If you had a bird’s eye view of the Greek-owned Cyclades, they would look like an intriguing mosaic of 20 tufts of verdant earth floating on the turquoise waters of the Aegean sea. It’s an incredible formation created by the geological changes that took place millions of years ago.
According to Greek mythology, Poseidon, God of the sea, was so furious at the behavior of the Cyclades nymphs that he turned them into islands.
However they were formed, The Cyclades — which means the Sacred islands around Delos — their beauty and dazzling light can lend itself to a spot of spirituality.
They are at their best in May and still gorgeous throughout the summer months. By September though, life is slowing down and some businesses shut up shop.
Nevertheless, for most of the year, the wild rugged volcanic scenery remains whitewashed with sugar cubed Cycladic architecture that looks superb against the dark or vegetal backdrop with the deep blue sea lapping at their shores. Here are six suggestions.
Some say the most beguiling and popular island of this Aegean archipelago is Santorini. Everyone will have seen that iconic image — you know, the one with the cliff-top blue-domed church standing out amid shimmering white architecture that looks dazzling against the blue skies and seas.
Cruise ships stop there, weddings take place there just for the scenic photography and holidaymakers clamber over the ramparts of the 13th-century castle in an almost cult-like fashion, to be sure of the best view of the sunset.
There are beaches, a pebbly one at Kamari and black sand ones at Perissa and Karterados and these are overlooked by jagged cliffs and a brilliant light that seems peculiar to the Cyclades — it can be mesmerizing.
The hillside towns of Fira and Oia are quaint with sometimes steep steps and knotted alleyways and make for an idyllic afternoon exploration. And in the evenings the roof terraces of restaurants are light and alive with diners enjoying libations and alfresco dining in the warm night air.
Bare hills, sandy beaches, and a glitzy vibe make up this 86 square kilometer island. There are barely 10,000 locals yet the island is set upon by tens of thousands of tourists looking to party. Nightclubs are two a penny, there are several pubs and shops that stay open throughout the night.
This is a fun island and, naturally, its most famous beach, Paradise Beach, has its share of nightclubs, a campsite, and the odd restaurant. Nearby is Super Parade, a gay nudist beach that may not be to everyone’s taste. For a little peace and quiet, head to Agia Anna, though it may seem comparatively undeveloped.
Its main town, Hóra, is full of fashion shops but as tempting as it is to go shopping, stay away between 10 am and 5 pm when the cruise ships stop by.