Sifnos, part of the Cyclades in Greece, offers an authentic Greek experience. For many years living in Syros (the administrative capital of the Cyclades group of islands – Kyklades in Greek), I have heard that the island of Sifnos has something attractive and unique.
Not far away, Sifnos is in the chain forming the western arc of the Cyclades in Greece and can be seen from the southern tip of Syros about 24 nautical miles away. It is said to have a dreamlike quality.
The charming port of Kamares on the west coast of the island will not disappoint. Entering the deep bay, one is challenged by the height of the rocky hills that form a wonderful amphitheater effect. At the top of the hill are some small isolated white dots that are Greek Orthodox monasteries. Typical of the Cyclades, it has dry rock terrain that meets a beautiful white sand beach and the azure Aegean Sea.
Sifnos – The Cyclades In Greece
Kastro is a medieval clifftop fortified village that was once the island’s capital. It’s a magical place, a maze of winding streets and whitewashed houses clinging to the eastern edge of the island. It remains the most important medieval settlement in the Cyclades and all of Greece. It is best to enter the village by following the coastal ring road for stunning views of the majestic blue Aegean Sea before catching sight of the church below.
The iconic Church of the Seven Martyrs lies below the Kastro, on a strip of land that juts out some 50 meters offshore. Although small, it is the most iconic church on the island and one of the most photographed sites in the Cyclades.
In Kastro, you can enjoy a coffee or something a little stronger in the upscale Dolci Cafe restaurant located on the west side of the village, with panoramic views of the inland valleys; I suggest spending the day exploring this wonderful village, with lunch in one of the few fine pubs.
Catching a bus from Apollonia (which runs every hour in the summer) to the attractive seaside village of Faros, about 6 kilometers away in the southeastern corner of the island, is well worth it. A small amusement pier enlivens the village, and there are two very pleasant beaches (with several pubs and cafes) connected by a path that crosses a small outcrop with houses. Both have tamarind trees that shade bathers in horseshoe-shaped bays.
A sign points the way to Chrisopigi, another famous church perched on a 100-meter stretch of land jutting into the sea. Going to Chrisopigi is one of the most beautiful places one can expect from these amazing islands. Around 8 pm with the sun setting in the west, it was a surreal experience.
Monastery of Panagia Chrisopigi – Saint Chrisopgi Guardian of the Island, is another famous landmark of Sifnos. The monastery was built on top of an old church and perched on top of a rock, literally over the sea. It is worth visiting.
Climbers’ Paradise – Sifnos Trailsifnos
Sifnos has become a hiker’s paradise with 19 designated trails running across the island. Free detailed maps are available at information offices, and they advertise 100 kilometers of trails ranging from one kilometer (20 minutes on foot) to 15 kilometers (seven hours) very clearly marked.
The terrain becomes rough away from town, with the track running along a long valley. Although the trails are dotted with red and white welcome signs, it’s easy to get distracted by the scenery and take the wrong path. The middle two hours of the six-hour hike is the hardest, on a very rough and rocky road. Finally, you reach the top of the mountain and have your first view of the sea to the west. The cool breeze feels lighter.
There is a beautiful beach at the northern end of the bay (a beautiful, almost borderless bay with a narrow entrance). There are many yachts moored and people enjoying the beach. A nicer swim and ice-cold Alpha beer at a beachside pub have never tasted better. About Sifnos
Sifnos is average in size by Greek standards, only 15 km long and 8 km wide, with the highest point of 680 meters (the location of the Profit Ilias monastery) and a permanent population of about 2,650.
It is known for its traditional pottery, many small village workshops, and hiking trails. It has become the most popular destination in the Western Cyclades. Visitors flock to the island in the summer, attracted by its charming villages, terraced countryside dotted with ancient towers, Venetian pigeonholes, and long sandy beaches.