The Cyclades Feature

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The Cyclades's Best Beaches

The Cyclades shimmer with beaches; every island has a dozen, two dozen, three dozen. They may be a few meters of packed earth, a long stretch of yellow sand, tiny black stones, marble pebbles, or smooth slate. But they are all washed by waters that are Aegean blue—the most unforgettable color in the world.

The Cyclades has a seemingly endless and diverse array of beautiful beaches, each curved like a water-nymph's hip. No one is really sure how many beaches there are. Is 10 feet of sand a beach? It is, if you know it is there. On some, the prevailing wind is northerly; beaches facing south or protected by northern promontories are, as the Greeks say, smooth as olive oil, while beaches facing north tend to turbulence (vice versa when the wind changes). More than 30 beaches here display the EU blue flags (awarded for pristine conditions), so it is little wonder Europeans flock here for the salubrious, pellucid waters their homelands lack.

Good to Know

The beaches do not have restrooms per se, but their taverns all do.

Beach chairs and umbrellas cost plenty—usually €5–€7.

Submerged rocks may have spiny urchins on them. Jellyfish, a plague 25 years ago, have mostly vanished (watch out for the long, transparent tentacles) and soothing lotions can be purchased everywhere.

Although more and more of these beaches have access roads, even paved ones, there are plenty with only a perilously winding dirt road leading near them.

The Cyclades's Best Beaches

There are so many wonderful beaches on the Cyclades we can't just pick out three or four to focus on but offer instead a generous selection.

Updated: 2014-01-14

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