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.
Forget Brighton, Bournemouth and Blackpool – the British coast is dotted with magical spots few people visit or even know about. Here are 10 of the best
Tucked away on the eastern tip of Anglesey, Penmon Point makes an ideal lunch stop as part of a coastal walk (the Isle of Anglesey Coastal Path runs through it). The Pilot House cafe serves Welsh cream teas in its garden overlooking Puffin Island (half a mile offshore), the Menai Strait and Snowdonia. The Penmon lighthouse nearby sounds its melancholy fog bell every 30 seconds, an atmospheric soundtrack to a stroll along the award-winning pebble beach with its potential for porpoise and seal spotting. A short walk down the toll road (free for pedestrians) leads to the 13th-century Penmon Priory and holy well dedicated to Saint Seiriol, and an Elizabethan dovecote, all ancient, arcane and architecturally interesting.
• For a longer stay, check into the Old Coastguard House; sleeps six from £895 a week in summer