One of the smallest islands of the Cyclades and relatively rural outside of the capital Ermoupolis, Syros is a beautiful island off the normal tourist track. Despite its size it has the highest population in the Cyclades since Ermoupolis is the legal and administrative center of the archipelago. It’s a great place to experience authentic Greek island culture.
The easternmost island of the Cyclades group, Amorgos is just 30 km (19 miles) in length but reaches over 800 meters (2600 feet) at its highest point. It is one of the most impressive islands in the archipelago, boasting good beaches, beautiful caves, ideal spots for diving, scenic bays and ancient footpaths leading through its steep rocky terrain. Its beauty inspired the filmmaker Luc Besson to shoot scenes of the 1988 movie “The Big Blue” in the beach of Agia Anna. Amorgos has two ports, Aegiali and Katapola while the enchanting town of Hora lies amid a rocky landscape high above Katapola.
Folegandros is a small island on the southern edge of the Cyclades with the Sea of Crete to its south. The landscape on the island is varied, and includes tall cliffs and a large cave. The capital of the island, Chora, is built on the edge of a 200 meter (650 feet) high cliff. Boats dock at the little harbor of Karavostasis, on the east coast. There are several good beaches, but many of them can only be reached on foot.
Located between Naxos and Amorgos, Koufonisia is a small group of two islets: Pano Koufonisi and Kato Koufonisi. The two islands are separated by a narrow 200 meter (650 feet) wide strait. Pano Koufonissi is the only one that is inhabited and has all the tourist facilities. Kato Koufonisia has some beautiful beaches and a lovely church. Koufonisia is a great place to go walking and cycling or to enjoy one of its many fantastic beaches.
Inhabited since early times, Sifnos’ main claim to fame in the ancient world was for its gold and silver mines, some remains of which still exist. Nowadays Sifnos is known as a typical Cycladic island, with traditional white-washed architecture, pretty beaches, seaside taverns and low hills. The most popular beaches are located on the southern side of Sifnos and have crystal water, soft sand and many tourist facilities. Kastro is the most picturesque village in Sifnos, with narrow paved streets, stone houses and great sea views.
Serifos is a small island where tourism is just beginning to really develop. Its main attractions are some excellent beaches, and the unspoiled hilltop capital of Hora with its whitewashed buildings. Though small, Hora has most of the services a traveler requires, including hotels and restaurants and at least one bank and grocery store. Smaller villages are scattered around the rest of the island.
Kythnos is mostly an agricultural island with green valleys and many unspoiled beaches. The island has two main settlements, the village of Messaria, known locally as Chora, and the village of Dryopida, also known as Chorio. Both villages are notable for their winding and often stepped streets, too narrow for vehicular traffic. The villages are very picturesque but in different architectural styles. Chora has the more-typical flat roofs of the Cyclades, while Dryopida’s rooftops are slanted and tiled.
Although it is located very close to the popular island of Milos, Kimolos island maintains its pure nature and a calm ambiance. The boats dock at Psathi, from where it’s 1.5 km (1 mile) to the pretty capital of Chorio, The only village on the island, Chorio offers a step back in time with its paved narrow streets and abandoned stone houses, though little by little the old buildings are being restored, and new ones are appearing
Anafi is a quiet, unspoiled island located near Santorini. Due to its small size and few inhabitants, Anafi remains a pure island, untouched by mass tourism unlike most of the other islands in the Cyclades. It has only one village and numerous crystal beaches. A visit to Anafi provides all the privacy and relaxation some tourists might be looking for. In high season, there are daily connections from Santorini and at least one every two days in low and mid season.