I was warned I’d fall in love with the castro of Sifnos — for reasons I would discover. My experience there ended up being one of the loveliest and most memorable evening strolls I have ever experienced on a Greek island.
The Castro of Sifnos
There on that August afternoon, on that part of Sifnos Island, I remembered the panoramic views as stunning. I walked up a rocky, slanted path that lead to the entrance of the town. The town, called castro, was named after the castle and fortress it once was. Castro means castle in Greek.
The Church of the Seven Martyrs
As I stood on the rocky edges of the island, I admired the Church of the Seven Martyrs which seemed to float in the blue of the Aegean down below me. The summer day disappeared gingerly. As dusk settled I turned into one of the stonewalled entrances of the ancient village.
Behind Castro Walls
Behind the castro’s walls, there was more history to discover including the remnants of an ancient Greek acropolis, medieval walls, iron embattlements, tiny residences and some grand two story homes. In areas where the hill stopped to capture a view of the sea, some fashionably modern bars and restaurants found their places.
A Castle’s Neighborhood
I explored the neighborhood, a fully functioning tiny town with locals. I strolled past its doors and heard families laughing, Some television sets blared. I smelled that night’s Greek dinner sitting on the stove, a mix of onions and slow-cooked stews wafted in the air.
No more than two or three people could stand side-by-side in the simple maze of streets. An occasional little concrete clearing reared itself where village kids giggled as they kicked around soccer balls. Others rode their rusty little bikes in small circles just happy to have a space to roam.
The street lights blinked brighter as the night continued to settle in. Small 16th-century churches were lit warmly with candlelight, their doors wide open between the equally petite residences. I noticed their ornamental floors that glowed from candlelit altars. The smell of incense wafted out into the warm, sea-kissed summer air.
Falling in Love with the Castro
Turns out I did fall in love with the atmosphere of the village. It was a tiny place but full of this unique and authentic charm. You only need a half hour up to an hour to explore.
Afterwards, stop for a drink or a meal at one of the few restaurants or cafe/bars on the hill. All the while, enjoy the view.
How to Get to Sifnos:
There is no airport on the island, so the only way to travel to Sifnos is by ferry.
In the summer season, there are ferries that depart for Sifnos straight from the port of Piraeus in Athens. If you are on another Cycladic island you can typically find a ferry connection to Sifnos, as well. I traveled to Sifnos from Serifos. Check www.openseas.gr for updated ferry schedules.
Also, check out my blog post about the best beaches of Sifnos.
Sifnos has great nightlife options. Check out my post on nightlife in Sifnos.
The castro of Sifnos was a lovely experience. Have you been to any old castles or castro villages in the Cycladic island?