The Prefecture of Cyclades belongs to the Cyclades South Aegean region and includes a total of 147 islands and isles. The name Cyclades was given to the islands that encircled the sacred island of Delos and many of them have been inhabited since antiquity. The archaeological site of Delos and the findings on the cape of the island are important remnants of this glorious past. Cyclades stand out for their unique natural landscape while the sunlight accentuates the local architecture which is a worldwide recognizable trademark. Many small villages comprised of white houses with colorful shutters can be found in every Cycladic island. Interesting exceptions are the large neoclassical mansions in the islands of Andros and Syros and the cave houses of Santorini's caldera. The largest islands of the Cyclades -especially Naxos, Andros and Kea- have an inland with great vegetation and water supplies which is ideal for agriculture and stockbreeding. Due to their folklore and art, Cyclades have achieved a significant cultural heritage.
Cyclades do not merely converge spatially. They also share many common geographical and cultural characteristics. Each island in the Cyclades has been molded by its traditions, touristic development and geographical peculiarities. For this reason, Milos stands out for its beautiful beaches and Mykonos for its cosmopolitan nature and intense touristic activity. Andros and Syros are known for their tint of European civilization as well as for the naval tradition of the wealthy families of ship owners. Thira stands out for its unique volcanic landscape, picturesque villages and local products. Paros and Kea are known for their gradual development of tourism and Tinos is famous for its annual pilgrimage.
Even the smaller islands, those lacking the touristic glamour, are interesting places to visit as they still retain their local customs such as festivals, indigenous gastronomic delights and, of course, the traditional architecture of the villages. Sifnos rewards its visitors with its excellent gastronomy and local pastries. Amorgos has wonderful attractions such as the monastery of Panagia Hozoviotissa. Kythnos, Serifos, Koufonisia and Folegandros offer an alternative, quieter, holiday style, while Sikinos, Anafi and Donousa remain unexplored to the general public.
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