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Complete guide to the Cyclades, everything you need to know to make sure you don't miss a thing

2021-08-05T10:50:32.080Z

Greek archipelago located in the south of the Aegean Sea and made up of 250 islands, of which only 24 are inhabited, the Cyclades form an imaginary circle around the archaeological island of Delos. Here is our guide.



Did you know that this 2572 km² archipelago is made up of 250 islands, 226 of which are uninhabited?

Each of them has its own character with varied landscapes all as spectacular as each other.

Festive, heavenly, peaceful, secret, elegant, romantic, adjectives are lacking to describe them.

And yet, three flagship destinations make the whole world dream: Santorini, Mykonos and Paros.

Santorini

and

Mykonos,

considered the two "stars" of the Cyclades, welcome millions of travelers each year. Two totally different islands with on one side the romantic Santorini for unforgettable and magical holidays, on the other the festive and luxuriant Mykonos for lively and trendy holidays.

Paros

also attracts many tourists. Located in the center of the Cyclades, it is very popular with the French who represent more than the majority of visitors. The island with a family reputation, combines everything that can be found in the main Cyclades islands, namely the traditional charm of the archipelago, the beauty of its landscapes and its immense beaches with crystal clear waters, its flower-filled villages. with white walls, without forgetting its many hotels and restaurants which offer all the necessary comfort. Paros is an ideal starting point to discover the archipelago. From

Délos

, the smallest, to

Ermoupolis

the capital, from

Mykonos

the most festive to

Iraklia

one of the quieter ones, follow our comprehensive guide to these Aegean gems.

Western Cyclades

KÉA (OR TZIA)

Village of Ioulida, capital of Kéa.

Constantinos Iliopoulo

Kea is a popular destination for Greeks due to its proximity to the mainland.

Also called Tzia, it is one of the Cycladic islands closest to the mainland of Athens.

Charming and peaceful and with a rich diversity of landscapes, it however escapes mass tourism since there is no connection with Piraeus, the main port of the Greek capital.

Only the port of Lavrio, Athens' third port, serves this island of less than 2,500 inhabitants.

KIMOLOS

Secret coves and magnificent uncrowded beaches even during high season in Kimolos.

Emma jd watson

This 39 km² volcanic island is located next to Milos.

Four times smaller than its neighbor, Kimolos can be reached from Pollonia in the north of Milos, with a “slipper” boat that shuttles several times a day between the two islands.

Dream beaches, turquoise waters, postcard villages, Kimolos still little courted by international tourism is a typically Greek destination.

KYTHNOS

Kolona beach from the surprising Kythnos.

stockbksts - stock.adobe.com

Kythnos is one of the archipelago's most unexplored islands.

Like its neighbor Kéa, it is one of the Cyclades closest to the continent and has the particularity of not being affected by mass tourism.

Charming and authentic with white villages, typical Cycladic landscapes as well as some sixty famous beaches that are not easily accessible by car, Kythnos is ideal for spending a family holiday.

MILOS

Milos, a large volcanic island of 151 km² with numerous coves with turquoise waters.

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Milos, of volcanic origin, offers unique geological landscapes as evidenced by the cliffs of Kleftiko and the natural site of Sarakiniko.

It also has spectacular caves, charming fishing villages, magnificent sandy beaches with translucent them, beautiful churches, ancient Christian catacombs and one of the oldest mines in the Mediterranean.

Without forgetting its fabulous sunsets.

SERIES

Top of the Chora capital, ten minutes by car from Livadi, the main port of Serifos.

Freesurf - stock.adobe.com

Located between Kythnos and Sifnos, Serifos is one of those little-known islands that has been preserved from mass tourism, which has allowed it to retain its authenticity.

75 km² in area for around 1500 inhabitants, with mountainous and arid landscapes, it is ideal for spending a few calm and peaceful days.

Serifos is close to Athens and easily accessible from the port of Piraeus.

SIFNOS

Serenity reigns over Sifnos and its twenty beaches of exemplary cleanliness.

Rawf8 - stock.adobe.com

Located between Serifos and Milos, with its 74 km² area, Sifnos is more open to tourism than its neighbor Serifos and is also popular with tourists.

Its natural beauty, its wild beaches, its mountain ranges and its monasteries make Sifnos one of the most authentic islands of the archipelago.

Without forgetting its dazzling villages which are home to potters and painters, poets and shepherds, and now a few celebrities in search of simplicity.

Renowned for its gastronomy, Sifnos is the homeland of Nikolaos Tselementes, the chef considered to be the founder of contemporary Greek gastronomy.

Read also: Sifnos and Milos: the easy Cyclades with the family

Northern cyclades

ANDROS

Mixture of typical Cycladic architecture and neoclassicism in Andros.

Kate- stock.adobe.com

Andros is the northernmost island of the Cyclades archipelago.

From Athens (port of Rafina), it can be reached in just two hours with fast ferries.

Among the greenest in Greece, it has been famous since Antiquity for its vines and fruit trees.

Achla beach, marked by its crystal clear waters and cliffs, is renowned as the most beautiful on the island.

Around the beach, there are streams and small lakes suitable for swimming.

Many plane trees provide beneficial shade on hot days.

Access by road is only possible with an all-terrain vehicle.

The safest and fastest way to get there is by boat from Chora, the capital of Andros (20 minutes).

DELOS

Delos, an island steeped in history and listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

vivoo- stock.adobe.com

Located in the center of the Aegean Sea, Delos is a small uninhabited island of 6 km² near Mykonos and totally different from its neighbor.

It is a museum island, a mythical archaeological site that is full of stories and treasures like the Archaeological Museum, the Terrace of the Lions or the House of Dionysus.

Note that Delos is only accessible during the day by boat from Mykonos, count only half an hour of crossing.

MYKONOS

An island with unique architecture and landscapes, enlivened by celebration.

pkazmierczak- stock.adobe.com

Located in the north of the Cyclades, Mykonos is all the more talked about for its festive, extravagant, hyper-trendy and very jet-set side, attracting celebrities from all over the world.

But the most famous Greek island abroad has not put aside its sobriety, simplicity and charm that are felt through its houses with typical Cycladic architecture, its small white churches, its windmills. traditional without forgetting its beaches and landscapes of pure beauty.

Read also: Mykonos as an insider

Syros

Ano Syros village with a medieval appearance.

Freesurf - stock.adobe.com

The architecture of the buildings of Syros is far from the typical Cycladic style due to its glorious past where it was one of the cradles of multiculturalism and cosmopolitanism in Greece.

The island hides its game well, rocky, arid, almost uninhabited, you arrive by sea and walk along an almost deserted coast when suddenly

Ermoupolis

emerges

.

Emblematic capital of the Cyclades and capital of Syros, this city which takes its name from Hermès is one of the most beautiful in Greece.

Also the main port of the island, it welcomes ferries which serve the ports of Athens and most of the islands of the archipelago every day.

Read also: Syros and Tinos, Cyclades in the wind

TINOS

Tinos, high place of pilgrimage and paradise for hikers.

Georgios Alexandris- stock.adobe.com

Tinos is considered the Lourdes of the Orthodox world.

There are around 750 churches and chapels scattered all over the island including the Panagia Evaggelistria, the imposing sanctuary of the Virgin located on the heights of the port which attracts thousands of pilgrims every year on August 15 (the day of the Virgin Mary ).

In addition to its religious side, Tinos is home to the famous dovecotes, mountainous landscapes, wide open spaces and many picturesque villages which are a delight for hikers.

Central Cyclades

AMORGOS

The Monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa overlooking the Aegean Sea.

Pat on stock - stock.adobe.com

The easternmost Cyclades of the archipelago offers breathtaking landscapes.

Become famous at the end of the 1980s thanks to the

Big Blue

produced by Luc Besson, Amorgos is a volcanic and mountainous island which has managed to preserve its authenticity with its traditional Cycladic villages as well as a whole wild nature in some steep places.

ANTIPAROS

Charming, relaxing, an idyllic setting for a peaceful stay in Antiparos.

Antiparos - stock.adobe.com

Separated by a one kilometer canal, Antiparos is the natural extension of Paros with the same small mountain ranges, its postcard villages and its golden sandy beaches.

Reserved for pedestrians, Kastro, the mini-capital, unfolds a white and blue Cycladic decor highlighted with fuchsia bougainvillea.

A wonderful destination for a very peaceful vacation.

NAXOS

The door of the Temple of Apollo, the most famous and most photographed monument in the Cyclades.

Freesurf - stock.adobe.com

The island of superlatives is aptly named since Naxos is the largest, highest and most fertile in the archipelago.

Large beaches that stretch as far as the eye can see, a diversity of unique landscapes, a panel of archaeological sites to discover as well as ease of access due to its geographical position, Naxos is an ideal alternative to the stars of the archipelago. especially during the high season when they are quickly saturated unlike Naxos which offers unrivaled tranquility.

Read also: Paros and Naxos, inner beauties of island Greece

PAROS

Family, traditional, lively, Paros the essential.

Alex Waltner- stock.adobe.com

Neighbor of Naxos, Paros is enjoying growing success, especially with the French, it is now the most famous of the Cyclades.

Authenticity, natural beauty, diversity of soft and rural landscapes, picturesque and quiet villages, sandy beaches ... The island is a postcard in itself and displays everything one would expect from a Greek island.

Read also: Paros, our ten favorite hotels on the most endearing island of the Cyclades

Small Eastern Cyclades

KOUFONISSIA, DONOUSSA, IRAKLIA AND SCHINOUSSA

Gradually popular with tourists, Koufonissia is quiet during the day and more lively in the evening.

JONATHAN- stock.adobe.com

Heavenly beaches, calm and peaceful atmosphere, fertile countryside, local cuisine, hiking, these four islands are an ideal destination for a relaxing and restful holiday, they cultivate their simplicity away from the major tourist centers.

Still confidential,

Koufonissia

,

Donoussa

,

Iraklia

and

Schinoussa

are the only inhabited islands of the archipelago and are distinguished by their tiny size (with just over 200 inhabitants, Schinoussa is barely 9 km²!) As well as their preserved art of living. .

Read also: In Greece, small Cyclades, great escape

Southern cyclades

ANAFI

The natural beauty of Anafi, one of the wildest islands in the Cyclades.

Karmen- stock.adobe.com

Located east of Santorini (1h35 by boat), Anafi is a mountainous nugget of less than 40 km².

The best way to discover its treasures like its wild nature, its beautiful beaches, its monasteries and chapels is to hike it through the many trails.

For the record, in Greek mythology, it was Apollo who created Anafi in order for the Argonauts to rest there.

It is indeed suitable for calm and peaceful stays.

FOLÉGRANDOS

Katergo in the south of the island, one of the most beautiful beaches in Folégrandos.

Allyson Sarilho- stock.adobe.com

Huge cliffs, landscapes as typical of the Cyclades as the architecture of its capital Chora, Folégrandros increasingly arouses the curiosity of tourists.

Located between Sikinos and Milos, its wild nature and the festive spirit that emanates from its capital in the evening do not detract from the authenticity that the island tries to preserve.

IOS

Splendid view from the Panagia Gremiotissa in Chora.

milangonda- stock.adobe.com

Sunny and calm during the day, lively and festive at night, Ios has two faces and owes its reputation above all to its festive side, which is why it is very popular with young people.

But it is not just about nightlife.

It is one of the most beautiful islands of the archipelago, a unique jewel of the Aegean Sea, in particular thanks to the magnificent sandy beaches, the numerous coves and bays that border a coastline of more than 80 km, the mills that make its charm or the tomb of the famous poet Homer if we believe the legend.

SANTORINI

Santorini, one of the most beautiful islands in the world.

maglara- stock.adobe.com

Located in the Southern Cyclades, the romantic, photogenic Santorini is the most spectacular of the islands of the archipelago.

With its picturesque white villages with blue roofs and shutters perched on the cliffs overlooking the sea, its panoramic views of the breathtaking caldera or its gastronomy including its wine renowned throughout the world, Santorini lives up to its reputation and makes honor to the status which is often conferred on it: that of the most beautiful island in Greece.

Read also: Top 10 hotels in Santorini,

Figaro's

selection

SIKINOS

The monastery of Episkopi dating from Antiquity.

Petros- stock.adobe.com

By far one of the most unknown Greek islands to travelers, Sikinos is home to 240 inhabitants and covers 40 km² with a coastal length of 41 km.

Little greenery due to its rocky soil, still wild, it is still possible to stay in Chora the capital and Alopronia the small port.

THIRASIA

Thirasia, the Santorini of yesteryear.

Ian Woolcock- stock.adobe.com

Previously attached to Santorini before the eruption of the volcano, Thirasia is today right in front of one of the "stars" of the archipelago.

Much less known than its neighbor, it has an area of ​​only 9 km², has very few beaches and is therefore hardly touristy.

Yet it offers the same extraordinary and fabulous view of the Caldera as Santorini.

How to get there ?

BY PLANE

From France, it is possible to take a direct flight with Transavia or the Greek company Aegan Air for the Cyclades, thanks to the international airports of Santorini and Mykonos.

By transit through Athens you can always take a domestic flight to Paros, Naxos or Milos either with Aegean Air or with Air France (in collaboration with SkyExpress).

These three islands have indeed a national airport.

Read also: Cyclades, Balearic Islands, Azores or Corsica, airlines are increasing the number of flights for the summer holidays

SEA LINKS TO REACH SANTORINI, MYKONOS, PAROS

Every day of the year there are ferries from Athens to

Santorini

and Mykonos. And their number increases considerably with departures from morning to evening during the high season (from May to September). Depending on the type of ferry, the journey time between Athens and Santorini is 5 to 9 hours with a ticket cost ranging from 20 to 60 € for an economy class seat. Do you want to get to your destination as quickly as possible? In this case, try the high-speed ferry (with Golden Star Ferries and Seajets), the trip to Santorini is estimated at 5 to 6 hours compared to 8 and 9 hours for a trip on a conventional ferry (with Blue Star Ferries, and Zante Ferries).

To reach

Mykonos

, it takes around 2 to 5 hours depending on the type of boat, with a ticket price costing between 28 and 60 euros for an economy class seat.

The crossing on a high-speed ferry is between 2-3 hours while if you prefer to enjoy the journey without the rush, a conventional ferry will get you to your destination in 4-5 hours.

The companies that serve Mykonos from Athens are Blue Star Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, Fast Ferries and Seajets.

In high season, ferries connect Mykonos to Santorini several times a day.

The first leaves at 9:50 a.m. and the last at 2:50 p.m.

The journey takes around two and a half hours for an estimated cost of between € 20 and € 70.

The companies are Golden Star Ferries, Seajets and Minoan Lines.

Ferries to

Paros

operate year round from Athens' three ports, including Lavrion.

During the low season, two ferries are available per day compared to more than five during the high season.

The journey will cost you between 30 and 60 euros for an economy class seat.

Served by Blue Star Ferries, Golden Star Ferries, Fast Ferries and Seajets, the crossing will take you 3 hours aboard a high speed ferry.

Allow 4h30 aboard a conventional ferry.

MORE INFORMATIONS

Tourist Office of Greece

 : visitgreece

Source: lefigaro

All news articles on 2021-08-05

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