Welcome to Sifnos, the Cycladic island which was distinguished by National Geographic between the top 10 journeys of a lifetime, ranked number 9 among the ideal “islands under the sun”. Steeped in history that dates back in millennia, with archaeological sites, churches and monasteries, located at the most breathtaking spots, traditional villages and endless walking paths in virgin nature protected by the European Network of Natural Protected Areas, Sifnos is waiting for you to explore it.
Visit the main towns of the island, Apollonia, Kastro and Artemonas to travel back in history and tradition by walking in the pedestrian marble paths, through traditional Cycladic and medieval style houses, museums and churches. The Ancient Citadel of Agios Andreas along with several archaeological remains and ancient minces scattered round the island reflect its glorious past and commercial importance, easily explored through hiking tours. The countless beaches most of which being Blue Flaged such as Platis Gialos, Faros, Chrissopigi, Vathi, Kastro and Cheronissos, are ideal for relaxation next to the turquoise waters. Numerous luxury hotels along with traditional settlements provide warm welcome and high quality accommodation standards to ensure ideal holidays.
As Sifnos has successfully managed to retain the traditional way of life, being unspoilt by mass tourism, other than being ideal for relaxed by the sea holidays, it is point of attraction for archaeological lovers, eco tourists and religious tourists.
The island of Sifnos can be reached by sea as no airport services are available, from the port of Piraeus. Ferry boats and hydrofoils follow regular routs in Cyclades islands, providing easy access to Serifos, Kimolos, Milos, and Kithnos, or Santorini-Folegandros-Milos-Sifnos-Paros-Mykonos-Tinos and Siros, only within a few hours or even minutes’ boat trip, make the Sifnos ideal for island hoping.
The capital of Sifnos located in the centre of the island, Apollonia is the main commercial and touristic hub, sprawled out amphitheatrically along three hills. The brilliant Cycladic architecture of the island with the typical white washed houses, the small car-free stone paved roads to create a timeless feel of the village. Visit the Folklore Museum, the churches, walk through one of the hiking tours to admire the nature or enjoy the nightlife of the village to make the most of this magical village. Kastro on the other hand, the old capital of the island, is built on the summit of a small peninsular surrounded with views of the Aegean Sea. The Venetian citadel indicates the significance of the town with its defensive system against the pirates, is still apparent in its uniquely fascinating architecture. Windmills, chapels, a small archaeological museum, remains of the ancient Acropolis along with an easily accessed beach right on the foot of the hill, Kastro fulfils every visitor’s wishes. The second largest town of Sifnos is Artemonas, the atmospheric jewel of the island with cubistic Cycladic architecture intermingling with Venetian mansions, with gardens and flowery courtyards. Connecting with Apollonia by a footpath, while being the starting point for several walking paths, Artemonas is a quite and mysterious village with magical, panoramic view of the island.
Sightseeing And Monuments
The most significant archaeological site of Sifnos, well worth a visit, is the Mycenaean Acropolis at Agios Andreas. A 13th century B.C town to be further developed through the 8th century, was situated right on the top of a hill, thus naturally protected also supported by walls to present one of the best fortification examples across Cyclades. Excavations revealed a citadel consisting of a big sanctuary, buildings, streets, an excellent rainwater management system and a rich collection of pottery to be exhibited in the small exhibition room right next to the sight. Right on the edge of the ancient monuments stands the church of Agios Andreas offering panoramic view of the island and the neighboring islands. It is worth mentioning that this archaeological sight has been rewarded in 2012 by Europa Nostra as “One among The Best Conserved sites Of European Cultural Heritage” Other Ancient Citadels are Agios Nikitas and Prophitis Ilias of Troulaki to reveal parts of the walls and remains of the cities.
The Archaeological Museum of Sifnos is not a site worth visiting only for its exhibits, but also for the building itself, being part of the centre of the Medieval nucleus of the Castle. This marvellous restored building, houses finds from the Mycenaean acropolis of Aghios Andreas, including collections of sculptures, tomps and statues ranging from the Archaic to the Roman period, pottery found at the Castle area, ranging from the Geometric to the Hellenistic period and coins. A couple of Folklore Museums to present aspects of the traditional agricultural and domestic life of the locals exhibiting tools, articles and clothing, as well as exhibition of a traditional Sifnian house with several objects, some dating back to the 19the century. The monastery of Vrissi hosts a Museum of Ecclesiastic Art and a small Modern Pottery Museum is housed at the historical monastery of Firogia.
As the island of Sifnos was inhabited since the Neolithic era, several archaeological finds are scattered all around. First and foremost, one of the main factors to determine the cultural and commercial development of the island since antiquity is the exploitation of the mineral deposits, extracting silver, gold, iron, copper and zinc, along with the widely known marble of the area to be widely used across ancient Greece. Thus, several Ancient Mines remains can be found is various places of the island, one of them operating during the 3rd millennium B.C. being the oldest silver mine in the world.
Things To Do
Surprisingly Sifnos is a relatively green island compared to the rest of the Cycladic ones, mainly due to its geographical position and the running waters in various spots. Other than the dry rocky mountains, there are large areas with rich vegetation of cedar, pistacia and wild olive trees, as well as herbs to create a wonderful landscape that housees rare species of plants and animals, along with 39 bird species. Actually 20 sq.km of land have been integrated under the European law into the European Network of Natural Protected Areas “Natura 2000”, thus becoming an area of broader interest. The landscape of the island has been supported by human intervention related to the agricultural activity of the locals, wising to prevent ground erosion by creating large dry stone walls which also define the limits of ownership. Over 30 hiking tours to cover about 200 km are mapped in the island waiting for you to explore them while coming across various water sources, wells, springs, pigeon houses, ancient towers, mines, threshing fields, lime-burner kilns, white washed churches and monasteries.
The lacy coastline of Sifnos has formed countless beaches; isolated sandy beaches, organized beaches, rocky coasts, pebble beaches and golden sandy beaches, to satisfy all tastes. Some of the best sandy beaches of the island can be found around the fishermen village of Faros, 7 km from Apollonia, consisting of a central busy beach and a couple of more quite ones, accessed through small paths. The most popular beach among the Greeks is Platis Gialos, a long sandy beach awarded with EU Blue Flag as it meets all the criteria of cleanness as well as organization and facilities, which has turned into a seaside resort. Another lovely Blue Flagged sandy beach is the one of Kamares, with virgin vegetation, tinny areas, a shore side lake and sand-dunes with sand lilies that blossom during August. The traditional fisherman’s village of Cheronissos has a small sandy beach, while Vathi is a much longer one, highlighted by the beautiful church of the Taxiarchs. Above all, the most pictured spot of Sifnos can be found at the cape of Chrissopigi to host a a double-vaulted whitewashed church on a tiny island surrounded by wonderful rocky beaches to become the favourite spot for many swimmers during the summer.
As Sifnos was the birthplace of Nikos Tselementes, the first globally renowned Greek chef whose publications became an essential handbook to establish traditional recipes of the Greek cuisine, the gastronomic practice of the locals has been inevitably formed. Locally produced livestock products, honey, wild greens and herbs, diary products and a variety of desserts are delicacies to come across in every tavern and restaurant of the island. The traditional wood-fired ovens and the use of earthen pots as the main cooking utensil enhance every flavour and provide exceptional taste and aroma in every bite. Try the chick-pea soup, the mastelo roast during Easter or manoura and mizithra cheese, as well as the countless traditional deserts most of which having the local honey as the main ingredient. The gastronomic tradition of Sifnos is such, that traditional feasts are closely related with communal dinners.
Useful Telephone Numbers
Sifnos Island Port Authority of Sifnos: +30 22840 33617
Sifnos Bus Services: +30 22840 31925
Sifnos Police: +30 22870 31210
Sifnos Medical Services: +30 22840 31315