The Cyclades are the picture-perfect Greek islands where whitewashed villages tumble down to azure bays. We explore the famous – Mykonos and Santorini – and smaller islands too
• More in the Greek Island holiday guide series
Ask most people to think of the Greek islands and the image that springs to mind probably derives from the Cyclades (pronounced Kyklades in Greek, which does not have a soft “c” sound). Most evocative of these pictures is of white-washed, cuboid houses on a hillside above an azure bay. The houses themselves are dashed with splashes of bright blue, perhaps mixed in with the odd windmill or domed church. This image becomes reality in many places on this rough circle of islands, which provide the perfect venue for island hopping.
In truth, however, the Cyclades consist of a lot of diverse islands with differing cultures and landscapes. It’s impossible to capture them all in a short guide, so will just attempt to point out some highlights.