It will only take you a few sailing hours from the ports of Attica (Piraeus or Rafina) to get to them: they are the charming “nearby Cyclades”, the ideal Aegean islands for weekend escapes and island hopping.
The northernmost of them is Andros, an island with a long maritime tradition and birthplace to famous captains and ship-owners. Its green-clad topography is everything but uniform, raging from steep mountains, olive orchards and vineyards to picturesque coves, secluded beaches and natural springs. The main village (“Chora”) displays a combination of Cycladic architecture with neoclassical touches, topping off with the world acclaimed Museum of Modern Art of the Vassilis and Eliza Goulandris Foundation, showcasing exhibitions of great cultural interest.
Being the closest island to Attica, Kea (or Tzia) hits the top in the list of famous destinations with the sailing lovers. Visit Ioulis, the main village, for its somewhat cosmopolitan character, or swim at the gorgeous beaches of the island. But whatever you do, don’t miss out on its oak forest, the largest of its kind throughout the Cyclades, and the numerous little caves (among which “Tripospilies” in Kalamos and the caves of Agios Timotheos and Agios Panteleimon). Kea gives off a smell of initiation and that explains why it provides the best venue for the annual summer story-telling festival.
Further down to the East floats Kythnos (or “Thermia” for its thermal springs) an island that pays tribute to the beauty of the barren. Merichas, the island’s harbour, Chora and Loutra all lie in the North, leaving the South almost uninhabited, with idyllic secluded coves. At a stone’s throw from Kythnos, there goes Serifos, the simply irresistible island with the mining sites and the glorious past. Charming and senses-awaking, Serifos hosts some of the most beautiful beaches in the Cyclades.
We call them “nearby Cyclades” because they are very close to the country’s capital and we strongly recommend them for escapes offering the delights of a cosmopolitan touch, the scrumptious Cycladic gastronomy and some relaxing beachtime by crystal blue waters. Get to those islands and start your wandering further away the Aegean destinations from there!