There are more than 1400 Greek islands, forming the Sporadic, Cycladic, Dodecanese, Ionian, North-Eastern Aegean and Saronic chains. Crete and Evia are large enough to stand alone. Just 169 are inhabited, some since 7000 BC. During the early Cycladic period (3000-2000 BC), there were settlements on Keros, Syros, Muilos, Naxos, Milos, Sifnos and Amorgos and during that time the famous marble figurines were sculpted.
The Cyclades are archetypal Greek islands, rugged outcrops of rock with sparkling white buildings, brightly painted balconies and churches with blue domes. Sandy beaches are lapped by aquamarine water and everything is bathed in strong sunlight.
Goats and sheep, pigs and cattle are raised on the mountainous islands. Naxos is fertile enough to produce crops. Many islanders fish, but tourism is the dominant source of income, particularly on Mykonos, Santorini and Ios, whose shores are spread with colourful umbrellas.
The Cyclades is the cluster of islands most accessible from Athens. Mykonos is at the top of the popularity pole. It takes 3.5 hours on a sea cat or six hours on a ferry. Mykonos has it all postcard villages, traditional Greek culture, narrow cobbled streets, olive groves and tavernas, providing plenty of nightlife. In fact it is known as the playground island.
The latest Mykonos attraction is a Contiki resort, 10km from Mykonos Town.
Their philosophy is that you can’t have too much fun. Check it out if you are between 18 and 35 years of age.
They have a great range of rooms. Fifty-one sea-view rooms allow you to soak up views from your balcony and have triple, twin double and single options, all air-conditioned. Seventy nine garden-view rooms have balconies, verandahs or small courtyards, triple, twin, double and single options and are air conditioned.
There are 18 twin, double and single standard rooms, perfect if you just need somewhere for the occasional nap! If you are travelling solo, Contiki can hook you up in a twin or triple room, if you'd like to share.
There’s loads to do - swimming, sunbaking, relaxing in a jacuzzi, tennis, water polo, volleyball, surf skiing, meeting new friends in the lounge, sending e-mail home, shopping and enjoying a cool drink at the Sand Bar.
For an additional cost, there is scuba diving, windsurfing, water skiing, banana boating, wakeboarding, tubes and jet skiing, tropical massage, horse riding and mountain biking. There are also jeeps for hire to explore the island.
Brunch and dinner are included in the tariff and there is a micro-market where you can purchase poolside snacks and drinks.