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We all know, just how beautiful Greece is and it has been one of the most popular summer destination on Earth for the last decades and beyond. For quite a few reasons. It’s not just breathtakingly beautiful with sparkling turquoise seas, lots of little and not so little islands with rich culture, white washed walled villages and delicious local food. The most famous destinations being Santorini, Mykonos or Crete but apart from them, there are also lesser known but just as pretty little islands (but maybe less busy with tourists). Like Sifnos Island. So in this blog post we are going to discover Sifnos island – in a complete travel guide. Sifnos actually isn’t a tiny island, it has lovely little towns, beautiful beaches and great hotels like the Verina boutique hotels in Sifnos.
About Sifnos Island
Sifnos is part of the Cyclades Islands and is located from about 130km from Athens. Sifnos has a population about 2800 islanders and its main town is called Apollonia, after the Greek god, Apollo. Its capital was, however, Kastro during the ancient times until 1836. Sifnos is one of the cradles of civilisation for it had been inhabited since 4000 BCE. It was a very wealthy island, because it had gold and silver mines as well as the capital of pottery within the Aegean Sea with a unique pottery style. It has been ruled by the Romans, the Byzantines and the Ottomans and by the early 17th century Sifnos was a significant commercial centre. There are 360 churches on the island (one for almost every day of the year!) with frequent festivals, when traditional food is also being celebrated: red wine and dill – marinated lamb cooked in clay pot, chickpea soup and goat cheese.
How to get to Sifnos
There is no airport in Sifnos. The closest airports are located in Milos and Athens. Sifnos Island is served by the ferries which run on the Piraeus – Kythnos – Serifos – Sifnos – Milos – Kimolos line and via Naxos. There are ferries to Sifnos almost daily from the port of Piraeus in Athens, while there is also a good ferry connection between Sifnos and other islands of Cyclades. The ferry trip from Athens to Sifnos takes from 4 to 8 hours, depending on the vessel and the route.
Where to stay in Sifnos
There are lots of places to stay on the island, you have different choices in Sifnos luxury villas, boutique hotels and private rentals. The most popular places to stay at are located on the southern beaches of the island such as Faros, Vathi and Platis Gialos. The main town Apollonia is also a popular choice to find accommodation.
Best beaches in Sifnos
Sifnos is famous for its sandy beaches.
- Faros Beach: calm waters and sandy beach
- Cherronissos Beach: a sheltered cove beach
- Kamares Beach: surrounded by mountains!
- Vathi Beach: in a lovely little fishing village
- Platis Gialos Beach: shallow waters and a lovely little marina
- Poulati: a climb on the way back but never too busy
- Vroulidia Beach: serene beach with crystal clear waters
- Fikiada Beach: for those who like a beach off the beaten path
Where to eat in Sifnos
Sifnos is actually considered a real foodie island! Heavy in seafood and fish, vegetables, their famous hummus and local cheeses – indeed, using lots of local produce – there are a lot of lovely restaurants to explore.
You can find lots of beach side restaurants and tavernas – from traditional to luxury fusion kitchen, you will find everything for every budget. One thing is for sure, you won’t leave Sifnos without thinking you had the best meals of your life. Also the hotels in Sifnos tend to have excellent restaurants.
Things to do in Sifnos
Well, of course you have plenty of gorgeous beaches, as mentioned above and natural beauty of the island – to start with. But there’s a lot more to do.
You can hire a private speedboat and go island hopping visiting the nearby islands. The budget friendly version of this is also available: just take the ferry. You can go on a private fishing tour where you can catch your own dinner. Snorkelling and swimming tours are also available and you can rent other water sport equipment.
Find the Archelogical Musem in Kastro: includes collections of Archaic and Hellenistic sculptures. The sculptures (tomb articles, statues, architectural pieces etc.) are dated from the Archaic (6th century B.C.) to the Roman Era (2nd century B.C.). Open: all year, Wednesday-Monday, 08:30-15:00
The Folklore Museum in Apollonia: hosts many exhibits from the ancient times on, including farming tools, household articles, and local costumes. Open April till October.
There is also Sifnos Pottery Museum, since Sifnos is famous about its pottery: its aim is to promote and preserve the pottery of Sifnos with cultural, educational and recreational activities promoting internationally the cultural identity of the island. Open from June till September.
Like mentioned, 360 churches to be found on the Island of Sifnos. Some of these worth a visit, like the majestic medieval monastery of Panagia Chrissopigi or the Church of the Seven Martyrs, located near Kastro and has scenic walking routes around.
There are plenty of scenic walking and hiking routes in Sifnos. The Sifnos Trails has a total length over 100 km, divided in 19 beautiful trails.
Cooking classes and farm visits
Local micro farms are open to visits and some also hosts cooking classes to lean to make traditional local dishes, like Sifnos Farm Narlis. You can learn about local, traditional farming techniques, sustainable organic farming practices and animal welfare.
Since Sifnos used to be the capital of pottery in the area, there are a lot of local potteries still creating pottery with traditional methods and in traditional style. Normally the best hotels on the island organise these for the guests but private classes are also available at local artists.