Ask most people what their image of the Greek Islands is, even if they have never been there, and chances are it will be an image of the Cyclades.
Here you find cubic architecture in abundance; whitewashed houses, and vivid blue doors and windows, blue domed churches and all beneath a sky of deepest aquamarine. This is the Cyclades, the largest island group, which gets its name from the fact that the islands lie more or less in a circle around Delos, which was one of the most sacred places in Ancient Greece.
Today Tinos is a place of special pilgrimage in these islands. Being such a large group, the islands offer plenty of variety, ranging from hedonistic places like Mykonos and Íos, the busy and rather different volcanic island of Thia, through to lesser-known islands such as Anafi, Kimolos and Sikinos.
Itinerary – Mykonos & The Cyclades
Day 1 – Athens
With equal measures of grunge and grace, Athens is a heady mix of ancient history and contemporary cool. The magnificent Acropolis, visible from almost every part of the city, is the hub around which Athens still revolves. This temple city, built in the 5th century BC, serves as a daily reminder to Greeks of their heritage and the city's many transformations. The cultural and social life plays out amid the landmarks that are centuries old through the remnants, mythology and philosophy of Ancient Greece and Byzantine churches. The city crackles with energy in art shows, political debates and even on the walls of derelict buildings, as Athens has become one of Europe's most noted spots for street art.
Day 2 – Kea
Kea is close to Athens and is a popular destination for weekend getaways and short trips. Unlike the rest of the Cyclades islands, it is more verdant and instead of the traditional whitewashed houses, it is full of traditional farmhouses and tile-roofed buildings in earthy tones. You will find a lush natural paradise of rare plants, wild animals, birds and reptiles, making it an excellent destination for nature lovers and exploration aficionados. The capital, Loulida, is a beautiful village which emits a relaxing vibe, thanks to its traditional architecture and car ban - an oasis of relaxation.
Day 3 – Syros
This is the island where Greek tradition and western influence come to a harmonious marriage. Ermoúpoli, the island’s capital, will sweep you off your feet with its legendary architecture and narrow alleys has been the first important trade and industrial centre of the country in the 19th century. Evidence of this glorious past can be seen in public buildings, in the neoclassical houses and at the beautiful squares. Due to its economic activity, Ermoúpoli has been called “Manchester of Greece” and the history of its years of blossom is exhibited in the Industrial Museum.
Day 4 – Mykonos
Mykonos is known for its dry, windy climate, sandy beaches and world-famous nightlife - Greece's most famous cosmopolitan island and whitewashed paradise in the heart of the Cyclades. According to mythology, Mykonos was formed from the petrified bodies of giants killed by Hercules with the island taking its name from the grandson of Apollo. Embark on a journey of discovery in a fascinating world where glamour meets simplicity - celebrities, college students and families mingle together to celebrate the Greek summer. Whether you are an entertainment junkie out for a really good time, or a visitor who wishes to explore the island’s history and tradition, Mykonos will certainly meet your expectations.
Day 5 – Serifos
With its rugged mining sites, ladened with history, Serifos has its own distinct Cycladic flair – radiating a calm atmosphere that speaks directly to your senses. Despite its arid and wild land characteristics, it is gracefully embraced by the deep blue colours of the Aegean Sea and has some magnificent beaches. The locals have respected the Cycladic architectural tradition by building white and blue houses making the island’s towns and villages even more wonderful.
Day 6 – Kithnos
Kythnos has landscapes that will seduce you, with colours and scents of the Aegean and stories that sweetly mix legend and myth with history. Picturesque villages boast narrow streets of cobbled stone and gardens full of flowers; chapels emerge from rocky headlands and forest glades; a sprawling coastline reveals a hundred bays and coves, all suitable for swimming; caves make the ideal hideouts for fairies and elves; and castles stand in sturdy defiance of enemy onslaught. There are the aromas of oregano and thyme, windmills put to task by the Aegean winds and lonely lighthouses whose light imparts a sense of safety and hope. Kythnos is a living fairy tale inviting you to experience it together with its hospitable residents, an island ready to fall in love with.