The most popular archipelago among the Greek islands, Cyclades islands, are easy to reach from Athens marina Alimos and from Lavrion. The islands were named after the circle they form around small island Devos, place where Apollo was born. The group consists of 200 small islands and 23 large ones. The northern islands are composed mainly of limestone and marbles while southern consist mainly of volcanic materials. The most famous islands are Santorini and Mykonos which are as well the top destinations in Greece. The islands are known for beautiful beaches and exceptional architecture, with the white houses and blue windows.
There are six charter marinas in the Cyclades, from North to South they are Athens (Alimos Marina), Lavrion, Syros, Mykonos, Paros, and Santorini. Lavrion and Athens are the most suitable ones for visiting the northern Cyclades, Syros, Mykonos, and Paros are in the middle so you can choose various directions while Santorini is more for southern routes. The Meltemi wind blows from the north, from the Aegean Sea and north to south route directions are of course the most favorable ones.
The island Santorini is one of the most romantic spots in Greece and also one of its top destinations. It is famous around the world for its romantic sunsets, luxurious resorts, and volcano land. The islands around main island Santorini (Thira) are part of a volcanic crater drowned in the sea which left magnificent cliffs that range up to 400 m.
Highlights: Akrotiri, Artspace, Ammoudi, Ancient Thira
If you are looking for an island that has to offer a little bit of everything than Paros may be the right spot for you. It has charming villages, luxurious resorts, fishing harbors, rich nightlife, great sandy beaches and it is less crowded and expensive than Mykonos. If you are into the more active holiday that you shouldn't miss beaches in the southeastern side which are famous windsurfing spots.
Highlights: Byzantine museum, Moraitis winery, Panagia Ekatontapyliani
Mykonos island is famous for the rich nightlife and the picturesque architecture. It is one of the most photogenic islands in the Cyclades, but also one of the most expensive ones. There is something for everyone on Mykonos, for those who want to explore the typical Cycladic maze of white and blue and for people looking for the best party spot. It indeed is one of the most crowded islands in Greece.
Highlights: Chora village, Little Venice, Panagia paraportiani
The greenest and the largest island of Cyclades. Naxos was one of the cultural centers in ancient times which has left the traces on its unique architecture. According to Greek mythology, Dyonisos was born on Naxos and this is one of the most fertile islands in Greece rich with grapevines. It is also perfect for an outdoor enthusiast, with traditional footpaths and kiteboarding spots.
Highlights: Venetian museum, Temple of Apollo
One of the most low key islands on the Cyclades. It is a rocky island full of hills and beaches to enjoy in peace without worrying about space. Driopida and Chora are the two most traditional villages on the island while main ports are Merihas and Loutra.
Highlights: Kolona beach
By plane: The reason why the Cyclades are so popular is that of their proximity to the mainland and Athens. If you are planning to sail around the northern Cyclades you can start your journey from two main ports – Athens and Lavrion. If you prefer the southern part then the easiest and the quickest way is to fly to one of three larger airports on Cyclades islands: Mykonos, Santorini or Paros. There are also smaller airports on other islands but they are connected only with domestic flights.
By ferry: the Cyclades are also connected with the mainland with numerous ferry lines departing mostly from Piraeus, Rafina, and Lavrion. Traveling to remote islands can be a bit tiresome, but the ferry can be a good choice in case you are going to one of the closest islands.