Overview

Introduction

The Cyclades – literally 'the scattered islands' - in the central Aegean are most people’s idea of how the 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.

The best known and busiest are Mykonos and Santorini, both of which have direct international flights. 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.

These are good jumping off points for nearby islands such as Naxos, Paros and Ios lying at the heart of the group. These islands have a perfect blend of whitewashed Greek charm and fabulous sandy beaches, making them a draw for Greek and foreign visitors alike.

For lesser frequented islands look to the west - Andros, Sifnos, Milos, Folegandros, each with its own distinct attractions. These islands have a more laid back feel, although in high season do receive their fair share of visitors of course, and are best served via Athens.

But the most remote of all are known as 'the small Cyclades'. We feature tiny Koufonissi (truly fabulous beaches!), Schinoussa and not-so-small Amorgos. Historically difficult to reach - an overnight for the first and/or the last night is often necessary.

Walking is always an attraction in Greece, and we'd recommend the excellent website www.cycladen.be for walking information and trails which cover the majority of the Cycladic islands.

Do not go expecting to see much in the way of evident archaeology. There is some - notably the holy island of Delos close to Mykonos - but on the whole the bulk of Greece's archaeological sites are on the mainland. If this is an interest, but you still wish to visit the islands, we'd recommend a tailor-made arrangement via Athens with the north Peloponnese or a mainland fly-drive.

Many people find a two- or three-island holiday appealing, due to the proximity of one island to the other and the contrasts between them. Due to the ferry routings, we suggest keeping to island groupings on the following pages. The Small Cyclades also combine well with Naxos.

Even the most remote of these islands receives plenty of visitors in the peak season (mid-July to end-August) - and the smaller they are the more crowded they can seem. 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. All visitors should be aware that ferry timetables are subject to change, bad weather or mechanical breakdown. In this event we will change your itinerary accordingly, which may involve bringing you off your island a day early in order to connect safely with your flight home.

We will make all necessary hotel and transfer arrangements and you will not bear any extra costs.

On all these islands we have appointed local agents or hoteliers who arrange your transfers, can give information, book cars and excursions, and can be contacted if required. However, it is important to state that we do not employ our own representatives, nor are transfers escorted, so our holidays here are recommended for the more independent.

Walking is always an attraction in Greece, and we'd recommend the excellent website www.cycladen.be for walking information and trails which cover the majority of the Cycladic islands. Do not go expecting to see much in the way of evident archaeology. There is some - notably the holy island of Delos close to Mykonos, and the 'portara' gate by Naxos Town - but on the whole the bulk of Greece's archaeological sites are on the mainland. If this is an interest, but you still wish to visit the islands, we'd recommend a tailor-made arrangement via Athens with the north Peloponnese or a mainland fly-drive.

Many people find a two- or three-island holiday appealing, due to the proximity of one island to the other and the contrasts between them. Due to the ferry routings, we suggest keeping to island groupings on the following pages. The Small Cyclades also combine well with Naxos.

Even the most remote of these islands receives plenty of visitors in the peak season (mid-July to end-August) - and the smaller they are the more crowded they can seem. 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.

All visitors should be aware that ferry timetables are subject to change, bad weather or mechanical breakdown. In this event we will change your itinerary accordingly, which may involve bringing you off your island a day early in order to connect safely with your flight home. We will make all necessary hotel and transfer arrangements and you will not bear any extra costs.

On all these islands we have appointed local agents or hoteliers who arrange your transfers, can give information, book cars and excursions, and can be contacted if required. However, it is important to state that we do not employ our own representatives, nor are transfers escorted, so our holidays here are recommended for the more independent traveller.

Read more

Getting to the Islands

EASTERN CYCLADES INFORMATION

SANTORINI, MYKONOS
Both islands have flights from Gatwick and Heathrow 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 (max. 30 mins).

PAROS, ANTIPAROS, NAXOS, IOS
Fly to Mykonos or Santorini, transfer to the port, ferry to the island (included), onward transfer to your accommodation (max. 30 mins). On the return the reverse applies. Alternatively fly via Athens with onward domestic flight or ferry. The best routing can vary according to flight timings and seasonal ferry schedules. If an overnight hotel is necessary we will include it and all transfers in the quoted holiday price.


WESTERN CYCLADES INFORMATION

Flights from Gatwick, Heathrow, Stansted, Edinburgh and Manchester to Athens.

ANDROS, KYTHNOS, SERIFOS, SIFNOS, FOLEGANDROS
Transfer to Rafina, Lavrion or Piraeus port for afternoon ferry to the island where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. On the return the reverse applies for an evening flight back. Flights should arrive in Athens c.midday for ferry connections. In early and late season (May and after mid-Sept) an overnight hotel may be required on arrival and/or departure.

MILOS
Connecting domestic flight Athens to Milos where you will be met and transferred to your accommodation. If the domestic flights are full (they are small aircraft) then ferry tansfers will be provided as above.


AMORGOS & SMALL CYCLADES INFORMATION

Flights from Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Edinburgh and Manchester to Athens or from Gatwick and Manchester to Mykonos or Santorini

AMORGOS (via Athens)
Tue, Wed, Thu, Sat (high season) Sun out; Mon, Wed, Thu, Fri, Sun (high season) return.
Morning flight to Athens. Transfer to Piraeus for the 17.30 Blue Star ferry - a large, modern and extremely comfortable ship with restaurant, bar etc. We will book you into the quiet Business Class lounge area. Arrives Amorgos 01.10, 02.00 or 02.50. Local transfer on the island (10 - 40 mins depending on from which port). On the return it is an early morning ferry back to Piraeus (dep 06:55 arr 15:00) to connect with the evening flight to the UK. Although flights are daily and Blue Star operates 4 or 5 times weekly the optimum departure day is Wed out (also Sat high season) and Thurs or Fri back  (also Sun high season) due to ferry routings. Other days take longer and may be to/from Katapola port, not Aegialis.

AMORGOS (via Mykonos)
7/6 - 26/9 - High speed Sea Jet service
Transfer to port for mid afternoon ferry which takes c.2 hours to Amorgos (Katapola port). 40 minute transfer to hotel. Sea Jet connects with an evening flight back to the UK. There are also morning connections back to Santorini on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. Please note that a) Sea Jet is not a large vessel as Blue Star and can suffer delay or cancellation in high winds; and b) these schedules are provisional and may change.

KOUFONISSI, SCHINOUSSA (via Athens)
Low season: Tue, Sun out; Mon, Wed return. High season: night ferry only.
As per Amorgos except different days and no high season daytime service.

KOUFONISSI, SCHINOUSSA (via Mykonos)
As per Amorgos (Koufonissi only)

Car Hire

Car Hire

Please enquire for prices.

Representation

Representation

On all these islands we have appointed local agents who arrange your transfers, can give information, book cars and excursions, and can be contacted if required. However, it is important to state that we do not employ our own representatives, nor are transfers escorted, so our holidays here are recommended for the more
independent traveller. Please also bear in mind that travel plans involving ferries can be disrupted at short notice due to the vagaries of ferry timetables, high winds etc. Although rare, should this occur we will rebook your hotels and transfers accordingly.

Multi-Centre Options

EASTERN CYCLADES INFORMATION

SANTORINI, MYKONOS, PAROS, ANTIPAROS, NAXOS, IOS

All these islands can combine – the minimum stay on each is 3 nights.

WESTERN CYCLADES INFORMATION

ANDROS, SIFNOS, MILOS, FOLEGANDROS

Sifnos, Milos and Folegandros are the easiest to combine – the minimum stay on each is 3 nights. There are also ferry links with Santorini. All these islands can be combined with our mainland Peloponnese resort of Tolon, for those with an interest in archaeological sites and Greek mythology/history.

SMALL CYCLADES INFORMATION

AMORGOS, KOUFONISSI, SCHINOUSSA

These three islands all combine well, also with Naxos, as there is a daily small ferry between them in either direction (starts early am from Amorgos and runs up to Naxos before an afternoon return). The minimum stay on each is 3 nights.

Representation

On all these islands we have appointed local agents who arrange your transfers, can give information, book cars and excursions, and can be contacted if required. However, it is important to state that we do not employ our own representatives, norare transfers escorted, so our holidays here are recommended for the more independent traveller.

Useful information

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Mark Willson
Mark Willson
Best time to go
  • JAN
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Time Difference

GMT + 2 hours

Currency

Euro

Language

Greek

Average flight times

3 hours 45 minutes

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Talk to our Greece expert

Jackie Gogonas
Jackie Gogonas

Those of our clients who have, over the last 20 or so years, visited Tolon in the Peloponnese will know Jackie; our very knowledgeable and passionate representative. Having decided to return to the UK, she has joined our reservations team and, needless to say, knows Tolon, a resort we have featured since 1973, inside out. It will come as no surprise to know that the Peloponnese is her favourite region in Greece.

Call one of our experts to discuss your next holiday with Sunvil on

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

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Cyclades

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
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