The island of Kythnos lies south-east of Kea and is a rocky and barren island of karstic limestone that is usually covered in an abundance of colorful flowers in the early months of the sailing season. The coast is much indented - with many beautiful anchorages and ports - and for the most part falls steeply down to the sea. It has more than 70 beaches, many of which are still inaccessible by road. Of particular note is the crescent-shaped isthmus of fine sand at Kolona, where sunbathers may relax with the sea lapping at both sides of the beach.
The beaches of Kythnos are mostly small and do not get very popular. Their seashore is usually sandy and their water is crystal clear. The most impressive and well-known beach of the island is Kolona, close to Chora. It is a beautiful beach characterized by the fact that it has the sea from both sizes. There are also: Loutra, Apokrousi and others.
Kythnos is not famous for its wild nightlife. It is more of a quiet island with only a few bars and clubs by the sea.
The hilly island of Syros lies half-way between Kythnos and Mykonos. Its central situation makes it the principal centre of administration, commerce and fisheries in the Cyclades and a focal point of the shipping routes in the Central Aegean.
Agriculture makes a major conÂtribution to the island's economy, supplemented in the last ten years by a rapidly developing tourist trade. Both Ermoupolis and Finikas serve as practical yacht charter bases in the middle of the Cyclades, just like the Paroikia port on Paros. The islands capital, Ermoupolis, named after Hermes, the Greek god of trade, occupies the site of an ancient settlement of which no trace remains. It is the seat of the Prefect of the Cyclades, a Roman Catholic bishop and an Orthodox archbishop.
Mykonos is a Greek island and a top tourist destination, renowned for its cosmopolitan character which attracts large numbers of tourists. The island is part of the Cyclades, lying between Tinos, Syros, Paros and Naxos.
There are 9,320 inhabitants (2001) most of whom live in the largest town, Mykonos, also known as Chora (i.e. the Town in Greek, a common denomination in Greece when the name of the island itself is the same as the name of the principal town), which lies on the west coast. Mykonos is one of the most cosmopolitan islands in Greece, known for its diverse and intense nightlife as evidenced by a vast number of bars and nightclubs. Mykonos is also known for its sandy beaches. The island has an international airport, and is a frequent destination for cruise ships.
The central island of Paros, lying some 8 km west of Naxos, is occupied by a range of hills of gently rounded contours, rising to 764 m in Mount Profitis Ilias (rewarding climb, with guide; magnificent panoramic views).
Three bays cut deep inland - in the west the sheltered Paroikia Bay, with the island's capital that serves as the main sailing port. In the north the bay which shelters the little town of Naoussa, which in Roman times was the island's main port for the shipment of Lychnites marble; and in the east the flat Marmara bay. The island's considerable prosperity has depended since ancient times on agriculture, favored by fertile soil and an abundance of water, and on the working on marble, which is still quarried on a small scale. In recent years the rapid development of the tourist trade has brought changes in the landscape, the island's economy and its social structure.
The island Serifos, north-west of Sifnos, is a bare and rocky island, its hills slashed by gorges; its highest point is Mount Tourlos with 483 m.
The island's main sources of income are its modest agriculture and its open-cast iron mines, which have been worked since ancient times. The ore used to be shipped from Koutalas on the south coast, where there is now room to anchor (magnetic anomalies are reported due to the remaining ore!). In the season especially Livadi is much frequented by charter yachts; the Chora, towering above the sheltered harbour of Livadi, makes this one of the most stunning approaches in the Northern Cyclades.
Cape Sounion is noted as the site of ruins of an ancient Greek temple of Poseidon, the god of the sea in classical mythology. The remains are perched on the headland, surrounded on three sides by the sea. The ruins bear the deeply engraved name of English Romantic Poet Lord Byron (1788-1824).
According to legend, Cape Sounion is the spot where Aegeus, king of Athens, leapt to his death off the cliff, thus giving his name to the Aegean Sea. The story goes that Aegeus, anxiously looking out from Sounion, despaired when he saw a black sail on his son Theseus 's ship, returning from Crete. This led him to believe that his son had been killed in his contest with the dreaded Minotaur, a monster that was half man and half bull. The Minotaur was confined by its owner, King Minos of Crete, in a specially designed labyrinth. Every year, the Athenians were forced to send 7 boys and 7 girls to Minos as tribute. These youths were placed in the labyrinth to be devoured by the Minotaur.
Theseus had volunteered to go with the third tribute and attempt to slay the beast. He had agreed with his father that if he survived the contest, he would hoist a white sail. In fact, Theseus had overcome and slain the Minotaur, but tragically had simply forgotten about the white sail.