Cyclades

CycladesCyclades: 147 Islands – 365 days a year

The Cyclades islands lie at the heart of the Aegean Sea, all 147 of them, though only 24 are inhabited. To get to know the uninhabited ones you should be a good swimmer, trekker or boater. The rest of us, though, can bask on the great beaches, deserted or otherwise, organized or not, to dance and drink our hearts out in the posh bars and clubs, and even to get into the traditional culture with its feast days. The more days of holiday you have, the better. So, like a pirate of old (and pirates have always been part of the history of the Cyclades), you could go sailing around the Aegean in the time-honoured island-hopping tradition. Just don’t forget to take along a light windjammer or jacket, as the winds can get tricky in summer, especially in August.

The best beaches of the Cyclades
The beaches and bathing places of the Cyclades are almost uniformly very clean, though the water is comparatively cold in places. Demanding bathers will be quite satisfied. Not a few beaches around the archipelago are blessed also with lifeguards, easy access and facilities for people with special needs. These beaches are:
• Santorini: Kamari 1, Karami 2, Perissa
• Ios: Ormos, Mylopotas, Koumbara,Manganari
• Sifnos: Kamares, Platys Gialos
• Paros: Marpissa/Chrysi Akti, Logaras, Tserdakia, Pounta, Kolymvithres
• Mykonos: Kalafatis, Ornos
• Syros: Kini, Angathotes, Finikas/Psachno
• Andros: Batsi, Aghios Petros, Chrysi Ammos

Yacht marinas
These are not mere yacht moorings, but proper marinas that have received awards:
• Santorini: Kamari 1, Kamari 2, Perissa
• Ios: Ormos, Mylopotas, Koumbara,Manganari
• Milos: Papikinou
• Sifnos: Kamaras, Platys Gialos
• Paros: Marpissa/Chrysi Akti, Logaras, Tserdakia, Pounta, Kolymvithres
• Syros: Kini, Angathotes, Vari
• Andros: Batsi

Protected areas
Many places in the Cyclades are protected under the European Union’s Natura 2000 scheme. These include:
• Andros: the Vitali bay and central mountain massif
• Anafi: the Kalamos-Roukounas peninsula
• Anafi islets: Ftena, Pachia, Makra
• Santorini: Nea Kammeni, Palea Kammeni, Profitis Ilias
• East Folegandros: sea area up to west Sikinos
• Milos: Profitis Ilias area, west coast, Antimilos coast
• Kimolos: Polyaigos island
• Sifnos: Profotis Ilias to the west coast and sea area
• Serifos: southern part
• Kythnos: northwestpart, Mount Atheras, Cape Kefalos and area
• Amorgos: northeast part, Kynaros, Levithia, Mavria, Glaros, islets of Psalida, Gramvousa, Nikouria, Mikro and Megalo Viokastro, Kramvonisi, Petalidi
• Smaller Cyclades: Herakleia, Schinoussa, Koufonisia, Keros, Antikeri, Makares, Mikros and Megalos Avelas, Venetiko islet
• Naxos: central and southern part, Zeus, Vigla to Mavrovouni, Karades and Moutsouna bays, Mounts Anathematistria and Koronos
• Paros: Petaloudes, islets and southern Antiparos, Despotiko and Strongylo islets
• Syros: Mount Syringas to the coast
• Tinos: Myrsini to Cape Livada
• Christiana islands
• Mykonos: Renaia, Htapodia and Tragonisi islets

Getting around
All the Cyclades islands maintain direct sea transport links to the port of Piraeus, except for Kea, which has a connection to the port of Lavrion, and Andros, which connects with the port at Rafina. The largest and most popular islands, such as Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Syros, Paros, Naxos and Santorini, have more than one passenger ferry schedule a day, often with modern fast ferries as well as slower island-hoppers. Services from Piraeus to the smaller islands are not as frequent, even in the summer. A better way to reach the smaller islands is via the larger ones. For example, to get to the Koufonisia change at Naxos, which is also the stopping-off point for Donoussa, Schinoussa and Herakleia.

Museums
Mykonos Archaeological Museum, Thera Prehistory Museum, Thera Archaeological Museum, Folegandros Folk Museum (Ano Meria), Sikinos Folk Museum, Sikinos Byzantine Antiquities Collection, Andros Maritime Museum, Andros Archaeological Museum, Andros Museum of Modern Art, Syros Archaeological Museum, Ermoupolis Industrial Museum, Ermoupolis Cycladic Art Museum, Tinos Archaeological Museum, Tinos Cultural Foundation, Elli Mausoleum (Tinos), Tinos Artists’ Museum, Halepa Museum (Tinos), Sohos Museum (Tinos), Arnados Museum (Tinos), Kechrovouni Museum (Tinos), Naxos Archaeological Museum, Serifos Folk Museum, Milos Archaeological Museum, Milos Historical and Folk Museum.

Recommended destinations in Cyclades:

Santorini
Mykonos
Naxos
Ios
Andros
Serifos
Syros
Sikinos
Kimolos
Iraklia
Anafi
Paros
Antiparos
Schoinousa
Donousa
Sifnos
Delos
Kea
Thirasia
Koufonisi
Amorgos
Tinos
Kythnos
Milos
Folegandros