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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.
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 Koufonisia.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 programmes are designed to offer a rich & varied experience in itineraries you simply cannot find elsewhere.
Arr- Dep: Paros port/airport
Walk the byzantine path and discover fortified monasteries
Experience the beautiful nature, the flavors and the vast cultural heritage
Enjoy the coastal panorama of the mildest island of the Cyclades
Walk along the coast and enjoy sandy beaches with shallow, turquoise-blue waters and crystal coves
Visit with a local fishing caique an inhabited paradise
Follow a pilgrim’s trail across the island’s high land, looking down over a Cycladic seascape
7 nights hotel accomodation in Paros (4), Ano Koufonissi (1) and Iraklia (2)
Guaranteed departure: five persons
Experienced, locally-based guide
Boat/ferry transfer between the islands
All transport within the program on the islands
Breakfast – gourmet wine picnic – dinner
Photos & documentation of your journey
Travel insurance (mandatory)
Airfare in and out of the country
Transport to/from destination island
Drinks and refreshments
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.
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.
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 color. We strike across the 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.
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.
Wake up at Ano Koufonissi (permanent population 350) and savor 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.
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.
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. Accommodation, village rooms, Iraklia
We take the early morning ferry back to Paros or Piraeus, passing among the floating islands and the long lumpy outline of Naxos.
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.