The following main areas make up the Cyclades:
NORTHERN CYCLADES - Closest to Attica and often passed by is KEA, mountainous and green in comparison to its barren neighbours; KITHNOS, the bare island lies between Kea and Serifos, a quiet and peaceful place, good for families and relaxed holidaymakers with many enclosed coves; SYROS, with its large harbour, that was a centre of commercial activity for millenia, and hectic nightlife. Between Syros and Kea is the uninhabited and desolate island of GYAROS, previously used as a place of exile and internment; ANDROS, the most northerly island and the second largest, only 7 nautical miles from Evia, has steep cliffs and white-sand beaches, TINOS, a popular destination for Greeks on pilgrimage and famous for its whitewashed houses and unique Cycladic architecture and famous dove-coats. Tinos is also the island of artists with many famous sculptors having come from there; Famed MYKONOS, the most cosmopolitan island in the world and the Capri of Greece, to be avoided in the summer if you don't like crowds; DELOS, the small, barren island right in the middle of it all, birthplace of Apollo. The island is all light, without mountains or even a tree to cast a shadow and covered with centuries worth of ruins; just to the west of Delos is the historic island of RINIA resting place of the ancient dead.
MIDDLE CYCLADES - SERIFOS, is like a huge rock rising out of the water with excellent sandy beaches; SIFNOS, bare and mountainous, is topped with gleaming white churches and monasteries, as well as olive groves dotted with white villages; PAROS, a well-known tourist destination and source of the some of the best white marble in the world and ANTIPAROS to the south-west with a famous cave, shallow water and great beaches; NAXOS, the largest island of the complex with the highest, pyramid-like mountain, fertile valleys and Venetian towers. It is a busy and popular tourist resort; Finally, AMORGOS, the most easterly of the Cyclades and close to the Dodecanese islands, with two ports, and some of the best beaches - only accessible by boat.
LESSER CYCLADES - DONOUSA, IRAKLIA, SCHINOUSA and KOUFONISI. These islands were off the commercial route for years, but have since been discovered and are admired for their unspoilt beauty and simple way of life.The leeward ports and bays are perfect for sailing boats and were once a favourite hiding place of pirates!
SOUTHERN CYCLADES - MILOS is of volcanic origin with wonderfully shaped and coloured rock formations, caves, coves and quiet beaches, home of the famous Aphrodite statue which resides in the Louvre; Nearby is KIMOLOS, the island of chalk and a little out of the mainstream tourist trail; FOLEGANDROS is a small and peaceful island only recently 'discovered' by tourists. Many of its fine beaches are only accessible by boat. SIKINOS, with its northern cliff-lined coast, famous for its olives that are said to make the very best olive oil; IOS, reputed to be the most beautiful island in the Cyclades, and home to the 1km long Lylopotas beach - one of the finest in Greece. This island is a gathering place of the young from all the corners of the world; THIRA (SANTORINI), perhaps the most famous of all Greek islands, known for its upmarket tourism, excellent nightlife, volcanic beaches and wild beauty. Its popularity makes it very crowded in the summer months, the only really good anchorage point is in the marina which requires a daily fee and, for this reason, its gets very busy; Lastly, ANAFI, a quiet and simple cone shaped island on the south-eastern extremity of the Cyclades.