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The Best-Kept Secrets of the Cyclades

Cyclades ● Folegandros ● Milos ● Tinos ● 14 December 2017

The Cyclades are a group of islands located in the Aegean Sea. The islands, situated southeast of the Greek mainland, are a popular tourist attraction and destination, whether you’re searching for relaxing vacations on the beach or are really looking to jam-pack your adventure with hiking, exploring, and sightseeing. The largest island in the Cyclades group is called Naxos, although each island has something unique to offer, having developed cultural identities of their own while still, in their own ways, retaining the values of mainland Greece.

Even though each island in the Cyclades group - not to mention the Greek mainland itself - certainly has enough to keep you occupied for days if not weeks at a time, there are some hidden gems that often get overlooked and overshadowed by the popularity of mainland Greece and larger, more mainstream vacation islands. Here are some of the top there so-called best-kept secrets of the Cyclades - that is, lesser-known hidden areas that don’t get nearly enough attention, but as such, have been largely untouched by commercialism and industrial development in the sense that other islands in the Cyclades have.

1. Folegandros

If you’re looking for somewhere with natural beauty and a respite from busy crowds, especially if you’re visiting in the summer months of June, July, and August (which are the peak of tourist season), Folegandros will offer you plenty of natural peace and quiet. Beaches are left pretty much alone, unlike the beaches that are stacked with bars, clubhouses, and public lounge chairs - you’ll need to bring your own umbrella and water for sure. If you take a boat tour of the island, you’ll be sure to stop by the major beaches, but there’s nothing wrong with encountering them on your own, either.

Chora is the main town of Folegandros, with authentic Greek taverna to give you a taste of true Greek seafood. The friendly owners and staff will help you feel comfortable and welcome even if they’re not necessarily built to accommodate tourists with the capacity that more popular or larger islands are. In Chora, you’ll find family-owned bakeries and grocers on the little side streets. Karavostassi is the port of the island, with taverns known for their higher-end price points and service to match. Some taverna in Angali also have rooms to rent right above them.

Folegandros has a beautiful church high above Anemomilos, with some hotels having paths that lead right to this location. You can climb to the top of the church - yes, you read that right - and watch the sunset. There are much fewer people at these areas, even the most popular ones on the island, so you’ll be able to enjoy natural beauty without feeling like you’re being stifled. 


2. The Big Blue Hotel & Resort on the Island of Tinos

 Many people skip right over Tinos on their way to larger, more popular Greek islands, such as Mykonos. Those who visit Tinos generally walk away with a similar attitude: that the lack of crowds is quite refreshing, and that some of the more populated islands have “sold out” over the years, giving way to overcrowded buildings, overpriced lodgings, and congested streets. However, Tinos remains right under our nose in the Cyclades, nearly untouched - though everything is so spread out it would be best to rent a car, even ferried over from another island, if you plan to spend multiple days and nights here.

The Big Blue hotel, owned by a man named Vasilis and his family, is situated in an idyllic location with contemporary décor, comfortable accommodation, and perhaps best of all, breakfast served to your room complete with a private terrace or balcony view. The attentive owners and staff are happy to show you around. Whether you’re traveling as a family, with a large group of friends, or as a couple, the Big Blue is the perfect place to stay if you’re looking for gorgeous naturally serene views from the hotel grounds. There’s even a pool if you’re looking for a break from the beach scene but still want to swim under the sun or relax by the calming, sparkling water. In fact, all of the Big Blue services come at an affordable price compared to the luxury, high-end lodgings from the more mainstream islands.

3. Tanio Milos Suites in the island of Milos

If you’re trying to find somewhere quiet but with high-quality accommodation, the Tania Milos in Pollonia is the choice for you. Owned by a woman named Tania, her mother Maria, and a family friend named Tina, the Tania Milos features hearty home-cooked breakfasts, not to mention the easy-to-book reservation process, and willingness of the staff to help you sort out your car hiring situation. With balconies to enjoy the naturally gorgeous sunsets and daytime views, Tania Milos offers all this and more at a shockingly modest budget for all its quality, complete with daily complimentary room cleaning.


Where to Stay

Hotel in Andros, Greece Augustis Suites
Augustis Suites
Ormos, 84500 Andros, Greece

Augustis Suites is located in Ormos, only a few meters from the sea. Andros Chora is approximately a 30-minute drive away. Andros Port is 36.3 km away.

Studio & Appartment in Kea, Greece Emage Studios
Emage Studios
Korissia, 84002 Kea, Greece

Emage Studios are located in Korissia, just a 10-minute walk from the Port of Kea. Ioulida, the capital of Kea, is 7 km away.

Hotel & Appartment in Ios, Greece Pelagos Ios
9.6 10
Pelagos Ios
Main Street, Chora-Mylopotas, 84001 Ios, Greece

Pelagos Ios is located on the main street between Ios Town (500 m) and just 700 m from the famous beach of Mylopotas.