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Cyclades
chapel.jpg All these unique islands, are situated in the heart of the Aegean Sea. its most important ones being, Mykonos, Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Antiparos, Delos, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Kythnos, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Syros, Tinos, Folegandros, as well as the "Minor Cyclades" comprising Donousa, Irakleia, Koufonisia and Schinoussa.

It is considered one of the best sailing vacation destinations worldwide, where a sailor can face very nice winds or very challenging winds (Meltemi) normally during mid July to August) All Cycladic Islands share some distinctive features, such as the renowned Cycladic architecture, narrow cobblestone alleyways, fascinating archaeological, historical, religious and natural sights, quaint seaside and mountain villages and endless beaches. Each island though has several specific characteristics that make it stand out from the rest, making the islands absolutely unique, each in its own way.

flowres.jpg The areas prevailing wind during the summer months is the infamous Meltemi blowing from the N-NW. It is first felt in June and becomes stronger through July, August and September when it can reach force 7 to 8.The summer months are hot, average temperatures are 25 deg C and temperatures often reach 35 deg C.

Sailing in spring and autumn, it is possible to meet winds coming from the South and South West. In general, the Aegean is much more demanding in terms of sailing skills and experience than in other areas of Greece therefore, it is advisable the Cyclades route is chosen for a minimum two weeks sailing holiday. In case 7 days sail yacht charter in the Greek islands is the only option, then the captain / charterer should be aware in advance of the prevailing weather conditions and keep close to the return base. These unique Greek islands are distinguished worldwide for their rough, rocky and elemental landscape, their white washed houses and windmills, narrow paths full of flowers, brilliant clear blue seas and most recently their never ending nightlife in some of them.

The Cycladic Islands will satisfy all types of visitors by offering both stimulating, energetic holidays, or quiet, relaxed vacations. Whether you are vacationing as a family, a group of friends, a couple or alone, you will definitely find your ideal holiday destination among the Cyclades.

Recent History

These days some of the islands in the Cyclades group - such as Mykonos, Santorini and Ios - are playpens for visitors from across the world. The beaches are awash with the packaged hedonism of the sun lounger, dance culture and fun water-sports. Their main towns seethe with commercialism and exploitation. In the quieter islands, many native islanders still struggle for a living, raising livestock on the more barren islands, or chasing a diminishing supply of fish from seas that are not always mirror-calm.

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Modern Day History

During WWII the islands were occupied by the Italians. There after, following a period of depopulation, the fortunes of the Cycladic islands were revived by the tourism boom that began in the 1970s. Until that time, many islanders lived in abject poverty and many more gave up the battle altogether and headed for the mainland in search of work.

Pre 20th Century History

The Cyclades have been inhabited since at least 7000 BC, and there's evidence that Milos' obsidian (volcanic glass used to create sharp blades) was being collected as early as 7500 BC. The Cycladic seafaring civilisation appeared in around 3000 BC. During the Early Cycladic period (3000-2000 BC) there were settlements on Keros, Syros, Milos, Naxos, Sifnos and Amorgos. It was during this period that the famous Cycladic marble figurines were sculpted.

Many of the islands were occupied by the Minoans in the Middle Cycladic period (2000-1500 BC); a Minoan town has been excavated at Akrotiri on Santorini. The Cyclades were taken by the Mycenaeans at the beginning of the Late Cycladic period (1500-1100 BC), and the Dorians followed in the 8th century BC.

Most of the Cyclades joined the Delian League in 478 BC, and by the middle of the 5th century the islands were members of a fully fledged Athenian empire. In the Hellenistic era (323-146 BC) the islands fell under the control of Egypt's Ptolemies and, later, the Macedonians. In 146 BC the islands became a Roman province and trade links were established with many parts of the Mediterranean, bringing prosperity to the Cyclades.

 

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After the division of the Roman Empire into western and eastern entities in 395 AD, the Cyclades were ruled from Constantinople. Following the sacking of Constantinople in 1204, the Franks gave the Cyclades to Venice, which in turn parcelled the islands out to opportunistic aristocrats. The most powerful of these nabobs was Marco Sanudo (self-styled Duke of Naxos), who acquired Naxos, Paros, Ios, Santorini, Anafi, Sifnos, Milos, Amorgos and Folegandros.

The islands came under Turkish rule in 1537 and became neglected backwaters, prone to pirate raids. The labyrinthine, hilltop character of their towns dates from this period, as the mazes of narrow lanes were designed to confuse invaders. The impact of piracy led to massive depopulation; in 1563, only five out of 16 islands were still inhabited. In 1771 the Cyclades were annexed by the Russians during the Russian-Turkish War, but were reclaimed by the Ottomans a few years later. The Cyclades' participation in the Greek War of Independence was minimal, but they became havens for people fleeing islands where insurrections against the Turks had led to massacres. 7_to_8

Lonely Planet

These are our Sailing Suggestion for this region (Cyclades)...

Here you can find more information on each of the unique Cyclades Islands...