The Cyclades is the most popular island complex in the Aegean Sea. The group took its name from the Greek word “cyclos”, which means circle, as they form a geographical circle around the uninhabited but sacred island of Delos. Due to the close ferry travel from Athens and the impressive landscape, the islands of Cyclades receive millions of visitors every summer. Here are the best islands in the Cyclades to visit.
Santorini, one of the most romantic places in the world, is an island with dramatic landscapes, unusual beaches, and rich culture. It is famous for the picturesque villages constructed on the edge of the caldera, overlooking the submerged volcano of Santorini. The easiest way to get to this island is by ferry from Athens to Santorini. Connections departing from the port of Piraeus are very frequent, especially during the summer season, and travel time is 8-9 hours by normal ferry or 4-5 hours by catamaran.
Mykonos is a very popular tourist destination. Known for not only its stylish bars and vivid nightlife, but also for its natural beauty, it is one of the most cosmopolitan destinations in the Aegean. Ferries to Mykonos depart from the port of Piraeus in Athens on a daily basis, with even more frequent sailings during the summer months. Connections are available from the port of Rafina as well. Travel time is approximately 4-5 hours, while catamarans and high speed boats need half the travel time.
Paros is an island with attractive landscapes and characteristically charming villages. The traditional Cycladic architecture, the unique beaches and the vivid nightlife make Paros one of the top holiday destinations in Greece. You can take a ferry to Paros from Athens, particularly from the port of Piraeus or during from the port of Rafina in summer season. There are daily connections and travel time is approximately 5 hours.
Naxos is the largest and most fertile island of the Cyclades. It has a rich history and culture, developing a unique combination of traditions and customs over the years. This is among the best family places in the Greek islands, with gorgeous coasts and a relaxing atmosphere. Ferries from Athens to Naxos are available daily from the port of Piraeus, the closest port to the Greek capital. In summer there are also daily ferries from the port of Rafina and occasionally from Lavrion.
Ios is primarily known as a party destination, but it is an island that everyone can enjoy. While maintaining a lively nightlife, Ios has a very traditional character and its white sandy beaches have been voted amongst the most beautiful beaches in Europe. Ferries to Ios depart frequently from the port of Piraeus in Athens and travel time is about 7 hours.
# Less-known Cyclades islands
The Cyclades complex includes many less-known but beautiful islands, with pure landscapes untouched by the mass tourism that make ideal alternative destinations. Sifnos is such a quiet traditional place, with beautiful beaches and picturesque walk sides. Milos is an idyllic volcanic island, with unique rock formations and unusual beaches. Amorgos is a lovely island with strong local color and breathtaking views.
# Ferry connection between Cyclades
Ferries connecting individual islands in the Cyclades are frequent, especially in the summer season. In particular, Paros and Syros are the ferry hubs of the Cyclades. Both highspeed and regular ferries to the majority of Cyclades islands are available from there. Syros is also a usual transportation hub to the islands of the Dodecanese and Eastern Aegean.