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Cyclades Islands Guide


The Cyclades is located in the central and southern area of the Aegean Sea and the region is home to some of the most popular Greek holiday islands.

There are about 40 islands of which 24 are inhabited; a dozen or so attract their fair share of holiday visitors while a couple are the target of major package tour operators.

The big hitters in the holiday tourism stakes are Mykonos and Santorini where international airports welcome tourist charter flights by the bucketload while both are must-stop overnight ports for scores of giant Mediterranean cruise liners.

The lack of direct international charter flights to the lesser islands of the Cyclades tends to restrict the big tour operators to Mykonos and Santorini.

But, although the spectacular volcanic scenery of Santorini and jet-set beauty of Mykonos may suck in the package holidaymakers, the Cyclades has islands for all tastes – from the party island of Ios to the gently rolling hills of Paros and Naxos.

And fortunately for independent travellers, the Cyclades is the hub of Greek island ferry services, so islands like Naxos and Paros are a favourite for island hopping holidays and visiting yacht flotillas.

Other notable, if less visited, Cycladic islands like Amorgos, Andros, Folegandros and Syros may sometimes require another overnight ferry stop, but with each sporting an exceptional beauty and more nuanced attractions, they all make the trip well worth it.

Cyclades islands in a nutshell

  • Popular islands; Mykonos Santorini, Ios
  • Quieter island: Naxos, Paros, Andros, Syros
  • Sleepy islands: Amorgos, Tinos, Syros, Folegandros, Milos
  • Remote islands: Kea, Kithnos, Serifos, Sifnos