Of the 24 Cyclades islands, six have airports – Mykonos, Syros, Paros, Naxos, Santorini and Milos – all with daily links to Athens. Some have direct links with European cities in summer (charter flights, plus scheduled services to Mykonos and Santorini). There are rarely direct links between islands, so to fly from Mykonos to Santorini, you'll almost certainly need to go via Athens.
The key to sculpting an itinerary through the islands is knowing which ferries go where – and when they're going. The peak ferry services run in July and August, but in winter services are reduced or nonexistent on some routes.
A host of companies offer connections throughout the Cyclades. They depart from the main ports of Attica: Piraeus (the largest port, with services to most islands), Rafina (particularly good for Mykonos, Andros and Tinos) and Lavrio (for Kythnos and Kea).
Three extremely useful websites are:
- http://ferries.gr For checking dates and times, and buying tickets online.
- www.ferriesingreece.com/live-boat-traffic.htm See ferry locations in real time and check if they are likely to turn up on time.
- www.vesselfinder.com If you know your ferry's name, check here to see where it is.