Exploring the Cyclades Islands

How many Greek islands can you name? Ten? Fifteen? It seems astonishing that there are actually 1,400 separate land masses belonging to Greece, although only around 230 are inhabited.

The Cyclades are a small selection of these islands that count Santorini, Delos and Syros among their ranks. It's a popular destination for Mediterranean cruises thanks to the variety in pace and atmosphere offered by each island. Imagine swimming peacefully in a fairytale bay in Antiparos one morning, and then the next day, taking a tour of an archaeological site on Delos.

Island hopping is a popular activity for this very reason – the sheer variety on offer. Each landmass offers an insight into a different culture, although they all embody that Mediterranean spirit we've come to adore.

These differences are magnificently reflected in the fact that everyone always has a favourite Cycladean island. History enthusiasts are likely to feel engaged with Delos, home to some of the most magnificent ruins in the Aegean sea. The white walls and blue roofs of Santorini are likely to appeal to those who value their architecture and culture – and it boasts the best sunsets in the Mediterranean. And sun worshippers will find their dream beaches on the islands of Poliegos and Folegandros, both of which are renowned for their incredible coastlines. The only way to find out which will appeal to you most is to experience as many as possible.

A cruise can be the perfect way to do this as it offers a group of like-minded people access to the history and mythology of every location. This is particularly important for the Cyclades as they are all so steeped in the past. Step aboard the 25-cabin motor sailer Galilao, where you can take full advantage of its en-suite bathrooms, comfortable outdoor lounge and more than ample desk space. Despite the modern amenities, it still manages to maintain a delightfully traditional atmosphere which is both friendly and informal.