Because of its proximity to Attica, the history of Kea is closely linked to that of Athens, and the island has been inhabited since the late Neolithic period. During the Persian invasion the Keans fought alongside the Athenians at both the battles of Salamis and Artemisium. The only Cyclades islands to fight on the side of the Greeks apart from Naxos were Kea, Kythnos and Tinos. The Parians prudently waited at Kythnos to come in on the winning side, and for this act of duplicity they were afterwards forced to pay a heavy indemnity by Athens.
Folegandros is the southest of western Cyclades. Lies in Aegean Sea, next to Milos and Sikinos. Its history gets lost along the centuries and Folegandros followed during different eras the fate of the rest cycladic islands. It's name was given after Folegandros, Minos son. Ancients used to call it "Sidira" (irony) due to its hard ground. Walking from Karavostasi, the harbour, to Hora, Folegandros unfolds its charm. Hora, the capital of the island, is a small jewel of Aegean Sea, tied up with beautiful churches, wide paved paths, white houses and friendly people.
Travel writers seem to agree that Kythnos is the least interesting of all the Cyclades islands. It extremely barren with little to relieve the eye. This means that few foreigners travel there and it is a place where you can relax away from the crowds, even in the height of summer. Excavations have found a site dating back to the Early Neolithic or even the Mesolithic period, making it the oldest habitation yet found in the Cyclades. Much later the Ionians arrived on the island and founded the ancient city of Kythnos.
If you enjoy breathtaking scenery and untouched beauty, Folegandros is the island for you. Artists use this island as a thinktank for creativity, and to capture landscapes on canvas! Although small, the island can get crowded during tourist season, so it might be a good idea to go during the off seasons. The tourist area, or Chora, sits high in the mountains and has taverns. The port of Karavostasis offers hotels, beaches and restaurants. The ferry stops at this port. There are ferry rides available to Milos, Santorini, Ios, Sifnos and Sikinos, but only a couple of times per week.
Kea is a quiet, peaceful island near Athens where tourism is not as frequent as some of the other islands in the Cyclades. It's very popular with native Greeks, many of whom own summer vacation homes there. A lovely village called Ioulis has Cycladic houses sitting on the side of the mountain. There are some great beaches that can be reached by hiking. Kea also offers many great restaurants. A restaurant called Rolandos, located in Ioulida, is known for its delicious fresh fish. Kea is a great place for hiking if that's your fancy!
Milos is a volcanic island where you can see amazing rock formations and hot springs. When you arrive, be sure to secure a rented car or bike for touring the island if possible. There are lovely beaches and villages where you can enjoy delicious cuisine and more. There are also some historic sites you don't want to miss during your visit such as the Roman ampitheatre, Christian catacombs, Venetian museums and castles. The famous Venus de Milo was discovered on Milos!
Mykonos is a fast-moving island that offers expensive entertainment and nightlife, and also some great beaches. While on the island, you can take a short boat trip to the nearby island of Delos where you can explore ruins. The island connects to Tinos, Syros, Naxos, Ios, Ikaria and other surrounding islands.
Paros is a center for the Aegean ferry system, with many boats coming through each day. It's a crowded tourist area, especially in Naousa. Naousa is a small fishing village that attracts many tourists each year. The island has wind surfing and body surfing if you're the adventurous type. A ferry trip here is approximately six hours from Athens. Hop over to Antiparos for a day of relaxation.