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The Cyclades: a circle of islands; a circle of civilization whose beginnings are lost in the mists of time, when the Ancient Cycladic peoples fashioned the first stone weapons, when the first marble idol was made, when their primitive boats traveled from island to island. There are thirty-four islands and an infinity of tiny rocky islets, remnants of geological upheavals in millennia gone by, pieces of a stony area in the middle of the Aegean. It was to here, the center of the circle, Delos , that Leto fled, pursued by a jealous Hera, to give birth to Zeus’s offspring, Artemis and Apollo. Thus Delos became the first sacred island, dedicated to the worship of Apollo, an important religious center, and the headquarters of the common Treasury of the Greeks. Its citizens did not take part in the wars of the neighboring islands, which for many years respected the neutrality of Delos and its sacred character. And they filled it with works of art. Around it, each island constituted a separate state and wrote its own history. Milos traded its obsidian, that hard black stone, Paros its translucent marble, Cyclades its copper, and Amorgos the marvelous weapons crafted by its inhabitants. These small islands saw the birth and death of whole civilizations. On the island that spawned the volcano, the first inhabitants of Santorini built cities that sank beneath the sea with the great eruption that changed the face of the Aegean, while on Kea the elders killed themselves during a siege so that the young would have more food. The years rolled by. On the island of Milos , beloved of Aphrodite, pirates stole out to sell their booty and Kea with the other islands was laid waste by Khaireddin Barbarossa. Still, the spirit of the Cyclades, their magical atmosphere, their unique art continued from age to age, from generation to generation. After thousands of years of history, the Cyclades are more beautiful than ever, surrounded by the blue Aegean, with their shady archways and their white houses, built in circles around the main square. What is it that made those simple islanders such great architects, such astute town planners? Perhaps they were inspired by their exceptional surroundings, the rocks and the sea, or perhaps they were imbued with the spirit of Apollo.

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(Area: 209 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus , 95 nautical miles, distance from Rafina 82 nautical miles). Paros, the third-largest of the Cyclades after Naxos and Andros , has developed into an important centre of tourism in recent years. Gently rolling hills surround the centre and south-east of the island, which is predominantly agricultural and is occupied by endless vineyards, and lock within themselves the famous Parian marble. The coastline is indented, with numerous small inlets and two large bays, those of Naoussa in the north and Parikia in the west. Paros has been inhabited since very ancient times, and was one of the centers of the Cycladic civilization.
Parikia (or Paros), the island’s capital and port, stands on the site of an ancient city. There is a picturesque and ruinous Venetian cased, and the courtyards of the houses of the town – all of them painted white – are full of pots of basil and hung with jasmine and honeysuckle. A broad paved avenue leads to the church of Ekatondapiliani or Katapoliani, one of the most important Byzantine monuments in the whole of Greece and a place that figures largely in legend. It is dedicated to the Dormition of Our Lady, and on her feast day (15 August) there is a great celebration on the sea-front with fireworks and songs of the sea. Other interesting local events take place on the island during the summer. Statues found at various sites on Paros are on display in the National Archaeological Museum,
Athens . Naoussa, one of the prettiest villages in the Cyclades, with whitewashed houses, narrow paved alleys, arches and tiny chapels, can also offer a range of excellent beaches and attracts many visitors each summer. Among the beaches near Naoussa, special mention should be made of Kolimbithres, where huge rocks eroded into strange shapes remind the visitor of sculptures embedded in the sand. The chapels and monasteries of Paros are famed for their picturesque ness; among the most characteristic are the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi “Longovarda” and that of Christ of the Forest (Hristos tou Dassous). Marpissa is an attractive large village with a Venetian casde and beautiful churches. Among the best swimming beaches are Livadia, Krios, Aghios Fokas (at Parikia), Mikro Piperi and Megalo Piperi, Limnnes, Kolimbithres (at Naoussa), Aghii Anargiri, Langeri, Aliki (with an interesting exhibition of traditional crafts), Santa Maria, Ambelas, Pisso Livadi, and Drios (on the eastern side). Paros is an ideal destination for those in search of cosmopolitan bustle and for lovers of solitude alike. It has a full range of tourist amenities.


Hotels in Naxos Greece
(Area 448 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 103 nautical miles). Naxos, the largest and most fertile of the Cycladic islands, lies almost at the centre of the Aegean. Meadows running down to vast beaches, cliffs sinking suddenly into the sea, rocky mountains side-by-side with fertile valleys, abundant springs and streams these are just some of the features of a natural environment marked for its variety. The coastline of Naxos is abrupt on the south side and more sheltered to the west, with numerous inlets and sandy beaches. The island is first heard of in the myths and then mentioned through-out every period of history, though it was at the peak of its glory during the period of the Cycladic civilization. Naxos or Hora stands on a naturally amphitheatrically site on a hillside on the north-west side of the island and is one of the most attractive towns in the Cyclades. As the visitor walks from the harbor high up to the Venetian cased, he will be struck by the beauty of the narrow winding lanes and the old stone houses lining them. Interesting monuments from various periods are to be found all over the town. They include from Byzantine churches, the castle itself (with its tower and battlements), and traces of Mycenean buildings in the spot known as Grota. The Archaeological Museum of Naxos has some notable exhibits. Given that traces of Greek antiquity are to be seen everywhere, each part of the island has something of interest. Near the pretty coastal village of Apolonas, for instance – on the north side of the island – is a half-finished outsize “kouros” (statue of a youth), dating from the 6th century BC, still lying in the marble quarry where it was abandoned. Another such statue can be seen at Melanes. An interesting archaeological museum is to be found at Apirathos, a village where a number of strange customs and habits have survived. Among churches of interest are those of Our Lady “Protothroni” at Tragea and Our Lady “Filotitissa” in the village of Filoti. There are good swimming beaches at Aghios Prokopios, Mikri Vigla, Kastraki, Alikos, Pirgaki, Aghiassos (on the west side), Apolonas, Psili Amos, Panormos, Pahia Amos and elsewhere. The superb beaches of Naxos, its attractive villages and its wealth of monuments draw thousands of visitors to the island each year. The good tourist amenities in Hora make it easy to tour the charms of the island.



Hotels in Mykonos Greece
(Area 85 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 94 nautical miles). Mykonos is world-famous. It is no coincidence that this, the most cosmopolitan of all Greek islands, attracts so many visitors from all over the globe, including large numbers of artists and intellectuals. Here, the steep mountains to be encountered in most of the Cyclades give way to low, rocky hills which 14 combine with superb beaches to make up the landscape of the island. The capital, Hora, with its colorful harbor in which little fishing-boats nestle happily side by side with luxury yachts, presents quite a different picture from the majority of Aegean island towns. While it is usual for island villages to be built on naturally amphitheatrically sites, Mykonos is spread out over a flat area and conveys an impression of solid aesthetic cohesion. Along the whitewashed streets stand brilliant white box-shaped houses with stepped walls for sitting on, wooden doors and windows and brightly colored balconies. These are interspersed with small but impressive churches, pretty little tavernas and shops selling souvenirs and other goods, and the overall sense is of being inside a film set. On the low Kastro hill is the complex of churches known collectively as Our Lady “Paraportiani”, a superb arrangement of whitewashed masses created over the centuries, and now recognized as a national cultural monument. Of particular historical and aesthetic interest are the medieval houses in this district of the town, which stand like a wall above the sea protecting the west side of Hora The Archaeological Museum of Hora contains finds from tombs on the nearby island of Rhenia, sculptures, vases and figurines. The Folklore Museum brings together a number of collections of furniture, icons, pieces of sculpture and folk musical instruments. Mykonos is also the home of the Nautical Museum of the Aegean, which has interest all of its own. The countryside of Mykonos is a mixture of grey-green rocks ringed by prickly pear plants and little fertile areas carpeted with wild flowers. Here and there are tiny white-washed chapels and windmills. Ano Mera is, after Hora, the most important of the older villages on the island. Standing 8 km. to the east of the town, Ano Mera has the interesting monastery of Our Lady Tourliani, ornamented with fine woodcarvings. The church has a collection of valuable ecclesiastical vessels, vestments and embroideries. The courtyard contains an interesting bell-tower and a marble, fountain. Here lovers of the sea will fad outstanding golden beaches such as Aghios Stefanos, Psarou, Kalafatis, Platis Gialos, Omos, Elia and Panormos. Mykonos is a busy island with all the amenities of a modern resort and with plenty to do – by day or night – for those who want to have a lively time. Yet visitors fond of more peaceful holidays will still find quiet corners in which to relax

Santorini (Thira)

(Area 96 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 130 nautical miles). Santorini, one of the best-known of the Cyclades, differs from the other islands in the group thanks to its geological morphology, the result of action by a volcano now dormant. The landscape on the western side of the island, where towering cliffs crowned by tiny and blindingly-white houses plunge straight into the depths of the sea. The steep coastline of the west is countered by the vast beaches of the east side, some of them sandy and others with pebbles. From the landing-place, Skala, we can climb up to Fira, the capital, on foot or on donkey-back. There is a funicular railway for those who wish to avoid the hundreds of steps. Fira is very attractive, with winding narrow streets, arcades and a quarter where the Catholic nobility once dwelt. There is a most important Museum, with prehistoric finds (mostly pottery), a large collection of vases dating from the 7th and 6th centuries BC (including the pieces known as “Thera ware”), a few Archaic and Classical pieces, and some Hellenistic and Roman sculptures and portraits. There is a superb view out from Fira to the Kamenes, the two islets of black stone created by the volcano. The islets can be visited by launch. Ancient Tbira is a site of great archaeological interest which was occupied by Phoenicians, Dorians, Romans and Byzantines. Down the centre of the city runs the Sacred Way. The buildings include groups of houses, market-places, baths, theatres, sanctuaries, the residence of Ptolemy Euergetes, tombs of the Archaic and Classical periods and Early Christian remains. On the surrounding rocks the names of the god Apollo and of men and boys are inscribed in the ancient alphabet of Thira.
The site at Akrotiri has yielded the remains of a Minoan city destroyed around 1500 BC by an eruption of the volcano on Thira. In effect, this is a prehistoric version of Pompeii buried beneath volcanic ash, with two and three-storeyed houses, with squares, shops, workshops and so on. Among the fads from the houses were marvelous murals (on display in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens), vases, and everyday utensils. On the highest peak of Santorini is a monastery of the Prophet Elijah (Profitis Ilias), where there is a picturesque religious feast on 20 July each year. The old-world village of Ia, 11 km. to the north of Fira, is a place of incomparable beauty. The unique appeal of Ia lies in its little houses hewn out of the soft rock (some of them whitewashed, others painted blue or ochre), its neo-classical mansions with their courtyards, its narrow paved alleys. There is a superb view out to sea. Among the best bathing beaches – some of them with black sand and others with pebbles – are Kamari or Arrneni, Arnoudi, Baxedes Perissa, Monolithos and Kokini Paralia. The striking landscape, the peculiarities of the natural environment, the unusual architecture and the outstanding monuments of Santorini attract very large numbers of visitors in the summer – so many, in fact, that the excellent tourist amenities of the island can only just cope with them.


(Area 195 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 86 nautical miles. Distance from Rafina 64 nautical miles). Tinos lies very close to the southern tip of Andros . This is the holy island of Our Lady, which in August is swamped by pilgrims who have come to pray in Her church or in fulfillment of a vow. As Our Lady’s feast day on 15 August approaches, the church and the town of Tinos become crammed with people, and religious services take place next to the commercial fair being held in the surrounding streets. A line of mountains, whose highest peak is Mt Tsiknias (in the myths, the home of the wind-god Aeolus), runs the length of the island. On its lower slopes, walls like the fortifications of old castles divide the terraced fields. The coast of the island is mostly steep, but there are also numerous coves with sandy or pebbly beaches. Among the special characteristics of Tinos are its dove-cotes. These structures developed from simple roosts for pigeons into works of art – and the stone-built fountains to be seen in the villages evolved in a similar manner. Tinos, capital of the island and its port, is where most of the population lives. A broad paved street leads from the harbor to the low hill on which stands the magnificent church of Our Lady. Built in marble from Paros and Tinos itself, the church stands overlooking the town on the site where a miraculous icon of Our Lady was discovered. Next to the church is the Gallery of Tiniot Artists and Modern Greek Painters, which has a very interesting collection. Close by is the Archaeological Museum of Tinos. It houses finds from the temple of Poseidon and Amphitrite (at Kionia beach) and from the Geometric burials of Exo Meria. At Xombourgo, we can admire the ruins of the medieval castle, on the south side of which is a sanctuary of Demeter and Persephone. The interior of the island has been little affected by tourism, and the 45 villages have retained much of their traditional character and distinctive vernacular architecture. Among the most interesting villages are the large settlements of Falatado, Stem and Pirgos, the latter of which has a museum dedicated to the sculptor Halepas, the house of the artist Lytras and numerous marble-sculptors’ workshops. Among the monasteries of the island, many of them built on superb sites, we could single out that of Our Lady of the Angels at Kehrovouni (panAghia ton Angelon) which has the appearance of a Tinos village in medieval times. There are plenty of good beaches, too, notably at Aghios Fokas near the town, Kionia, Porto, Panormos bay, Kolimbithra, Aghios Sostis and Pahia Amos. The lunar landscape at the spot known as “Volax”, with its pecular boulders, is probably unique anywhere in the world. The beauties of Tinos are gradually making a name for themselves. Although amenities for tourists outside the town are scanty, they are constantly expanding.


(Area 86 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 83 nautical miles, distance from Rafina 62 nautical miles). The northern part of Syros is mountainous and the island stands out in general for the variety of the landscape in its hinterland, where hills alternate with low-lying farming areas. The coastline is indented with inlets of all sizes between capes. There are two large bays, of Ermoupoli to the east and Finikas to the west. Archaeological excavations have shown that Syros was inhabited in Neolithic times. Digs at Kastri and Halandriani have revealed a prehistoric acropolis, a settlement and a burial ground, and yielded artifacts of the Early Cycladic period. Ermoupoli, “Queen of the Cyclades”, is the capital and main harbor of Syros. It is also without doubt the capital of all the Cyclades. Ermoupoli stands on a naturally amphitheatrically site, with neo-classical buildings, old mansions and white houses in the island style cascading down to the harbor. The centre of the town, where Miaouli Square stands ringed with cafes, has a grandeur all its own. Among the most important buildings are the Town Hall (to plans by Ziller) and the Apollo Municipal Theatre, which is a copy in miniature of La Scala, Milan. There is also a statue of Admiral Miaoulis. Ermoupoli has numerous magnificent churches, the most interesting of which are those dedicated to the Transfiguration, the Dormition of Our Lady, St Demetrius, the Three Hierarchs, and St Nicholas. The Archaeological Museum has a collection of notable finds, and the Municipal Library contains numerous interesting and rare editions. The quarter of the town known as Vaporia, where the sea-captains lived, is of special interest. Along its narrow streets stand neo-classical mansions. Ano Syros (Upper Syros), with its walls, narrow lanes and arches, has kept much of its medieval character. The steep streets and countless steps lend the town the charm of a bygone age. At the very top of the town is the Catholic Cathedral of St George, next to which stands the Centre for Historical Studies. Not far below are the monasteries of the Jesuits and Capucins. In the centre of the town is the Town Hall, with the Historical Archives of the Municipality of Ano Syros, and the Museum devoted to the popular composer Markos Vamvakaris, revered as one of the masters of Greek music. Various folklore events take place in Ano Syros, generally during the summer. On the north-east side of the island are Halandriani and Kastri hill, where important prehistoric finds have been made. The beaches of north-west Syros are difficult to reach. Among places of interest here is Gramata, where inscriptions dating from the Roman and Byzantine periods are to be found carved on the rocks. The southern and western parts of Syros are the most densely-inhabited. The best beaches are also here, including Galissas, a fine, large resort with a long sandy beach; Possidonia or Delagratsia, a coastal area with a good beach at Angathopes and neo-classical houses of great architectural interest; Vari, with an attractive beach, Finikas bay, Kim and Megas Gialos. There are more good swimming beaches at Kimata, Aghios Nikolaos, Ermoupoli, Ambela, Delfini and Ahladi. Syros is well-supplied with tourist amenities and its natural beauties and interesting monuments make it an ideal holiday destination. The ease of availability of products and services give the island an advantage over its more isolated neighbors.


(Area 160 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 87 nautical miles). Milos is the most southerly island in the Western Cyclades. It is notable for its volcanic soil and for the rich deposits of minerals that lie beneath. It has a distinctive horseshoe shape. The civilization of Milos is considered to be as ancient as that of Crete , and spans a period of at least 5,000 years. Its fame spread throughout the civilized world thanks to the masterpiece of the Venus de Milo, a statue found buried on the island in the 19th century and now in the Louvers Museum in Paris. Adamas, one of the safest natural harbors in the Aegean, is a particularly charming spot, with whitewashed houses, cobbled alleys, balconies crammed with flower-pots and fragrant tamarisks which have been extolled by the poets. Milos or Plaka, capital of the island today stands on a hillside overlooking the sea at the foot of the castle. It is a most attractive town, with architecture in the characteristic Cycladic style. Among the most notable of its churches are those of Our Lady “Korfiotissa”, Our Lady “Thalassistra” and Our Lady “Messa PanAghia”. The Archaeological Museum has a copy of the Venus de Milo as well as other finds from various periods. The Historical and Folklore Museum has a collection of folk artifacts, samples of the island’s minerals, photographs and historical documents of the greatest interest. At the north-eastern extremity of Milos is the modem resort of Polonia or Apolonia. Close by (3 km.) is Phylakope, the most important centre of population in Minoan times; the ancient city was built in three phases. Next to the archaeological site is the spectacular Papafranga cave. The sea-cave called Kleftiko is at the south end of the island. However, the most important monument on Milos is the island’s famous catacombs, now open to the public. They are located at the village of Tripiti, 2 km. from the main town of Plaka and they are among the most important of Early Christian monuments. Milos has excellent beaches at Hivadolimni, Polonia, Adamas, Emborio, Provatas, Paleohori and Aghia Kiriaki. The extensive infrastructure for tourism of Milos, its clear waters and its fascinating monuments are helping to attract more and more visitors to the island. The nearby islets of Antilmilos, Arkadies and Glaronissia are also of interest, each in its own way.


(Area 83 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus : 78 nautical miles). A monotonous grey landscape of rock, broken up here and there by a gleaming white chapel, is the first impression made on visitors as the ferry draws into the harbor. But this gives them no idea of the beauty spots waiting to be discovered inland, which together with the island’s superb architecture, rank it among the jewels of the Aegean. The island was famous in ancient times for the wealth, which came from its gold and silver mines and the quarries of Sifnos stone. It enjoyed great prosperity in Classical times, as can be seen from its Treasury, dedicated to Apollo at Delphi. An attractive drive from the port of Kamares, a modern town with pottery workshops, brings us to the island’s capital, Apolonia. Standing on three hillsides, with its typical Cycladic style of architecture, it is breathtakingly beautiful. It has an interesting folklore Museum, while the churches of the greatest interest are those of Our Lady “Ouranofora” and St Sozon. Like that of the villages round about (Artemonas, Exambela, Kato Petali), the architecture of Apolonia is an odd assemblage in which walls, terraces, courtyards and alleyways form large cubes in a continuous complex, in total harmony with the natural environment. The sole exception to this is the old capital of Kastro, which remains an example of medieval town planning. A collection of Archaic and Hellenistic sculpture and of ceramics from the Geometric to the Byzantine period is on display in its Arcbaeological Museum. Picturesque windmills surrender their sails to the vagaries of the wind, while no fewer than 365 churches and chapels sprout all over the island like white mushrooms from the grey carpet of the island’s terrain. The monasteries of Sifnos, such as that of St Symeon, of Ai- Lias, the Vrissi monastery with an interesting little Byzantine museum and that of Our Lady “Hryssopigi”, the patron saint of the island, are held in high esteem. The strong local color of the mountainous island with its strips of coastal plain is further heightened by its picturesque fairs and festivals. There are clean and attractive beaches at Kamares, Faros and Platis Gialos, as well as quieter and lesser-known ones, such as those at Hersonissos, Vroulidia, and Fikiada Fassolou. Tourist facilities on Sifnos are of a good standard and it is possible for the visitor to combine a lively night life with a peaceful island existence close to nature.


(Area 73 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 70 nautical miles). Bare, undulating hills interspersed with small, fertile valleys cover this picturesque island. The rocky coastline is deeply indented with a succession of coves and bays. The curious rock formations resemble human figures which call to mind the myth of Danae, Perseus and Medusa, as if these prehistoric inhabitants of the island had been turned to stone. Ferries call at Livadi, the sheltered port on the eastern side of the island, where there is a long, horseshoe-shaped sandy beach. Perched on the top of a steep hill, Hora or Serifos, the main town of the island, with its little cube-shaped houses and churches in the island style, with its Venetian castle above, looks like a fairytale town. The fortress-like monastery of the Archangels (moni Taxiarhon), near the village of Galani, which houses some fine wall-paintings and important books and manuscripts, is of special interest. The village of PanAghia (which takes its name – meaning “Our Lady” – from the dedication of a fine 10th century church) commands a panoramic view of the whole island. The greatest attraction of Serifos is its magnificent beaches (Mega Livadi, Koutalas, Aghios Sostis, Psili Amos, Aghios Ioanis, Sikamia). However, it is a charm all of its own, something in the unique “atmosphere” of the island, which attracts an ever-increasing number of visitors from Greece and abroad.



Hotels in Ios Greece
(Area 108 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 107 nautical miles). The coastline of this predominantly mountainous island with its countless chapels, its olive trees, its vineyards and its limpid air, is adorned with small, attractive coves. Those features combine with the crystal-clear sea, the superb sandy beaches and the good range of amenities to make los a magnet for tourists. Locally called Nios, this is an island whose history goes back to prehistoric times. According to Herodotus, the “poet of poets”, the “god-like” Homer was buried at Plakotos, in the north of the island. Pausanias tells us that there was an inscription at Delphi confirming the poet’s interment on Ios, which was the homeland of his mother, Clymene. Above the pretty harbour of Ormos, where fishing-boats and yachts bob at anchor, stands the capital of Ios or Hora. The town stands on the site of the ancient city of the same name and is a typical Cycladic settlement, with whitewashed houses, narrow alleys and chapels. Among the churches, those of St. Catherine, St. John the Baptist and Sts. Cosmas and Damien stand out. The whole beautiful image is rounded off with the bulk of the medieval castle and the row of windmills, which top the town. The sites of Ios include a Hellenistic tower and the remains of an ancient aqueduct at Aghia Theodoti, traces of an ancient temple at Psathi, a ruinous Venetian castle at the spot known as Paleokastro, and the Hellenistic tower at Plakotos, which we have already mentioned. The Archaeological and Folkloric Museum in Hora and the Museuml of Modern Art (Drot-Gaiti) at Kolitsani are also worth a visit. Lovers of the sea will be enraptured by the superb beaches of los, some of them busy (such as Milopotas, near Hora), and others no less attractive but much quieter (Aghia Theodoti, Psathi, Kalamas, Plakes, Tzamaria, Kolitsani and Manganari). The authentic Cycladic beauty of Ios, in combination with the island’s rapid development for tourism, has had the effect of attracting ever-increasing numbers of visitors


(Area 134 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 138 nautical miles). The oblong shape of the mountainous and barren island of Amorgos lies on the eastern edge of the Cyclades, almost in the Dodecanese . In some places, the coastline is steep and rocky, while elsewhere it forms quiet, shady bays. The ruins to be found all over the island and the important archaeological finds discovered there (some of which are in the National Archaeological Museum, Athens) are testimony to the fact that Amorgos was inhabited in prehistoric times and was a place of great importance during the period of the Cycladic civilization. In antiquity, there were three flourishing and independent cities on Amorgos: Minoa, Arkessini and Egiali. At Katapola, the main harbor of the island today and the location of the interesting church of Our Lady “Katapoliani” (built on the site of a temple of Apollo), traces of ancient Minoa have come to light. Swimmers will be delighted by the superb beaches to be found in the vicinity. The whitewashed houses of the capital of the island, Hora or Amorgos, spread out beneath the Venetian cased which stands on the peak of the hill. The typical Cycladic architectural style of the double or “twin” church is much in evidence here. The Archaeological Museum has finds from all over the island and is well worth a visit. To the north-east of Hora, at the foot of a rock, is the Byzantine monastery of Our Lady “Hozoviotissa”, one of the most important monuments of its kind. The second port of Amorgos, Egiali, is a pretty village famed for its superb sandy beaches and consisting of three distinct “quarters”. It is easier to reach Egiali by sea than along the poor and steep road linking it to Hora. In the south of the island, Arkessini stands near the site of the ancient city of the same name, amid a group of picturesque whitewashed hamlets. The road network of Amorgos is nearing completion, and will link up all the villages on the island. Amorgos has few hotels or rooms to rent. Yet despite the limited facilities available for visitors, the fine beaches and particular beauty of the island attract more and more tourists each year


(Area 36 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 88 nautical miles). Very close to Milos lies Kimolos, the hilliest island in the Cyclades and one whose predominant color is as white as blinding as the chalk it produces. The necropolis found at Elinika, in the south-west of the island, and the remnants of the ancient city of Kimolos on the islet of Aghios Andreas (facing Elinika) are testimony to habitation as far back as the Mycenean period. Much later, in the Middle Ages, pirates used the well-concealed caves of Kimolos as places of refuge. In general terms, the island’s history has been that of Milos. From the quiet harbor of Psathia road leads uphill to the capital of Kilnolos or Hora, where almost all the islanders live. The houses of Hora, in the authentic Cycladic style, are clustered around the nucleus of the castle, which is itself divided into two settlements, Messa Kastro (Inner Castle) and Exo Kastro (Outer Castle). In the former, the outer walls of the houses form a defensive wall with loopholes for windows and four entrance gates. The overall impression is of a painting in white against a blue background. Flowers are grown in all the courtyards, and the alleyways are cobbled. Prassa in the north of the island is where the chalk is mined. There are also medicinal springs with sumptuous waters. The little taverns in Hora can provide a basic range of food, and there are some rooms to rent. Apart from the beaches at Psathi and Prassa, there is good swimming at Aliki, Lilnni, Bonatsa, Klima and Monastiria. In general, Kimolos is a little off the tourist track. Yet it has superb beaches and would be an ideal spot for those who are fond of quiet and solitude in an idyllic setting.

Kythnos (Kithnos)

(Area 99 sq km. Distance from Piraeus 52 nautical miles). It was on the small island of Kythnos, famous in antiquity for the excellence of its administration (according to Aristode in his “Constitution of Kythnos”) that recent archaeological finds have provided evidence of the earliest presence of man in the Cyclades. Here, too, the terrain is mainly mountainous, but the harshness of the bare earth is relieved here and there by vines or fig-trees like brushstrokes on it, while pretty little bays form indentations in its coast-line. Ferries put in at Merihas, the port on the western side of the island. Hora or Messaria, the island’s capital is 8 km. from Merihas and stands on a hillside plateau. A typical Cycladic village, it is noted for its beautiful churches with their fine woodcarving, sanctuary screens and icons (St Savas, church of the Saviour, Holy Trinity, Theologos). At the monastery of Our Lady “tou Nikous”, which stands on an attractive hill, the feast of the Dormition of the Virgin Mary on 15 August is observed with the traditional festivities. A little way to the south is the island’s former capital, which retains its ancient name of Driopida – a picturesque village, very typical of the islands. In the north-eastern part of the island lies Loutra, renowned for its radioactive thermal springs, which are considered beneficial to sufferers from arthritis, dermatitis and gynecological problems. In the south-east, the monastery of Our Lady Kanala, the patron saint of the island, stands on a very attractive promontory facing towards Kythnos, with a beautiful expanse of sandy beach. The building is of great interest and the scenery is reminiscent of a fjord - in Greek colors. Other good beaches for swimming can be found at Merihas, Episkopi, Flambouria bay accessible only by boat), Loutra and Aghios Stefanos.


(Area 121 sq. km. Distance from Lavrio 17 nautical miles. Distance from Piraeus 42 nautical miles). This exceptionally picturesque island lies close to the south-east coast of Attica . The mountain masses, which are encountered in most of the Cyclades, are broken up by small valleys sparsely planted with vines and fruit-trees and run right down to the sea, opening out into pretty little bays. On the western side of the island is Aghios Nikolaos bay, and deep within it the port of Korissia, which is considered to be one of the safest natural harbours in the Mediterranean. Ferry-boats call at Korissia – also known as Livadi – which stands on the site of the city of Korissia, which in ancient times, with Ioulis, Karthea and Poiessa, was one of the island’s four independent city-states. The island’s capital, Hora or Ioulida (6 km. from Korissia), has maintained its Cycladic idiom intact. Built in the shape of an amphitheatre, it presents the visitor with an impressive vista of two-storey houses and tiled roofs, steep cobbled alleyways and splendid churches with elaborately carved wooden icon screens. At the highest point of the village, on the site of the ancient acropolis, is a quarter known as Kastro which commands a breathtaking view of the nearby islands off the coast of Attica. Not far from here is the famous “Lion of Kea” (6th century BC), hewn out of the slate. The Archaeological Museum in Hora contains interesting finds dating from the Cycladic period. The interior of the island is dotted with miniature chapels, windmills and monasteries, including that of Our Lady Kastriani, Kea’s patron saint. Easily accessible from Athens , Kea offers those who are seeking a restful holiday clean, uncrowned beaches at Pisses, Korissia, Koundouros, Otzia bay and Poles bay; here they can enjoy delicious fresh fish at picturesque little tavernas.


(Area 38 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 145 nautical miles). From a distance, Anafi, in the south-east comer of the Cyclades, looks like no more than an isolated rock in the ocean. According to the myths, the Argonauts sought refuge from a storm on the island. Archaeological fads have demonstrated that Anafi was inhabited in antiquity. A road leads from the picturesque harbor of Aghios Nikolaos up to Bora, the only settlement of any size, built on a naturally amphitheatrically site in the centre of the island. The monastery of Our Lady “Kalamiotissa” (18th century, standing in the precinct of a temple of Apollo Aegietus), the Venetian castle near Hora, and the church of Athanasius are among the special sights. The beaches of Anafi, whether sandy or pebbly, are lapped by crystal-clear water. The local religious feasts are very lively, and so are the island dances. A few rooms are available for rent on the island for those who enjoy quiet holidays close to nature. There are infrequent ferry sailings for Piraeus


Area 41 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 113 nautical miles). Sikinos has retained all of its island character, and this adds to its attractions for those in search of peace and an authentic atmosphere. The island has been inhabited since ancient times, as has been proved by the finds made in the Episkopi district. The only road on Sikinos links Alopronia, the island’s harbour, with Hora or Kastro, one of the most beautiful villages anywhere in the Cyclades. There are fine stone mansions to admire, and a church of Our Lady “Pantanassa”. The Zoodohos Pigi monastery, built on the peak of a rock, is more reminiscent of an impregnable castle from a distance. As on all the more isolated Cycladic islands, the local religious feasts are celebrated with great enthusiasm. There are a few rooms for rent on Sikinos, all of them in Hora. Basic meals are served at the island’s restaurants and tavemas


(Area 32 sq. km. Distance from Piraeus 106 nautical miles). Folegandros is a small and rocky island between Sikinos and Milos . Visitors will be struck by the wild beauty of the barren landscape, where huge rocks alternate with sandy beaches. On a flat expanse above the pretty harbor of Karavostassis is Hora or Folegandros, which consists of two sections. In the old settlement in the Kastro area, the outer walls of the houses form the sort of defensive precinct to be found elsewhere in the Cyclades. The new quarter is just as pretty, with narrow alleys, stepped walls, courtyards, wooden balconies and typically Aegean churches. The finest church on the island, that of Our Lady, stands above a section of the ancient wall. Chrissospilia, nearby to the north, with stalactites, stalagmites and traces of ancient occupation, and the small settlements in the Ano Meria district are the sights to be seen around the island’s main village. Ano Meria also has the Ecological and Folklore Museum, with exhibits which reconstruct the farming practices of the islanders. Among the best beaches for swimming are Karavostassis, Livadi and Aghios Georgios bay. Although Folegandros has little in the way of tourist amenities or roads, it attracts more and more visitors each year – chiefly those in search of solitude close to nature.

The Small Islands

Iraklia, Shinoussa, Koufonissia, Keros, Antikeros, Daskalio, Donoussa.
These small and beautiful islands, few of which have any amenities, are an ideal destination for those in search of solitude and peace. The rugged beauty of the barren landscape, the sea-lashed rocks, the little coves along the coastline, a chance to get away from the crowds and the culture of technology – these are the charms which attract visitors to these virtually virgin islands. Archaeological excavations have shown that the islands were inhabited in prehistoric times. In Iraklia, where there is a cave (Ai-Yanis) with superb stalactites, traces of the Cycladic civilization have been found. At the pretty harbor of Messaria on Shinoussa, there are ruins of medieval fortifications. Koufonissia has a fine sandy beach at Finikia (Pano Koufonissi), where the water is crystal-clear, and (on Kato Koufonissi) further beaches with coarse sand. The remains of buildings from the Hellenistic and Roman periods have come to light. Keros has yielded the remains of settlements from the Early Cycladic period, together with archaeological finds of the same date which are considered among the finest anywhere in the Cyclades. Donoussa, too, with its incomparable beaches, has traces of prehistoric habitation. A few rooms are available for rent in Iraklia, Pano Koufonissi and Shinoussa.


(Area 35 sq. km. Distance from Paros (Pounda) 1 nautical mile. Distance from Paros (Parikia) 4.5 nautical miles). Antiparos and Paros are divided by a narrow channel. The island is notable for its golden, sandy beaches and for its authentic natural beauty. The capital, Antiparos or Kastro, stands around the original nucleus of the medieval castle. Among the principal attractions of Antiparos is the famous cave of stalactites on Aghios Ioannis hill. There is a chapel to St John of the Cave (Aghios Ioanis Spiliotis) at the mouth of the cavern. Antiparos has a number of beaches with golden sand and blue-green water. Every year, more and more visitors come to Antiparos, and as a result the hotels and limited number of rooms to rent have difficulty in meeting demand at peak periods. All around Antiparos are scores of tiny islands, like guards posted out at sea, inhabited only by wild rabbits and pigeons. Archaeologists have investigated two of these islets: Despotiko produced traces of tombs of the Early Cycladic period, and Saliangos has the ruins of a Neolithic set dement.


(Area: 5 sq. km. Distance from Mikonos : 6 nautical miles). The sacred island of Delos was, in the myths, the birthplace of Apollo and Artemis. Today the island is uninhabited: it is a vast archaeological site whose superb monuments draw thousands of visitors in pilgrimage to what was, for a thousand years or so after the ninth century BC, the political and religious centre of the Aegean. The archaeological site covers almost the entire island, starting on the west side, where the sacred harbour was. From the harbor, a majestic sacred way led to the Sanctuary of Apollo, where there were temples, altars, votive offerings and other buildings. There are ruins of four temples to Apollo, one of them known as the Temple of the Athenians. To the east is the Sanctuary of the Bulls, an oblong building, and to the north are the treasuries and the long, narrow Stoa of Antigonus. In the north-west corner is the much smaller Sanctuary of Artemis, with an Ionic temple to the goddess, and the Tomb of the Two Hyperborean Maidens. Still further north is the region of the sacred lake, with the Terrace of the Lions, the Letoon, the Agora of the Italians and the Institution of the Poseidoniasts of Berytos. A little further along are some fine examples of houses and a palaestra. To the north-east of the lake are the Stadium and the Gymnasium. Some of the houses yielded superb mosaic floors with representations of Dionysus, a dolphin and a trident. A narrow channel separates Delos from Rhenia, where there is an important burial ground. The Museum of Delos has sculptures of the Archaic, Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods, together with a collection of vases from various periods.

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Central Greece and Thessaly - Crete - Cyclades - Dodecanese - Epirus - Evia and the Sporades
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