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Sailing Itineraries in Greece - Cyclades Islands
Destinations » Cyclades Islands
One of the many enchanting groups of islands surrounding Greece is the Cyclades group, so named because the islands form a cycle around the sacred land of Delos.The proximity of the islands to one another permits a relaxed sailing schedule, allowing more time for sightseeing and shopping.
Best known for their history, art, and civilization which dates back to the Bronze Age, the islands offer a stunning variety of scenic shores, unpsoiled beaches, local handicrafts, entertaiment, and diving.The Cyclades are the quintessential Greek islands- rocky outcrops accented with dazzling white buildings offset by bright blue church domes, all showered in radiant light and fringed with golden beaches lapped by aquamarine seas.
According to mythology all the islands form an invisible circle (kyklos) around the island of Delos, which was considered sacred as the land of Apollo, god of light.
The islands are small and closely grouped making them ideal for island hopping.
Kythnos is extremely popular with Athenian holidaymakers. The villages, Hora and Dryopida are typically Cycladic with their winding streets and windmills. There are a number of pretty little bays all along the coastline. On the northeastern side of the island lies Loutra, a popular summer spot renowned for its thermal springs.
From afar, the island of Serifos appears like a great rock rising out of the sea.
Clinging on the hillside above the main port, Livadi, is the dazzling whitewashed capital Hora, it is one of the most striking Cycladic capitals.
At first glance it looks deceptively barren, but once you explore, you'll find an abundantly attractive and fertile landscape, Sifniot olive oil is one of the best in Greece. Local specialties include revithia (baked chickpeas), revithokeftedes (vegetable balls), xynomyzithra (a sharpish cheese) and almond sweets.
As well as shopping for fine ceramics and jewellery, you can also find beautiful hand-woven textiles.
The capital, Apollonia, is a lovely whitewashed village set on a plateau 5km up from the port of Kamares.
3km from Apollonia is the walled cliff-top village of Kastro, it is a magical place of buttressed alleys and whitewashed houses.
Volcanic Milos is the most westerly island of the Cyclades. It has a coastline of 125km.
Klima is a charming, unspoilt fishing village skirting a narrow beach below the settlement of Trypiti. Nearby you will discover Greece's only Christian catacombs.
A sail around the island allows you to visit most of Milos' stunning beaches (many inaccessible by road), coves and geologically interesting places.
Andros is the northernmost island of the Cyclades. It is the second largest after Naxos with a coastline of 177km. It is also one of the most fertile and forested islands in the Cyclades. There is an abundance of water, Andros is renowned for its water, which is bottled at Sariza. Many of the old windmills are now being restored.
Tinos is green and mountainous like nearby Andros with a coastline of 106km. The island is a Greek Orthodox place of pilgrimage. Dominating over the capital, Hora, is the celebrated Church of Panagia Evangelistra, while unspoilt hill villages and ornate dovecotes are rural attractions. Pyrgos is a picturesque village where marble is still carved. There is a sculpture school and several workshops where traditional items such as lintels and plaques can be purchased. The island has a number of beautiful beaches to visit such as Porto (6km east of Hora) and Kolymvythra Bay, which has two superb sandy beaches.
Mykonos is perhaps the most visited of all Greek islands. It has by far the most sophisticated and exciting nightlife in Greece.
1. The Theatre Quarter, where Delos' wealthiest inhabitants built their lavish houses.
The capital of Syros is Ermoupolis, an affluent, lively town of elegant neoclassical mansions, squares, marble paved streets and chic boutiques. As your boat sails into the harbor you will catch a glimpse of the Catholic settlement of Ano Syros to the left, and the Orthodox settlement of Vrodado to the right, both situated on hills with Ermoupolis spilling down to the harbor, it is an impressive sight. Ano Syros is a medieval settlement with narrow alleyways and whitewashed houses. It is a fascinating place to visit.
Paros is an attractive island of terraced hills, whitewashed settlements and windmills. It is the center of the Cyclades. The island's busy capital and port is Parikia, a charming, typically Cycladic old town with a 13th century Venetian kastro.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades. Its rugged mountains and fertile green valleys also make it one of the most beautiful. Mt Zeus (1004m) is the archipelago's highest peak. It was a prominent Byzantine center with over 500 churches and monasteries.
There is no denying that most visitors flock to Ios to party hard, but for those seeking relaxation, Ios has plenty to offer amongst its beautiful beaches and charming capital, Hora. Hora is a lovely Cycladic village with narrow whitewashed laneways and houses. At night the tiny central square is transformed into a crowded open-air party. Apart from the nightlife, the beaches are what lure travelers to Ios. Competing with Milopotas for the best beach is Manganari, which has a long swathe of fine white sand. Nearby, Kolitzani Beach and Tsamaria are also nice. Agio Theodoti, Psathi and Kalamos beaches, all on the northeast coast, are more remote.
The Little Cyclades is a chain of small islands between Naxos and Amorgos. Only four have permanent populations: Donousa, Koufonisia, Iraklia and Shinousa. They attract a few tourists looking for splendid beaches and a laid back atmosphere.
Amorgos is the most easterly of the Cyclades, it is most enticing. Katapola the main port is a pretty town on a large dramatic bay. The village of Hora is an impressive sight. Rising 400m above sea level, shrouded in clouds, all white and capped with a 13th century kastro atop a large rock. Down the steep hillside from Hora is the 11th century Moni Hozoviotissis, clinging precariously to a cliff face above the coast. Aegiali is Amorgos' other port. It is more laid back than Katapola, with a lovely stretch of beach.
Santorini, the southern most island of the Cyclades, is thought of by many as the most spectacular of the Greek islands. The submerged caldera (crater) is a vestige of what was most likely one of the most catastrophic volcanic eruptions in recorded history.
Tourism has not diminished the dramatic atmosphere of Fira. Terraced into the volcanic cliffs are barrel-roofed cave houses and domed churches. Along the lip of the caldera are several bars and restaurants, the view of the cliffs and their multicolored layers of lava and pumice, from here is breathtaking. Ships berth at Athinios, a tiny haven beneath the towering volcanic cliffs. In favorable weather, ships anchor offshore below Fira, whose dazzling white houses and domes extend along the cliff top nearly 210m above. Further north, the village of Oia is also set on the steep slope of the caldera, many of its whitewashed buildings nestle in recesses in the volcanic rock. It is famous for its spectacular sunsets. The tiny port, Ammoudi lays 300 steps below Oia, it's a lovely spot for a swim and a bite to eat.
There are five commercial wineries to visit, they host tastings in the summer. The potent Santorini wine has a great reputation.
Beaches Santorini's black sand beaches are beautiful but very hot. The nicest beaches are on the east coast, such as Perivolos, Perissa and Agios Georgios. The Mediterranean Dive Club in Perissa, offers volcanic and wreck dives. There is also Kamari, Monolithos Beach and Red Beach.
THIRASIA & VOLCANIC ISLETS
Small, charming Anafi is where you go to enjoy the beaches and the slow paced traditional life. It's an ideal place to relax. The main town, Hora lies 2km up from the island's little port Agios Nikolas. Whitewashed dwellings and windmills nestle against the hillside. There are several lovely beaches to visit, such as palm lined Klissidi. Islets around Anafi are: Pacheia, Marra and Anydros
The only settlements in tranquil Sikinos are the port of Alpronia and the hilltop villages Hora and Kastro, which together form the capital. Kastro is a charming, little village with lovely old homes and hospitable locals.
Most visitors come to peaceful Folegandros for the unspoilt island life. Boats dock in the small harbor of Karavostasis on the east coast. Hora, the hidden cliff top village is perhaps the most beautiful capital in the Cyclades. The medieval kastro and the maze of narrow whitewashed streets and low archways date back to the 13th century. Bougainvillea cascade down the house's wooden balconies. There are several good beaches to visit such as Agnali Beach, Agios Nikolaos, Livadaki and Agios Georgios.
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