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Greek Islands Adventure Kayak Between the Cyclades: This is the place to get away from it all. What could be better than hiking and kayaking around the Greek Islands?
Greek Islands Adventure Kayak Between the Cyclades: Overview of the History of the Cyclades:
- The first question is generally what does the name “Cyclades” mean? It comes from the word Cyclades that means circle in Greek. If you take a look at a map, you will see why that name fits. The islands form a circle in the Mediterranean between Greece and Turkey. That makes them popular as a tourist destination.
- However, it has also meant that they were both a crossroads for trade and for hordes of invaders over the centuries. With their location, they were most directly influenced by Mainland Greece and Crete.
- The history of the Cyclades Islands begins around 3,000 BC. In those ancient days the island of Delos was the main power.
- The major outside invaders were the Persians and the Romans. In the 5th-century BC, the Persians’ war with Mainland Greece effected the Cyclades Islands as well. With the Persians’ defeat, the Islands were swept up in conflicts between the warring Greek city states of Sparta and Athens.
- The Romans arrived in the second century BC. They were later replaced by the Byzantine Empire. By the Middle Ages, the Ottomans had become the ruling party.
- After the defeat of the Ottomans. the Cyclades Islands became part of Mainland Greece’s independence movement.
- Following World War, the Cyclades Islands found peace. As a result, they returned to their role as a top tourist destination.
Greek Islands Adventure Kayak Between the Cyclades: The Islands in the Cyclades:
Andros: It has twenty-two beaches. You will have your pick. This makes it a perfect solo travel vacation. for beachcombers.
Delos: In ancient times, this was the most important of the Cyclades Islands. It was at the center of the Delian League.
Mykonos: It is one of the top two most popular destinations among the Greek Islands.
Naxos: It is less well-known by tourists. However, it is the largest and lushest of the Cyclades.
Paros: It is centrally located not far from Delos. It is a good choice if you like to avoid the large crowds.
Santorini: It is known as the “Black Pearl of the Aegean”. What is the reason for that name? It is a volcanic island. That means centuries later you will find beaches that look more like lava than sand. (Do bring a really thick beach towel. Some of the beaches are not soft to lie on!) Santorini, along with Mykonos, is the most popular tourist destination in the Greek Isles.
Tinos: Italian aficionados will love Tinos. It has the strongest history when Venice was a local power. As a result, you will see more structures that look like Venice in the Middle Ages or early Renaissance.
Greek Islands Adventure Kayak Between the Cyclades: What is There To See and Do: Island by Island:
Andros: Andros has both endless beaches and options for cultural tours. There are are four museums. Of course, there are also Venetian ruins to explore.
Delos: There are many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and famous temples on Delos. They show how Delos was the most important of the Cyclades islands in ancient times. Be sure to see the Terrace of the Lions and Sanctuary of Apollo. Also do take a walk along the legendary Sacred Way.
Mykonos: Mykonos is most famous for its windmills. It also has whitewashed villages, historic churches and ancient monasteries. You can explore the museums or snorkel at Paradises Beach.
Naxos: This green island has many beaches for swimming and windsurfing. It also much history to explore. You can start with the Temple of Demeter. Then move to more recent times. One well-known spot is the Aghios Chrysostomos, an Orthodox convent. See also the Monastery of Kalamitsia.
Paros: The island is filled with caves. You can also see ruins of another Venetian fortress, and go horseback riding.
Santorini: Arriving by boat is the best view. However, I flew in with just a day to see the island. Take the donkey tour down the steep steps to the Sea. I did wonder how to stop mine if he went for a wild gallop! The famous monastery was closed to the public when I was there. If it is open when you are there, rent a car for a visit. (My moped did not like going uphill. I had to trade it in for a car.) Have dinner at sunset overlooking all of Santorini.
Tinos: This feels like ancient Venice. Visit the Orthodox convent where Prince Philip’s mother often visited. See the Church of Panagia Evangelistria and the Chalepas sculpture. Save time also for the Marble Museum and the beach!
Greek Islands Adventure Kayak Between the Cyclades: What is There To See and Do: Active Sports:
- You can hike past ancient Venetian structures in Tinos. Start in Falatados.
- Swim, snorkel and scuba dive.
- Try out stellar beaches in Schoinousa or Koufonissi.
- Kayak from Iraklia. It is the most rugged of the Cyclades with high mountain peaks. You can take a full-day hike for a perfect view at sunset.
If you would like additional background on adventure vacations for singles in the Cyclades, please see this additional Tipztr blog.
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