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Cyclades Islands, Greece

The "Cyclades" are a group of islands of varying sizes scattered over the deep blue waters of the Aegean. Some of them are well-known, while others remain little known and scarcely figure on the tourist scene. Taken as a whole, they make an ideal holiday destination for visitors of the most varied tastes. A fusion of stone, sunlight and sparkling sea, the Cyclades lie to the east of the Peloponnese and southeast of the coast of Attica; they stretch as far as Samos and Ikaria to the east, and are bounded to the south by the Cretan Sea.

According to the most likely tradition, they owe their name to the circle which they appear to form around the sacred isle of Delos. The Cyclades have exercised a powerful charm since ancient times, even though access to them then was not particularly easy. This was the birthplace of one of the Mediterranean's most important civilisations, one which took its name from the islands: the Cycladic civilisation (3000-1000 BC). Geologists attribute the peculiar form which the Cyclades have today to a succession of geological upheavals - earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, movements of the earth's crust - which resulted in the submergence of large chunks of land. Many believe that one such stretch of land was the lost continent of Atlantis. The diverse outlines of the islands as they protrude from the blue waters of the Aegean, bathed in the dazzling sunlight and embellished with little white houses, resemble, in the words of the Nobel Prizewinning poet Odysseas Elytis, stone horses with rampant manes. Above all, the people who live here, with their own individual approach to the world, bring to life the narrow alleyways of the villages and the pathways of the countryside, the countless tiny chapels, the windmills, the dovecotes or the windbeaten hillsides and are themselves a basic feature of the charm which these possess. Yet, in spite of the characteristics which the islands have in common - sparkling sea, sun, the austere landscape and the characteristic line of the architecture - each retains its uniqueness, which visitors can discover as they explore them one by one. The Cycladic islands enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with an average annual temperature of 18-19o C. The winters are mild and the summers - by Greek standards - cool, thanks to the beneficial effects of the seasonal winds known as “meltemia” (or "Etesians").

Useful information

Foreign currencies can be exchanged at the banks or bank correspondents offices on the following islands: Kea (correspondent), Sikinos, Milos, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Siros, Paros, Naxos, Amorgos and Santorini. For the rest of the islands foreign currency can be exchanged at the local Post Offices (ELTA).

Facilities for Yachts

a) Ports of entry and exit Mykonos, Santorini and Siros are equipped with customs offices, passport control offices and public health services.

b) Yacht supply stations Kea, Kithnos, Serifos, Sifnos, Milos, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Siros, Paros, Naxos, Ios and Santorini have yacht supply stations where water and fuel can be obtained.

Religious Feasts

The Cycladic islands have a wealth of churches and monasteries and also take their traditional customs very seriously. As a result, local cultural events and religious feasts are attended and celebrated with enthusiasm. The Feast of Our Lady, on the 15th of August, is marked with special ceremony on Tinos, but celebrated on all the islands since each has its own church to Our Lady.

Enjoy the beautiful Greek countryside and protect if from the danger of fire.

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