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Western Cyclades: Kea Kythnos Seriphos Siphnos Milos Kimolos (McGilchrist's Greek Islands)

Kea is unexpectedly rich in history and variety of landscape. The island is particularly good for walking; its valleys favour many species of wild flowers and its upland slopes support magnificent Valonia oaks. In historic antiquity there were four important cities on Kea and the remains of Karthaia constitute one of the most evocative sites in the Aegean. Most remarkable is the Lion of Ioulis, one of the earliest and largest pieces of monumental sculpture in the Greek world. Kythnos has a peaceful rhythm of life which has changed little over time. There are two attractive villages Chora and Dryopida and plentiful hot water springs at Loutra in the northeast. The island's repeatedly indented coastline affords a wide variety of small coves and beaches. Seriphos has beautiful bays for swimming and offers many opportunities for walking, with a number of ancient rural churches along the way. What stays in the memory longest however is the image of the island's dramatic chora, clustered around its peak far above the island's harbour.

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