THE CYCLADES

THE CROWN JEWELS OF THE AEGEAN

Watch the video

Cyclades: Dazzling white villages, golden beaches and clear azure water are just the start of what these islands have to offer


Within easy reach of Athens, these are the Aegean’s most precious gems. Ancient Greek geographers gave this unique cluster of islands the name Cyclades because they saw that they formed a circle (kyklos) of sorts around the sacred island of Delos. According to myth, the islands were the debris that remained after a battle between giants. In reality, they resulted from colossal geological events like earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. 

Their colours are blue and white like the Greek flag. The islands come in all sizes and, though the ingredients are the same – incomparable light, translucent water, heavenly beaches, lustrous white buildings and bare rock, each one has its own distinct character. The group’s stars, Mykonos and Santorini, need no introduction but the lesser-known islands, big and small, are just as rewarding. For starters, try aristocratic Syros, cosmopolitan Paros, the sculptors’ paradise of Tinos, bountiful Naxos, exotic Milos and historic Delos, not to mention the ‘hidden gems’ that adorn the Aegean, such as Tzia/Kea, Kythnos, Sifnos, Serifos, Amorgos, Sikinos, Anafi and Folegandros. Whether you’re travelling with your family, friends or sweetheart, you’re bound to find your summer paradise in the sun in the Cyclades.

Beaches of indescribable beauty in the Cyclades 

What’s your idea of the perfect beach? Green-blue water and white sand? Beach bars and water sports? Framed by rocks for snorkelling and scuba diving? A secret Aegean cove accessible only on foot or by boat? No matter what your ideal is, you’ll find it in the Cyclades. First stop: Mykonos with its extra golden sand, turquoise water and 5-star facilities. Paradise, Super Paradise, Psarou and Elia, all rank in the top 10 beaches worldwide.

Next comes volcanic Milos, with the biggest range of colours and rock formations, such as at Sarakiniko and Kleftiko, and Santorini’s black and red beaches like Kamari, Perissa and Perivolo that reveal the wild beauty of the Cyclades. Small Serifos is ringed with beaches, while rugged Amorgos can claim the ‘Big Blue’ at Agia Anna beach, where Luc Besson shot his seminal movie about testing the limits of man. Andros’ ‘secret’ sandy beaches, like Ahla and Grias to Pidima, win rave reviews for being extra photogenic, as does Tinos for the round boulders at Livada and the enormous dune at Pachia Ammos (Fat Sand). For getting away from it all, both tiny Polyaigos, between Kimolos and Milos, and the Lesser Cyclades, near Naxos, offer unexplored destinations of raw beauty, for those who come by yacht.

Time for a painless history lesson

Thousands of years of civilisation evolved here in the Cyclades, much of it visible in local archaeological sites and museums. You’ll see its mystique encapsulated on the whole island of Delos and within Santorini’s Akrotiri, the Minoan Pompei. It is also present in the two colossal horizontal statues lying on Naxos and in Kea’s ancient Karthaia. Virtually every island has at least one ancient ruin. While beautiful, typically Cycladic churches exist on every island, the most visited are the 19th century Panagia on Tinos, the early Byzantine Ekatontapyliani on Paros, and the 11th century Hozoviotissa monastery on Amorgos. The best museums to visit are Santorini’s Prehistoric Thera Museum;  Andros’ Contemporary Art and Archaeology Museum; the Industrial Museum at Syros’ Ermoupoli; Amorgos’ Archaeology Museum; Milos’ museums of Mining and Archaeology, with a copy of the famous Venus de Milo; Tinos’ Museum of Marble Crafts at Pyrgos  and the Archaeology and Venetian museums on Naxos.

Action against a Cycladic backdrop

Known for the iconic blues and whites of their villages and their stunning beaches, the Cycladic islands also  deserve worldwide renown for what their crystalline waters and rugged  shorelines offer to sailors and sea lovers. Are you looking for action on the water? From the private coves of the Lesser Cyclades, to wind and kite-surfing on Paros, and fun-filled watersports, there are options for everyone. On land, discover the well-marked hiking trails that exist on all the islands, especially Naxos, Tinos, Amorgos, Syros and Andros. They cross rugged landscapes made all the more enchanting by castles, chapels, ruined towers and temples shrouded in the mysteries of the ages.

Gourmet treats and superior wines

Every island specialises in a local treat with the distinctive flavour of the Aegean. Santorini’s volcanic soil produces exceptional wines and extra delicious small tomatoes, capers, white aubergines, grown without water. On the other islands, look for wonderful cheeses like spicy kopanisti and xinotyro on Mykonos, arseniko on Naxos, San Michali on Tinos, Paros and Syros. The rich omelette called froutalia on Tinos and Andros, sausages and cured pork fillet (louza) on Mykonos and Tinos, clay-pot chickpeas on Sifnos, and sweets like pastelli (sesame bars) and amygdalota (crushed almond shortbread) on all the islands. All the islands also distill their own versions of firewater but Tinos’ raki is thought to be more refined and lighter, while on Amorgos they drink rakomelo, raki mixed with honey.

The most significant sights in the Cyclades

1. Santorini: Santorini’s Fira and Oia at sunset and the majesty of the caldera.
2. Mykonos: Cosmopolitan Mykonos, with its windmills and wave-lashed Little Venice
3. Syros: Stately Ermoupoli on Syros, one of the most regal settlements in the Cyclades.
4. Andros: The shipowners’ neoclassical Andros town.
5. Serifos: The steep cubist Hora of Serifos.
6. Milos: Milos’ Plaka with its castle and old churches.
7. Tinos: The Volax plateau on Tinos with its giant granite boulders.
8. Amorgos: The unspoilt villages of Tholaria and Langada on Amorgos.
9. Paros: The little port of Naoussa on Paros and the island’s mountain villages like Lefkes, Marpissa and Prodromos.

My view of Greece, Folegandros
TIPS
FOLEGANDROS: A FEELING OF FREEDOM by Myrto Papadopoulou

"When I close my eyes I see the rocks of Folegandros. They are very imposing. I have a secret spot there that is just for me."


Read the Blog >
My view of Greece, Amorgos
TIPS
AMORGOS IS THE PERFECT GETAWAY by Sophia Antoniadou

"The sublime beauty and delight of the island though does not stop here. If you walk down the little stairs you will discover a small seafront church dedicated to Saint Anne."


Read the Blog >
BLOG_DG_Milos
TIPS
VACATIONS IN GREECE: A BLESSING by Nikos Michalakis

"The best scenery I shared with my wife was in Firiplaka on Milos. We walked the length of the beach with the blue- grey sea water up to our waists and admired the white and pink cliff behind us, the gold-grey sand and a stunning huge rock formation rising from the water."


Read the Blog >
Sifnos Art
TIPS
SIFNOS, MY GREAT LOVE AND PASSION IN THE AEGEAN by Christian Peltenburg Brechneff

"The island is famous both for its pottery and its food. Lunch at Nikos`s taverna in Heronissos is one of the great culinary island experiences."


Read the Blog >
BLOG_DG_Naxos
TIPS
THE IRRESISTIBLE PULL OF NAXOS by Maria Petropoulou

"A picturesque hamlet at the foot of Mt Fanari, it stands out for its staunchly traditional character. Wander its narrow streets, discover its special corners and admire its architecture."


Read the Blog >

My View of Anafi island
TIPS
ANAFI, THE SECRET ISLAND by Villy Manolia

"The second highest monolith in the Mediterranean after Gibraltar stands before your eyes and you are left staring in awe whenever you raise your head after each dive."


Read the Blog >

LOCALS KNOW BEST

Sailing In The Aegean, Kleftiko in Milos

ISLANDS IN THE CYCLADES

ANEMI HOTELS GROUP

Anemi Hotel
ANEMI HOTELS GROUP is delighted to present its two luxury design hotels, ΑthensWas which is located at the historical center of Athens and Anemi Hotel in Folegandros island, one of the Cyclades Islands.
Read more
Anemi Hotels
Athens, Folegandros
T. +30 2107254871
Fax: +30 2107228816

Verina Hotels Complex

Verina Astra infinity pool with incredible view
Verina Hotels is a complex of luxury boutique hotels and villas located in Sifnos, run by a team passionate for our work. Inspired by the unique atmosphere of the island, we have created two hotels that reflect the understated elegance of our island.
Read more
Verina logo
84003, Platys Gialos, SIFNOS
T. 6976867641

Verina Villa

Night view of Verina Villa
Verina Villa is the most exclusive option, the jewel on the crown of your choices. The villa is built to luxurious standards, according to the long established architecture of Sifnos.
Read more
verinasuites_logo
84003, Vathy, SIFNOS
T. +30 6976 867641

Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort in Santorini

Aegean Suite Jacuzzi with stunning view in Santorini Island
Welcome to Vedema, a Luxury Collection Resort bringing an unrivaled level of luxury and style to one of the world’s most beautiful islands. Sleek and spectacular, with unprecedented privacy, Vedema inspires extraordinary journeys for the soul.
Read more
logo Vedema Resort, a Luxury Collection Resort in Santorini Island
Santorini, Greece, 84700, Megalochori, SANTORINI
T. +(30) 22860 81796

Mykonos Luxury

6.Outdoor Pool.jpg
Mykonos is a cosmopolitan destination that attracts VIP guests, movie stars and jet-setters from around the world. More famous than Capri and more fashionable than Cannes, Mykonos is both a magnet for dedicated clubbers and an idyllic getaway for hopeless romantics who want to live their dreams on...
Read more
logo_mykonos_luxury.png
84600, Mykonos, MYKONOS
T. 2170007777

OTHER GREEK STORIES TO LOVE