The island of Sifnos (73 sq km, 2,500 inhabitants) is part of the Cyclades islands, is located in the central-western area of the archipelago, southeast of the island of Serifos and west of Paros and Antiparos. The island, very green for the Cycladic canons, is cultivated with vines and olive trees, and is largely mountainous. The highest peak is Mount Profitis Ilias (680 meters). Pottery production is still a typical activity of the island. Especially in recent years, tourism has started to play an increasingly important role.
The remains of ancient Bronze Age settlements have been found on the island. Sifnos was famous in antiquity for its gold and silver mines and as a production center for Aegean ceramics. These mines ran out in classical times relegating the island to a secondary importance in the history of ancient Greece. The pottery instead is still produced in an artisanal way and is one of the typical works of the islanders.
A CUISINE AMONG THE BEST OF THE CYCLADES
Sifnos is famous for its food and its cuisine one of the best in the Cyclades. Excellent cheese is produced there, there are delicious honey cakes, cakes, nougats and amaretti, as well as local products such as almonds, capers etc. But the specialty of Sifnos is the baked chickpea pie (revithada). Other specialties are: mastelo, kapparosalata, and revithokeftedes. Every year, in September, an important gastronomic festival is organized in Sifnos.
TYPICAL ARCHITECTURE OF THE CYCLADES
Sifnos is famous for the architecture of its most typical Cycladic settlements. The capital of the island is the town of Apollonia which is located in the interior of the island. While the main port, the town of Kamares, is located along the northwestern coast. In the bay of Kamares there is a beautiful beach. Apollonia is a beautiful town with a typical Cycladic look, lying on two hills and on a valley. Here there is a small Folklore Museum with typical ceramics and fabrics. Attached to Apollonia is the village of Artemonas another expanse of white houses and narrow streets, the village is very beautiful and is to be visited on foot.
HISTORICAL VILLAGES AND MONASTERIES
On the east coast, not far from the center of Apollonia, there is the ancient capital, Kastro, located on a rocky outcrop overlooking the sea. The place was originally founded by the Byzantines who built a fortified settlement there. Kastro is a beautiful medieval village surrounded by Venetian walls (14th century). In the village there is also a small archaeological museum. Below the village of Kastro is the beach of Seralia.
In the center of the island, on the slopes of the highest mountain, there is the monastery of Moni Profiti Ilia, the most important of the island. Founded in the Middle Ages the structure of the monastery is made up of a wall whereby the monastery appears as a fortress. On the island it seems that there is almost a church for every day of the year.
In the southern part of Sifnos there are some beautiful beaches such as those of Platys Gyalos, Hrysopigis, Fasolou and to the west that of Vathy. In Hrysopigis there is the beautiful church of Panagia Hrysopigis dating from the seventeenth century. At the northern end of Sifnos is the village of Heronisos with a beautiful beach.
HOW TO GET TO SIFNOS
FERRIES: The port of Kamares where the ferries arrive is located in the northern part of the west coast. The island of Sifnos is well served by ferries (5 hours) and fast ships (2 hours and 40 minutes) for Piraeus and for many Cycladic islands, among these there are fast ships for Folegandros (1 hour), Milos (1 hour) and Serifos (25 minutes), while ferries connect Sifnos to Ios (6 hours), Paros (2 hours), Serifos (1 hour), Santorini (7 hours), etc.