The Cyclades in the central Aegean are most people’s idea of how Greek Islands should look. There are dazzling flat-roofed villages to explore, timeless harbours, excellent beaches, and tiny chapels everywhere. Each island has its own distinct history, customs and atmosphere, and each contrasts in landscape and terrain with its neighbour.
Andros is one of our favourites. Although only 2 hours by ferry from Athens’ second port of Rafina, it is one of the lesser visited islands of the group. But it is also one of the most attractive, being well watered, green and mountainous – wonderful for walking – with some excellent beaches; and large enough to allow some decent exploration. Recommended for an authentic Greek island experience away from the crowds (normal Greek long weekend and high season caveats apply).
Santorini is world famous and seemingly always busy – every cruise-ship in the Aegean seems to call in at some stage. But this does not detract from the sheer spectacle of the place, its volcanic cliffs laced with white villages overlooking the caldera and islands below.
Holidays In Cyclades
At the heart of the group are Paros and Naxos. Both are wellknown and popular with Greek and foreign visitors alike. These islands are truly picture-postcard, full of whitewashed charm, working donkeys, derelict windmills and brightly painted fishing boats. They also have fabulous beaches. Each island is contrasting in mood and landscape, which makes for a very good twin-centre combination as they are only an hour apart by ferry.
Amorgos is one of the most remote and beautiful of all the Cyclades. Recommended for walkers, our holidays here include a walking guidebook intended to give a real insight into this unspoiled island.
All these islands receive plenty of visitors in the peak season (mid-July to end-August). This is also the time of the Meltemi – a strong wind which shows no respect for hats, taverna tablecloths or ferry schedules, but which can bring relief from the heat of the day. For space reasons we feature only five islands in this brochure, but we can arrange holidays on request to others via Athens.
Daily scheduled flights to Athens to connect with the early morning or late afternoon ferry. Taxi transfers to Rafina port (20 mins). Then 2 hours by ferry (included) to Andros and 15 minutes taxi transfer. On return the reverse applies to connect with an evening flight back to the UK. A night or two in Athens can be arranged if desired.
Both islands have Easyjet flights from Gatwick up to four times per week, allowing odd durations and ‘open-jaw’ itineraries. Weekly charter flights from Manchester and Birmingham operate to Santorini and from Manchester and Luton to Mykonos (alternatively fly via Athens with onward domestic flight or ferry). Transfers on arrival and departure to/from your accommodation provided (20-30 mins).
Fly to Mykonos or Santorini, transfer to the port, ferry to the island (included), onward transfer to your accommodation (20-30 mins). On the return the reverse applies (alternatively fly via Athens with onward domestic flight or ferry).
Note: these can vary according to flight timings and ferry schedules which are seasonal but, based on last year’s timetables, Paros was generally best served by flights to/from Mykonos as it had a fast direct ferry connection in both directions. Naxos is more tricky. The most reliable same-day connections were flying easyjet out to Mykonos, which entailed a ferry change in Paros and a late arrival into Naxos, and return via Santorini. Other options are to fly via Mykonos or Santorini both ways but this often entails an overnight in one direction. If this is necessary we will make all necessary arrangements and it will be included in the cost of your holiday. For Mykonos overnights we normally use a 3 star BB accommodation with pool on the edge of Mykonos Town. For overnights on Santorini we book a small 2 star BB hotel with pool on the edge of Fira, or you may wish to upgrade to a 4 star hotel in Fira or Kamari - please ask for a price quote.
Day flights London Heathrow - Athens