The weather in summer is mostly cool thanks to the local seasonal wind "meltemi". Historically, the Cycladic civilization, one of the most important in the Mediterranean, began around 3000 BC and lasted for about 20 centuries. The islands are mostly stony but all of them are bathed in the endless sunlight and the deep shining blue of the sea. They are full of little white houses, windmills, narrow alleyways, both in the towns and villages, tiny chapels, pathways out in the countryside, some of them leading to picturesque lighthouses. An endless number of magnificent pictures, they all form a unique scenery. However, while the Cyclades still attract everyone's interest, including the international "jet-set", some of the islands are still undiscovered by tourists.
Some interesting places (in alphabetical order)
An oblong shaped, mountainous and barren island, inhabited since prehistoric times. Signs from Byzantine times (like the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa, one of the most important monuments of its kind), the Venetian conquerors (like the castle) and the later but very interesting churches are some of the items that make the island worth visiting. Shady bays and fine beaches will also attract the visitor.
The home to many worldwide successful ship-owners. In the beautiful Chora (*) the neo-classical houses are neighbours with the typical Cycladic ones. Apart from the historical monuments, the scenery reveals valleys of olive trees, oranges and lemons, vines and figs and of course superb beaches.
An uninhabited islet, just 5 miles from Mykonos. The religious and political center of Aegean during 9th and 8th centuries BC. As the Greek myth says, Apollo and Artemis were born here. Delos represents one of the most important archeological sites in Greece.
A small and rocky island where the wild beauty of the barren landscape and the huge rocks alternate with sandy beaches. The Chora is split into two sections. The new one, a very attractive typical Cycladic village with stepped walls, wooden balconies, "Aegean" churches and narrow alleys. In the old one, like in a castle, the outer walls of the houses form the defensive surrounding.
A typical Cycladic island. A pretty harbour, lots of chapels, narrow alleys, windmills, traditional white houses, vineyards and olive trees in the inland. Sandy beaches with crystal-clear seas. A night life paradise for young people, either down in the harbor at Gialos town or in the Chora on the hill.
Although just a breath's distance from the Athens mainland, the island maintains a genuine Cycladic colour. The Chora is amphitheatrically built , on top of the hill, just 5 kilometers from the main port, and provides a spectacular view of the opposite mainland and the nearby islands. The basic occupation of the islanders was and still is cattle raising. Bee-keeping is also a major island occupation. The Kean thyme honey is famous. "Pasteli " is a local specialty made with sesame seed and honey.
After Kea, this is the closest Cycladic island to Athens. Figs, vines and pretty little bays interrupt the mountainous scenery. Apart the main harbor of Merichas, there is also a new and nice marina in the village of Loutra, known also for its radioactive thermal springs.
Koufonissia & the near small islets
Perhaps the most unspoiled islands of the European continent. An ideal place for people looking to get away from crowds and technology. Attractive for its tranquility and idyllic for swimming.
A horse-shoe shaped island with charming beaches. The island became known mainly thanks to the masterpiece statue of "Aphrodite (Venus) de Milo" found after excavation on the island in 19th century. The statue is now kept in a very notable position in the museum of Louvres-Paris. There are various kinds of beaches in the island. Some of them are wonderful with golden sand and some have sharp rocks and caves that look like they have been taken out from some fantasy tale.
The world-famous island where the cosmopolitan life never stops, day and night. However don't ignore the unique beauty of the island. White-washed streets, uniquely shaped houses, little wooden fishing boats moored next to expensive mega-yachts, picturesque Cycladic churches, little tavernas, silver beaches, wind mills and so on, are only just a few of the attractions for any visitors. Intellectuals, well known artists and movie stars from all over the world prefer the island for their holidays.
The largest of Cycladic islands, with an excellent Chora. Although mountainous, there are many nicely cultivated patches, as Naxos is the most fertile among Cyclades. Many interesting findings have been made from various historical periods. The castle, the Venetian towers, the wonderful mansions, the narrow streets with the heavy wooden doors, the beaches with the crystal blue waters, the emery and marble still hidden in the earth are a few of the countless beauties that will charm the visitor.
A popular tourist island where everything is beautiful; the traditional houses, the carefully protected nature , the blue-coloured cupolas, the beaches, the daily life of the islanders which has not been affected by the tourism and so on. Apart from the numerous small inlets there are two large bays. One in the north with the village of Naousa and the other in the west with the capital town Parikia. Naousa is one of the prettiest villages in the Cyclades with whitewashed houses, narrow paved alleys, arches, tiny chapels and a range of excellent beaches. Parikia, stands on the site of the ancient city, with the Byzantine monumental church of Katapoliani (our Lady's church with the 100 gates) the ruinous Venetian Castle, and the courtyards of the houses of the town, all of them painted white, full of pots of basil and hung with jasmine and honeysuckle.
The island is world-famous like Mykonos, but entirely different from any other island, thanks to its geological morphology, as a result of volcano action. In ancient time, because of its shape, the island was named Strongili (round). The oldest reported eruption of the volcano was in 1500 BC when the larger part of the island was submerged. The disaster was complete, not only for the island but also for the surrounding geographical area since the tsunami destroyed even the Minoan civilization on the north coast of Crete, some 100 kilometers to the south. In 3rd century BC another explosion detached the islet of Thirassia from the main island while in the 2nd century BC a new explosion created the volcanic islet of Palea (Old) Kammeni. Some researchers believe that the submerged island was Atlantis. The spirit of the magnificent human species is apparent. Man not only ignored the volcano but bravely and provocatively settled on the island again. The last call of the volcano was in 1956 when a big earthquake leveled most of the houses. Now a sea narrow passage separates Santorini from Palea Kameni (the dormant volcano) which can be easily visited with a dinghy. The Chora of Santorini at the top of the hill can be visited either on foot by climbing hundreds of steps or on a donkey or with a funicular railway. The Chora is typical Cycladic and a very attractive town, while the view to Kameni , or to the other side of the island, is truly spectacular.
One of Greece's most remarkable islands. Gold and silver mines during the 6th century BC made the islanders the wealthiest in Greece at that time. Nowadays, Sifniot pottery represents one of the main local products . Many famous Greek chefs were born in the island. A really nice place for every visitor.
An isolated island with only one road linking the island's harbour with a very beautiful village, the Chora. Purely Cycladic island, with white washed houses and churches.
Coves and bays interrupt the rocky coastline that surrounds the island. The Chora is built on the top of a steep hill. House furniture like chairs, beds or tables which are sculpted in the side of the hill, are visible from the open doors of the houses, during the summer months. For those who can, the return back to the harbour on foot, straight through the path-way, among the alleys, house-yards and the valley is a very nice walk.
A stopover bay on the way to or from the Cyclades, for swimming in clear waters, under the Temple of Poseidon the columns of which (5th century BC) are visible from the sea.
Ermoupolis (the Chora), is the capital town for all the Cycladic islands. A really beautiful city with important buildings, such as the Town Hall (desinged by the German architect Ziller) and the Municipal Theatre which is a miniature copy of Scala Di Milano. The Ano (Upper) Syros ie the higher part of Ermoupolis still keeps its medieval characteristics and also provides a spectacular view of the town, the harbour and the sea beyond.
A magnificent church of Our Lady, all made of marbles from Paros and Tinos, stands on the top of the hill, at the extremity of Chora. The 45 villages of the island have been only slightly affected from tourism. Myth says the wind-god Aeolus was born in this windy island. One of the characteristic of the island is the countless dove-cotes, made of stone or marble, many of them being works of art. Hundred of thousands of orthodox Greeks come to the island to pay their homage to the miraculous icon held in the Church of Euaggelistria (Virgin Mary), which probably is the most important religious site in Greece. The architecture of the church makes a visit worthwhile.
Some indicative cruises
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