CYCLADES


Map of Cyclades

Kea (Tzia) is very close to Athens and offers relaxing vacations and pristine beaches. The picture of the island that remains is of little valleys with vineyards and orchards between mountainous masses, leading to idyllic coves. One and two storey houses with tiled roofs, stone-paved alleyways, chapels, windmills, and monasteries, the most important of which is the Kastriani monastery.

On small Kithnos the ground is high and rugged with green tufts of vine and fig scattered about. The shores are heavily indented and the island has radioactive springs with great curative powers. The churches are beautiful and are graced with fine wood-carvings and with icons painted by the Cycladian painter (1700) Skordilis.

Serifos is naked waves of mountains and small fertile valleys, singular houses, narrow stone-paved streets, magical shores strange charm which captivates, and the castle surrounded by windmills.

Grey trails line the rocks of Sifnos and white chapels lie between them. Here green alternates with dazzling white. Rare beauty, spellbinding views. Yards, alleyways, workshops where the famous Sifnian pottery is made, 365 churches, chapels and important monasteries.

Kea Kimolos is a small, mountainous island, white as the chalk it produces, far from the summer crowds. Houses in the authentic Cycladic style surround the castle.

Milos was born of a volcano and hides many secrets above and below its surface: rich deposits of minerals, the famous catacombs, sea caves, pristine beaches, early Christian remains. One of its secrets, the Venus de Milo, rests in the Louvre.

Snapshots of Andros, the birthplace of famed ship masters: Steep mountain ranges torn by gorges and ravines; valleys blanketed by olive, fig, orange, and lemon trees and vines; streams and brooks untypical of the otherwise classic Cycladic landscape; slopes that end in cliffs; hills that vanish quietly into rocky shores; valleys that extend into sandy beaches.

Tinos, the holy island of the Virgin Mary. Numerous beaches can be seen from the peaks pf the unending mountain range that crosses it lengthwise. The dove-cotes on Tinos, made of white-washed native stone, are works of art in their own right. The island's twenty exquisite villages are unique examples of folk architecture.

Mykonos is the cosmopolitan centre of the Cyclades. Its low rocky hills slope down to enchanting golden beaches. Grey-green boulders sprout prickly-pears and windmills. Despite the dazzling light the summers are refreshing. One can find beaches that are almost empty, or rub shoulders with hundreds of scarcely dressed beauties. White-washed cube-shaped houses are scattered about. In the narrow streets of the town chapels and picturesque tavernas hide among folk art shops and stores selling jewelry and furs. Trends that will sweep the international scene are born in the intense nightlife of this modern resort.

The ancient holy island of Delos is a vast archaeological site. For many centuries it was the religious centre of Greece. It was the centre of the circle describing the Cyclades and the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis.

Siros by night Siros, on the other hand, is the modern administrative, commercial, and cultural centre of the Cyclades. The Hora, full of fine neoclassical buildings, old mansions, marble squares and magnificent churches, is built amphitheatrically up the hillsides around the port. The hills and the valleys produce quick changes in the scenery, alternating between cultivated fields, orchards, and brush. Beautiful locations and scenic beaches sum up the island.

Paros has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Now, this mainly flat island with countless vineyards is a modern tourism centre. This popular island is fragrant with basil and honeysuckle. The marvellous church of Panagia Ekatontapyliani greets visitors as they arrive in the harbour. White-washed stone benches beneath the jasmine announce and at the same time invite the visitor to participate in summer celebrations, such as the wine and fish festivals, as well as Paros intense night life.

Opposite, the golden sands and natural beauty of another small island, Antiparos, integrates the famous cave of St. John with its stalactites into into an enchanting whole.

Naxos is the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic islands. Byzantine churches and medieval towers abound. Dales are married to vast beaches. Boulders rise up from the deep blue of the sea. Fertile valleys, springs with rushing water, picturesque villages, begin to give an idea of this special place. A distinctive feature of Naxos are the two huge ancient Kouroi.

Unlike Naxos, Amorgos is mountainous and barren, with sheer rocky coasts, scattered ruins, notable archaeological finds, and places of worship built with the characteristic ecclesiastical architecture of the twin church.

Folegandros is a small rocky island with the special wild beauty of alternating cliffs and sandy beaches. The church of Panagia and the golden cave with its stalactites and stalagmites are worth a visit.

Sikinos has retained its island feel and colour in its wonderful villages with their stone mansions. The island is also known for its spectacular castle and the monastery of Zoodohou Pigis.

los (or Nios as the locals call it) is decorated with small scenic bays, countless chapels, vineyards, and olive trees, all set under the clear bright Cycladic sky.

Santorini Its geological particularities, its past, and its imposing scenery single out Santorini (Thira) in the Aegean next to the rest of the Cyclades. Bright white domed houses clinging to the cliff sides of the caldera formed by the volcano's explosion in 1500 B.C. have an incredible view of Kamenes, (burnt ones) the coal coloured islets in the middle. Some of the most spectacular beaches can be found on Santorini: some with dark pebbles and others with black sand. A whole civilization is coming to light at the archaeological sites at Akrotiri, the prehistoric city, and Messa Vouno, where the ruins of Ancient Thira lie.

The missing piece of Santorini's once perfect circle is Thirassia, the wounded islet that closes the caldera, which is Thira in miniature.

A rock on its own in the sea is Anafi. The crystal clear waters and serenity of the island's beauty offer a calm relaxing place for visitors and inhabitants both. The only disturbances are the picturesque celebrations and local fairs.



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