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Cyclades Islands - Facts for the traveller, when to go, events

Facts for the traveller for Cyclades Islands

Early morning view of the Fira church on the crater's edge, Santorini Island Time: GMT/UTC +2 (+3 in summer)

When to Go to Cyclades Islands

The Cyclades have a typically Mediterranean climate with hot, dry summers and milder winters. The October-February off-season period can be a great time to visit more popular islands such as Mykonos, as they're completely different places without the crowds. Avoid the islands in high season - July and August - if you want to find a hotel room and any peace.

Cyclades Islands Events

The year's festivities begin on 1 January with the Feast of Agios Vasilis, a church ceremony followed by a gift swap, singing, dancing and plenty of pigging out. The person who gets the slice from the vasilopitta (New Year pie) that contains a coin is promised a favourable year ahead. The Greek carnival season runs for three weeks in February or March before Lent. Fancy dress, feasting and all-around merrymaking are the order of the day. The most important festival in the Greek Orthodox religion is Easter, and a moving candlelit procession can be witnessed in towns and villages on the night of Good Friday. On 1 May, May Day, there is a mass exodus from towns to the countryside, where people picnic and collect wildflowers to make into wreaths. The whole population is also on the move on 15 August for Assumption Day family reunions; this is a very good time to avoid taking public transport. Christmas isn't as huge as Easter, but it's still an excuse to celebrate a little with - you guessed it - more feasting.

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