Cyclades Islands – Your Best Guide to 24 Stunning Islands

The Cyclades is the most famous island group in the Aegean Sea. With their gorgeous sandy beaches, the simple architecture in blue and white and the traditional lifestyle with warm and hospitable people your travel will turn into a lifetime experience.

closeup on little Venice Mykonos capitol - Cyclades Greece


Mykonos, the famous cosmopolitan Greek island is a whitewashed paradise in the heart of the Aegean Sea. With luxurious hotels, amazing beaches, crazy parties, Michelin-restaurants, and cosmopolitan vibes great experiences are lining up for you!

View from the rock of the ancient fortress in Chora Andros, Andros island, Cyclades, Greece


Andros is situated in a short distance from Athens, just a few hours ferry ride away. It has become one of the most popular Greek islands with virgin beaches, great mountains and quaint villages hidden in a lush green landscape.

Traditional windmills near Chora village on Amorgos island in Greece


Shaped like a swimming seahorse, Amorgos has a dramatic landscape with its long mountain ridge like a seahorse spine. A single road winding its way from head to tail is one of the most amazing drives in the Cyclades.

Stavros village in Donousa island, Smaller Cyclades Greece


Donoussa is situated in the heart of the Aegean Sea and is one of the Smaller Cyclades islands along with Iraklia, Koufonisia, and Schinoussa. Still, you can expect great natural experiences here!

Delos, the ancient sacred island, an important archaeological site in the Cyclades, Greece


The island of Delos, is positioned in the centre of the roughly circular ring of islands called Cyclades, close to Mykonos. It is one of the most important mythological and archaeological sites in Greece.

the port of the Greek island of Iraklia Smaller Cyclades Greece


This little island is not “selling” anything. It is not “shouting”, but it is always there, waiting for you. Waiting for the few, getting off the “Skopeliti Express”, the few, who know why they are coming.

The exotic double bay beach of Kolona in Kythnos, Cyclades, Greece


In the western part of the Cyclades archipelargos sits Kythnos, a beautiful mountainous island surrounded more than 70 stunning beaches, many of which are only reachable by boat.

Two beautiful brown donkeys in the countryside of Kimolos Cyclades Greece


Kimolos almost touches the north-eastern tip of Milos and just half an hour ferry ride away from Milos it is perfect for a day trip, but if you really want to wind down you should stay for more days enjoying the little old town and the pristine beaches.

Travel to Tinos Cyclades Greece - flower decorated balcony in Tinos island


In the northern side of the Cyclades archipelagos you find Tinos. Gorgeous sandy beaches and the traditional villages create a tantalizing atmosphere that will captivate you at first sight. 

Mersini port in Schinoussa, Smaller Cyclades islands Greece


Tiny and remote, Schinoussa sits just south of Naxos, in the heart of the Aegean Sea. Along with Koufonisia, Iraklia, and Donoussa it is one of the Smaller Cyclades. With its unspoiled natural beauty, it is a haven of tranquillity.

Travel to Paros island, Greece, great little tavern in the shades of olive trees


Paros is one of the most popular Greek islands in the Cyclades. From its position in the heart of the Aegean Sea Paros is perfect for island hopping to the nearby famous islands, Santorini, Mykonos, and Naxos.

Travel to Antiparos, Cyclades, Greece - Woman in the crystal clear water at Antiparos


Charming, little Antiparos lies offshore from Paros. Only a short ferry ride away you can cross over on a day trip or stay a few days. Here you feel a distinct slowing down in the pace of things. Antiparos boasts stunning beaches and a crystal-clear sea.

Anafi Island Greece - View from Chora village


Anafi is a small island next to Santorini in the Cyclades. Anafi is quite the opposite to Santorini – no cosmopolitan extravagances here, no! It does, though, preserve its untouched, traditional charm.

travel to Milos Greece, scenic Klima, village traditional cycladic style by the sea


Milos has a spectacular moonlike landscape and exotic beaches because of its volcanic origin. Go sea kayaking, diving, and hiking among unreal shapes of rocks! Milos is a unique Cycladic gem and it will steal your heart with its unpretentious charm.

Panoramic summer sunset, view above Chora Ios, Cyclades Greece


At first sight, Ios is the island of the young, restless, and partying travellers. And it is partly true, at least from June to August, but Ios is so much more at a closer look. You just need to leave the trodden path and hit for the villages away from the popular beaches and Chora.

Windmills in Chora of Serifos, Cyclades Greece


Serifos is dotted with little whitewashed houses and churches – a beautiful contrast to the wild and dry landscape. Serifos is one of the quieter Cyclades off the beaten tourist track, just perfect for a relaxing holiday.

Village of Kastro in Sifnos island, Cyclades Greece


The moment you set foot on Sifnos you will feel the deeply calming atmosphere in an air scented with aromas of almond and orange. The cobblestoned villages with whitewashed houses and colourful flowers will totally charm you.

Fishing boats at the coast of Folegandros, Cyclades, Greece


In between Paros and Santorini, you find Folegandros – a small island of incredible natural beauty. Folegandros is rather untouched by international visitors and has its own unspoiled charm and tranquillity. 

Pori, Koufonisia, Greece

Koufonisia islands

Koufonisia is a small cluster of islands consisting of two main islands, Kato (Lower) and Pano (Upper) Koufonisi and some smaller islets. Together with nearby Keros, they all belong to the complex of “Smaller Cyclades”.

Naxos Port, ancient ruins, Cyclades Greece


Naxos is the largest island in the Cyclades island group in the Aegean Sea. It was the centre of the Archaic Cycladic culture.

View of Ioulida village in Kea island, Cyclades Greece

Kea (Tzia)

Kea differs some from its Cycladic counterparts, here you will not find little whitewashed houses and blue-domed churches. Instead, Kea is characterized by earthy colours and a more classic architecture with resemblance to the Saronic islands.


In Ancient years Sikonos was known as Oinoe (Island of Wine). It contrasts with nearby islands, like Ios, in being quiet and relatively less developed. There are two villages, one being a harbor, and the other, Chora, higher up in the hills.

Ermoupoli Town in Syros island, Cyclades Greece


The largest towns in Syros are Ermoupoli, Ano Syros, and Vari. Ermoupoli is the capital of all the Cyclades. It has always been a significant port town, and during the 19th century it was even more significant than Piraeus.

Travel to Santorini, Cyclades Islands, Greece


Santorini (or Thira) is probably the most famous Greek island in Aegean Sea. It is the largest of a small, circular archipelago which bears the same name and is the remnant of a volcanic caldera.

How many Cyclades islands are there?

The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones you will find here below. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited. The Cyclades are bounded to the south by the Sea of Crete.

Map of Cyclades Archipelagos
Map of Cyclades Archipelagos – Click to enlarge

Top Cyclades beaches

The islands are peaks of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Milos and Santorini (Thera). The climate is generally dry and mild, but except for Naxos the soil is not very fertile: agricultural produce includes wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco. The Cyclades islands do not really receive wintry weather and cooler temperatures during the summer months are to be found only in the higher elevations.

When to go to the Cyclades?

Amorgos, Cyclades, Greece
Blue door in Amorgos

You can visit the Cyclades islands each month of the year, since the climate is mild. The best months to visit the archipelago, however, are between March and October. If you want to avoid large crowds and spend a more peaceful holiday with a pleasant climate, the months of spring between May and June, and the month of September are the ones to prefer.

What does Cyclades mean?

Delos ruins, Cyclades Greece
Delos ruins

The name Cyclades refers to the island group forming a circle around the sacred island of Delos (in English the name means: circular islands). The Greek mythology tells us that Poseidon, the God of the sea, furiously turned the Cyclades nymphs into islands. Each year in their quest of finding paradise on Earth millions of Greeks and foreign visitors go on holiday in the Cyclades islands – enjoying the extraordinary light and the crystal blue sea.

Island hopping among the Cyclades

Little Venice, Mykonos, Cyclades Greece
Little Venice, Mykonos, Cyclades

The Cyclades are perfect for island hopping – only a few hours travel apart from one another you can hop on and off the ferry boat and spend a day or two at each island. Some of the bigger islands have airports. This is a great opportunity to combine your holiday with different types of experiences – you can party for a few days on Mykonos, Santorini or Ios and relax and enjoy the tranquility of Serifos, Sifnos, Anafi or Folegandros.

How to get to the Cyclades?

Naxos Port, Cyclades Greece
Naxos port at night

To get to the Cyclades islands you can choose to fly to Athens and get on the ferryboat from Piraeus Port (near Athens) or you can get on a local flight to many of the Cyclades (see table below).

Heliport / padNational airportInternational airport
Ano KoufonisiParos (2)
Airports in the Cyclades islands

The cuisine on the Cyclades islands

holidays in Greece - greek salad

The local culinary culture of the Cyclades islands has been formed by the morphology of the islands, where the microclimate of each island has played a great role in the character of dishes. In the Cyclades you will find an abundance of sea food – fresh fish, squids, shrimps and lobsters being caught by the local fishermen every morning, but also dry tomatoes, yellow split peas, caper, top dairy products, excellent honey from Cycladic ambrosia and renowned wines, ranging from white wines (Athiri and Assirtiko) to red ones (Vinsanto a.m.).

Nausa, Paros, Cyclades, Greece
Squids drying in the sun, Nausa, Paros

During your holiday on the Greek islands of Cyclades you will enjoy wonderful treats like fish soups, grilled fish or cooked with vegetables, accompanied with a small bottle of ouzo!

What traveller type are you?

Kitesurfing, kiteboarding in Greece
Kiteboarding in the Cyclades

The Cyclades have experiences for any traveler type, whether you are a nature lover, interested in culture or enjoy water sports like scuba diving or windsurfing. In Santorini you can spend your luxury holiday in a small boutique hotel, in Mykonos enjoy the cosmopolitan nightlife and laid back atmosphere, in Naxos you can get an adrenaline shot kiteboarding or windsurfing to strong winds, and in the sacred island of Delos you can admire the ancient Cycladic civilization and art.

Click the link below and you will find posts about Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Donoussa, Folegandros, Ios, Irakleia, Kea, Kimolos, Koufonisia, Kythnos, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Schinoussa, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros, Santorini and Tinos.

My posts here at GO GREECE YOUR WAY will give you all the necessary information to find YOUR best holidays ever in Greece!