Endless blue sea, Greek sun and tranquillity. Five hidden gems in the Cyclades islands!

A guide about captivating Greek islands that promise unforgettable adventures, by the team at Greeklist.

The Cyclades, a stunning cluster of islands in the Aegean Sea, are famed for their breathtaking landscapes, crystal-clear waters, and rich cultural heritage. While hustle and bustle islands like Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, and Santorini steal the spotlight, there are many lesser-known gems that offer equally enchanting experiences with fewer crowds. Discover the hidden treasures of the Cyclades, where you can immerse yourself in serene beaches, charming villages, and authentic Greek hospitality!

Folegandros: The untamed beauty

Folegandros

A small, rugged island that captivates visitors with its dramatic landscapes and unspoiled charm. The island’s Chora (capital) is one of the most picturesque villages in the Cyclades, perched on the edge of a steep cliff, offering breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea. The narrow, winding streets are lined with traditional whitewashed houses, and the main square is bustling with local tavernas and cafes, creating a lively yet intimate atmosphere. Despite its beauty, Folegandros remains largely off the beaten path, preserving its authenticity and tranquility.

The island’s beaches are another highlight, offering secluded spots ideal for those seeking peace and quiet. Katergo Beach, accessible only by boat or a challenging hike, rewards visitors with its pristine waters and serene surroundings. Agios Nikolaos Beach, with its clear waters and a few tavernas nearby, is perfect for a relaxing day by the sea. Beyond its beaches, Folegandros offers beautiful hiking trails that traverse its rugged terrain, leading to hidden coves and panoramic viewpoints. The combination of dramatic natural beauty and a serene atmosphere makes Folegandros a perfect destination for a peaceful getaway.

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Serifos: The serene escape

Serifos

A lesser-known Cycladic island, rich in history and natural beauty, offering visitors a chance to experience authentic Greek island life. The Chora of the island, perched high on a hill, is a quintessential Cycladic village with narrow, winding streets, white-washed houses, and stunning views of the Aegean Sea. As you explore the village, you’ll come across charming squares, traditional tavernas, and local shops. Serifos also boasts several historical sites, including the remnants of a Venetian castle, providing a glimpse into the island’s storied past.

The island is equally renowned for its beautiful beaches, which are some of the most pristine in the Cyclades. Livadakia, and Psili Ammos are among the most popular, offering golden sands and crystal-clear waters perfect for swimming and sunbathing. These beaches are less crowded than those on the more famous islands, making them ideal for relaxation. Serifos also offers excellent hiking opportunities, with trails that lead through scenic landscapes to hidden coves and ancient ruins. The combination of historical intrigue and natural beauty makes Serifos a unique and rewarding destination for travelers.

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Kea: The little Oasis

Kea

Kea, also known as Tzia, is one of the closest Cycladic islands to Athens, making it an easily accessible yet underappreciated gem. This island offers a rich tapestry of history, culture, and natural beauty. The ancient city of Karthea, with its impressive ruins overlooking the sea, is a must-visit for history enthusiasts. Another notable landmark is the Lion of Kea, an archaic sculpture that has watched over the island for centuries. The capital, Ioulida, is a picturesque town with traditional houses, narrow alleys, and a relaxed ambiance that captures the essence of Greek island life.

Kea is also known for its diverse landscapes, featuring lush forests, fertile valleys, and beautiful beaches. Otzias and Koundouros are two of the island’s standout beaches, offering serene settings for swimming and sunbathing. The island’s well-marked hiking trails traverse its scenic terrain, passing through oak forests and ancient sites, making it a paradise for nature lovers and hikers. Kea’s blend of historical significance, natural beauty, and proximity to the mainland makes it a perfect escape for those seeking an authentic and tranquil Greek island experience.

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Amorgos: The cliffside wonder

Amorgos

One of the most striking islands in the Cyclades, is famous for its dramatic landscapes and unspoiled beauty. The Monastery of Hozoviotissa, clinging to a cliffside high above the sea, is one of the island’s most iconic landmarks. This 11th-century monastery offers breathtaking views and a sense of serenity that attracts both pilgrims and tourists. The island’s main town, Chora, is a labyrinth of narrow streets, whitewashed houses, and vibrant bougainvillea, providing a charming and authentic Greek island experience.

The beaches of Amorgos are another highlight, with several secluded spots that offer crystal-clear waters and peaceful surroundings. Agia Anna Beach, featured in the movie “The Big Blue”, is renowned for its stunning scenery and excellent snorkeling opportunities. Also, Mouros Beach, with its turquoise waters and nearby sea caves, is perfect for those seeking a tranquil escape. Amorgos offers numerous hiking trails that traverse its rugged terrain, leading to hidden coves, ancient ruins, and panoramic viewpoints. The island’s combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and peaceful ambiance makes it a unique and captivating destination.

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Sifnos: The culinary Paradise 

Sifnos

One of the more understated jewels of the Cyclades, a haven for those seeking a blend of culture, culinary delights, and serene landscapes. The island is dotted with charming villages like Apollonia, the capital, known for its labyrinthine streets, white-washed buildings, and vibrant nightlife that still maintains a relaxed vibe. Artemonas, another beautiful village, offers stunning views and traditional architecture. The island is also famous for its culinary heritage, often considered the gastronomic capital of the Cyclades. Visitors can indulge in local specialties such as revithada (a slow-cooked chickpea stew) and mastelo (lamb or goat baked in a clay pot with red wine and dill), both reflective of the island’s rich culinary traditions.

Beyond its villages, Sifnos boasts an array of beautiful beaches perfect for relaxation and water activities. Vathi and Platis Gialos are two of the most popular, offering soft sands and clear waters ideal for swimming and sunbathing. These beaches, while stunning, remain relatively uncrowded compared to those on more famous islands, providing a peaceful retreat. The island also offers excellent hiking opportunities, with well-marked trails that lead to ancient towers, monasteries, and panoramic viewpoints. Whether you are a foodie, a nature lover, or a history enthusiast, Sifnos has something to captivate every visitor.

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Cyclades unveiled

The islands that we mentioned, reveal a world of hidden beauty and serene escapes. Each one offers its own unique charm, inviting you to experience the authentic heart of the Aegean. Embrace the tranquility and magic of these lesser-known gems, and let the endless blue sea under the Greek sun, or the clear night sky leave you enchanted!

Sifnos Island

Don’t miss our Summer travel guides to Athens, Thessaloniki, Crete, Nafpaktos, Santorini, Naxos and Mykonos!

 

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