Cyclades archipelago – Your best guide to 18 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.

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

Climate and geology of the Cyclades

Milos beach, Cyclades, Greece
Beach in Milos, Cyclades

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)

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 traveler 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!