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CONTENTS
Location
Transportation
History and culture
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People and lifestyle
Sports and Leisure
Gastronomy and Shopping
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So much to explore...
Paraportiani - Mykonos
Picturesque Villages
Magical settings
The majesty of Santorini
Beautiful sunsets
For enthusiasts of water sports, especially windsurfing and sailing, the Cyclades islands are a real paradise. The "meltemi", strong August wind, is perfect here for sailing and in particular in Paros and Myconos facilities and services are exquisite; well equipped hotels, surf-sailing clubs with equipment for hire, lessons for beginners and advanced windsurfers, rescue boats, etc. The vast range of water activities in these islands includes a number of scuba-diving centres offering full range courses. A massive new water-sports centre built on 40 acres of land is situated in Mykonos, close to Elias beach, while some other centres in the islands are equipped with giant water slides.

Since the antiquity the wines of the Cycladic isles were highly esteemed. Santorini and Paros have uniquely flavoured wines, enjoying today a widespread recognition, and constituting a significant source of income for these islands. The new and old traditional wineries represent a valuable incentive for trips combining wine-tasting and business. Local food specialties include the spicy white cheese of Mykonos called "kopanisti" and the Santorini fried tomato ball with cheese. The crushed almond and marzipan confectionaries called "amygdalota", are popular all over the Cyclades, while Syros is famed for its traditional Turkish delights, known in Greece as "loukoumia". In Mykonos the district of Lakka, which includes the harbour and the narrow alleys in the town centre, comprises a unique commercial centre in the whole of Greece, featuring some of the most famous brands in the world. With many folk shops and expensive boutiques, this shopping centre has acquired world fame for its goldsmiths. The main streets of Fira in Santorini, on the other hand, are lined with souvenir and folk art shops creating an excellent market for embroideries, knitted goods, rugs and handicrafts.

Religious feasts in Cyclades offer to visitors the best chance to witness the spirit of Greek Christianity. The most joyous religious occasion for Greeks is the night of the Resurrection and the following Easter day. Hundreds of bell towers in the islandsū churches sound simultaneously, while the islanders together with their guests celebrate with pyrotechnics. Traditional feasts follow, where roast lamb, tasty "magiritsa" soup, local wine and island music and dancing are the order of the day. On the 15th of August, when is held the feast of the Assumption of Virgin Mary (Panaghia), you canūt miss the pilgrimage of thousands of pious Greek orthodox Christians to the island of Tinos, whose great church of Evangelistria is said to hold a miraculous icon. But this day is a glorious occasion for all Cycladic islands whose most impressive churches are dedicated to the mother of Christ. Particular celebrations take place in Paros, where this occasion coincides with the local wine festival. On a different tone, every September the International Music Festival is held in Santorini, featuring well-known orchestras, conductors and performers of Classical music.