Greece is known worldwide for its islands that are full of life every summer and offer unique moments to visitors under the hot sun, with the waves offering the necessary coolness. However, let’s travel to the beautiful Cycladic Island of Sifnos. One of the rarest island destinations and we will present everything you will see and do on the island!
The Cycladic motif of Sifnos calms our insides, the blue of the Aegean calms our minds, the heat of the sun “warms” our hearts, and somehow – in just a few minutes – we experience another reality, that of summer vacations.
Sifnos is an island that you must know its secrets to enjoy to the fullest.
The “petrogoleta” of Chrysopigi is a rocky islet cut off from the mainland and is connected to the island by a small bridge. Above is the monastery of Panagia Chrysopigi (1650), the patron saint of Sifnos.
Many legends are associated with the Monastery and the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary. It is rightly the most photographed part of the island and is characterized by a royal decree as a “landscape of infinite beauty”. Impressive is the festival of Chrysopigi, which celebrates the Ascension, with the ferry carrying the image of the Virgin Mary from Kamares to the sacred rock, attracting hundreds of locals and visitors and making it the largest festival on the island and an unforgettable have watched.
Acropolis of Agios Andreas (13th century BC)
The well-organized, award-winning, and visitable archeological site spreads on the plateau of the hill of Agios Andreas in an area of about ten thousand square meters.
Furthermore, the excavations that took place in the area brought to light the strong majestic Mycenaean wall of the Acropolis (13th century BC) and the dense urban fabric that includes, the great sanctuary, the buildings, the roads, the rainwater management works as well as and a variety of mobile finds.
Moreover, the complete emergence of this impressive Acropolis after so many thousands of years showed most brilliantly the majesty and strength of the island.
For the archeological excavations and the promotion of the Mycenaean Acropolis on the hill of Agios Andreas, Greece was awarded in 2012 by the Europa Nostra as a unique example of the promotion of the cultural heritage!
Additionally, the site of the Acropolis, as well as the exhibit with the findings from the excavations of the area dating from the Neolithic era. Finally, both the site & the findings of the excavations and the magnificent view of the island from above are worth it!
The most special village of Sifnos is the Castle. In its current form, the settlement is a sample of a castle of the Venetian period. It is built on an ancient city, the “city” mentioned by Herodotus. Moreover, it has been inhabited since ancient times and is an open-air museum. The first row of consecutive two- or three-story houses in the outer medieval wall. The popular class lived here, while in the inner row, located at the highest part of the castle, lived the aristocratic class to be safer from pirate raids and looting.
The visitor enters the Castle today from the old entrances-galleries, the “lodges”. Which were once secured and protected by war towers. In addition to the visit to the site, the visitor will see the ancient wall of the ancient Acropolis of the Castle, ancient columns and other ancient architectural walls built into the buildings, Roman sarcophagi, Venetian atmosphere and architecture, Byzantine churches. At the entrance of the village where today is the cemetery of the Castle and the temples of Agios Stefanos and Agios Ioannis (1629), the famous School of Agios Tafos (1687-1835).
Finally, it is worth taking a walk on the regional pedestrian street, to admire the picturesque church “Eftamartyros” (Seven Martyrs) with the endless view of the Aegean, to visit the Archaeological Museum and the 21 churches of the village. At the southern roots of Castle hill is Gialos or Seralia, the ancient port of Sifnos.
Traditional Handmade Ceramics
Sifnos is the stronghold of the development and spread of pottery in the Cycladic area and beyond. The first samples of pottery art date from the Early Cycladic period (statuettes, decorative, and utensils). Since then this art has continued uninterruptedly. The good quality of the clay soil has made Sifnos famous for the quality of its ceramics. Finally, there are currently 19 pottery shops on the island.
Sifnos Cuisine & Cycladic Gastronomy Festival
Sifnos, which is the birthplace of many great cooks, such as Tselementes and Markou, has delicious cuisine with traditional dishes. Such as, chickpea meatballs, manoura, mizithra, and string beans with garlic, baked chickpeas, kaparosala in mastelo, etc. Also in demand are the Sifnos homemade sweets, and crackers such as macaroons, patties, pastries, gingerbread, rolls, etc.
Every year at the beginning of September, there is a three-day festival of Cycladic Gastronomy in Artemonas with participation from all the islands of the Cyclades.
- Caper salad
- Bean string with garlic,
- Loli (sweet from red pumpkin)
- Sifnos boiled “athotyra”
- Thyme honey
Visitors with archeological interests will find their paradise in Sifnos. Ancient mines in the areas of Agios Sostis, Agios Sylvestros, Voreini, Kapsalos, Xero Xylo. The silver mine at “Agios Sostis” is the oldest in the world.
Seventy-six ancient towers due to the wealth of the island in antiquity due to the gold, silver, and iron of the Sifnos mines. The ancient towers of Sifnos that served either as defensive settlements or as points of communication with the other towers and the 4 ancient Acropolis of the island. They communicated via signals with mirrors or smoke.
Monasteries & Churches
There are a total of 227 churches on the island. Of particular interest are all the churches of the Castle. Such as, the church of Chrysopigi, Panagia Vryssi, Monastery of Panagia Vounou, Angeloktisti Katavati, Agios Sozon, Panagia I Kochi, Panagia ta Gournia, Panagia Ammos, Agios Georgios Afentas, Agios Georgios Konstantis. Many of the churches and monasteries of Sifnos are historical monuments. Finally, they have a huge historical and architectural interest.
The Hiking Paths of Sifnos
The trails are a unique network of routes of about 200 kilometers. The oldest of them have a history that reaches the 3rd millennium BC. Nowadays, they continue to lead to churches, beaches, and beautiful landscapes and are used by local and foreign hikers.
On each route, the hiker will encounter monasteries and chapels. Moreover, monuments of popular culture such as wells, fountains, doves, shrines, ancient towers, mines, threshing floors, lime kilns, mills, and thousands of meters of dry stone.
The best time for hiking in Sifnos is spring and autumn. When the weather helps and nature is at its best. Herbs, cedars, low vegetation, and wildflowers, some of which are protected, have ranked Sifnos among the 13 botanical paradises of Greece and are found on every route.
In recent years, the local community, increasingly aware of the need to rescue and protect the trails, is making a concerted effort to clean, mark and map them. For example, the South Aegean Region, the Municipality of Sifnos, the Hellenic Society of Environment and Culture, Landscaping, and Professional Associations of the island, and several volunteers support the effort. Today there are officially 19 routes of 100 km on the island.
Central Settlements and Traditional Architecture
In Sifnos, human creations of exceptional aesthetics blend harmoniously with the natural environment. Some of the features of Sifnos architecture are the white houses and the flat roofs. The flat roofs collect the precious rainwater in the cisterns. Moreover, the paved courtyards, the 40 windmills, the 70 dovecotes, and the 237 monasteries and chapels. Finally, we must add the 2500 km “dry stones” (terraces).
The dry stones that exist everywhere on the island, serve both to hold the soil and rainwater in the fields. Furthermore, they serve to separate the properties. In addition, they are a giant deposit of the hard work of thousands of people for centuries. Finally, nowadays, students from America and Europe come to admire and study Cycladic and bioclimatic architecture in Sifnos.
The Best Beaches of Sifnos
The coastline and geography of the coasts of Sifnos form beaches for all tastes. In several parts of the island, there are many different types of beaches. Some are away from prying eyes, others have rocky or pebbly shores, and others offer the comfort of a sunbed. In addition, two have a Blue Flag!
- Sandy Beaches: In Kamares, Platis Gialos, Vathi, Faro, Vlychos, Fasolou, Herronisos, Apokofto, Seralia, and Fykiada
- Pebbly Beaches: In Saures and Vroulidia
- Rocky Beaches: In Poulati and Chrysopigi