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Cyclades Holidays

Cyclades holidays

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 - but that has always been the way for those wishing to avoid the crowds.

Santorini, Greece

Holidays In Cyclades

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 twin centre with our mainland resort of Tolon for the first week, which lies in the heart of which is easy to arrange.

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.  

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

ANDROS, SIFNOS, MILOS, FOLEGANDROS

Prices are based on Sunday lunchtime flights from Heathrow to Athens, with an evening return. Other days and flights from Gatwick and Manchester available (prices on request). An overnight hotel in Athens (or Rafina for Andros) for the first night is required and included in the price. Early morning ferry or high speed to island, local transfers to accommodation (max 30 mins). On the return the reverse applies (no overnight should be required if ferry schedules remain as 2014). All transfers, overnight hotel and ferry tickets are included (note for Andros clients - you will need to walk the 5 mins (450m) from the Rafina hotel which is just above the harbour to the ferry, or ask the hotel to call a local taxi at a cost of just a few Euros).

 

SMALL CYCLADES INFORMATION

AMORGOS

Mon, Wed, Thu, Sat out; Tue, Thu, Fri, Sun return.
Early morning BA flight Heathrow 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 Business Class lounge area. Local transfer on the island (10 mins). On the return it is an early morning ferry back to connect with the evening flight to Heathrow. This is a daily service but the routings mean the ship goes into Aegialis port on the days above and saves about an extra hour's journey and additional transfer costs.

KOUFONISSI, SCHINOUSSA
Tue, Fri, Sun out; Mon, Wed, Sat return.
Same flight and ferry details as per Amorgos, just the days change due to different routings. Alternatively all islands can be reached via Naxos, which will involve an overnight in Naxos in each direction, but please note this onward ferry is not so reliable as it is small and liable to disruption in the case of high winds.

Care Hire

Please enquire for prices.

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.

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.

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