Greek travelers are known for seeking good food and entertainment, rather than sightseeing or exploring nature. But the Cycladic island of Sifnos offers the best of both worlds. Known for its restaurants, cafés and cozy bars, Sifnos has some exciting treats in store for nature lovers too. Apart from its countless footpaths that are great for hiking, the western part of the island features a 20-acre area that is part of the European Network of Natural Protected Areas (NATURA 2000), home to various plant and animal species. History buffs can enjoy the spectacular beauty of Sifnos’ Venetian Castle, which was built around 1635 and remains almost intact, or explore the Aghios Andreas archaeological site that dates back to pre-historic Mycenaean times.
Most travelers usually frequent the island’s two main towns, the more traditional Artemonas and the slightly more modern Apollonia. Both are great to walk around, relax with a coffee or enjoy local cuisine. Apollonia’s famed long and narrow pedestrian street, the so-called Steno where most bars and clubs are located, is the most popular place to hang out in the evening.
Sifnos has a well-established gastronomic tradition, ranging from seafood to traditional revithada (chickpea stew), mastello (slow-cooked goat) and a choice of desserts including loukoumia (Turkish delight). The birthplace of legendary 20thcentury Greek chef Nikolaos Tselementes, it comes as no surprise that Sifnos hosts the Cycladic Gastronomy Festival, held in September each year.
WHERE TO SWIM
The shallow water of the large, sandy beach at Kamares, which also offers a number of amenities, is ideal for families with children. Southern Sifnos is home to the developed beaches of Platis Gialos and Vathi, as well as the somewhat quieter and more isolated Faros, Chrissopigi, Glifo, Fassolou and Apokofto. When heading up north, Cheronissos and Vroulidia are recommended for swimming.