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The Cyclades are the most touted island cluster of the Aegean and includes some of the most beautiful Mediterranean islands! The spellbinding co-existence of white and blue in Cycladic architecture; the traditional way of life; the island songs; the warm hospitality; the stark landscape embroidered with deserted country churches; the stunning coasts; and the gorgeous beaches, all make a trip to the Cyclades a unique and unforgettable experience.
The islands’ total surface comes to 2,528 square kilometers. Of the 2,200 islands, small islands and islets of the cluster only 25 are inhabited today. The capital of the Cyclades is Ermoupolis on the island of Syros. The name of the cluster, “Cyclades”, means “the islands” and refers to the circle the islands form around the sacred island of Delos.
Greek mythology has it that the Cyclades were created by the God Poseidon, who turned the Cyclades nymphs into islands after the nymphs had provoked the god’s wrath.
The Cyclades have been inhabited since prehistoric times, while the Cycladic civilization flourished from 3200 BC to 1000 BC (early Cycladic, middle Cycladic, and late Cycladic periods) when the island cluster, due to its geographical position, became the hub of commerce and culture.
In the 16th c. BC the eruption of the Thera volcano put an end to the area’s growth. A few centuries later, the Dorians settled on the island. During the Byzantine period, the Cyclades belonged to the Aegean Theme, a Byzantine administrative division, and later were ruled successively by the Venetians and the Franks.
For many centuries the Cyclades were the focus of fierce pirate raids. The ravages the pirate raids caused were such that, during the Turkish Occupation, the islands were given permission to build their own ships so that they may face the pirates on equal terms.
After the 1830 Treaty of London, the Cyclades were joined with the Greek State.
Today, the Cyclades (Santorini, Mykonos, Delos, Paros, Antiparos, Naxos, Ios, Syros, Tinos, Milos, Kea, Amorgos, Sifnos, Serifos, Andros, Kythnos, Kimolos, Anafi, Folegandros, Sikinos, and Koufonisia) are visited by millions of Greek and foreign visitors who, in the radiant light and blue, crystal-clear sea waters of the Cyclades, are each looking for their own “enchanted holiday”.

10 reasons to visit Cyclades

1. The people
Cycladic people, simple, hospitable and smiling, give visitors who come in contact with them their deep wish to know more about them and their past that extends up to ten thousand years before current era. This past is so well preserved that the traveller can still enjoy its aspects on a carefree summer night at the flower filled spring hills of Anafi or at some beach of Irakleia or while relaxing by observing an autumn sunset from a balcony at Venice in Mykonos, or when gazing the shocking view of winter sea from Oia in Santorini.
2. The picturesque scenery of the Cycladic islands
If somebody has only met beaches of Cyclades, then he has only seen their one half. The other one is hidden in the traditional environment that has remained untouched despite the tourist growth of the last years. Even in the busiest of the islands one finds whitewashed churches, cobbled streets, flower filled squares, wild flowers, wild olive trees, vine yards, herbs and in general a ground full of fragrances. The houses are built in human dimensions. The landscape is dry, barren and hard, however poetic. It has inspired poets, painters, composers and architects.
3. The seas
A unique combination of white and light blue. Various and colourful bays with fishing boats and secluded or busy beaches. Spotless seas with transparent waters and many "blue flags" (European indication of clean beaches). Seas that nurture animals unique in the world such as the monk seal (monachus monachus). In the immense "Big Blue" you will meet dolphins that accompany your travel and seabirds that contribute to your splendid voyage of vacations by singing.
4. The particular light of the Cyclades
The unique sunlight in combination with the immense light blue sea surround both nature and people and shape their character. A unique light that has left its marks on poetry, painting, and music of known local creators.
5. The Mystery
In order to experience the magic of the past through discoveries of the early Cycladic culture, the medieval or later history of the islands. Could the Secrets of the Lost Atlantis be hidden in its past?
6. The tasty local dishes
Dishes that local housewives are innovatively creating with intelligence out of the very few products of the islands.
7. The poetry of Elytis that is hidden on each mountain ridge in this small world.
8. The amusement
Combining night life with relaxation. Quietness and isolation together in contrast to frantic parties.
9. The proximity of the islands
All islands are one neighbourhood. With an inflatable boat you can take a swim at Polyaigos and after that a drink at Milos, sail to Irakleia for coffee and after that to Schoinousa in 10΄ for a spaghetti with lobster dish. Even Paros and Naxos are so close to each other that one can easily "take it to the other side" for a game of backgammon.
10. The islands
There are 147 islands and rocky islands, populated and uninhabited. They are all offered for explorations and discoveries of a different lifestyle. Each one of them is by itself an enough good reason!

source: http://www.visitgreece.gr/portal/site/eot/
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