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Serifos: island of rugged and wild beauty

The island of Serifos (75 sq km, 1,400 inhabitants) is part of the archipelago of the Cyclades islands. This island is located in the western part of the archipelago, south of Kythnos and north-west of Sifnos. The capital of the island is the town of Serifos, located on a hill near the southern coast, a short distance from the port of Livadi which is the arrival point of the ferries.

During antiquity the island has always been important thanks to its mineral resources. In fact, traces of mining activity have been found since the Copper Age, but even in the classical period the deposits of iron and copper ore were intensively exploited. During the Middle Ages, like the rest of Greece, the island became part of the Byzantine Empire. Serifos was occupied by the Venetians in 1207 who kept it until 1537, the year in which the island was conquered by the Ottoman Turks. In the 19th century, the intensive exploitation of the iron mines began, which were definitively closed in 1965.

A ROCKY AND BARREN ISLAND

The island, which has a vaguely circular shape with small bays and promontories, is rocky and barren, and has very jagged coasts. The highest peak is Mount Tourlos (585 meters). The island offers excellent opportunities to stroll in close contact with nature, looking for ancient villages, monasteries, coves and small beaches. The port of Livadi is located in a beautiful bay which is overlooked by the pretty capital of the island, the village of Hora (Serifos) which dominates the bay of the port from a hilltop.

In Livadi bay there are several beautiful beaches, especially south of the port are the beaches of Livadakia and Karavi. While north of Livadi, along the east coast are the beaches of Psili Ammos (probably the most beautiful on the island), Lia, Agios Sosti and Agios Ioannis. Along the west coast of the island are the beaches of Megalo Livadi, located in the south, and that of Sykamia, located in the far north.

THE CHARACTERISTIC VILLAGE OF HORA

The village of Hora (Serifos) is among the most beautiful in the Cyclades archipelago, located in an enviable position overlooking the bay of Livadi and a large part of the island. Hora is a typical Cycladic village made up of a multitude of white houses connected together by narrow streets and stairways. At the highest point of the inhabited center are the remains of a Venetian fortress and a small church. In the village there are two small but interesting museums: the first is the Museum of Folklore, dedicated to the ethnography of the island showing objects such as ceramics, utensils, fabrics and traditional local clothes. There is also a section dedicated to minerals and semi-precious stones. The second museum is the Archaeological Museum, it exhibits finds from the Hellenistic and Roman periods found on the island.

In the north of the island is the monastery-fortress of Moni Taxiaarhon (Taxiarchs) built in the 16th century. The three-nave dome church of the monastery is full of frescoes. Also in the northern part of the island in the village of Panagia there is a beautiful Byzantine church of the tenth century. In the southwestern part of Serifos are the remains of the jetties and buildings of the two mines of Megalo Livadi and Koutala.

HOW TO GET TO SERIFOS

FERRIES: The port of the island is the town of Livadi located in a deep bay along the south-east coast. The island of Serifos is connected by frequent ferries with the port of Athens, Piraeus (2 and a half hours with fast ships, 5 hours with ferries). Many of the main Cycladic islands have ferry connections with Serifos between these Folegandros, Ios, Milos, Paros, Santorini, Sifnos and Syros.

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