The Cyclades is the most popular group of islands in Greece. Due to its special architecture, where the blue and white colours dominate, its close distance to Athens and the small size of the islands, the Cyclades are a favorite holiday destination for millions of tourists every year.
However, next to popular Greek islands in Cyclades, there are still small amazing Cyclades islands off the beaten track, where you can enjoy wonderful moments of total relaxation and privacy. Here are our suggestions if you are looking for such secluded islands to go during your Greek holidays.
Although Serifos island is found only 2 hours by ferry from Piraeus, the main port of Athens, it has still remained away from mass tourism and has kept its authentic character. The main village of Serifos is Chora, a wonderful place of pure Cycladic architecture, with picturesque corners, small churches and paved paths. The other villages of Serifos are mostly tourist settlements that come alive in summer. The port village is Livadi, the main tourist place with many fish taverns, lovely Serifos hotels and two sandy beaches, Avlomonas and Livadakia. Nice beaches are found all around Serifos island, some organized and others totally secluded.
During your holidays in Serifos, do not miss a visit to the Old Mines, on the western side of the island, where a historical strike took place in 1916 and resulted in the death of three mining workers. Due to frequent ferry connection, your trip to Serifos can be combined with other Cyclades islands, such as Kythnos, Sifnos and Milos.
One of the most authentic Cyclades islands off the beaten track, Kythnos amazes visitors with the sandy beaches and the traditional villages. The most beautiful beach in Kythnos is Kolona, a wonderful place to swim with soft sand and crystal waters. A drive around the island will bring you to many other beautiful beaches.
The most tourist villages in Kythnos are Merihas, which is actually the port village, and Loutra, a lovely village on the northern side of the island that has become famous due to its thermal springs. In fact, many visitors come to Kythnos for therapy at the Hydrotherapy Center in Loutra. Chora is the capital town of Kythnos, while Driopida is a very traditional village totally away from tourism.
A very busy period for Kythnos is on August 15th, the celebration day of the Monastery of Panagia Kanala, the protector of the island. This is when many pilgrims come to Kythnos and many religious festivals (panigiria) are organized with traditional dancing and music in village squares.
Although Anafi is geographically located next to Santorini, the most popular Greek island and among the top holiday destinations in the world, surprisingly it has remained among the most secluded Greek islands. There are no tourist shops in Anafi, no large crowds every time a ferry arrives or departs, no umbrellas on the beaches. If you are looking for a totally and absolutely secluded island in Greece, then this is Anafi!
The volcanic background of Anafi has created many impressive spots on the island, such as the rock of Kalamos, the second largest natural rock in the Mediterranean Sea right after the Gibraltar. The only village of Anafi is Chora, a picturesque place with pure Cycladic style, built on the slopes of a hill. Most frequented beaches of Anafi are found on the southern side, such as Roukounas, Klissidi and Agios Nikolaos.
Although there is a small bus that runs from Chora to the port and the monastery of Zoodohos Pighi, on the far eastern side of the island, most transport in Anafi is done by foot. There are only few taverns and hotels in Anafi, which makes it a fantastic place for total privacy. For absolute relaxation, you’d better choose a beach hotel in Anafi, preferable close to a tavern, in order to avoid long walking distances.
One of the most picturesque Cyclades islands off the beaten track is Sikinos. Located on the southern side of the Aegean Sea, Sikinos is geographically found between Ios and Folegandros. Many visitors actually share their holidays between these three islands as the ferry ride is short from one island to the other. The most tourist place in Sikinos is Alopronia, which is actually the port village, lined up with few Sikinos hotels and studios, restaurants and with an organized beach. Some other beaches are found around the island, accessible by bus or boat.
The capital town of Sikinos is Chora, a beautiful settlement with Cycladic architecture. Walk along the paved paths of Chora and see the beautiful view to the Aegean Sea, particularly at sunset time. This will be a nice memory from your holidays in Sikinos. A important sight to visit on the island is the Ancient Site of Episkopi, an old Byzantine Monastery constructed on the spot of a Roman mausoleum. Like in other Cyclades islands off the beaten track, hiking is a popular way to move around Sikinos, too.