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5 secret pearls of the Cyclades islands

The Greek Cyclades: a beautiful group of islands in the Aegean Sea. You probably know Santorini, Mykonos, Naxos… All beautiful islands, without any doubt. Unfortunately, these famous islands of the Cyclades Archipelago have become very popular holiday destinations, so their beauty is hidden behind mass tourism and large cruise ships.

So, you don't feel like:

  • Noisy clubs
  • Crowded boulevards
  • Restaurants with only fish and chips on the menu
  • A Greek beach full of German, Dutch and British people

But you want:

  • Peace
  • Beautiful landscapes
  • Picturesque villages
  • Traditional dishes in a Greek tavern

Do you want to look up from your beach towel and realize: I'm all alone here on the beach?

These are the 5 secret pearls of the Greek Cyclades

Shhhh… don't tell anyone

1. Amorgos

Amorgos is typical of the Cyclades. White houses with blue shutters and small white churches. The views during a walk are phenomenal and there are more than enough beautiful beaches and bays to relax with a view of the photogenic Olympia shipwreck. Amorgos is best known for the Hozoviotissa Monastery: a beautiful white monastery built against a gigantic cliff. Good to know: Amorgos is located near Naxos and Santorini, so if you still want to experience the liveliness of the Cyclades, Amorgos is the perfect base.

The ferry to Amorgos

In just over an hour you can sail by ferry from Santorini or Naxos to Amorgos. You can also take the ferry directly from the Greek capital Athens to Amorgos. If you do this, count on an extra 7 hours of sailing time.

2. Folegandros

Folegandros is a real hiking island with rocks, cliffs and beautiful views. For example from the beautiful Panagia church. The paradise beaches of Folegandros are hidden and most of them can only be reached on foot or by sea. Chora Folegandras, the largest town on the island, has that typical picturesque look of the Greek Cyclades. White houses covered with colourful bougainvillea and cozy terraces to settle down for a while. So yes, Folegandros is highly recommended.

The ferry to Folegandros

Folegandros is located in the south of the Cyclades islands, in the Aegean Sea. Take a ferry from one of the famous islands, Naxos, Santorini or Mykonos. Or sail directly from Athens to Folegandros; this trip takes about 8 to 9 hours.

3. Antiparos

Antiparos is right next to much busier Paros. Do you find the lack of nightlife and noise a blessing? Then you have found your holiday destination in Antiparos. On this small island you will find magnificent untouched nature, volcanic rocks and mysterious caves. And of course wonderful sandy beaches and an azure blue sea for swimming. In the north lies the charming capital Chora, a picturesque town with a few chic boutiques and nice restaurants.

The ferry to Antiparos

With the ferry you are within 10 minutes in the fishing port of Chora Antiparos. The ferry departs from the larger Paros, there is no direct connection between Athens and Antiparos.

4. Kea

Kea is just an hour's boat ride from Athens. The Athenians themselves like to come here for a holiday, but it is still relatively unknown to mass tourism, which makes it feel very Greek. The secluded beaches and temple ruins define the atmosphere of the delightful island of Kea. The rocky nature with many colourful flowers in summer make it a nice hiking island. Once discovered, you’ll want to come back to Kea: this place has a super relaxed vibe.

The ferry to Kea

Kea is easily accessible. Book a flight to Athens and hop on the ferry to Kea. You are already on Kea within an hour.

5. Andros

Andros is the second largest island of the Cyclades (after Naxos) and it’s mostly locals celebrating their holidays here. It has no airport, which is why foreign tourists prefer Santorini or Mykonos. It is a fantastic destination with rugged nature, waterfalls, and -thanks to the fertile soil- a green landscape. Go hiking, swimming, surfing or stroll through one of the charming towns with the typical white houses with blue window frames. Tip: combine a trip to Andros with a few days on nearby Tinos.

The ferry to Andros

From the mainland, the ferry to Andros departs from the port of Rafina (near Athens). The crossing takes just under two hours. Or let the fast ferry from Seajets take you to Andros in an hour.

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