It’s a fine summer morning as we dock at the port of Alopronia reaching a destination longing to visit for quite some time now. Visiting from nearby islands, it’s clear the minute we step off the ferry and onto Chora that the pace here is downtempo and generally it’s all about slow living.
A relatively secluded island between Folegandros and Ios, Sikinos is abundant with prickly pears, children roaming around in frivolity and lots of laughter and good vibes around. Inhabited by just over 260 people during winter, the place is all about the community and enjoying life.
One of the most beautiful capital towns of Cyclades, Chora boasts white-washed stone manors and narrow alleys atop the hill. It has two settlements, the oldest of which is called Kastro (Castle), also called Sikinos, while the second settlement, Chorio (the Greek word for village) has been built in recent years. Both equally casual and equally relaxing, perfect for a quiet vacation away from the crowds.
A little after midday, we tour around Chora, occasionally taking clicks and taking in the view from atop, the one from a couple of windmill ruins that overlook the west of the island. The wind is blowing strong and as we walk past the main centre of Chora we take note of the locals hanging at Garbi tavern. This is the best place for a Cycladic souvlaki and some handcut french fries! Thodoris, a relatively young and lively chap who owns the place takes good care of those visiting his establishment, tending to daily specials that are super yummy like the goat stew that they only offer during Easter and around the 15th of August!
On a different day, after having a light breakfast in Chora at Anemelo, we take the road towards Episkopi 4km southwest. At Episkopi we visit the temple of the Dormition of Virgin Mary which is the result of the reconstruction of a Roman mausoleum of the 3rd century A.D. Around the area, we take note of the ancient settlements and the brave of us take the rugged uphill path towards Agia Marina chapel for a 20min trek. When we reach the top of the mountain, we’re astounded by the views and the microclimate here blowing clouds over our face as we gaze towards Folegandros and all around the island.
As we head back, we make a stop at the twin chapels of Agioi Anargyroi before heading towards Dialiskari for an afternoon by the beach. The dirt road takes a bit more than 10minutes but it’s well worth the stretch as we find ourselves secluded by nature with big rocks and crystal clear waters.
In the late afternoon we head back to Alopronia and decide to have a late post-beach lunch at the port’s taverna. Once we order and whilst we wait for our goodies, some of us head to the little makeshift beach to the left of the port for a quick dip in the blue waters – so refreshing!
One thing that’s recently attracted travelers as a destination is the winery of Manalis. A local craftsman together with his son and wife have created an immaculate vineyard that is ever expanding, experimenting with more and more varieties each year. A little before sundown, we’re here to get one of the best seats and enjoy the winetasting tour they offer. The views towards Folegandros are mesmerising competing head to head (if not surpassing) the ones from Santorini’s Oia!
At night, the place to be is again Chora where locals start off with some drinks at Anemelo and Soulatso. As the night draws close to midnight everyone gathers inside Anemelo for some late night partying where the music gets louder. Drinks are clanking, feet are dancing and everyone comes to one. Sikinos is all about enjoying life and spending a good time. Just after 2am, the music starts fading out and most of the crowd goes towards the only after-club of the island Themonies.
It’s now the morning after and your head may be spinning but a visit to the Chrysopigi monastery is a must. It’s also a nice combo with Panagia Pantohara, the chapel dedicated to the famous Greek poet Elytis that his wife gifted to the island.
- Church of Episkope – beautiful church and historical landmark in the ancient settlement of the island. Short tours operate daily in the morning and in the afternoon.
- St Marina chapel – one of the peaks of the island with great views to Santorini and Folegandros. A 20-25min challenging trek from Episkope but well worth it.
- Virgin Mary Chrysopigi monastery – an old convent on the far end of Chorio that is now open to the public for short visits. Check for opening times.
- Panagia Pantohara (Elytis chapel) – a few steps below the monastery, a chapel dedicated to the famous poet from his wife.
- Sikinos square – the most central spot of Chorio with beautiful white-washed houses all around.
- Stegadi Luxury Apartments – small, clean rooms located very centrally within Chorio.
- Eukalyptos rooms – nice rooms to let in Chorio.
- Alopronia beach – the main beach on the port where locals and lots of children enjoy most of their day during summer. On the right to the port there is a spot with big rocks for dives into the crystal clear waters where locals hang.
- Dialiskari beach – the best beach on the island, despite the long shallow rocks on the bottom. There are umbrellas and a couple of cedar trees for shade. Some also gather on the rocks on the right to the beach with their birth suit on.
- Santorineika beach – small beach accessible by boat.
- Malta beach – small cove with turquoise waters only accessible by boat.
- To Steki tou Garmpi – the best souvlaki on the island (arguably also around the Cyclades) with pork skewer, tomato and xynogalo cheese. Also offers daily specials like their slowcooked goat stew.
- Anemelo – great place for breakfast as well as for drinks at night. After midnight the crowd may end up indoors for a party until 2am.
- Manalis Winery – beautiful place for wine tasting during the sunset hours. They also offer a short tour at 21.00.
- Themonies – the after spot of the island that opens at midnight and closes in the early morning hours during the wild nights of August.
The time is now nearing for your departure from the island with the ferry soon to reach Alopronia port. Once the first few kids see the ferry appearing from afar, they all flock the dock for the ceremonial bit that has flooded the internet in recent years. Aponerites, basically the youngsters of the island, started this custom where at the end of summer they wave goodbye to their loved ones leaving the island and dive into waters once the ferry leaves bidding them farewell!