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CYCLADES

The Cyclades are a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and an administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around the sacred island of Delos. The Cyclades is where the native Greek breed of cat (the Aegean cat) first came from.

The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones being Amorgós, Anáfē, Ándros, Antíparos, Dēlos, Eschátē, Íos, Kéa, Kímōlos, Kýthnos, Mēlos, Mýkonos, Náxos, Páros, Folégandros, Sérifos, Sífnos, Síkinos, Sýros, Tēnos, and Thēra or Santoríni. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited.




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Adamas

Where is this? 

The island of Milos, the most westerly of the larger Cyclades, owes its distinctive topography to its origin as the caldera of a volcano of the Pliocene period, to which sulphurous hot springs on the island still bear witness. It has one of the best harbours in the Mediterranean, formed when the sea broke into the crater through a gap on its north-west side. In Roman times Milos was a notable art centre, best known for the Aphrodite of Melos or Venus de Milo.

Milos West Coast

Where is this?

This part of the island is full of interesting rock formations and numerous sea caves. The island of Milos was already densely populated in the 3rd millennium BCE, when the inhabitants made implements and weapons from the large local deposits of obsidian, tuff and trachyte and exported them all over the Aegean and as far afield as Asia Minor and Egypt. They prospered through the export of sulphur, pumice, clay and alum, and also of oil, wine and honey.

Kleftiko

Where is this?

Kleftiko is one of the most interesting spots on Milos, and the only way to enjoy it is by boat. Hundreds of years ago pirates would use these caves to hide in before attacking merchant ships that passed by Milos (a popular route due to the winds). Kleftiko (Bandits' Lair) is now one of the most popular tourist attractions in Milos, which can only be reached by sea. It is famous for its crystal-clear water, elaborate caves and imposing rock formations.

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Milos to Sifnos

Where is this? 

Sifnos lies approximately in the middle of Milos, Serifos and Paros, its' coast is much indented and lined by cliffs. The port of Kamares is well sheltered, and you can rent bikes or scooters to explore the island. Sifnos was inhabited from at least 4000 BC when gold, silver and lead were mined. Vathi is a popular anchorage for sailboats, with a lovely long beach and perfect shelter from the katabatic winds and the Meltemi which can blow for days in the Aegean.    

Paros

Where is this?

Paros lies to the west of Naxos, with Antiparos to its southwest. It was known for its fine white marble, but now is a popular tourist spot with the beaches around Aliki a favorite for windsurfers. In the north is Naoussa, a safe and spacious harbour and picturesque village, considered to be one of the prettiest in the Cyclades. Naoussa has kept its authenticity and traditional charm, all whitewashed and flowered with labyrinth-like narrow, stone paved streets.

Paros to Ios

Where is this?

Ios is a hilly island with cliffs down to the sea on most sides, situated halfway between Naxos and Santorini. Mylopotas Bay offers 4 coves where you can anchor with good protection from the Meltemi. Apart from the port of Chora, Ios has only a few small settlements in the background of major beaches. Excavations in Skarkos unearthed a prehistoric settlement, inhabited since the Cycladic period, for which Ios was awarded the European Union Cultural Heritage prize.

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Santorini

Where is this? 

Santorini (Thira) is what remains after the largest volcanic eruption in recorded history. 3600 years ago the Minoan island was destroyed and a caldera created with a 400m deep lagoon surrounded by 300m high cliffs, making it impossible for any but the largest ships to anchor in the protected bay. This eruption is one of theories of the legend of Atlantis. Oia is the idyllic sunset village of blue domed churches and white washed cycladic houses 100m above the sea.

Amorgos

Where is this?

Schinoussa, named after the shrub growing all over the island boasts sandy Livadi Beach in the southwest with turquoise water that sparkles in the hot sun. Since the 11th century Schinoussa has been the property of the Hozoviotissa Monastery on nearby Amorgos. This island is featured in Luc Besson's film The Big Blue. Amorgos is full of quality remnants of ancient civilizations scattered all over the island, in Katapola you'll find picturesque waterfront tavernas. 

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Kythnos

Where is this? 

Kythnos lies between Kea and Serifos, and as one of the last Cycladic islands to be affected by the impact of tourism, the island has not yet been overdeveloped, and traditional ways live on in the villages. As Kythnos is 25 miles SE of Cape Sounion, it is a popular with yachts sailing to or from the Corinth Canal. There is the harbour of Loutra on the NE coast, and lovely sheltered anchorages such as Ayios Stefanos & Ayios Ioannis on the East coast of the island.

Kythnos to Sounio

Where is this?

The Meltemi are strong, dry north winds which blow from May to September, strongest in the afternoon and usually dying down at night, but sometimes lasting for days without a break. Meltemi can come up in clear weather without warning and blow at 7-8 Beaufort, most yachts and ferries cannot sail under such conditions. Sounio is a lovely anchorage under The Temple of Poseidon which is visible on the Cape from a distance, but beware of unmarked rocks on the eastern side. 

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