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When I was a young kid, when I started learning how to read actually, I had an obsession. I'd have my parents but me books about Greek mythology, written like they were fairytales, and read them over and over again. Seriously, back then you could ask me anything about the Olympian Gods and their soap-opera-like lives and the warriors like Heracles; I'd know the answer to anything and if I didn't, I'd start crying and complain to my parents that they didn't bring me a book with that story.

Of course, most of the stories of Greek mythology are very interesting, but there were some that made an impression to me. One of these was about Sifnos and how it got its name. See, the islanders supposedly paid yearly ho-mage to the Delphic sanctuary of Apollo with a solid gold egg. One year though they cheated and sent a gilded rock instead. Apollo, apparently, got so angry that he cursed the island, which resulted in the gold mines being flooded and the whole island being ruined. From then on, it was known as "Sifnos", which means "empty".

Why did that story impress me so much? Well, probably because it was the first story I read that wasn't really funny and fairy-tale like. It was a story of destruction in the eyes of a kid.Which is why, even though I read mythology books to my son when he wants to hear a story (we went over the classics like Red Hood and Cinderella long ago). I avoid telling him stories like this that will scare him.

Now, the land of Sifnos is relatively fertile and the only thing that floods it are the thousands of tourists that visit it every year. See, Sifnos is the most popular destination in the western Cyclades.

sifnos island - sifnos map

Sifnos Hotels

If you search for accommodation in Sifnos I recommend you to visit Sifnos Hotel Online Bookings. There, you can make your reservations directly to the hotels and find rooms in low prices and useful guest reviews.

Turismo grecia

What does Sifnos look like?

As I already said two sentences ago, Sifnos is relatively fertile. sifnos island - mediterranean sos Well, it's also famous for its rich fauna, which includes predatory birds like peregrine and tree hawks nesting or passing through it. That's actually the reaso n why some areas of the island have been declared protected areas of special importance by the NATURA network 2000.

Now besides that, Sifnos is traditionally Cycladic but also very different. What does that mean? Well, you'll find most of the things that characterize the Cyclades: the architecture, the snow-white cubical houses, the paved streets.

But, on the other hand, it has some characteristics that are unique. For example, the capital is built on three hills. Also, there are seven traditional settlements on the island which constitute an almost single complex. You'll also find some Venetian dovecotes, along with picturesque churches.

Are there any places I should not miss in Sifnos?

sifnos greece - archaeological museum

Sifnos has three museums that are at least worth a visit. Since I usually do so, I'm going to start with the Archaeological Museum this time too.

So, the Archaeological Museum houses findings dating from the Prehistoric Period until the Byzantine times. Now, listen to this: one of the museum's most important exhibits is an early Corinthian cotyle, i.e. a cup with two handles. OK, it may sound ridiculous but I actually thought it was really interesting. Another important exhibits include the lower part of a clay female figurine and a lion head made of flint.

sifnos island - folklore museum

Then there's the Folklore Museum, near the War Memorial. The Folklore Museum includes objects of folk art and examples of the cultural heritage of the island. You'll find naval tools, pottery tools, Sifnian costumes, books of writers of Sifnos and issues of local papers, among which of the newspaper "Sifnos" that has been published since 1880 until the present.

sifnos greece - ecclesiastic art museum

Finally, there's the museum of Ecclesiastical Art and Tradition. The exhibits of the museum include a handmade sacerdotal chasuble which was embroidered by Kassiani (a woman who took care of the church at the end of the 16th century), gospels, sacerdotal vessels, perchments and silver reliquaries.

What about Sifnos' historical and archaeological sites?

Sifnos actually has a whole village that is kind of a historical/archaeological place. Now, both the village and the castle there are called Kastro so I'm going to call the castle just. Castle so you don't get confused.

sifnos - profitis ilias monastery

So, Kastro, perched on a steep hill on the east coast of the island, is where the ancient capital of Sifnos used to be, the city of the ancie nt writers. It still has traces of facilities that date back as far as the Prehistoric times. The houses of Kastro are divided in two categories, the narrow single-houses and the mansions. In this fortified location Da Coruna built his castle when he occupied the island in 1302. The castle has all the typical features of a Venetian fortress and is preserved as one of the most important settlements built according to the medieval system.

Then there's the Monastery of Profitis Ilias. In the location of the convent there used to be a big ancient building, probably a big acropolis. The monastery, dating from the 8th century, is considered to be the most important Byzantine monument of Sifnos. It's surrounded by fortified walls, it has underground arcades and in the interior there's a marble icon screen and a marble baptistery. The monastery was deserted in 1873.

sifnos island - kamares village

Traditional Villages

Well, you know me! I couldn't leave Sifnos without paying a visit to its traditional villages. These settlements have something different. They combine Cycladic architecture along with neoclassical elements and that makes them enchanting. I would recommend you to start with Kastro and Apollonia, which are my favorite, if you don't have much time to spend and then Ano and Kato Petali, Artemonas, Vathi and Faros. None of them will disappoint you.

In my page Traditional Villages you can read all about them.

Are there any good beaches in Sifnos?

Actually, Sifnos is quite famous in Greece for its breathtaking beaches with their un-spoilt beauty and the lovely landscapes that surround them. For example, there's Faros, a superb sandy beach, Platis Gialos, Heronissos, Vathi, Vroulidia and I could go on.

Visit my page Sifnos Beaches to learn more.

sifnos island - faros beach sifnos grece - platis gialos beach

Where should I eat in Sifnos?

Do you like fish? If so, you should definitely visit Capetan Andreas. As I was told, the owner himself (perhaps, mr. Andreas?) catches the squid, lobster, barbounia and balades the restaurant serves. The meals are served on the beach under the shade of the tamarisks.

sifnos - greek salad sifnos - greek fish food

Liotrivi in Plateia Artemonas, on the other hand, is the place to visit if you want to try out the local cuisine, with thirty or so cooked dishes. The setting is also quite beautiful, with small wooden tables.

The Star in Kastro serves traditional dishes made from products that the owner brings from his own garden. To Tsikali in Vathi serves fish and local dishes, quite delicious. As for Platis Gialos, it has two lovely places, both on the beach: Sofia and Fonis. They both serve traditional dishes and are quite charming.

What about Sifnos' nightlife?

Thankfully, Sifnos is not little in the way of night-life. Bars and clubs can be found in almost every seafront village, as well as all the main villages of the island. Most of the bars though are concentrated in the harbor of Kamares.

sifnos - sifnos nightlife

The most famous bar in Sifnos is the Old Captain, in the harbor. The Kamares sunset is simply spectacular and this is the ideal place to watch it from. Then there are Argo, Botsi and Volto Bar in Apollonia and the Camel Club disco on the road out towards Platis Gialos that plays international chart hits until the very early hours of the morning.

So, how do I get to Sifnos?

You can get to Sifnos either by ferry or by speed-boat. By ferry, there are daily schedules from Piraeus (the trip lasts about 5 hours). There are enough speed-boats from Piraeus almost throughout the year (the trip lasts 2 hours and 25 minutes), some of which can also carry vehicles. During the summer Sifnos is also linked to most of the Cycladic islands.

Book online your ferry tickets to the greek islands and have them delivered at home easily.

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