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The Cyclades islands are probably the most famous destination for tourists, here are the islands of Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Milos and Ios which are some of the most visited areas of Europe and probably of the world.
The name Cyclades comes from the ancient Greek word: ἐν κύκλῳ, en kýklo that means “in circle” since the islands are located all around Delos, the sacred island of Apollo. Nowadays Delos is an important archeological site protected by UNESCO as it is considered a world heritage site.
The Cyclades, the postacard Greece
The landscape of the Cyclades islands reminds that of a poster card or a movie scene: typical white houses with the blue doors and windows, windmills, colourful bougainvilleas and narrow streets that at night fill up with shops, bars and delicious restaurants. You will also notice many churches on the hills in the different islands besides as many free beaches as you like.
How to reach the Cyclades islands
Reaching the Cyclades islands is quite easy and there are many ways to travel there except for the smaller islands that are harder to reach as there are less ferries and boats that travel to them on a daily basis (especially during winter time)
The Cyclades islands with an international airport are: Mykonos and Santorini. Naxos, Mylos, Paros and Syros can only be reached with national flights from Athens, Salonica and Crete.
Which island to choose
Each island has different characteristics and it wouldn’t be correct to say that are nicer islands than others, this short guide aims to suggest which island might be the best for you according to the type of holiday you want to have
Islands for partying
Mykonos is the most famous and well-known island for party-lovers (especially in August). Ios is the second island with most night-life and it is full with night-clubs, bars, restaurants and taverns.
Santorini is the most exclusive of the Cyclades islands. The view of the Aegean sea that you’ll admire from Oia will leave you withou any words.
Paros, with it’s golden beaches is very alive and visited during the summer. Just like Antiparos, the tiny island that lies in front of Paros.
Last but not least there is Koufonissi that is part of the small Cyclades and that in August gets full of tourists
Holidays for the family
Naxos is the biggest of the Cyclades islands and it is rich in archeological sites to visit, sandy coasts, beaches for windsurfing, equipped structures but also quiet and relaxing corners where to rest.
Syros is the administrative center of the Cyclades islands, here you will find the authentic Greek atmosphere and less tourists.
Milos is the most peculiar of the Cyclades islands, known as “colour island” it is full of beaches with coloured golden, black, red and white sand.
If you love diving Amorgos is the island for you. This island became famous thanks to the film “Le Grand Blue” (1988) by Luc Besson and it is one of the most representative islands of the Cyclades with it’s bare rocks and amazing sea. Here you’ll also find the iconic white monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa that lies on the nearby hills and symbolically protects the island.
Meet the traditions
If you are looking for spirituality in Tinos you will find the sanctuary of Panaghia Evanghelistrìa,which houses the miracle-working icon of the Virgin Mary. It is still an important destination for pilgrims and every year hundreds of people participate at the celebrations on the 25th of March and on the 15th of August.
The Cyclades archipelago is the busiest of all Greece, especially in July and August. June and September are the best months to book a flight for Mykonos or Santorini if you want to visit these two islands in relative peace.