The Weekly Getaway: effortless yet charming architecture in Sifnos
If you call yourself a foodie traveller then Sifnos is the right place to visit. It is unarguably one of the best islands in the Cyclades that could satisfy all sorts of visitors, from honeymooners and couples, to friends and families.
I have been visiting the island for the past 6 years and I can tell you that no other place makes me feel like home as Sifnos does during my summer vacations. Its beauty, food, people, villages and beaches are only a few aspects that greatly distinguish this island from the others in Greece.
So come with me on this journey where I unveil all my favorite spots and be prepared to add Sifnos to your bucket list for your next summer getaway!
Apollonia is one of the island’s villages also known as the capital of Sifnos since 1836. It is built amphitheatrically around three hills surrounded by the villages of Artemonas kai Exambela. Its main path, also called steno, is full of cafes, bars, restaurants and little shops offering its visitors an unforgettable night out.
People walk up and down the steno while Drakakis' old taverna and “Oi treis ksanthoi aggeloi”, offering delicious honey dumplings ("loukoumades"), are usually the most crowded places throughout the night... right before the young crowd hits the bars and rooftops! Most bars are open until 4 am, while two after-hours bars become the next stop for the survivors of the night.
When it comes to beaches, the truth is that the island has a small number of them, however no matter what your preference is, you will definitely find one that suits you the best.
Platys Gialos, is a beautiful long shallow sandy beach with a great variety of restaurants for all tastes and budgets. Even though it mostly attracts families, you can definitely enjoy a day on it lying by the beach next to the lively Palmyra bar (great cocktails, snacks and music) until sunset, when patrons shift to a delicious feast on either Omega 3 or Mamma Mia restaurants.
In case you're up for adventure you should visit Vroulidia beach, perhaps one of the most quiet and hardest beach to access, with crystal clear waters second to none.
P.S. Did I mention your mobile phone hardly has any reception down there? Let's see if you're up for the challenge.
With more than 360 churches and monasteries located on the island, you definitely need to save some time and visit the monastery of Panagia Chrysopigi, built on a torn rock, right next to Apokofto beach. Defined as the most “popular” monastery on the island, apart from the religious aspect, its medieval architecture catches one’s eye.
However, if you ask me about my favorite sunset spot, Agios Symeon chapel located high above Kamares has by far the best views you will get on the island. Having been built about 300 years ago, this beautiful chapel helps you find serenity, enjoy the sense of freedom along with the spectacular views of the island and the surrounding islands, even for just a few minutes.
- Chora - prized for its architecture, Sifnos' central village offers a unique tour amidst the whitewashed cubic houses with the flat roofs. Apollonia attracts even students from all over the world to admire and study the Cycladic and bioclimatic architecture of Sifnos
- Agios Symeon - one of the numerous churches and monasteries of the island, Agios Symeon located at 530m above sea level at Kamares offers a 360 view across Serifos, Syros, Antiparos, Folegandros and Milos (clockwise)
- Artemonas - cute little village with a nice settlement and some commercial activity; worth a visit early in the evening
- Kastro - Sifnos' capital during ancient times until 1836, now retains some medieval remains and offers a great view to the islands nearby
- Elies Resort - the most luxurious hospitality establishment of Sifnos located in Vathy, away from the busy streets of Chora, Elies is the perfect retreat if you want to enjoy some time off. However, the hike from Vathy to other beaches and Chora too is a bit too much (especially at night). The seawater swimming room is second to none and they also offer great pool service by the way; access to the Vathy beach and some nice nearby tavernas also a plus
- Verina - located in the cosmopolitan settlement of Platy Gialos, Verina Suites offers an upscale experience in earth-tone aesthetics and marble decoration. They also offer another two more high-end options at Verina Astra, in Poulati, and Verina Villas for a vacation home experience
- Sifnos House - very cute newly-built boutique hotel at the port, with great minimal Cycladic aesthetics and a very warm hospitality. George, Dora and Pantelis will satisfy all of your requests and will make you want to come back! The hotel also features a small spa
- Vroulidia - organised beach with pebbles; probably the best one in Sifnos. The road is steep and rocky; plan accordingly!
- Vathy - your average sandy beach, also offers some umbrellas. Best to only visit for Elies resorts or the cute little tavernas on the far end of the bay
- Platy Gialos - busy and long organised sandy beach with lots of choices; best to visit Palmyra café and chill out
- Kamares - sandy beach with some umbrellas, also features a nice beach bar, Isalos, which has lately attracted the young crowd
- Panagia Poulati - great for diving off the cliffs, underneath Poulati church that is also worth a visit
- Omega 3 - great range of seafood-inspired fusion dishes - their signature one is tirandito but there are plenty of choices for you on the menu. Recently they started taking booking on 2hr blocks; make sure you reserve yours early! Best to visit after the beach for a quick bite. Read our full review here
- Mamma Mia - arguably one of the top 3 restaurants, Italian cuisine with both great pasta and pizza. Try the carbonara and save some room for a mouthwatering tiramisu. Make sure you get a table, for either of the two outlets, one in Apollonia and one in Platy Gialos
- Kafeneio Drakakis - traditional Greek taverna that is not to miss; great ambience on the main path of Apollonia with good service and tasty meze
- Troulllaki - nice traditional taverna with one of the best sunsets in Sifnos. Read our full review here
- Rabagas - modern twist of some local dishes, mostly tomato-inspired. Great ambience in this multi-purpose outdoor space
- Tsikali - nice taverna right on the beach of Vathy; amazingly tasting slow-cooked chicken. Read our full review here
- Oi Treis Ksanthoi Aggeloi - you sure don't want to miss this place, where everyone is queuing up for a serving of hot honey dumplings! Tip: visit after sunset when the crowds are not there yet
- Lembesis - great taverna at Chrysopigi, which serves nice food all day long. Also good for its WiFi service if you're looking for an inspiring place to work during the daytime
- Palmyra - mostly for people watching in Platy Gialos; also serves a nice and juicy burger. Best to sit for a drink