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Cyclades Islands Cruises

Some of them are well known both to the public at large and the international jet set, while others remain little known and scarcely figure on the map.

A fusion of stone, sunlight and sparkling sea, the Cyclades lie to the east of the Peloponnese and south-east of the coast of Attica; they stretch as far as Samos and Ikaria to the east, and are bounded to the south by the Cretan Sea.

According to the most likely tradition, they owe their name to the notional circle which they appear to form around the sacred isle of Delos.

The Cyclades have exercised a powerful charm since ancient times, even though access to them was not particularly easy. This was the birth of one of Mediterranean's most important civilizations, one that took its name from the islands: The Cycladic Civilization (3000 - 1000 BC).

Geologists attribute the peculiar form which the Cyclades take today to a succession of geological upheavals - earthquakes, volcanic eruptions, movements of the earth's crust which resulted in the submergence of large chunks of land. Many believe that one such stretch of land was the lost continent of Atlantis.

The diverse outlines of the islands as they protrude from the blue waters of the Aegean, bathed in the dazzling sunlight and embellished with little white houses, resemble, in the words of the Nobel Prize-winning poet Odysseas Elytis "...stone horses with rampant manes...". Above all, the people who live here, with their own individual approach to the world, bring to life the narrow alleyways of the villages and the pathways of the countryside, the countless tiny chapels, the windmills, the dovecotes or the wind-beaten hillsides, and are themselves a basic feature of the charm which these possess.

Yet, in spite of the characteristics, which the islands have in common, sparkling sea, sun, the landscape, and the austere line of the architecture - each retains its own individual features, which visitors can discover as they explore them one by one.

The Cycladic Islands enjoy a Mediterranean climate, with an average temperature for the year of 18 - 19C. The winters are mild and the summers - by Greek standards - cool, thanks to the beneficial effects of the seasonal winds known as the 'meltemia'.


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