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Cool design, contemporary styling and a hug to local island culture make our pick of four easy-to-get-to Cycladic island escapes of Santorini, Tinos, Syros, Sérifos and Koufonisia are all the more irresistible. They fully capture the Mediterranean canvas of design culture, sun-bleached whites, and neoclassicism to modernism, all set against sea blues that is just so Greek & Cycladic.
Private, small and intense, our five design hotels & luxury villas of escapism are all about chilling and being in tune with the island lifestyle. The owners each fell unreservedly in love with their finds and have crafted nuggets of style that are easy, luxurious and very Greek with a cool edge.
Santorini is famed for its volcanic beauty, including the Caldera - that sweeps into the deep Aegean and where the villages cascade down its cliffs like icing into the blue seas. The Cycladic island also has a cultural heartland in the hilltop village of Pyrgos - affording panoramic vistas across the whole island, a perfect town of Cycladic architecture. Another highlight has to be the ancient site of Akrotiri - the Pompeii of Santorini, which was covered until recently in volcanic ashes. Of course, the beating sun, and volcanic soil art the perfect habitat for those in the know, for producing exceptional wines: The Wines of Santorini.
The saintly isle of some 1500+ churches & 60 villages, stunning coastlines and cultural heritage, the little gem is the quiet Cycladic, with plenty of hush, hush time. A real foodie island, check out the Wines of Tinos, or discover the history of marble at the Tinos Museum of Marble.
Between the islands of Naxos and Amorgos is the Robinson Crusoe, off-the-radar island trio called Koufonisia, which collectively forms part of the four ‘Small Cyclades’ of Greece (Mykonos, Santorini and Ios).
A tiny dot in the Cyclades Islands, Syros shimmers in the Aegean Sea, surrounded by a circle of Cycladic isles such as Tinos, Serifos, Mykonos, Paros and Sifnos. Like all island adventures, the best way to arrive in Syros is by via classic Greek, sun-drenched ferry into the ancient town of Hermoupolis/ Ermoupoli.
A beautifully rugged and raw island, Sérifos feels untouched by tourism and comes with slow-time beaches. Those in tune with Greek mythology will remember Sérifos as the place where Perseus, son of Zeus grew up and returned with Medusa’s head, turning his mother’s would-be suitor Polydectes to stone. The legend goes that from this moment, Sérifos also turned from verdant green to barren stone. Today, on this silent, sun-baked isle, it feels like the rocky Sérifos could still set the scene for the ancient Greek tragedy.
Our favourite route is to hop through Athens and either ferry on down to the islands or hop onto a smaller jet and fly direct to Santorini or Naxos; alternatively, you can fly into Mykonos and take the fastcat 20 minutes to unspoilt Tinos, 40 minutes to Syros and about 90 minutes to Koufonisia. Travel between the Cyclades has recently been made, at last, much easier to plan with many ferry services now fully online – yeah.