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Cyclades Prefecture
Νομός Κυκλάδων
Location of Cyclades Prefecture in Greece
Location of Cyclades Prefecture municipalities
Country:  Greece
Capital: Ermoupoli
Periphery: South Aegean
Population: 119,549 (2005)Ranked 29th
Area: 2,572 km² 
(993 sq.mi.) Ranked 23rdh
Density: 46 /km² 
(120 /sq.mi.)
Number of municipalities: 20
Number of communities: 11
Postal codes: 84x xx
Area codes: 228x0
Licence plate code: ΕΜ
ISO 3166-2 code: GR-82

The Cyclades (Greek: Κυκλάδες, /kʲikˈlaðe̞s/) are a Greek island group in the Aegean Sea, south-east of the mainland of Greece; and an administrative prefecture of Greece. They are one of the island groups which constitute the Aegean archipelago. The name refers to the islands around (κυκλάς) the sacred island of Delos. The Cyclades is where the native Greek breed of cat (the Aegean cat) first came from.

The Cyclades comprise about 220 islands, the major ones being Amorgós, Anáfē, Ándros, Antíparos, Dēlos, Eschátē, Íos, Kéa, Kímōlos, Kýthnos, Mēlos, Mýkonos, Náxos, Páros, Folégandros, Sérifos, Sífnos, Síkinos, Sýros, Tēnos, and Thēra or Santoríni. Most of the smaller islands are uninhabited.

Ermoupolis, on Syros, is the chief town and administrative center of the prefecture.

The islands are peaks of a submerged mountainous terrain, with the exception of two volcanic islands, Milos and Santorini (Thera). The climate is generally dry and mild, but with the exception of Naxos the soil is not very fertile: agricultural produce includes wine, fruit, wheat, olive oil, and tobacco. Cooler temperatures are in higher elevations and mainly do not receive wintry weather. In transportation, the Cyclades is the only prefecture in Greece that is not linked with a state-maintained highway or a highway number. All of the roads in the island complex are secondary or provincial.



The Cyclades Islands encircle Delos.

The significant Late Neolithic and Early Bronze Age Cycladic culture is best known for its schematic flat idols carved out of the islands' pure white marble centuries before the great Middle Bronze Age ("Minoan") culture arose in Crete, to the south: these figures have been looted from burials to satisfy a thriving Cycladic antiquities market since the early 20th century.

A distinctive Neolithic culture amalgamating Anatolian and mainland Greek elements arose in the western Aegean before 4000 BCE, based on emmer wheat and wild-type barley, sheep and goats, pigs, and tuna that were apparently speared from small boats (Rutter). Excavated sites include Saliagos and Kephala (on Keos) with signs of copper-working, Each of the small Cycladic islands could support no more than a few thousand people, though Late Cycladic boat models show that fifty oarsmen could be assembled from the scattered communities (Rutter), and when the highly organized palace-culture of Crete arose, the islands faded into insignificance, with the exception of Delos, which retained its archaic reputation as a sanctuary throughout antiquity and until the emergence of Christianity.


The first archaeological excavations of the 1880s were followed by systematic work by the British School at Athens and by Christos Tsountas, who investigated burial sites on several islands in 1898 - 1899 and coined the term "Cycladic civilization". Interest lagged, then picked up in the mid-20th century, as collectors competed for the modern-looking figures that seemed so similar to sculpture by Jean Arp or Constantin Brâncuşi. Sites were looted and a brisk trade in forgeries arose. The context for many of these Cycladic figurines has been mostly destroyed and their meaning may never be completely understood. Another intriguing and mysterious object is that of the Cycladic frying pans. More accurate archaeology has revealed the broad outlines of a farming and seafaring culture that had immigrated from Asia Minor ca 5000 BCE. Early Cycladic culture evolved in three phases, between ca 3300 - 2000 BCE, when it was increasingly swamped in the rising influence of Minoan Crete. The culture of mainland Greece contemporary with Cycladic culture is termed Helladic.

In recent decades the Cyclades islands have become popular with European and other tourists, and as a result there have been problems with erosion, pollution, and water shortages.


Satellite image of the Cyclades


22810 - Syros, including Kythnos, Serifos and Syros islands
22820 - Andros
22830 - Tinos
22840 - Paros and Sifnos islands
22850 - Amorgos and Naxos islands
22860 - Folegandros, Ios, Santorini and Sikinos islands
22870 - Kimolos and Milos
22880 - Kea Island
22890 - Mykonos

Municipalities and communities

Municipality YPES code Seat (if different) Postal code Area code
Amorgos 3101 840 08 22850-2
Andros 3103 845 00 22820-2
Ano Syros 3105 841 00 22810-8
Drymalia 3107 Chalkeio Naxou 843 02 22850
Ermoupoli 3109 841 00 22810-2
Exomvourgo 3108 Kampos 842 00 22850-5
Ios 3112 840 01 22860-9
Kea 3113 Ioulis 840 02 22880-2
Korthio 3115 Ormos Korthiou 845 02 22820-6
Kythnos 3117 840 06 22810-3
Milos 3118 848 00 22870-2
Mykonos 3119 846 00 22890-2
Naxos 3120 843 00 22850-2
Paros 3123 844 00 22840-2
Poseidonia 3124 841 00 22810-4
Santorini 3111 847 00 22860-2
Serifos 3125 840 02 22810-5
Sifnos 3127 840 03 22840-3
Tinos 3129 842 00 22830-2
Ydrousa 3130 Gavrio 845 01 22820-7
Community YPES code Seat (if different) Postal code Area code
Anafi 3102 840 09 22860-6
Antiparos 3104 840 07 22840-6
Donousa 3106 843 00 22850-5
Folegandros 3131 840 11 22860
Irakleia 3110 843 00 22870-7
Kimolos 3114 840 04 22870-5
Koufonisi 3116 843 00 22870-7
Oia 3121 847 02 22860-7
Panormos 3122 842 01 22830-3
Schoinoussa 3128 843 00 22870-7
Sikinos 3126 840 10 22860-5


  • Province of Andros - Andros
  • Province of Tinos - Tinos
  • Province of Syros - Ermoupoli
  • Province of Kea - Ioulis
  • Province of Milos - Milos
  • Province of Paros - Paroikia
  • Province of Naxos - Naxos
  • Province of Amorgos - Amorgos
  • Province of Thera - Thera

Note: Provinces no longer hold any legal status in Greece.

See also: List of settlements in the Cyclades prefecture

See also

Further reading

  • J. A. MacGillivray and R. L. N. Barber, editors, The Prehistoric Cyclades (Edinburgh) 1984.
  • R. L. N. Barber, The Cyclades in the Bronze Age (Iowa City) 1987.

External links

Coordinates: 37°00′N 25°10′E / 37°N 25.167°E / 37; 25.167

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Greece : Greek Islands : Cyclades

The Cyclades (or Kyklades) [1]are a group of islands within the larger Greek Islands, situated south of Athens and north of Crete. The Cyclades are best known for the islands of Santorini and Mykonos.

Oia, Santorni, Cyclades
Oia, Santorni, Cyclades
  • Amorgos - the place where the movie "Le Grand Bleu" was shot, famous monastery
  • Anafi - a small unspoiled island located east of Santorini
  • Antiparos - a small island just west of Paros
  • Andros - traditional and tranquil island with many beaches and mountain scenery
  • Delos - Holy island central to Greek Mythology
  • Folegandros - a beautiful, quiet island to the west of Santorini
  • Ios - famous as a young people's party island
  • Kea - quiet island popular mostly with vacationing Greeks
  • Kimolos - small satellite island of Milos
  • Little Cyclades - a group of small islands east of Naxos, including Ano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi, Iraklia, Schinousa and Donousa
  • Milos - least touristed of the larger Cyclades, unusual landscape
  • Mykonos - sophisticated tourist destination
  • Naxos - largest and greenest island in the group, excellent beaches
  • Paros - popular tourist island with attractive landscape, good beaches
  • Santorini - much-visited by honeymooners, amazing landscape, unusual beaches
  • Serifos - small, quiet island with great beaches, traditional town
  • Sifnos - quiet traditional island, good beaches, walks and food
  • Syros - traditional island with Italianate architecture, large main town, good beaches
  • Tinos - traditional island, cathedral is major pilgrimage site


Most of the Cyclades have one main town which has the same name as the island. Some larger towns which have names of their own include:

  • Thira - on Santorini island
  • Oia - on Santorini island
  • Hermoupolis - large port city on Syros
  • Kamares - port of Sifnos]
  • Apollonia and Artemona - adjacent main towns of Sifnos
  • Kastro - medieval town of Sifnos
  • Santorini Volcano - the volcano of Santorini
  • Little cyclades - a small group of islands located in the south of Naxos


The Cyclades are the Greece of the travel posters: bare rocky islands adorned with brilliantly white cubistic villages soaring on hills above the wine-dark sea, and fringed with terrific beaches. Since all the world has discovered this, they tend to be very crowded with visitors, especially in high summer. But most visitors feel the islands' attractions are worth putting up with the crowds.

Kyklos is the Greek word for circle. Because the islands are set up in a circle around Delos the islands are named Cyclades. The best times to visit the Cyclades is May through June (early season, accommodation is much cheaper and it's not that hot), or September through mid-October (post season). In high summer (July and August), though it's the most popular season, these islands for that reason get extremely crowded and hotel prices are at their highest; furthermore, the weather then can be very hot, and some islands may suffer water shortages. In the whole period mid-May through mid-October it's usually warm enough to enjoy the beaches, but in some years you risk unseasonably chilly weather at the beginning or end of this period. In October the weather changes and rain starts to fall. Ferry schedules are reduced out of season. The Cyclades are also famous for the constant wind (called meltemi) in July and August that mitigates the heat a bit.

Get in

By plane

Regular (mostly daily) flights from Athens to Paros, Naxos and Santorini are operated by Olympic Airways [2] and Aegean Airlines [3]. Syros is also served by Olympic Airways [4] from Athens twice weekly. Paros, Santorini and Naxos can also be reached by other European airports or by helicopter [5].

By ferry

Leave from Piraeus via ferry [6]and head for Paros, which is usually the first ferry stop. From Paros onto Naxos and there you can choose from the two main routes; Either up towards Mykonos or down towards Santorini and Crete. Ferrys operate to all the islands in the Cyclades, some of the larger islands also have a Highspeed catamaran service from Piraeus. Check with the operator before making departure plans as the services are subject to delays and cancellations in adverse weather.

Hellenic Seaways

"Deck class" is a cheapest way to go around the Cyclades [7], you can sleep outside, on the deck, in Greece the weather is good, especially in summer or spring.

Hellenic Seaways Express Apollon

Really old-fleet boats. Consider flying instead, even if it costs 1.5 times more -- it's worth it.

Distinguished Class: first ~5 cabins are really shaky (and hard-to-sleep in); too intensive conditioner in saloon. Take your tickets if you go to DC-saloon, other-class passengers are not allowed there.

In Piraeus, the boat is ready for boarding 2 hrs before departure time. While in the Piraeus, it's allowed to leave luggage in your cabin for cafe visit etc nearby in the port.

Hellenic Seaways Highspeed

Bright red Vodaphone-logo boats; most popular and recommended sea transport, at least for going to Santorini.

Aegean speed lines

High speed ferries [8] operating from Piraeus to most of the Cyclades islands!


Sea Jet [9] departures from Piraeus: Milos, Folegandros, Syros, Santorini, Koufonissi, Amorgos.

Sea Jet 2 departures from Rafina: Tinos, Mykonos, Paros.

Get around

Travel by ferry. They are safe, regular, cheap and fun. The biggest ferry hub within the Cyclades is in Paros which has links to many islands.

Be prepared that travelling by ferry can be tedious in high season when ferries are really crowded. Usually there are two types of ferries: The ordinary ones and the speedboats (hydrofoils, which are much more expensive).

Also, ferries may be cancelled due to sea and weather conditions so don't leave on the last ferry before your flight, especially if it is windy. Seas are calmer at night, so the late evening and early morning ferries are the most likely to operate.

Tickets for ferries can be usually bought from travel agencies which are located around the local port.


If you visit the Cyclades for the very first time go for Santorini, Paros and Mykonos. If you want to get rid of the crowds go for the smaller islands such as Folegandros or Amorgos.

  • Island hopping - this is very popular within the Cyclades. If you have more than one week, this might be be an option for you since ferry schedules are excellent and every island has its own charm.


See Greece#Eat for more information on Greek cuisine.


If visiting in winter season, try Ρακόμελο (pronounced rakomelo). The local people drink this hot drink to warm them up on a cold day. Ingredients are raki, honey and hot water. Recommended that you only drink one or at most two. Drink three and you will be ready for bed!

Stay safe

The Cyclades are very safe. Travelers should exercise usual precautions.

Get out

Head on down to Crete when you are done with the Cyclades. If you have plenty of time you might want to go to other Greek islands belonging to the Dodecanese, the Ionian Islands or the Sporades as well.

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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

Wikipedia has an article on:





From Ancient Greek Κυκλάδες (Kyklades), plural of Κυκλάς (Kyklas), from κύκλος (kyklos), circle, ring).


  • IPA: /saɪkleɪdz/

Proper noun



Cyclades pl.

  1. An Aegean island chain in southeast-central Greece, surrounding the main island Delos, further including the islands of Andros, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Syra, Tinos and Zea.
used with the definite article (The Cyclades), unless some islands are specified


See also


Proper noun

Cyclades pl.

  1. The Cyclades


Proper noun

Cyclades pl.

  1. The Cyclades

Simple English

[[File:|right|200px|thumb|The group of Cyclades]] Cyclades is an island group in Greece. The group of Cyclades includes many islands[1]. The larger islands of the group is Naxos, Andros, Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Milos, Thira (or Santorini), Syros, Amorgos, Ios, Kythnos, Kea, Sifnos, Serifos, Sikinos, Folegandros and Anafi. The group, also includes many others small islands and islets. Also Cyclades is one of 51 prefectures of Greece. The capital of Cyclades is the Ermoupolis in the island of Syros.


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