Highlights of the Cyclades

Southeast of mainland Greece, scattered carelessly across the Aegean Sea, you’ll find the internationally renowned group of islands known as the Cyclades. Containing some of the best-loved individual holiday destinations including Santorini, Delos, Ios and Mykonos, a holiday that incorporates many of them is sure to be a vibrant and wonderful experience of many different flavours.

So what are the highlights? The must-see attractions? The various facets that you will be lucky enough to witness while you’re touring the Cyclades? Every single on is different. You need to be ready to experience ancient history and beautiful beaches, mixed with Mediterranean atmosphere and surrounded by crystalline, cool waters as we delve into one of the most distinguished groups of islands in the entire world. But there’s also plenty in the way of chic, stylish and fashionable towns where you can get your groove on and truly indulge in the Greek lifestyle.

Santorini

Perhaps the most famous island in the Mediterranean, Santorini is renowned for its beautiful towns, which consist of white-walled blue-roofed buildings spread elegantly across sheer cliff faces. The island’s charismatic coastline and distinctive shape is explained by the fact that the entire landmass is a large remnant of a volcanic caldera.

During your time here, you will undoubtedly want to explore the town of Fira, perhaps the best known of the island’s towns thanks to its seemingly monopoly over the Greek island postcard industry. The stunning buildings sitting precariously over the azure blue waves are instantaneously recognisable and its distinctive streets full of winding passageways and twisting steep stairways are a joy to explore.

But we here are Seafarer know the best places aren’t only found in the capital, and our Jewels of the Cyclades cruise offers the opportunity for visitors to take a journey around the rim of the caldera, experiencing the many little villages – each with its own individual and distinct character. Particularly worthy of mention is Ola, known for its incredible views, where we like to stop in order to witness the most magnificent sunsets imaginable.

If we had to sum up Santorini in two words, it would be these: Absolutely awe-inspiring.

Mykonos

A stunning coastline with gorgeous beaches dotted with atmospheric and pleasant towns. Such as the hallmarks of Mykonos, playground of the rich and long considered one of the most friendly places in the world for members of the LGBTI community. This is a fantastic place to relax – it’s certainly spoilt in terms of spectacular beaches and intimate little coves. But if there’s one aspect in particular that this gorgeous sun-bathed island is known for, it’s the fantastic nightlife and just-don’t-care atmosphere, which is perfectly conducive to the holiday spirit.

Before you think there’s nothing to do during the day, though, we have plenty to explore. Your crew members will have an in-depth knowledge of the shoreline that will allow you to experience things inaccessible to any other tour operator – particularly those with the larger scale vessels that are only able to visit the main port. There are the beautiful villages, each resembling a miniature Venice, full of intimate waterways and stunning harbours. The hills, beautiful arcs on the horizon, are topped with white windmills. And culture vultures will love the opportunity to wander into exceptional places of worship including Tourlos’s Monastery of Virgin Mary and the Agios Panteleimonas.

Delos

Delos can aptly be described as a historian’s dream. Anyone with an enthusiasm for ancient events and Greek mythology will no doubt love delving into the stories here. Once the seat of the bishopric of the Cyclades – which ruled over the islands of Mykonos, Syros, Seriphos, Kythnos and Keos – it is home to some of the richest and most significant historical sites in the entire world. Tourists flock here to walk among the ruined streets, statues and monuments, paying tribute to the Olympian deity Apollo who was supposedly born here.

With Seafarer, you can be sure of getting the inside scoop as to where the best ruins are. From the ruins of the ancient amphitheatre and the fabulous terrace of lions to the broken phallus at the Stoivadeion and the now-dry Sacred Lake, you can count on plenty of exclusive photo opportunities.

Ios

You can count on Seafarer to show you the best of Ios. Widely known as a party island, it would undoubtedly be the little brother of the Cyclades if they were people. Boisterous, energetic and lively, it has a never-ceasing buzzy atmosphere characterised by the best bars, beaches and nightclubs imaginable.

But before you think that means there isn’t much else here other than the party spirit, you’ll also experience extraordinary beaches of such exquisite beauty that you won’t want to leave. Seafarer will help you explore the intimate areas of this spectacular place, revealing things that no other tour operator knows of! Culture vultures will particularly relish the opportunity to visit the reputed site of Homer’s tomb.

Folegandros

Mykonos, Ios and Santorini are known for hustle, bustle and atmosphere. Conversely, Folegandros is known for the opposite reason – as a sanctuary of calm where it’s easy to relax. Seafarer vessels are small enough to navigate the intimate and craggy coves that characterise the coastline, where you’ll be able to take an enjoyable swim in the crystal clear waters of the Aegean. In the evening, head to one of the villages, where authentic Greek taverns are waiting to serve up ouzo and freshly caught fish. It’s an experience that your taste buds will never forget.

Ermoupolis

Last – but certainly not least – we have Ermoupolis, which is renowned for being home to one of the absolute highlights of many trips. Step forward, Syros, the capital city of the Cyclades. It has plenty to boast about, including plenty of evidence about its spectacular past, which includes neoclassical houses and religious monuments. Make a point of seeking out the churches of Transfiguration of Jesus Christ (Metamórphossi tou Sotíros), St Nicolas the Rich (Áyios Nikólaos Ploússios), Dormition of the Mother of God (Koímissis tis Theotókou), as they are particularly beautiful.