The Cyclades are what many people think of when they imagine the Greek islands. They are the archetypal picture-postcard view of dazzling white houses, deep blue skies and seas, windmills, and pretty churches with pale blue domes. But it is only in the Cyclades group of islands where you get all these features together, and even here not every island has them, though they are certainly among the most appealing islands in the Aegean.
Oia on Santorini in the Cyclades
One of the most visually appealing of all, and one of the most popular, is Santorini, also known as Thira. Ships now sail into the flooded crater that was left after a huge volcanic eruption, and the island's distinctive black sand, good nightlife, both cheap and luxury hotels, and gourmet restaurants all mean that it remains one of the most popular of Greek island vacation destinations.
Mykonos (right) is equally popular, with even better nightlife, and more quality hotels and eating places, though its reputation as the hedonistic capital of the Aegean is being played down lately by those who would like to attract a more upmarket crowd of visitors.
But there are quieter islands too, usually because it takes slightly longer to get to them. These include Kythnos, Serifos, and Kimolos, where you can really get away from it all. To find out what there is to do on each of the islands, where to stay and where to eat, click on the links below.
Greece Travel Secrets page on Phaistos or Faistos, the site of one of the finest Minoan palaces on Crete and is where the mysterious Phaistos Disc was found.
The culturally rich city of Kavala in eastern Macedonia is the area's major seaport and the base for ferries to the islands of the North East Aegean, including Thasos, and beyond to the Dodecanese.
Aegina in the Saronic Gulf Islands of Greece is an easy day trip from Athens. This page from Greece Travel Secrets also gives details of ferries and what to do on the island.
If you're going to Corfu take a look at our travel guide for the Kindle: Corfu and Beyond. This is what one US 5-star review said: 'Just back from our trip to Corfu and this was by far the most helpful of the travel guides we read.'
Click on the cover to go to the Amazon UK page for the book. Click here if you want the Amazon USA site.
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