Sifnos, Greece: An Expert Travel Guide!
Sifnos is definitely one of the most beautiful islands of the Cyclades and on top of that a real insider tip for nature lovers, but also beach vacationers. This island pearl is famous for its scenic diversity, the many iconic Cycladic churches, for the finest pottery art and the excellent cuisine. Small snow-white villages are nestled in a picturesque landscape and richly decorated pigeon houses, ancient towers, countless monasteries and windmills conjure up a picture-perfect ambience. Although the island of Sifnos is relatively small, you can expect numerous spectacular attractions and highlights, and the wide range of activities will certainly not let you get bored. In addition, there are incredibly beautiful sandy beaches on the island, which ultimately make this place a true vacation paradise of the Cyclades.
In this travel guide you will find all the important information and tips about Sifnos Island in Greece. We show you great pictures, the best things to do and beaches, reveal insider tips and where you can find great accommodations!
General information about Sifnos
Sifnos is an island of the Cyclades in Greece and still a real insider tip for individual vacationers. It is located about 130 kilometers southeast of Athens and is also easily accessible from the famous neighboring islands like Milos, Paros and Syros. With a size of 77 km² and with only 2,500 inhabitants, Sifnos is absolutely quiet, incredibly idyllic, and not too big to visit all the beautiful places of the island during a round trip. Thanks to the climatic conditions, the area is very green, especially in the early season, olive and wine growing characterize the agriculture and there are beautiful mountains for hiking. The highest mountain is Profitis Ilias with 682 meters, on the top of which there is a monastery from the 17th century.
During the ancient times gold, silver as well as lead brought immense wealth to the island and also the art of pottery had great importance. Only the latter is still of high importance today and therefore you will find numerous potteries around the island, which offer their goods in their studios. Today Sifnos is one of the most beautiful destinations of the Cyclades and thanks to the numerous picturesque beaches also the perfect place for a longer beach vacation.
The Best Things to Do in Sifnos
During a vacation on the island of Sifnos, there are numerous beautiful places, natural sites and historical attractions to discover. Here we have summarized all the highlights and the best things to do in Sifnos at a glance:
The Chrisopigi Monastery is one of the most famous attractions on Sifnos. It is located on a rocky headland in a picturesque location directly on the sea, and together with the blue Aegean Sea forms an incredibly fascinating postcard backdrop. The monastery complex was built as early as the 17th century, and it has been renovated and renewed again and again over the years. It is best to visit the monastery complex during the week, as ceremonies are usually held on weekends. Many also come to swim at the sandy beach Paralia Apokofto just nearby, from which you can also enjoy a breathtaking view of the famous Cycladic church.
Tip: Especially magical is also the ambience in the evening, when you can admire the spectacular sunsets from the Chrisopigi Monastery.
The Ancient Capital Kastro
A visit to the settlement of Kastro on the east coast is one of the best things to do in Sifnos. This historic site was built as early as the 14th century and was the island’s capital from the Middle Ages until 1836. At that time a fortress, there are still many beautiful places to discover during a tour. Really impressive is the picturesque old town center with its nested snow-white houses and churches. But also the small archaeological museum is worth a visit. The panoramic path of Kastro is another wonderful attraction. Here you can enjoy the most beautiful view of the famous Church of the Seven Martyrs.
Tip: The Agnanti Traditional, a beautiful guesthouse with very tasteful rooms and delicious breakfast, offers a magnificent panorama of Kastro.
Church of the Seven Martyrs
One of the most spectacular places on Sifnos is the Church of the Seven Martyrs. This tiny church is perched on an imposing rocky island just below the village of Kastro and has become a landmark of the island thanks to its extraordinary location. The landscape with the deep blue Aegean Sea, the rugged island and the tiny church in the traditional white-blue Cycladic style is simply breathtaking and conjures up a backdrop as if from other worlds. Only a small stone staircase leads down to the church island, but this is often not passable due to the strong winds and waves. Nevertheless, already the view from the top is unique.
Apollonia is the capital of the island and on top of that a real gem in the interior of Sifnos. During a walk you will be amazed by the picturesque traditional architecture and the labyrinth of small white alleys, which is hard to beat in beauty. In the car-free center you will also find many small, fine galleries as well as boutiques offering handicrafts and fashion. Charming are also the small bars and restaurants, which invite guests to enjoy in a wonderful ambience. Some places even have a roof terrace, from which you can have a magnificent view over the houses. On top, the nightlife in Apollonia is also really fabulous, as many of the bars are open until the early hours of the morning.
Tip: The Dora’s Traditional Houses is an absolutely charming accommodation right in the center of Apollonia. A real insider tip if you want to stay overnight in the capital!
Kamares is a wonderfully pretty harbor town on Sifnos and an excellent choice for a vacation. It is located in the west of the island, where the ferry also docks, and is also a great starting point for exploring. Picturesquely situated between high mountains, and with the long dreamlike sand bay, one experiences here a scenery like from the fairy tale book. The picturesque center is also beautiful, where you can find numerous taverns, restaurants and cozy cafes along the harbor promenade. Lovely pottery workshops can also be visited on site. Absolutely worth seeing is also the church Agia Marina, from which you can enjoy an incredible view of the coast.
Tip: In the resort of Kamares are numerous good accommodations. A real insider tip is the Villa Frazeska with a pool and a fantastic view.
Acropolis Agios Andreas
A really interesting historical attraction is the Acropolis of Sifnos. The so-called Acropolis Agios Andreas was once the upper town in the interior of the island. Today, an excavation site and a small museum can be visited there. During a tour through the remains of the prehistoric city fortress from the late Bronze Age, one can only imagine how imposing the complex must have been at that time. On top of that, the endless view over the island is wonderful, which makes a visit a grandiose experience on Sifnos. Right next to it is the magnificent chapel of Agios Andreas, which conjures up a beautiful ambience.
The romantic coastal village of Faros is located in the southeast of Sifnos and was the most important port of the island until the 19th century. Today an extremely romantic fishing village with typical picturesque Cycladic houses, Faros is a perfect choice for a relaxing vacation away from the hustle and bustle. No less than 3 beautiful sandy beaches invite you to swim and relax here. Culinary delights are provided by small traditional taverns and charming accommodations round off the tourist offer. One of the main attractions in the resort is the hiking trail that leads from Faros to the famous monastery of Chrisopigi. On the way you can also see the ruins of the iron working of that time.
Tip: The chic Sifanto Mare Apartments are a great choice for a vacation in Faros. They inspire with great facilities, and the small harbor is also within walking distance.
Agios Simеоn Monastery & Viewpoint
One of the most beautiful viewpoints on Sifnos is located at the Agios Simeon Monastery, which is spectacularly situated on a high mountain above the port town of Kamares and offers an unbeatable panorama. Getting to the monastery is possible by car, scooter or quad over a rather steep, narrow road. A reason probably, why one meets here not too many tourists, but rather locals. Alternatively, you can also take a hike from Kamares. Interesting is also the marble map at the viewpoint, which provides an overview of the neighboring islands.
Tip: An insider tip is a visit to the monastery in the evening to admire the most beautiful sunset of Sifnos from above.
Village of Artemonas
The village of Artemonas is a small jewel of the island of Sifnos. It is located only about 1 kilometer from the main town of Apollonia and can also be reached from there on foot along a picturesque cobblestone path. On the way you can enjoy a magnificent view of the noble houses, marvel at the imposing church of St. John and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere that surrounds this small village. Artemonas was built up on a hill and at the top there are two pretty windmills. An insider tip is also a visit to the local village bakery in the center, which offers traditional pastries and very tasty cookies.
Tip: In Artemonas are some fantastic accommodations, like the pension Kouki Maria Rooms, where guests enjoy a beautiful view and delicious breakfast.
Church of St. Stephen
The Church of St. Stephen is a beautiful place of worship located near the famous village of Kastro. It is situated in an absolutely romantic location, in a green valley, surrounded by stunning nature and fields. The monastery cannot be visited at present, but from Kastro you can enjoy a fabulous view. With its whitewashed facade, and iconic blue turrets, this structure is a picturesque example of traditional Cycladic architecture and a popular photo motif on Sifnos.
The resort of Platis Gialos is one of the largest on Sifnos and a desirable choice for a seaside vacation on the island. A velvety sandy beach stretches for almost 1 kilometer, and on top of that it delights with crystal clear sea and the most spectacular blue water colors. Behind it, accommodation and hotels are lined up, there are fabulous taverns and restaurants, and also numerous possibilities of water sports are offered. In the high season there is a lot going on here, but a visit in the low season is also highly recommended for those seeking peace and quiet.
Tip: At Platis Gialos you will find many good places to stay on the beach. Fantastic is the lovely Platys Gialos Hotel with pool, in best location directly at the sea.
The church Panagia Poulati is a real gem on Sifnos. This beautiful attraction is secluded on the east coast of the island and already the view from above is a highlight in itself. Embedded in a spectacular landscape on a cliff directly on the sea, and with the large blue dome and the high bell towers, the panorama is absolutely impressive. Built as early as 1870, the church has been renovated and renewed again and again over the years. Absolutely idyllic is also the stone beach under the Panagia Poulati, which invites you to relax and linger.
Fishing village Cheronissos
The fishing village of Cheronissos is located in the wild and romantic north of the island and is a true gem of Sifnos. Even the approach via the panoramic road is a wonderful experience that should not be missed on any trip. Arrived, time seems to stand still at this part of the island. Colorful fishing boats bob in the protected bay and a small beautiful sandy beach invites you to relax. A must-see is the small, quaint pottery at the harbor, which showcases and sells handmade clay utensils and imaginative curios.
Dovecotes & Towers
When driving around the island of Sifnos, one immediately notices the many dovecotes typical of the Cyclades. They are mostly located in the fields and are a real eye-catcher in the landscape thanks to their decorations. Many compare these attractions with the famous pigeon houses of the island of Tinos. Absolutely fascinating are also the numerous iconic towers of Sifnos. As many as 76 of these ancient structures are spread across the hilly island and sometimes dominate the landscape. The White Tower on the road to Platis Gialos and the Black Tower in Exampela are two of the best preserved.
Potteries on Sifnos
Pottery has been a traditional craft on Sifnos since ancient times, and even then the island supplied the Mediterranean with beautiful ceramics. Even today, more than 15 pottery workshops are in operation around the island, there are numerous stores selling clay art, and handmade ceramics can be bought on almost every corner. Many of the workshops as well as studios can also be visited from the inside, and there you can learn more about the traditional craft. In addition, interesting pottery courses are often offered on the island of Sifnos.
Tip: An insider tip is to visit the Keramika in the harbor town of Cheronissos. The owner Kostas is already almost a legend on the island and inspires with his creative inventions.
Coastal Village Vathi
Vathi is a true highlight for a quiet beach vacation on Sifnos. The wonderfully pretty coastal village is located on the idyllic west coast of the island and delights with a long sandy beach and an absolutely romantic setting. Nestled in a picturesque landscape, with the most stunning turquoise-blue sea colors and the whitewashed houses, you can enjoy there Cycladic feeling at its best. Especially worth seeing is the northernmost section of the beach, where there is also the beautiful snow-white church Taxiárchēs. This place of worship is located directly on the sea, fascinates with dreamlike architecture and the beach next to it is absolutely gorgeous.
Tip: A fabulous choice for an unforgettable vacation on Sifnos is Elies Resorts, a grand 5-star hotel with pool, in unbeatable location right by the sea.
Where to Stay in Sifnos
The island of Sifnos offers a terrific range of fantastic accommodations. From the noble boutique hotel, to the beach hotel, cute pensions and top-equipped apartments, everything is represented here. Here are our recommendations for the best places to stay in Sifnos…It’s worth a look!
- Boutique Hotel: The Nival Boutique Hotel is a lovely boutique hotel in the interior of Sifnos. Guests love the chic style and delicious breakfast.
- Dream Hotel with Pool: The Elies Resorts, is one of the most beautiful hotels in Sifnos. This magnificent 5-star hotel has pool and is located directly on the sandy beach!
- Hotel by the Sea: Fantastic is the sweet Platys Gialos Hotel. This pretty hotel scores with pool and with best location directly at the sea.
- Beautiful Apartment: The Sifanto Mare Apartments are a great choice for a vacation. They inspire with great facilities and also the beach is not far away.
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