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The Island of Moderation and Harmony

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Discover Sifnos

Sifnos is one of the most distinctive of the south-west Cyclades. A model of traditional architecture that has been described as an island of moderation and harmony, it has also been a centre of pottery production and ceramic art since antiquity, and is the birthplace of the famous chef Nikolaos Tselementes.

This understated island stands out for its dazzling white scenery, with hundreds of blue-domed chapels adorning its imposing rocks.

Its magnificent landscapes are complemented by idyllic coves with turquoise waters, ancient citadels and sanctuaries, age-old paths paved with marble, remarkable monuments of folk culture, and an amazing array of plants and flowers.

A mixture of the aristocratic and the alternative, Sifnos is a place of living tradition with a unique gastronomic identity, promising an unbeatable travel experience to lovers of culture, nature, and beauty.

4 memorable experiences on Sifnos
  1. The three-day Nikolaos Tselementes Festival of Cycladic Cuisine in Artemonas, a unique voyage through the food and culture of the Cyclades that takes place every September.
  2. Visiting some of the island’s 19 pottery workshops to learn the ancient secrets of ceramics from some of the masters of the art.
  3. If you choose one of the itineraries to Sifnos, don’t miss the opportunity to stop for coffee at “O Fellos”, its oldest cafe, which opened in 1900 in Ano Petali.
  4. Sifnos’ village festivals and their special customs. There are 237 churches and monasteries here, each observing an annual feast day, so there are plenty of opportunities to join in the celebrations.
Beaches of Sifnos

Sifnos has some of the prettiest beaches in the Cyclades scattered around its coastline. Some have amenities for tourists while others are more secluded and suit those seeking peace and tranquillity, but they all combine golden sand and pebbles with crystalline blue-green waters. The east coast has unique rocky shores that are great for swimming or exploring by boat. The majority can be reached either by road or via beautiful coastal paths. Don’t miss:

  • The popular Platis Yialos, which attracts both young people and families. It is a long golden beach, with shallow blue-green waters and excellent facilities including umbrellas, sunbeds, watersports, beach bars, and restaurants. It has views of the islet of Kitriani and the 10th-11th century Church of the Virgin Mary.
  • Vathi beach is set in a stunning natural bay and offers fine golden sand, shallow emerald waters, and very good amenities. There are umbrellas, sun loungers, watersports facilities, as well as café-restaurants serving first-rate food.
  • Apokofto (Chrysopigi), a beach of soft golden sand and tamarisk trees curving round a small bay with cool turquoise waters. The famous Monastery of Our Lady of the Golden Spring stands on the narrow peninsula nearby. Those who prefer to be on their own can soak up the sun on a flat rock near the monastery, followed by a dip in the sea. The beach has changing rooms, showers, and café-restaurants.
  • Kamares in the port of Sifnos, which combines a long swathe of golden sand with shallow emerald waters. It has sand dunes adorned with sea lilies and surrounded by reeds and lush green vegetation. This stretch of coast between the port and the village of Agia Marina has every amenity, including cafes and restaurants on the shore.
  • Vroulidia, for those seeking a quiet haven. It is a small and idyllic pebble beach where the crystal-clear emerald sea gradually becomes deeper. There are umbrellas and sunbeds provided by the two café-restaurants operating here.
Postcards from Sifnos: 7 things not to miss

The architecture of this atmospheric medieval settlement, once the island’s capital, is breath-taking. Go through one of its low entrances, explore the maze-like lanes crammed with houses, and admire the impressive marble sarcophagi scattered throughout the village, before enjoying the fabulous view of the Aegean from the 6th-century-BC acropolis.

The Monastery of Our Lady of the Golden Spring
Dedicated to the patron saint of Sifnos, this emblematic white monastery dating from the 17th century stands on two sides of a rock divided by a fissure and joined by an arched bridge. Don’t miss the church’s superb stone icon screen and the monastic cell where distinguished personalities have stayed, including the poet and writer Aristomenis Provelengios.

Our Lady of the Mountain
Perhaps the most important and attractive church on the island, built in 1813, was furnished with items donated by the Sifnian community of Constantinople. Its courtyard has a marvellous view of Platis Yialos beach and the islands of Kimolos and Polyaigos.

This gorgeous village is notable for its beautiful neoclassical mansions with wonderful courtyards, picturesque churches, and a relaxing atmosphere. Look out for the family home of the poet Ioannis Gryparis.

The Church of the Seven Martyrs
This tiny architectural jewel, perched on a rock surrounded by the sea, makes a perfect picture-postcard image. Admire it for yourself by descending the numerous steps on the stone path from Kastro.

The Mycenaean Citadel of Agios Andreas
This important archaeological site has received a Europa Nostra award for its exemplary presentation of cultural heritage. Explore the majestic ruins of the 12th-century-BC Mycenaean wall, the remains of houses, and the iconic church of Saint Andrew, built in 1701, with its panoramic views.

Towers of Sifnos
The 76 towers standing on the hills and slopes of the island are called phryctoriae and are part of an ancient signalling system dating from the 6th to the 3rd century BC. On the eve of the Feast Day of the Holy Spirit, dozens of volunteers light fires on the towers in a revival of the ancient method of communication. The White Tower at Platis Yialos, the Black Tower at Exambela, and the Katavati Tower in the village of the same name are particularly worth seeing.

Ancient trails of Sifnos
The famous Sifnos trails form a 200-km network of routes that cover the whole island. At every step, travellers discover an extraordinary world of farm buildings, pigeon houses, chapels, towers, and windmills.

Tastes of Sifnos

Sifnos has a long culinary history. From traditional recipes to the gastronomy of Tselementes, it promises unforgettable delights to visiting gourmets.

Perhaps its best-known dish is revithada, a chickpea soup cooked in a clay pot and usually eaten for breakfast. Also try chickpea fritters, string beans with garlic dip, caper dip, kalasouna (wild greens pie) and of course mastelo (lamb in a clay pot with dill and wine, baked in a wood oven).

If you choose one of the ferry tickets to Sifnos, don’t miss the opportunity to try fine local cheeses such as spicy manoura.  Outstanding sweet treats include loli (pumpkin pie with cinnamon, cloves and raisins), melopita (a light cheesecake with honey and cinnamon), and amygdalota (almond confectionary made either in a saucepan or in the oven).

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