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Cyclades Islands - Enviornment

Cyclades Islands Environment

Population:113,050; Amorgos 1869, Anafi 273, Andros 9999, Antiparos 1037, Folegandros 667, Ios 1838, Kythnos 1608, Little Cyclades 833, Milos 4771, Mykonos 9360, Naxos 18,168, Paros 12,853, Santorini 13,402, Serifos 1414, Sifnos 2900, Sikinos 238, Syros 16,776, Tinos 8574

The Cyclades are scattered across the southern Aegean Sea between the Peloponnese and Turkey, trickling down towards Crete and bordered by the Saronic Gulf Islands to the west and the Dodecanese to the east. The group is made up 39 islands, but the major destinations are Amorgos, Anafi, Andros, Folegandros, Ios, Kythnos, Little Cyclades, Milos, Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini, Serifos, Sifnos, Sikinos, Syros and Tinos. Santorini is the southernmost island, Andros the furthest north and Amorgos the most easterly, and the Cyclades' historic core is the ancient site of Delos, lying off Mykonos. Naxos and Andros are the largest and most fertile islands, while Anafi and the Little Cyclades are little more than clumps of rock dotted with tiny, depopulated villages.

The islands are not known for their native fauna, and introduced animals like goats, sheep, pigs and cattle predominate. Fortunately, the bird and sea life is impressive, making walking and snorkelling a joy, and the islands' flora can also be hugely rewarding. At first sight, the majority of the Cyclades islands appear to be little more than arid, rocky outcrops, but most have a surprisingly fertile heart.

Winters are never too cold in the Cyclades and snowfalls are rare, though they've been known to happen: Paros saw snow for the first time in 15 years in 1992. The islands lie right in the path of the July-August meltemi, a strong northerly wind that sweeps across the eastern coast of mainland Greece and the Cyclades. It does provide a welcome respite from the heat, but can mess with everything from ferry schedules to beach umbrellas. Conditions can also be blowy in March and October. Most rainfall is received October-May, and in summer there can be water shortages. Winter lows can average 12°C (51°F), and summer averages are 30°C (85°F) and upwards.

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