The Cyclades are an island complex in the Aegean Sea that is known for its beauty, history and cultural attractions. The total population of the Cyclades is about 112.600 and the capital is Ermoupoli, Syros.
The name Cyclades was given because of the circular layout around the sacred island of Delos. According to tradition, the first inhabitants of the Cyclades were the Lelegas, the Carrhae and the Phoenicians. The earliest human settlement in the Cyclades dates back to 9000 B.C., as it shows in the Mesolithic settlement discovered in the area Maroulas of Kythnos.
There are about 147 islands and 465 beaches that are waiting for you to explore them. In the Cyclades you will find historical attractions, many museums with “treasures” from the ancient times and wonderful trails with natural beauty.
The cuisine of the Cyclades stands out for its variety and simplicity, while offering great specialties. The cultivation of Cycladic land gives the basic raw materials: oil, potatoes, cherry tomatoes, capers, fava beans and excellent honey.
The Dodecanese is the group of islands between Samos, Crete and the Asian Minor coast in the Aegean Sea. In reality there are 14 islands: Astypalea, Kalymnos, Karpathos, Chalki, Kasos , Kastelorizo, Kos, Leros, Nisyros, Lipsi, Patmos, Symi, Rhodes and Tilos, but there are dozens of smaller islands that are sparsely populated or uninhabited.
The Dodecanese islands are known for their beauty, history and cultural attractions. The total population is about 190,100 inhabitants and in 2006 the inhabited islands and the smaller islands of the Dodecanese were 27. The earliest inhabitants were the Carians, the Telchines and later the Achaeans and the Dorians. The Dodecanese flourished in the Hellenistic period.
The Dodecanese islands have beautiful beaches, magnificent landscapes and rich cultural heritage. Like all Greek islands, in the Dodecanese you will find great specialties not found anywhere else in Greece. In ancient times the island complex developed the trade of cereal and wine and then dealt with the spices. The sea has always been a basic food source and, hence, some of the most delicious treats of Greece come from here.
The Sporades are an island complex in the Aegean Sea, which lie north of Evia and east of Magnesia, and consist of small and larger islands, with most significant those of Skyros, Skiathos, Skopelos and Alonissos.
All four islands are a magnet for visitors as they have beautiful beaches with turquoise waters, wonderful natural landscapes and particularly dense vegetation.
Visit the travel paths, historical monasteries, castles and churches and enjoy local specialties like the pie roll of Skiathos, the syrupy sweets, white wine and Tsipouro, the famous cheese pie of Alonissos and the walnut pie with ice cream of Skopelos.
NORTH EAST AEGEAN ISLANDS
The northeastern Aegean islands are very close to the Asia Minor coast and border with the Cyclades and the Dodecanese in the south and Chalkidiki in the north.
The crystal clear waters, rich history, lush landscapes and traditional villages are sure to win you over! Different from the Cyclades, these islands can offer wonderful holidays.
The islands of the NE Aegean are Agios Efstratios, Thasos, Ikaria, Lesvos, Limnos, Oinousses, Samos, Samothraki, Fourni, Chios and Psarra.
Try the wonderful local cuisine and specialties such as stuffed onions and "Sufiko" of Ikaria, the traditional lamb of Samothraki, crispy 'Masourakis "of Chios as well as mastic liqueur, Ouzo and soft cheese of Chios, Mastelo.
The Ionian Islands, also known as the Eptanisa, are all the islands of the Ionian Sea along and near the western coast of mainland Greece. The name "Eptanisa" (greek for 7 islands) comes from the number of the larger islands of the complex which are Corfu, Zakynthos, Ithaca, Kefalonia, Kythira, Lefkada and Paxos. However, the Ionian Islands also consist of smaller islands that include Meganissi, Antikythera, Antipaxi, the famous Scorpios of the Onassis family, and others.
The main feature of the islands of the Ionian Sea is the lush vegetation and beautiful blue beaches. Each island has its own history and tradition, and as a whole, the economy is based primarily on agriculture and tourism. The highest mountain of Eptanisa is Αinος, located in Kefalonia, with the highest peak at an altitude of 1628 meters.
The Ionian Islands have not experienced any Turkish occupation. They were ruled by the Venetians in the 13th century. The Italian influence is evident on the streets, the buildings and in the field of music. The "Eptanesian School of Music" ,the father of which is considered to be the composer from Corfu, Nikolaos Mantzaros, highlighted personalities who excelled in the international music scene. The famous "Serenade", with a completely different melody of known folk songs, also flourished in the Ionian Islands.
The cuisine of the Ionian Islands offers great specialties, such as Pastitsada and the veal Sofrito of Corfu, the rooster ragu and custard pie of Lefkada, the fig pie of Ithaca and the meat pie of Kefalonia.
Crete is located in the south-eastern Mediterranean. It is the largest Greek island and the 5th largest in the Mediterranean Sea. The origin of the name of the island is believed to come from the wife of King Minos, "Crete".
The island's capital is the city of Heraklion and it is divided into 4 regional sections, Heraklion, Lasithi, Rethymno and Chania. The size of Crete and the diversity of its landscapes fascinate every visitor. Some major cities to visit are Ierapetra, Agios Nikolaos, Sitia and the Neapoli. Endless routes, beautiful little villages, canyons, mountain peaks, and stunning beaches suitable for water sports. Visit the museums and archaeological sites, spend a pleasant day in Crete Aquarium "Thalassocosmos”, one of the largest aquariums in the south-eastern Mediterranean.
The hospitality of its people, the clean seas, the endless options and contradictions, the good weather and great food of Crete are so unique that approximately three million tourists visit each year. It is an island for all ages and for all tastes, as you can go camping or stay in a luxury hotel. Certain areas, such as Paliochora, Bali, Agia Galini, Myrtos, Makrygialos and Zakros offer a low cost vacation and relaxation.
Crete has one of the oldest and tastiest cuisines in the world! There are many local specialties. Try the pies of Sfakia, the Cretan "apaki", an ideal snack for wine or raki, the Cretan dakos with barley bread, the Kakkavia, the Cretan village sausages, the hare in wine sauce, the lamb fricasse and many more. Crete is also famous for its dairy products, such as the Cretan Graviera, which has become the queen of the greek cheese Graviera and has conquered the European and international market. The sweet delights that stand out are the "kalotsounia" and the crispy "xerotigana" with aromatic honey and sprinkled with walnuts.