The Cyclades

We’ve compiled the best of the best in The Cyclades - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

Sort by: 157 Recommendations {{numTotalPoiResults}} {{ (numTotalPoiResults===1)?'Recommendation':'Recommendations' }} 0 Recommendations
CLEAR ALL Area Search CLEAR ALL
Loading...
Loading...
  • 1. Ancient Akrotiri

    If Santorini is known as the "Greek Pompeii" and is claimant to the title of the lost Atlantis, it is because of the archaeological site...

    If Santorini is known as the "Greek Pompeii" and is claimant to the title of the lost Atlantis, it is because of the archaeological site of Ancient Akrotiri, near the tip of the southern horn of the island. The site now has a protective roof spanning the entire enclosed area, which is in fact a whole ancient city buried under the volcanic ashes, much of it still waiting to be unearthed—almost intact. Only one in 20 of Santorini's visitors come to the site, which is a great shame as it helps to remind of the centuries of history that the island hides beneath traveler's feet. In the 1860s, in the course of quarrying volcanic ash for use in the Suez Canal, workmen discovered the remains of an ancient town. The town was frozen in time by ash from an eruption 3,600 years ago, long before Pompeii's disaster. In 1967 Spyridon Marinatos of the University of Athens began excavations, which continue to this day. It is thought that the 40 buildings that have been uncovered are only one-third of the huge site and that excavating the rest will probably take a century. Marinatos's team discovered many well-preserved frescoes depicting aspects of Akrotiri life, some are now displayed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens but many have been returned to the Museum of Prehistoric Thera in Fira. Meanwhile, postcard-size pictures of them are posted outside the houses where they were found. The antelopes, monkeys, and wildcats they portray suggest trade with Egypt. Akrotiri was settled as early as 3000 BC, possibly as an outpost of Minoan Crete, and reached its peak after 2000 BC, when it developed trade and agriculture and settled the present town. The inhabitants cultivated olive trees and grain, and their advanced architecture—three-story frescoed houses faced with masonry (some with balconies) and public buildings of sophisticated construction—is evidence of an elaborate lifestyle. Remains of the inhabitants have never been found, possibly because they might have had advance warning of the eruptions and fled in boats—beds have been found outside the houses, suggesting the island was shaken with earthquakes that made it unwise to sleep indoors. It is worth noting that the collection is unusually weak in jewelry, but this can probably be explained by the fact that such items are high value and easy to carry and so their owners took them with them, despite the urgency of their departure.

    Akrotiri, Santorini, 84700, Greece
    22860-81939

    Sight Details

    €12; €15 for combined ticket for archaeological sites and museum in Fira Rate Includes: Closed Tues. Nov.--Mar.
  • 2. Ayios Prokopios Beach

    Beach

    This is one of the most popular beaches on the island due to its close proximity to Naxos Town and its long stretch of pure, fine white sand...

    This is one of the most popular beaches on the island due to its close proximity to Naxos Town and its long stretch of pure, fine white sand. It features a small leeward harbor with a unique view of small lagoons where herons find refuge. Its position protects it from island winds, so swimming is a calm experience that you don't always find on neighboring beaches. The small village surrounding it is lined with tavernas and cafés. Nudity is allowed in designated areas. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: nudists; swimming; walking.

    Ayios Prokopios, Naxos, Greece
  • 3. Church of Paraportiani

    Mykonians claim that exactly 365 churches and chapels dot their landscape, one for each day of the year. The most famous of these is the...

    Mykonians claim that exactly 365 churches and chapels dot their landscape, one for each day of the year. The most famous of these is the Church of Paraportiani. The sloping, whitewashed conglomeration of four chapels, mixing Byzantine and vernacular idioms, looks fantastic. Solid and ultimately sober, its position on a promontory facing the sea sets off the unique architecture. It's said to be one of the most photographed churches in the world.

    Agion Anargyron, Mykonos Town, Mykonos, 84600, Greece
  • 4. Delos Archaeological Site

    This tiny 5-km-long (3-mile-long) island was once considered the most sacred place in the known world and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Fabled...

    This tiny 5-km-long (3-mile-long) island was once considered the most sacred place in the known world and is now a UNESCO World Heritage site. Fabled as the birthplace of Apollo and his twin sister Artemis, it is a testament to Greece's glorious ancient civilization and home to one of its most important archaeological sites. First settled in the 3rd millennium BC, the sanctuary reached its glory in the Classical period as pilgrims from all over paid tribute to Apollo. To preserve its sacred importance, births and deaths on the island were forbidden and yet a population of 30,000 crammed on to the island as it became the main trading center of the eastern Mediterranean. Today the island is uninhabited, but it is easy to imagine the ancient society that once ruled here. You will find ruins of ancient temples, houses, an amphitheater, elaborate mosaics, and, of course, the acclaimed Terrace of the Lions statues. Hike to the summit of Mt. Kynthos (370 feet) and you will be blessed with views of the surrounding islands that circle Delos. The boat from Mykonos takes 30 minutes and overnight stays are not allowed. The island has no shade, so don't forget to bring a hat, sunscreen, and plenty of water.

    Delos, Greece
    22890-22259-archaeological museum

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €12, Closed Nov.–Mar.
  • 5. Koutsoyannopoulos Wine Museum

    Winery/Brewery/Distillery

    Founded in 1870, the Koutsoyannopoulos Winery offers a tour of its old facility, now a multiroom museum that is picturesque, authentic, and...

    Founded in 1870, the Koutsoyannopoulos Winery offers a tour of its old facility, now a multiroom museum that is picturesque, authentic, and mostly underground. Tools, techniques, and the original business office are from a world long gone—but the wines, as the ensuing tasting proves, are contemporary and refined. The Wine Spectator rated their Assyrtiko among the world's top 100 whites. To add your own kudos, note that this admired winery is open year-round.

    Vothonas, Santorini, 84700, Greece
    22860-31322

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Tasting €7, Tasting €10, Closed Sun. Dec.–Mar
  • Recommended Fodor’s Video

  • 6. Little Venice

    Little Venice

    Many of the early ships' captains built distinguished houses directly on the seafront here, with elaborate buttressed wooden balconies hanging over the water, which is...

    Many of the early ships' captains built distinguished houses directly on the seafront here, with elaborate buttressed wooden balconies hanging over the water, which is how this neighborhood earned its name. Architecturally unique, it is one of the most attractive areas in all the islands, and many of these fine old houses now host elegant bars. A sunset drink here to the sound of the waves is a Mykonos must-do.

    Mykonos Town, Mykonos, 84600, Greece
  • 7. Museum of Marble Crafts

    Museum/Gallery

    At the highest point on Pirgos hill, the Museum of Marble Crafts is a strikingly modern building where exhibits show the process of quarrying...

    At the highest point on Pirgos hill, the Museum of Marble Crafts is a strikingly modern building where exhibits show the process of quarrying and carving the world famous stone. The tools and techniques are described in detail, as are the social and economic contexts in which the craft developed. The master artists' drawings for altarpieces and tomb sculptures are also on display, as are some of their works.

    Pirgos, Tinos, 84201, Greece
    22830-31290

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4, Closed Tues.
  • 8. Old Town

    Neighborhood/Street

    A bewildering maze of twisting cobblestone streets, arched porticoes, and towering doorways, the Old Town plunges you alternatively into cool...

    A bewildering maze of twisting cobblestone streets, arched porticoes, and towering doorways, the Old Town plunges you alternatively into cool darkness and then suddenly into pockets of dazzling sunshine. The Old Town is divided into the lower section, Bourgos, where the Greeks lived during Venetian times, and the upper part, called Kastro (castle), still inhabited by the Venetian Catholic nobility.

    Naxos Town, Naxos, 84300, Greece
  • 9. Panagia Ekatontapyliani

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The square above the port, to the northwest, was built to celebrate the church's 1,700th anniversary. From there note a white wall with two...

    The square above the port, to the northwest, was built to celebrate the church's 1,700th anniversary. From there note a white wall with two belfries, the front of the former monastic quarters that surround the magnificent Panagia Ekatontapyliani, the earliest remaining proto-Byzantine church in Greece and one of the oldest unaltered churches in the world. As such, it is a renowned pilgrimage church of the Aegean, second only to Megalochari on nearby Tinos. The story began in 326, when St. Helen—the mother of Emperor Constantine the Great—set out on a ship for the Holy Land to find the True Cross. Stopping on Paros, she had a vision of success and vowed to build a church there. Though she died before it was built, her son built the church in 328 as a wooden-roof basilica. Two centuries later, Justinian the Great (who ruled the Byzantine Empire in 527–65) commissioned the splendid dome. According to legend, 99 doors have been found in the church and the 100th will be discovered only after Constantinople is Greek again—but the name is actually older than the legend. Inside, the subdued light mixes with the dun, reddish, and green tufa (porous volcanic rock). The columns are classical and their capitals Byzantine. At the corners of the dome are two fading Byzantine frescoes depicting six-winged seraphim. The 4th-century iconostasis (with ornate later additions) is divided into five frames by marble columns. One panel contains the 14th-century icon of the Virgin, with a silver covering from 1777. The Virgin is carried in procession on the church's crowded feast day, August 15, the Dormition. During Easter services, thousands of rose petals are dropped from the dome upon the singing celebrant. The adjacent Baptistery, nearly unique in Greece, also built from the 4th to the 6th century, has a marble font and bits of mosaic floor. The church museum, at the right, contains post-Byzantine icons.

    Paros Town, Paros, 84400, Greece
    22840-21243
  • 10. Panayia Evangelistria

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The Tinians built the splended Church of the Annunciate Virgin on this site in 1823 to commemorate finding a buried icon of the Annunciation...

    The Tinians built the splended Church of the Annunciate Virgin on this site in 1823 to commemorate finding a buried icon of the Annunciation in the foundations of an old Byzantine church that once stood here. Imposing and beautiful, framed in gleaming yellow and white, it stands atop the town's main hill ("hora"), which is linked to the harbor via Megalochari, a steeply inclined avenue lined with votive shops. Half Venetian, half Cypriot in style, the facade (illuminated at night) has a distinctive two-story arcade and bookend staircases. Lined with the most costly stones from Tinos, Paros, and Delos, the church's marble courtyards (note the green-veined Tinian stone) are paved with pebble mosaics and surrounded by offices, chapels, a health station, and seven museums. Inside the upper three-aisle church dozens of beeswax candles and precious tin- and silver-work votives—don't miss the golden orange tree near the door donated by a blind man who was granted sight—dazzle the eye. You must often wait in line to see the little icon, encrusted with jewels, which is said to have curative powers. To beseech the icon's aid, a sick person sends a young female relative or a mother brings her sick infant. As the pilgrim descends from the boat, she falls to her knees, with traffic indifferently whizzing about her, and crawls painfully up the faded red padded lane on the main street—1 km (½ mile)—to the church. In the church's courtyards, she and her family camp for several days, praying to the magical icon for a cure, which sometimes comes. This procedure is very similar to the ancient one observed in Tinos's temple of Poseidon. The lower church, called the Evresis, celebrates the finding of the icon; in one room a baptismal font is filled with silver and gold votives. The chapel to the left commemorates the torpedoing by the Italians, on Dormition Day, 1940, of the Greek ship Helle; in the early stages of the war, the roused Greeks amazingly overpowered the Italians.

    Evangelistrias 1, Tinos Town, Tinos, 84200, Greece
    22830-22256
  • 11. Sarakiniko

    Beach

    The reason that many people visit Milos, Sarakiniko is the eerily sculpted inlet whose bone-white rocks lie in the sea like vast Henry Moore...

    The reason that many people visit Milos, Sarakiniko is the eerily sculpted inlet whose bone-white rocks lie in the sea like vast Henry Moore abstract forms. The limestone and diatomite moonscape was on the seabed 2 million years ago and fish and shell fossils can often be seen in the rocks. Try to get there before 7 am as the sunrise is spectacular and you will be largely alone. Explore the right-hand side before settling down on the left for sunbathing, swimming, and cliff diving—past the cliffs on the right is a shipwreck half-submerged in the sea, and there are abandoned mine tunnels to explore. Beware though, there is no shade and the light reflecting from the white rocks is mesmerizing and intense. There is parking at the top that also serves as the bus stop. Amenities: parking. Best For: sunrise; sunset.

    Mandraki, Milos, Greece
  • 12. "Double Church" of St. John

    Religious Building/Site/Shrine

    The unusual 13th-century "double church" of St. John exemplifies Venetian tolerance. On the left side is the Catholic chapel, on the right the...

    The unusual 13th-century "double church" of St. John exemplifies Venetian tolerance. On the left side is the Catholic chapel, on the right the Orthodox church, separated only by a double arch. A family lives in the tower, and the church is often open. From here, take a moment to gaze across the peaceful fields to Chora and imagine what the islanders must have felt when they saw pirate ships on the horizon.

    Galanado, Naxos, 84300, Greece
  • 13. Aegean Maritime Museum

    The charming Aegean Maritime Museum contains a collection of model ships, navigational instruments, old maps, prints, coins, and nautical memorabilia. The backyard garden displays some...

    The charming Aegean Maritime Museum contains a collection of model ships, navigational instruments, old maps, prints, coins, and nautical memorabilia. The backyard garden displays some old anchors and ship wheels and a reconstructed 1890 lighthouse, once lit by oil.

    Enoplon Dynameon 10, Mykonos Town, Mykonos, 84600, Greece
    22890-22700

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €4, Closed Nov.--Apr.
  • 14. Agathopes Beach

    Beach

    Considered one of Syros's most beautiful beaches, Agathopes gets packed in peak season due to its shallow waters and fine sand. If you're there...

    Considered one of Syros's most beautiful beaches, Agathopes gets packed in peak season due to its shallow waters and fine sand. If you're there at the right time, you'll find a unique small islet where white sea lilies blossom. The sea view is also dotted with the uninhabited islands called Schinonissi and Stroggilo. Beachgoers can rent lounge chairs and umbrellas, and there's a local taverna within walking distance. Amenities: food and drink. Best for: swimming.

    Agathopes Beach, Syros, Greece
  • 15. Agios Nikolaos Island

    Beach

    Not a beach per se, but one of the best swimming spots on the island. From Ia, walk down to Ammoudi, then follow the path past the Sunset taverna...

    Not a beach per se, but one of the best swimming spots on the island. From Ia, walk down to Ammoudi, then follow the path past the Sunset taverna to the narrow channel that separates Santorini from little Agios Nikolaos island, so named because of the small chapel that rests on it. Intrepid adventurers swim across and rest on ledges beneath the chapel, enjoying sensational views of the cliffs and Ia perched high above. Amenities: none. Best For: swimming.

    Ia, Santorini, Greece
  • 16. Agora of the Competialists

    Memorial/Monument/Tomb

    The first monument you'll see, on the left from the harbor, is the Agora of the Competialists (circa 150 BC). The competialists were members...

    The first monument you'll see, on the left from the harbor, is the Agora of the Competialists (circa 150 BC). The competialists were members of Roman guilds, mostly freedmen and slaves from Sicily who worked for Italian traders. They worshipped the Lares Competales, the Roman "crossroads" gods; in Greek they were known as Hermaistai, after the god Hermes, protector of merchants and the crossroads.

    , Delos, Greece
  • 17. Agrari Beach

    Beach

    Agrari is a low-key beach with yellow pebble sand flanked by a low hill of small whitewashed buildings to the left and a rocky island hill to...

    Agrari is a low-key beach with yellow pebble sand flanked by a low hill of small whitewashed buildings to the left and a rocky island hill to the right. Umbrellas and sun beds are available for rent. You can grab a snack, drinks, or a full meal at the beach’s own bar and restaurant, but there are more options just a walk away. Boats leave from Platis Gialos and Ornos Bay. It’s also walkable via a footpath from neighboring Elia Beach, attracting nudists who stay in certain areas. Driving east from Mykonos Town, watch out for a stunning view of the turquoise blue as you make that final turn to the beach.Amenities: food and drink; water sports. Best for: swimming.

    Agrari, Mykonos, Greece
  • 18. Ancient Theater and Residential Quarter

    Ruins

    Beyond the path that leads to the southern part of the island is this ancient theater, built in the early 3rd century BC. It once sat 5,500...

    Beyond the path that leads to the southern part of the island is this ancient theater, built in the early 3rd century BC. It once sat 5,500 people. Close by was the elegant residential quarter inhabited by Roman bankers and Egyptian and Phoenician merchants. Their one- and two-story houses were typically built around a central courtyard, sometimes with columns on all sides. Floor mosaics of snakes, panthers, birds, dolphins, and Dionysus channeled rainwater into cisterns below; the best-preserved can be seen in the House of the Dolphins, the House of the Masks, and the House of the Trident.

    , Delos, Greece
  • 19. Ancient Thera

    Ruins

    A Dorian city—with 9th-century BC tombs, an engraved phallus, Hellenistic houses, and traces of Byzantine fortifications and churches—floats...

    A Dorian city—with 9th-century BC tombs, an engraved phallus, Hellenistic houses, and traces of Byzantine fortifications and churches—floats more than 2,100 feet above the island. At the Sanctuary of Apollo, graffiti dating to the 8th century BC records the names of some of the boys who danced naked at the god's festival (Satie's famed musical compositions, Gymnopédies, reimagine these). To get here, hike up from Perissa or Kamari or take a taxi up Mesa Vouno. On the summit are the scattered ruins, excavated by a German archaeology school around the turn of the 20th century; there's a fine view.

    Kamari, Santorini, 84700, Greece
    22860-23217

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: €6 or €15 as part of 3-day combined museum ticket, Closed Tues.
  • 20. Apollo Theater

    Arts/Performance Venue

    Built in 1864 as a small-scale version of Milan’s La Scala, the Apollo Theater is another example of Syros's wealth. Severely damaged during...

    Built in 1864 as a small-scale version of Milan’s La Scala, the Apollo Theater is another example of Syros's wealth. Severely damaged during WWII, the theater was finally restored and reopened in 2000. Today, operas and other cultural events fill the summer schedule, including the world famous Festival of the Aegean, which takes place every July.

    Miaoúli Sq., across from the Municipal Palace, Ermoupoli, Syros, Greece
    22810-85192

No sights Results

Please try a broader search, or expore these popular suggestions:

There are no results for {{ strDestName }} Sights in the searched map area with the above filters. Please try a different area on the map, or broaden your search with these popular suggestions:

Recommended Fodor’s Video