaritissa. If you want to get away from it all and enjoy peaceful holidays, Donoússa is the ideal choice for you!
Explore by boat magnificent caves like “Spiliá Tíchou” (Cave of the Wall) with its beautiful stalactite formations, located northwest, and “Fokospiliá” (meaning seal cave), at the eastern coast of the island, a habitat of seals. Indulge yourself in a variety of culinary delights! Taste “soúvli”, a cream made of barley, “aranistá” (type of pasta), “patatáto” (a potato dish) tasty sesame bars, “kserotíyana” (honey-dipped spiral pastries), Indian fig (prickly pear) jam and rakí made of dried figs!
The islet of Antíparos, lying southwest of Paros, is ideal for a relaxed and serene holiday and can easily be reached from Poúnda or Parikía by boat. The ancient name of Antíparos was Oliaros. A major Neolithic settlement has been unearthed at the neighbouring islet of Saliagos and it is considered to be the oldest in Cyclades. Hóra (Town) of Antíparos has been built around a 15th century Venetian castle. The stone-paved streets, the whitewashed alleys, the houses decorated with thriving pink and purple bougainvilleas and the central square with its shadowy eucalyptus trees create an enchanting atmosphere.
Enjoy the sunshine in beaches along the island’s beautiful coastline. Practice activities such as diving or canoe kayaking on Ayios Georgios beach! West of Antíparos there are three uninhabited islets that once used to be significant cultural centres of the Cycladic civilisation: Despotiko, Tsimintiri (between Antíparos and Despotiko) and Strongylo (west of Despotiko). Excavations keep revealing important ancient treasures, which are now exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Paros. The islets can be accessed by small tourist boats departing from Ayios Georgios.
The island of the film “Le Grand Bleu” Did you know that the 1988 movie “Le Grand Bleu” with Jean Reno was shot on the island of Amorgos, at the south eastern edge of the Cyclades? Parts of the island reach a considerable height above sea level, offering superb views out over the Archipelago, Amorgos is one of the most impressive Cycladic islands, boasting marvellous beaches with azure waters, gorgeous caves, ideal spots for diving, scenic bays and ancient footpaths leading through its steep rocky terrain… Inhabited since the Early Cycladic Era, as indicated by archaeological finds brought to light in the area, Amorgos has a long cultural history and tradition. Step off the beaten track and visit an island that has preserved its traditional colour, where the locals welcome you with a smile on their face and make you feel at home!
The island boasts scenic bays, underwater caves ideal for diving and golden beaches, most of which are secluded (only a few are organised). You can reach them on foot or by boat.
The volcanic activity in ancient years has endowed this island with an exciting variety of gorgeous landscapes, consequently offering the visitor a wide range of activities. The funny shapes of the rocks and their wonderful colours at the beautiful white sandy beaches are one expression of the volcanic features of Milos
References had been made by Hippocrates to the peculiar morphology of spectacular caves (Papáfragkas and Sykiá) and a multitude of thermal springs (Kanáva, Alykí, Provatá, Pikropiyí).The diving enthusiasts will find a paradise in the underwater caves in the triangle formed by Mílos, Kimolos and Polýegos islands.
The island’s villages are lovely too: the stately Pláka (the island’s capital), the harbour of Adámantas, the beautiful Hivadolímni, the marvellous Emporiós with the little lagoon of Revary and the old iron mines.
This is the island where Greek tradition and western influence come to a harmonious marriage. Ermoúpoli (meaning “the city of Hermes”) is the island’s capital town and has been the first important trade and industrial centre of the country in the 19th century.
This is the island where Greek tradition and western influence come to a harmonious marriage. Ermoúpoli (meaning “the city of Hermes”) is the island’s capital town and has been the first important trade and industrial centre of the country in the 19th century. Evidence of this glorious past can be seen on public buildings (the City Hall, the Customs Office, “Apollo” theatre), on the neoclassical houses and at the beautiful squares. Due to its economic activity, Ermoúpoli has been called “Manchester of Greece” and the history of its years of blossom is exhibited in the Industrial Museum.
The great number of beautiful beaches will delight the sea and sand lovers: Vári, Foínikas, Yalissás and Kíni, as well as Possidonia or Dellagrazia, the beach of a village with many neoclassical mansions with colourful orchards.
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