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minor cyclades

• Exclusive Paros & Minor Cyclades (Koufonisia/Itaklia) or Naxos & Donousa island combos
• Guided walking (hiking) in small groups with a personal, local flair
• OR Tailor-made guided walking (hiking) for your own party of family or friends!
• 1-week holiday: 8 days, 7 nights - See dates for group tours below • Combine with Walking Plus self-guided programmes on Paros, Amorgos, Tinos, and Naxos to extend your holiday

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"Story-book exploring of fairytale streams and deserted islands"

UNIQUE GUIDED HOLIDAYS

Join us in memorable walking holidays that combine two of the biggest and most appealing islands of the Cyclades with the uncut jewels of the Minor Cyclades (Donoussa, Iraklia, Ano & Kato Koufobisia.
Together, we will walk into amazing landscapes, from scenic, faraway beaches with emerald waters to rugged mountain tops with breathtaking views, visit traditional Cycladic villages, old chapels and monasteries, and seek the traces of Ancient Greece and the Byzantium in renowned (as well as little-known) historic sights.
You will also enjoy fantastic picnics in beautiful locations, and savour the life and the taste of the Cyclades in traditional cafes & tavernas with local specialties.
Based on our local knowledge, versatility and experience, our exclusive Paros, Koufonisia & Iraklia or Naxos & Donoussa programmes are designed to offer a rich & varied experience in itineraries you simply cannot find elsewhere.

•  Set-date guided holidays available in May, June, early July, September & October, please see dates & info here.

•  Tailor-made holidays, designed with passion & knowledge for your group, starting any day between 1 April and 16 October.

Please see our sample programmes below and contact us to let us know of your interest & preferred dates.

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“The Minor Cyclades… five tiny, exquisite, virtually uninhabited islands. For peace and quiet, for a sense of being miles from anywhere… they can’t be beaten.”

CONDE NAST TRAVELLER


ABOUT THE MINOR CYCLADES

The Minor Cyclades are little hikers' paradises where the original Cycladic charm remains for the most part intact. They are like a child's drawing of treasure islands, with improbable bites of bays scooped from every available bit of coastline.
Today, some have small permanent populations, while others are uninhabited. 

Five thousand years ago, they were a living, vital part of the Cycladic civilization, where some of the most important and finely crafted marble figures of that period have been found. In later times, though, their isolation and hidden anchorages made them perfect hideways for pirates.

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SAMPLE GUIDED WALKING PROGRAMME PAROS & MINOR CYCLADES

Day 1: Travel to Paros; you will be met and taken to your accommodation in Parikia, the main town and port. Parikia old town sunset tour & welcome dinner with your guide.
Day 2: IN THE STEPS OF ECHO AND THE BYZANTINES
A circular walk that takes us from the historic mountain village of Lefkes past a trio of windmills and over the hills to the monastery of Ag. Kyriaki nestling in a faraway valley. Up for some dramatic views of rock, sea and island, then over to a hidden well, and a small twin chapel with a large feasting area, and an oasis behind which water springs from tilting rocks. We descend to undulating farmland to join the sage-scented 'Byzantine Way', a well-restored, stone-paved traditional path.
Day 3: MARBLE & MONASTERIES
Walk on centuries-old footpaths into the olived groves and heaths under the medieval capital of Lefkes. Climb the terraced hillsides up to the old hamlet of Pigados, then wind high above it, looking down to a landscape tapestry of texture and colour. We strike across country to the buttressed Ag. Minas Monastery overlooking a landscape of rough pasture, rocky garigue and chapels and descend to explore the caves of the ancient quarries that produced the translucent marble that was used for some of Greece's most famous sculpture in Athens and Delphi.
Day 4: ANCIENT SANCTUARY AND THE RUGGED NW COAST
A wild and windy walk above the rugged coast of the NW, first climbing up to an ancient sanctuary commanding views over the ocean to Delos, and over the island to its shores and the mountains to NE. We then go over rugged cliffs overlooking the open sea and the island silhouettes all around, and descend to walk (and swim!) by the water along the curvaceous sandy beaches of Parikia bay with great views to old Parkia town & port. Taverna dinner & late-night ferry to Koufonisia.
Day 5: MINOR IN TURQUOISE
Wake up at Ano Koufonissi (permanent population 350) and savour the relaxed, distinctly Cycladic ambiance! We stay in rooms linked to a taverna with nothing between it, a sandy bay, and a view over the turquoise water to mountainous, uninhabited Keros. A coastal walk leads alongside a string of sandy beaches with shallow, turquoise-blue waters and crystal coves cut from wind- and water-sculpted, golden cliffettes, to an almost completely circular bay. Accommodation, seaside taverna rooms, Koufonissia.
Day 6: AN ISLAND TO OURSELVES
We take a local fishing caique to the neighbouring, deserted island of Kato Koufonisi and explore it from end to end, usually with the entire island to ourselves.
We swim from empty beaches, investigate fantastically eroded cliff formations and headlands with dreamy views of island and sea.
Day 7: CATHEDRAL CAVE
The ferry to the island of Iraklia takes less than an hour, leaving the day free to follow the pilgrim's trail across the island's high land, looking down over a Cycladic seascape. Our destination is St John's Cave, its tiny entrance at the foot of a rugged limestone cliff leading to a vast interior like a fairyland castle, with tiered towers, pinnacles and columns of stalactites and stalagmites. Farewell dinner at village taverna. Accomodation, village rooms, Iraklia
Day 8: FLOATING ISLANDS- DEPARTURE
We take the early morning ferry back to Paros or Piraeus, passing among the floating islands and the long lumpy outline of Naxos.

SAMPLE GUIDED WALKING PROGRAMME NAXOS & DONOUSSA

Day 1: Arrival on Naxos. You and your party are met at the port or airport and taken to either the Gilly's Garden Villa (800 m from Pyrgaki beach in the island's south) or a hotel in Naxos Town. Welcome dinner at local taverna with your guide.
Day 2: MILL-STREAMS AND DRAGONFLIES
Explore a deep valley with abandoned mill-races, a ruined monastery and church, and streams and pools where we may spot iridescent dragonflies, freshwater crabs and turtles.
Day 3: A HIDDEN VALLEY AND THE MOUNTAIN OF ZEUS
Climb to a fortified monastery with a prospect of sea and the islands of the Minor Cyclades. A dazzling white, marble path leads to a village in a deep-cleft valley, from which you head gradually uphill to Mount Zas (1004m), highest point in the Cyclades, with breathtaking views from the summit. Late night departure to Donoussa by ferry.
Day 4: COASTAL WALK
Walk along the most unspoilt coastline of Naxos, from sandy bay to golden strand, past lagoons and over a protected headland, taking a dip in the Aegean blue whenever you fancy.
Day 5: PILGRIMAGE TO A MARBLE TEMPLE
Start with sweeping views of a plain silver-green with olives and studded with Venetian tower houses, and continue through maze-like lanes of two prosperous villages, one with a finely restored olive press. Then walk through a wide valley flanked by limestone crags where eagles fly before reaching a broad vale that has been farmed for millennia, crowned by the marble of the early-Classical Temple of Demeter.
Late night departure to Donoussa by ferry.
Day 6: WHITE CAPE COASTAL WALK
Wake up at Donoussa (permanent population 180) and savour the relaxed, truly Cycladic ambiance! We stay in rooms overlooking the open sea and after breakfast, we start on a walk by the water to a rocky marble-white cape, following the lace-like coastline over spectacular cliffs and down to scenic, faraway beaches.
Day 7: ANCIENT PATHS OF AN EMERALD ISLAND
Walk on centuries-old footpaths on the terraced hillsides to hamlets, springs and ruined windmills with amazing sea views, descending to a string of pristine golden-sanded beaches for a dip in Donoussa's extraordinary emerald-blue waters.
Day 8: DEPARTURE
We take the early morning ferry back to Paros or Piraeus the next day, passing by the long lumpy outline of Naxos.

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