Passengers who travel by ferry to Cyclades Islands, arrive in the most popular island group in Greece which is located in the heart of the Aegean sea!
The Cyclades derives from the word “cyclos”, which means circle in Greek, as the islands of the Cyclades form a circle around Delos, the sacred island of the ancient Greek god Apollo.
Easily the most famous of the Greek island groups, the Cyclades is where you will find the iconic sugar-cube building villages with the churches with the blue domes overlooking the Aegean Sea.
There are twenty large islands in the Cyclades and seven small ones. The big ones are Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Folegandros, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Tinos, and Santorini (Thera). The small ones are Koufonisia, Donousa, Iraklia, Schinoussa, Antiparos and Thirasia.
This means whitewashed houses, blue-domed churches, colorful windows and narrow cobblestone alleys galore! Wandering around the paved streets of the picturesque villages is a unique experience! Have in mind, that each capital (main village) of the Cyclades Islands is called "Chora".
Make your booking in advance with a ferry to Cyclades since the particular islands get really crowded in summer months, therefore it is possible that you will not find any ferry tickets or accommodation.
Getting to Cyclades by ferry
The Cyclades are located relatively close to Athens. They are reachable both by ferry and by plane (only few possess airports). The port of Piraeus is the busiest port in Greece and is serving itineraries to the majority of them. The trip can be long for the remote ones, so booking a cabin would provide a more comfortable journey. T type of vessel and the weather conditions are two major factor which affect the time of the sailing. The ports of Rafina and Lavrion, the other two ports of Athens, also serve ferry itineraries to the Cyclades.
Piraeus to Cyclades
Get from the biggest port in Greece, Piraeus, to Cyclades, can be achieved in an average of 5 hours, depending mostly on the type of vessel you choose. There are several crossings every day from many carriers, so there is no need to worry about the schedules.
Rafina to Cyclades
The Rafina - Cyclades ferry can take from 2 to 7 hours to reach Cyclades Islands. This is mostly depending on the vessel and weather conditions. There are daily ferries departing from Rafina ferry port and for some, it may be a more convenient choice due to the fact that the particular port is very close to Athens International Airport.
Holidays in Cyclades
Located relatively close to Athens, the Cyclades is an ideal summer destination for all types of travelers, from couples to groups of friends and families.
Holidays in Cyclades can be cosmopolitan or totally remote, depending on your preferences.
The most popular islands of the Cyclades are Santorini, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Tinos, Milos, Ios and Amorgos. Nevertheless, all of them are incredibly beautiful and photogenic, each one offering its own uniqueness!
Beaches in Cyclades
The Cyclades islands are also popular for their stunning beaches! Cyclades beaches are mostly sandy and have crystal clear waters, perfect for swimming, while their ideal wind conditions make it a go-to destination for water sports. Nevertheless, there are also many secluded beaches, where you can enjoy your privacy and relax in nature.
Hereunder, some of the most famous beaches in the Cyclades:
- Super Paradise, Elia Beach (Mykonos)
- Golden Beach, Kolymbithres (Paros)
- Mylopotas, Magganari (Ios)
- Red and Black Beaches (Santorini)
- Plaka, Agios Prokopios, Agia Anna Beaches (Naxos)
- Tsigrado, Sarakiniko (Milos)
- Mouros Beach (Amorgos)
- Katergo (Folegandros)
- Agios Sostis (Serifos)
- Bonatsa (Kimolos)
- Pori, Italida (Koufonisia)
- Grias to Pidima (Andros)
- Agia Thalassa, Pachia Ammos (Tinos)
- Kolona (Kythnos)
Places to Visit
Among others, the Cyclades island group is famous for its characteristic minimal architecture, picturesque villages, idyllic beaches, and breathtaking landscapes. No wonder they are in the bucket lists of millions of people all around the world! Each one of these shares the common elements mentioned already, but they also each have their own unique atmosphere.
Mykonos is the famous cosmopolitan island with the iconic windmills, while Tinos is the island of the Virgin Mary, with the big church overseeing the main town.
Santorini (Thera) is a volcanic island with the caldera and the rare, unique black beaches that look like they were originally part of another planet, like Mars.
A stark contrast between the whitewashed ‘Ano Syros’ and the neoclassical, affluent ‘Ermoupolis’ of Syros will offer itself to many beautiful promenades.
More volcanic rock formations can be found in Milos, while you can relax and kick back in Paros and Naxos. Wild beauty and quiet solitude for meditation and relaxation await you in Koufonisia.
Island Hopping in Cyclades
The Cyclades are very easy when it comes to island-hopping because they are close enough together that boat trips are very short.
The right island hopping includes nearby islands, which you explore at the same time and enjoy a complete travel experience! Before you manage to reject it due to lack of time or budget, let me emphasize that you do not need to see all the Cyclades, only two islands are enough.
It will pay off greatly if you take the time to search and find out information on each one and make an informed decision about which ones you will choose to add to your cyclades tour menu.
Below you will find some of our suggestions for island hopping in Cyclades islands:
- Milos - Kimolos - Folegandros
- Sifnos - Serifos
- Folegandros - Sikinos
- Paros - Antiparos - Naxos - Tinos
- Small Cyclades, Koufonissi - Iraklia
- Santorini - Anafi - Ios
- Paros - Mykonos
- Amorgos - Donoussa