Enjoy the journey as well as the destination was never more true than for the Greek island of Sifnos. This small island in the Cyclades group is a string of delightful villages separated by interludes of gorgeous mountain and sea vistas. The closest thing to a main town is the sprawling village of Apollonia in the hills near the center. Since the whole island is only about five km wide and 15 long, reaching each of the other villages is an easy, enjoyable journey to a beautiful and relaxing destination.
Karin and I stayed in a traditional pension in Platys Yialos at the southeast of the island. It has one street and a beach which serves as a pedestrian street as well. Our first morning we took a wake up ride to the south western port of Vathy for breakfast. It was both beautiful and relaxing.
Later we rode our motor scooters up to Kastro. It is difficult to convey the sense of this cliff top village on the opposite side of the island. It is ancient and overflowing with antiquities sitting everywhere. There are no vehicles because it is all stairs. Even the locals must carry their groceries from a parking lot on the edge of town.
Another unique attribute of Sifnos is its cleanliness. We were very impressed that there is no litter, the houses are kept up, even the farms were tidy! Not overdone, just well kept. Sifnos is relatively small so the tourism volume is low. This helps keep the island more pure and more traditional Greek. We were we first directed to Sifnos by some friends who are great walkers. While we are not, we did see some scenic trails that look intriguing. Buy a quality local map and you will find them.
Off by itself at the north end of the island is Heronissos. Until recently this narrow harbor village was mainly accessible only by those with yachts or sailboats. Now there is a new road and we found it quite grand to be scootering along the island ridge and then steeply down to a still old fashioned Greek fishing village.
Sifnos is most noted as a potters’ island. It is not known when pottery began on the island though it is mentioned in the third century B.C.. By the eighteenth century potters from Sifnos were traveling and relocating all over Greece to spread their industry. But at the main ferry port of Kamares you have your choice of several ceramic factories still owned and operated by local families.
As I mentioned Sifnos is not on the major ferry routes but can still be easily reached from Athens/Piraeus along with neighbors Milos, Serifos, and Kimilos. You can also get there from the other Cyclades by way of Paros and Mykonos and perhaps other islands as the schedules vary each year. We recommend this collection of jewel like villages for any island hopper's itinerary. It is the perfect size for finding new discoveries around each corner and did I mention that it is beautiful and relaxing.
You can view our collection of photos starting with Day Four of our Picasa album.
Or read about all of our Cyclades island adventures on our web site.