Ios was one of the first party islands in Greece, being a spot for hippies and backpackers in the 60s. These days this reputation as a party island still somewhat remains yet it is far less deserved. That is not to say that the island doesn’t have a good nightlife, it has just mellowed out and become a more rounded destination. In this article we’ll show you what else the island has to offer by taking you through a list of the best things to do on the island.
How to get there
Ios doesn’t have an airport, and this means you have to get a ferry. The nearest island which you can fly into is Santorini. The ferry takes around 30-60 mins depending on the speed of the ferry. You can fly directly into Santorini from London Heathrow, London City, Bristol, London Gatwick, Luton, Manchester, Birmingham, Edinburgh, Leeds Bradford, Stansted, Newcastle and East Midlands.
Milos has received a lot of attention recently for being one of the Greek islands rising in popularity, even on its way to becoming the new Santorini. Now that is lofty heights indeed, however as we have found on our travels around Greece, every island is different. Milos is known, similarly to much of Greece for its beaches. Where it stands out is in its unique landscape, being a volcanic island much of it has been sculpted into weird and wonderful shapes. Alongside this, it is a very laid-back island where life goes at its own pace and where you can take your time with your holiday. In this article we’ll tell you more about the island to show you why its becoming more popular and perhaps you’ll make it part of your next Greek holiday.
How to get there
Milos has a small domestic airport so you can fly in, we recommend doing so from Athens. If not you can use the ferry. Milos is on the western Cyclades line and ferries run around 3 times a day from Athens Piraeus and once from Santorini, if you’ve flown in from there but that is generally more expensive.
Paros is sometimes called Mykonos' little brother. Despite the fact that thousands descend on Paros each summer, the island has managed to maintain an authentic Greek island atmosphere which makes it more relaxed than its neighbour. Not only that, but it has so much to offer. In this blog we’ll narrow Paros’s many delights into a top 5 of things to do and places to visit on the island.
How to get there
Paros does have an airport but you can’t fly directly into it from the UK as it is for domestic flights only, therefore you have to fly from Athens or in the summer, Thessaloniki and Heraklion. Flights from Athens only take around 40 mins. Alternatively you can take the ferry to get to Paros, not only is it one of the largest islands in the Cyclades but it is also one of the main ports and therefore is usually one of the first stops on the route. Its also great if you’re wanting to island hop as it has great links with other islands in the Cyclades.
1 - Parikia
The islands main port and capital town, Parikia should be high on your list of things to do when on Paros. Full of the typical whitewashed houses you expect from the Cyclades, it makes for stunning scenery. As well as these, there are the remains of the Kastro (castle) which was built by the Venetians in the 13th century. Parikia is filled with close streets bustling with cafes and tavernas that stretch all the way down, and along the waterfront providing a scenic spot for food. If you want to be in the middle of everything that is happening on the island Parikia is a good place to stay, and it is very accommodating to tourists with all the amenities you could need such as banks and supermarkets. Parikia is also home to one of the places you should definitely visit when on Paros, Panagia Ekatontapiliani, a church which is one of the most important Byzantine monuments in all of Greece. If you’re on the island on the 15th August then you’re in luck as it is the feast day for the Dormition of Our Lady, to which the church is dedicated and there is a huge celebration on the island.
Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades islands and is slowly becoming more popular for tourists. With an airport for internal flights and excellent ferry links, its not a difficult place to get to and is great if you’re looking to stay on one island or as part of an island-hopping trip. In this blog we’re going to show you why, if you’re looking at the Cyclades, Naxos should be your first choice.
How to get there
As we mentioned earlier Naxos has a domestic airport and excellent ferry links. If you’re going to fly we recommend flying into Naxos via Athens, Mykonos or Santorini. As Naxos is on the main Cyclades ferry line, boats are regular and so it is not difficult to get to, no matter where you are coming from. We will sort ferry times to line up with flights at the time of enquiry.
Come for the beaches
Many people come to Greece for the beaches and Naxos can certainly deliver on that front. Being the largest island in the group, it has plenty of beaches (over 90kms). It has several organised beaches but there are many which aren’t and can be a lot more private. Most of these organised beaches are in Naxos Town or the nearby Agios Prokopios. Those looking for the smaller, more quiet beaches can travel around the island, either via public transport, excursion or hire car. Most of Naxos’s beaches have fine white sand, there are however some pebble beaches and rocky ones as well. Its many beaches make it perfect for a number of water sports such as kitesurfing and windsurfing.
Andros is an island that is the best of the Ionian islands and the Cyclades thrown into one. With the beautiful, whitewashed buildings and warm, sandy beaches it fits in with its neighbours as part of the Cyclades. However, one half of the island is full of luscious greenery, filled with different types of trees and shrubbery. This mix of the two gives it a very different feel to others in the Cyclades and makes a refreshing change if you’re island hopping or staying for a night or two from Athens. Andros is one of the most authentic Greek islands and is largely unaffected by mass tourism, instead it is a popular spot for many Athenians to go on holiday due to its proximity. In this article we’ll take you through what makes Andros great and why you should make it a stop when visiting the Cyclades.
How to get there
Andros is the closest of the Cyclades islands to Athens and therefore it isn’t too far on the ferry. This also makes it a good first stop if you’re embarking on a island hopping trip of the Cyclades. It doesn’t have its own airport so we recommend flying into either Athens or Mykonos. If you’re thinking of flying into Athens, the ferries will go from Rafina port which is served by a bus service which runs every 25 mins from Athens airport. You can fly into Athens or Mykonos from Heathrow, Gatwick, Luton and Stansted. Check the individual pages for Athens or Mykonos for other regional airports, but we will advise you of this at the time enquiry.
This week’s Island of the Week is our personal favourite here at The Greek Specialist, the Cyclades Island of Sifnos. Located in the west of the Cyclades, Sifnos very much has a similar feel and look. Most notably with the white-washed houses with shutters and the white walled churches with the blue roofs. It has a number of great beaches and its capital Apollonia, is full of close winding streets packed with restaurants and tavernas, so much so that in July and August it resembles a little Mykonos. This time of year is also when the nightlife is the best. From experience of having been there countless times here is our list of the best things to do in Sifnos.
How to Get There
Sifnos doesn’t have an airport so you will need to fly into Athens and then get the ferry from Piraeus port. Sifnos is on the Western Cyclades line and ferries tend to run at least twice a day from there. You can also fly domestically from Athens to its neighbour Milos and then get the ferry from there which takes around 45/50 mins. You can fly into Athens directly from Heathrow, Gatwick, Birmingham, Luton, Edinburgh and Stansted.
One of the things that really sets Sifnos apart from the rest is its food. Known across Greece for their skills in the kitchen, people from Sifnos have a number of recipes which really delight. There’s even a rumour that if you’re in the Greek Navy and the cook on your ship is from Sifnos, you should feel very lucky. The dish that the island is most famous for is Revithada, a chickpea soup slow cooked for many hours. If you’re on the island on a Sunday we think this is the best time to get it, as the chefs take it down to the bakers on Sunday morning and it is slow cooked for 6-8 hours making it perfect for Sunday lunchtime. Our personal favourite restaurant for it is called Meropi. Another restaurant you must check out is Nus which has its own farm which creates a lot of the produce for the restaurant making it organic and delicious.
'This week’s Island of the Week is the rugged but naturally beautiful island of Folegandros. Part of the Cyclades, Folegandros is located in the south of the island chain. Only 8 miles long and 3 miles wide, it is one of the smaller islands yet it is known as the island of peace, for it’s tranquil way of life those on the island experience. So here at The Greek Specialist we’ve put together some of the best places to go on the island and things to do to make the most of your trip.
Folegandros has a number of beautiful beaches such as Fira, Agios Nikolaos or Agios Georgios but Katergo beach has to take the top spot. Unlike some of the other beaches mentioned Katergo isn’t the easiest to reach yet that makes it even more worth it. You can only get to Katergo on foot or via boat from the island's port of Karavostasi, these run roughly every 10 minutes though so don’t worry. The beach itself is surrounded by rock formations, and some nearby inlets which you can swim to. The water is crystal clear and makes it perfect for snorkeling and playing around in the water.
Greece is a love affair for The Greek Specialist. Our first visit to the country came in 1997 and since then