The Best Islands in the Cyclades

Words cannot describe our passion for the Greek Islands! This region of the Mediterranean has breathtaking landscapes, unparalleled history, and culture, particularly in the stunning Cyclades Islands. So what are the best islands in the Cyclades?

The Cyclades Islands are all completely unique. They will take your breath away! From the whitewashed hillside villages to the blue-green waters, there is something amazing to see in each island. The beaches are some of the best in Greece, and there’s plenty of cultural activities to explore. Whether you want to relax by the sea or explore ancient ruins, the Cyclades Islands offer it all! So what are you waiting for?

We decided to offer you some info on the most popular islands in the Cyclades to visit while in Greece in order to make your vacation decision a little bit simpler.

The Cyclades are a group of islands located in the Aegean Sea, and they are among the most popular tourist destinations in Greece. The largest island of the Cyclades is Santorini, with its stunning caldera and breathtaking sunsets. Other popular islands include Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Andros and Milos. Each of these islands has its own unique character and offers something special for visitors to explore.

Mykonos is known as a party island, with a vibrant nightlife and endless beaches where you can spend your days lounging in the sun or enjoying some water sports like windsurfing or kitesurfing. Paros is renowned for its beautiful beaches, traditional villages and charming harbour towns. Naxos is known for its picturesque landscape, with rolling hills of olive groves and vineyards. Andros is great for those who are looking for a more relaxing vacation – the island has some incredible hikes through the lush countryside. Milos is a volcanic island with amazing rock formations, hot springs and incredible views over the Aegean Sea.

However, if you’re looking for something more unique and off-the-beaten path, then why not try a hop to one of Greece’s many lesser known islands? Astypalea is a small, barren island with striking rock formations and stunning beaches like Livadi Beach. Karpathos is an isolated destination that offers some spectacular scenery and great outdoor activities like snorkelling and diving. Finally, Folegandros is a peaceful, unspoiled island that has some truly beautiful villages and scenery waiting to be explored. So, no matter what kind of holiday you’re looking for in Greece, there’s an island to suit everyone!

Getting around couldn’t be easier. The area is well served by a network of ferries – and tickets for these can easily be purchased online via Ferry Hopper. We’ve found this website to be reliable and provide all options available for boat transfer to and from the mainland and between the Islands. You can book single and multiple Island Hopper trips, making this a really convenient tool for planning your Island hopping adventure!

Here’s a map of the Cyclades Islands to orientate yourself ahead of our island low-down

Map of the Cyclades Islands

First up.. Santorini…

Santorini

Yes, of course, first on our list is Santorini island! Not only because there are numerous international connections to the airport, but it’s also absolutely gorgeous (amazing, actually), and you’ll have a ton of options for fantastic accommodation options. But that does imply that at the busiest seasons of the year, it can become extremely crowded (and can get quite expensive, depending on where you stay).

Simply put, it’s breathtaking and a fantastic destination for anyone who wants a traditional Greek island holiday with sunsets, lovely restaurants and gorgeous vistas. Also, be sure to check out the sunset in the clifftop town of Oia. It is one of the most beautiful places in Santorini and it’s definitely worth seeing. And, don’t miss out on exploring the cobblestone streets of Fira — this picturesque town is full of fascinating sights and activities that will make your trip unforgettable! Finally, there’s a wealth of archaeological sites to explore such as Akrotiri, Red Beach and Ancient Thira for those looking to delve into the island’s history. Santorini is truly an amazing place, one that will stay with you long after your vacation has ended!

Where to stay in Santorini

You can choose from a number of lovely places to stay which won’t break the bank. We use 2 resources to find the best prices depending on the time of year you wish to travel:

The obvious being HERE

And our favourite being HERE 👈 we often find better than retail site rates here, which is why we love it!

Getting to Santorini

You can ✈️ fly to Santorini airport from hundreds of cities. Click here to find the best flight rates and options.

You can ⛴️ get the ferry, not least from Athens but other Islands also. Click here to check the network.

Mykonos

Mykonos island, frequently referred to as the party island of Greece, has much more than just its glitzy beach clubs and hip nightclubs. It’s one of the best islands in the Cyclades to visit if you want a decent balance of entertainment and history. It’s also renowned for being rather pricey! But we can help you eek out the best prices here (see Where to Stay in Mykonos below).

Mykonos is a stunningly beautiful Greek island, often referred to as the Jewel of the Cyclades. It’s known for its breathtaking landscapes, crystal-clear waters, picturesque white and blue churches, and vibrant nightlife.

It’s no surprise that Mykonos has been a popular tourist destination since the 1950s. With its distinct architectural style and plenty of places to explore, it remains one of the top destinations in the Mediterranean.

If you’re looking for a luxurious beach vacation that will make you feel like a celebrity, Mykonos is sure to meet your expectations. It boasts some of the most exclusive beaches in Greece which offer privacy and relaxation away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. There are also numerous activities in Mykonos such as windsurfing, jet skiing, sailing trips, and more!

Whether you’re looking for an escape from reality or an opportunity to experience something new and exciting, Mykonos promises to deliver an unforgettable experience! From its stunning beaches and dazzling nightlife to its vibrant culture, Mykonos is sure to make your trip an unforgettable one. You can explore the charming streets of Chora, take a boat ride around Delos Island, or even treat yourself to some shopping in the town’s luxury boutiques.

Also, remember to reserve a skip-the-line boat cruise to the historical island of Delos and swim in the crystal clear waters of Rhenia. Delos one of the most significant islands in Greek mythology, and it’s very close to Mykonos! Enjoy a day sailing trip with food and drink – a memorable day out, not to be forgotten.

Where to stay in Mykonos

A full selection of types and styles of properties to select, hotels, apartments, villas can be found HERE.

We like to beat the travel retail rates with our best offers – always worth checking where you can save on accomodation on these Islands – HERE.

Getting to Mykonos

Again, you can easily get to Mykonos via ferry from the mainland, or fly in from hundreds of cities around the world.

For ⛴️ Ferry options – click here.

For the best ✈️ flights options and rates – click here.

Milos

Due to its stunning shoreline, Milos is one of the finest islands in the Cyclades to visit. This area is best appreciated in a relaxed manner because it’s full of stunning coves, exquisite beaches, and the famous Sarakiniko Beach (on the northern part of Milos island). Once there, make sure to spend some time in Sarakiniko’s pristine waters. There are no utilities nearby, and the sun can be very harsh, so bring plenty of sunscreen, beverages, and snacks.

Milos is an undiscovered paradise in the Aegean Sea, located off the western coast of Greece. It is famous for its crystal-clear waters, its many secluded beaches, and breathtaking views of its rocky coastline. With its whitewashed houses, beautiful villages, and ancient ruins dotting the landscape, Milos itself is a sight to behold.

The island is home to numerous attractions such as the Catacombs of Milos – an extensive underground complex built by early Christians on the site of an old pagan temple. There are also ancient tombs scattered throughout the island, and many archaeological sites including ancient theatres and public baths.

The local cuisine in Milos is a delight for food lovers – especially seafood – with fresh fish caught daily from nearby fishing boats. The warm hospitality of locals adds to the allure of visiting this idyllic Greek island.

Last but not least, make sure to reserve a table at “O! Hamos! Tavern” in the main town. The restaurant is a family business, and their baked feta is simply too good to pass up. Don’t miss it; after you’re full, you’ll thank us.

Where to stay on Milos

Check out the usual suspects for accomodation here – some great places to hang out on this Island

We found these great places too – often beating the retail website rates – click here

Getting to Milos

Flying ✈️ is a option but you will struggle with direct routes. Here’s your options CLICK HERE

The best way to get to Milos is via Ferry ⛴️ from Santorini, though it is accessible from other Islands with a longer journey time. Click here for the schedule.

Serifos

Serifos is one of the nicest islands to visit in the Cyclades. It is significantly less developed than islands like Mykonos, which is located north of Milos. As a result, it’s the ideal island to visit if you’re looking for a genuine getaway while in Greece. It’s very peaceful and offers peace of mind.

Go straight to Mpakakaki for outstanding Greek meat dishes after getting off the ferry. It’s a place you can’t miss because everything is freshly cooked and grilled. After you’ve had a satisfying meal, travel by car to Psili Ammos. If you go during the week, it’s completely unspoiled and quiet.

Serifos is a stunningly beautiful Greek island located in the Aegean Sea. The landscape features rugged hills, crystal clear waters, and white sand beaches that will take your breath away. There are dozens of great hiking trails to explore, small fishing villages to visit and plenty of cultural attractions to see. Plus, with its delicious local food offerings and unique hotels, Serifos is a perfect destination for any traveler looking for a secluded vacation spot. If you’re dreaming of a relaxing holiday in the sun, Serifos is just what you need!

For beaches, Ganema Beach, which is on the other side of Serifos island, is another solid favourite. The SAAN Eco Restaurant, which overlooks the bay, is the area’s most charming little foodie spot!

Where to stay in Serifos

So many lovely little places to rest your head and enjoy the beautiful surroundings here. Here’s a few… (click here)

But we especially love this provider who often beats the main retail travel sites (click here)

How to get to Serifos

The only way to get to Serifos is by ⛴️ boat from Athens or some of the other Islands (click here)

Sifnos

If you’re seeking an entirely calm island vacation, Sifnos, located in the centre of the Cyclades, is one of the best islands to visit. It’s a must to have lunch at Argyris, a family-run establishment that serves the best souvlaki in all of Sifnos island! They also make handmade tzatziki, which is too amazing to pass up.

It’s known for its white-washed villages, crystal clear waters, and incredible local cuisine. The island is full of cultural sites and offers plenty of activities for visitors to enjoy, such as beaches, historical monuments, and hiking trails. Whether you’re looking for a relaxing holiday or an exciting adventure, Sifnos has something for everyone. Its charming squares and winding streets are sure to captivate any traveler. Plus, with its delicious seafood dishes, there’s no shortage of good food! So if you’re looking for a memorable trip that will stay with you long after it’s over – Sifnos is the perfect destination.

Be sure to spend some time at Vathi Beach (because of its warm, shallow waters) and Chrisopigi Monastery, which lies on the opposite side of Sifnos. If that sounds appealing to you, make sure to see the spectacular sunset – the shades of orange will leave you in awe!

Where to stay in Sifnos

Whitewash buildings and clear blue sea… these are the places you will want to be 😊 (click here)

We love these too! (click here)

How to get to Sifnos

Again, ferry ⛴️ is your option for this Island – either from Athens, or other Islands (click here)

Even if you’ve been to the islands in the Cyclades 5 or 10 times, you’ll still want to go again, just as we do! It’s just so magical and the landscape, seascape and sunshine is unrivalled 💙 🤍

We sincerely hope our guide will help you start to a magical experience and truly enjoy your trip! Visit our blog if you’re interested in learning more travel tips.

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Anna Roffey Lawyer, World Traveller, Blogger... 🧡