Spring in the Cyclades
I have always loved April and May in the Cyclades, from around the middle of April temperatures start to improve, it feels like winds and rain of the winter have blown and washed the islands clean. Cafes’ and restaurants, re-open all spruced up -in Little Venice (Mykonos) doors are repainted and the little white lines on the winding little streets are repainted (this is done by hand and if you are familiar with Little Venice you can imagine what a big job it is!) Beaches are pristine and on some islands school children help with a big tidy up job in anticipation of the summer to come. On islands where the majority of tourists do not arrive until late June for there Cyclades holidays the beaches are uncrowded and often empty.
Spring is the perfect time to book a Cyclades island holiday and visit archaeological sites especially Delos – away from the heat and crowds of the summer. Or just to walk on all of the islands there is always something to discover.
Travelling in spring isn’t just seeing the Cyclades at their quietest, it also offers a unique opportunity to experience a very unique flower show. Keen gardener, Lindsay Ford explains why she always visits in spring.
“Greece’s native flora is much more than the humble geranium. The show stopping bougainvillea with its striking red, pink or even purple displays against white sugar cube houses may be the perfect picture postcard. But if you are here in spring you’ll also get to see the real flower show. It starts with the islanders in their gardens. Tending traditional vegetable plots, with rows of lettuces and strawberries, everything being prepared for the growing season. Most houses, no matter how small their space, pride themselves on hanging baskets of tumbling flowers on balconies and rows of potted plants. Most towns have flower stalls and even little garden centres.
In Tinos, visiting in spring gives you the hilltop village of Panormos to yourself. Marble sculpted adornments on white houses against the bright blossoms overflowing from balconies makes for an enviable sight. These Islands have an absolute abundance of wildflowers and the real show starts from March onwards. From street verge to steep mountainside a native range of iris, chamomile, calendula, mallow, daisy, anemone flowers bob in the breeze and burst open after the last of the winter rains.
It is also the perfect temperature to go walking on islands like Naxos and you’ll be accompanied by wildflowers at every step. The scent of wild sage and lavender heady in the air. Almond and Pomegranate trees are in blossom. By April red poppies adorn nearly every field in the Cyclades, scattering the green landscape with bright blotches of colour. Beautiful wild displays of native purple flowers crop up on the hillsides which are traditionally collected for May Day wreaths.
This is my favourite Greece. A wide empty beach to yourself. Even before the loungers are set out in neat little lines. You can swim bravely and relax easily in the golden sun. The Mediterranean heat stands on the side-lines awaiting its turn. The earth is preparing and setting out new shoots of life. It’s so quiet if you listen hard enough you can even hear things grow”
Lindsay Bennet-Ford January 2020