Visiting the Cyclades
This post is written by one of our UK readers.
The Cyclades lie on the southern part of the Aegean Sea and comprise 33 inhabited islands, all offering a unique Greek experience. Holidaymakers can expect sandy beaches, clear waters, fabulous scenery and delicious local produce, whichever island they decide to visit. Due to the close proximity of the islands and the regular ferry services, The Cyclades offer a perfect opportunity for island hopping, allowing holidaymakers to enjoy the individual charm and character of each island. The most famous of these islands are the spectacular volcanic island of Santorini and the party goers paradise Mykonos. Despite the booming tourist industry on the more popular islands, The Cyclades have remained unmistakably Greek.
For more active travellers, The Cyclades offer many wonderful and historic walking and trekking opportunities. The little known island of Amorgos, is largely untouched by tourists and is the perfect place for a walking holiday. The historic Hozoviotissa Monastery is a must-see and is definitely worth the uphill climb. The views of the sea and surrounding islands at the top are sure to be a lasting memory. There are many existing trails to explore either with or without a local guide.
Another superb location for activity based holidays is Andros which just an hour and a half away from Athens by ferry. One of many attractions on Andros is a visit to the Waterfalls of Remata which provide an opportunity to walk amongst the beautiful greenery found in the area.
The island of Tinos is hilly, however the cultivated landscape makes walking there most enjoyable, without being too strenuous. Tinos is well known for its abundant dovecotes which make the experience of walking here all the more memorable. For those seeking a challenge, the highest peak in The Cyclades is Mt. Zas located on the island of Naxos. At an altitude of 1004m, the views of the Aegean are breathtaking and very rewarding! The small village of Filoti is the perfect place to rest and refresh on the descent. For the novice walker Koufonissia has become increasingly popular. Although the walks are generally shorter, the cliffs at Koufonissia stand straight up out of the sea and are definitely worth seeing.
Best Times to Visit
Temperatures in The Cyclades can soar in high season (June to August), but due to the constant breeze which prevails during this time, travellers can feel some relief from the heat. Weather in The Cyclades is very pleasant from mid May right through to Mid October and some holidaymakers may prefer to visit in low season as it is often less crowded.
Accommodation varies greatly throughout The Cyclades. Whether you would prefer to stay in a luxury hotel, or in more simple surroundings, you are guaranteed to find the perfect base for your adventures to begin. Local guides are very useful when walking or trekking around the region, as many exceptional trails are not well signposted but should not be missed.
The Cyclades offer such a wealth and variety of attractions that many travellers try and see more than one island. The ferry services are reliable and reasonably priced and offer the most convenient way to get around the islands.