Íos, Síkinos & Folégandros
Area of island: 105 sq. km/41 sq. miChief place: Íos (Khóra)Íos is a hilly island, largely fringed by cliffs, lying roughly half way between Páros or Náxos and Santorin. Until quite recently its only source of income was agriculture on the terraced slopes of the Káto Kámpos valley and its side valleys, but in the last few years it has been invaded by large numbers of backpackers who have destroyed - during the summer months at least - the peace and harmony of the island.
Ios (Khora), Greece
One km/.75mi up the fertile Káto Kámpos valley is the chief place on the island of Íos, Íos (Khóra). Its white Cycladic houses and twenty or so churches and chapels are enclosed within a dilapidated circuit of medieval walls (There are some 150 other churches scattered about the island.)On the hill above the village of Íos Khóra, in two rows, are twelve windmills (now out of use).
In a cave on the north side of Mt Pyrgos (732m/2,402ft), near the Plakotó monastery, are the remains of a sanctuary (probably Hellenistic) which is said to contain Homer's tomb. At the north end of the island is a ruined Venetian castle.
The little port of Órmos Íou, with the domed church of Ayía Iríni (17th C.), lies in a deeply indented inlet on the west coast of the island of Íos.
The Archeological and Folkloric Museum at Ios town and the Museum of Modern art at Kolitsani are worth a visit.
Area of island: 41 sq. km/16 sq. miChief place: SíkinosSíkinos, 6km/4mi southwest of Íos, is a bare and rocky island fringed by sheer cliffs, with rugged hills in the north and northwest and gentler terrain in the southeast (terraced cultivation).With its inhospitable soil and lack of sheltered anchorages, Síkinos was never of any great political or cultural importance in antiquity. Its fortunes were closely linked with those of Naxos. In Roman times it was used as a place of exile.Regular service from and to Athens (Piraeus), three times a week (10 hours). Local connections with Íos and other neighboring islands.
From the anchorage of Aloprónia (sandy bay), on the southeast coast of Síkinos, it is an hour's climb (2.5km/1.5mi; mules can be hired) up a wooded gorge to the chief place on the island, Síkinos, a typical Cycladic village, with the picturesque Kástro quarter within the walls of its medieval castle. On the hillside above this is the main village, Khorió. Higher up are the ruins of the Zoodókhos Piyí monastery.
Khorio - Zoodokhos Piyi Monastery
Zoodókhos Piyí Monastery at Khorió is built on the peak of a rock. It is more reminiscent of an impregnable castle from the distance.
Panayía & Ayía Marína
A 90-minute walk west of the Zoodókhos Piyí Monastery is the chapel of the Panayía, which belonged to the Episkopi monastery, built on the site of an ancient sanctuary of the second century B.C.On the steep hill beside the little church of Ayía Marína are scanty remains of the ancient city.
Area of island: 34 sq. km/13 sq. miThe long straggling island of Folégandros, between Melos and Santorin, is still barely touched by the tourist trade. The cliff-fringed eastern part of the island, with its highest hill (411m/1348ft), is bare and arid; the western half is milder, with water from springs, and supports a modest terraced agriculture.With its poverty and lack of sheltered harbors, Folégandros was never a place of any importance. Its destinies were closely bound up with those of Náxos. In Roman times it was a place of exile.
From the landing-stage at Karavostásis on the east coast of the island of Folégandros it is an hour's walk (3km/2mi; mules can be hired) to the chief place on the island, Folégandros (Khóra), a village of typical Cycladic houses with a medieval Kástro. To the east is the hill of Palaiókastro, with scant remains of the ancient town.
Northwest of the Folegandros vilage is Áno Meriá, the largest village on the island of Folégandros. On the east coast are the caves of Khrysospiliá and Yeoryítsi (access difficult), with ancient graffiti.
Ano Meria Ecological & Folklore Museum
Ano Meria has the Ecological and Folklore Museum, with exhibits on everyday life of the islanders. Buildings, tools, and textiles used in farming can be seen.