Cyclades comes from kyklos, a circle, and a glance at the map indicates that the islands circle the sacred isle of Dilos. In historic terms, the Cyclades are probably the most significant group of all the Greek islands. Over the period 3000-1000 B.C, the so-called Cycladic civilization flourished here, producing extraordinary works of art that have had a lasting impact on the world. In antiquity, the Cyclades had at their center, the small island of Delos, where mythology tells us that Apollo and his sister Artemis were born. Declared a sanctuary where both birth and death were prohibited, Delos was an important spiritual, cultural and commercial hub of the Aegean. Today, its extensive remains remind visitors of its former importance.
If you see a photograph illustrating the Greek islands, there is a strong chance it was taken on one of the Cyclades. It will show an ink-blue sky, a jumble of dazzling white houses set higgledy-piggledy against a hillside, and somewhere, a blue-domed church. In many people's minds, this is the archetypal picture of a Greek island. On these particular islands, you'll also find red poppies growing from bare white rock, the aroma of wild herbs filling the air, and idyllic beaches gleaming in the sun.
The administrative capital of the Cyclades is Siros. Naxos, the largest island, along with its neigbour Paros, is more precisely in the geographical center of the group than in Dilos. Paros (sometimes called 'the poor man's Mykonos'), is the transport hub of the Cyclades, with a gentle landscape, appealing villages, good beaches and opportunities for windsurfing. Paros is the third largest of the Cyclades Islands. It is even more famous for its marble than Naxos. As the raw material desired by all the finest sculptors and architects, it was transported throughout Greece in classical times.
Paros has always been prosperous and it has retained much of its Greek customs and culture. Paros town, or Paroikia, in a sheltered harbour on the west coast, is a focal point for ferry services around the Cyclades. It has all the activity, bars and restaurants which you might expect. For a map of Paros or Paroikia, click here for Paros accommodation at fantasticgreece.com. The site contains various Paros Hotels with descriptive information as well as beautiful pictures. Paros is noted for its nearby beaches. It really has a little of everything one expects from a Greek island: old villages, monasteries, fishing harbours, a labyrinthine capital, nice beaches and varied nightlife. The island is really tourist attraction hotspot and anyone who wishes to find accommodation at Paros should book for Paros hotel early!