Hiking the Mining Trail of Serifos

Hiking the mining trail of Serifos, I couldn’t hep but wonder what untold stories still echo through those abandoned island hills and dark caves that once bustled with activity.

Hiking the Mining Trail of Serifos

We frequent the island since we have a summer home here.  So, during Greek Easter weekend we headed back and decided to take our guests, one of my best friends from New York named Cole and my good friend Aurore from Athens, to experience the nature and scenery of the hiking trail.

Megalo Livadi view from the hikiing trail

The History of Mining in Serifos

Rich in ore and minerals, Serifos was once home to a mining industry that thrived.

The lush green hills were as I remembered them the last time I hiked them: dotted with rusted out machinery, tools and carts. It was all left behind only to wear away with time. It seemed as if the mining workers of the 20th century stopped their hard day’s work, put down their tools, stopped their metal wagons and walked away forever.

Old mining cars and the beach of Megalo Livadi, Serifos.

Old mining cars and the beach of Megalo Livadi, Serifos.

The mines bustled with activity from 1880 until 1962 giving prosperity to the island.  They closed as reserves depleted, production costs went up and metal prices declined worldwide.

In between the island’s southeast villages of Megalo Livadi and Koutalas the remnants of that time remain, literally scattered among raw nature.  Walking among it all makes this hike unique.

Abandoned mining car.

Abandoned mining car.

Following the Mining Trail of Serifos

We followed a natural trail that led us under crumbling bridges. Along the way we bumped into forgotten stone stacked buildings, peeped into dark caves and stumbled around a massive pit of large stones, stones that showed off the colors you’d find on a calico cat – black, brown, white and grey.

Mining rocks of the past.

We examined the rusted rails and wagons, remnants of the tools that the Serifian miners once used to excavate and load the natural minerals that filled the caves. Okay, we also had a little fun time.

The French Mining Company in Serifos

To find out more you can also head to the nearby fishing village of Megalo Livadi. There, a small museum was opened where you can learn about the time when the French mining company, Societe des mines Seriphos-Spiliazeza, once exploited the island.  

The museum is also dedicated to four miners who were executed during a strike against the company in which they demanded eight-hour working days and wage increases.

Hiking the mining caves in Serifos.

A mining bridge to nowhere in Serifos

 

A Way Out of the Serifian Mining Caves

An unexpected adventure came when Cole and Stef wandered into the little caves. The place wasn’t well lit — obviously —  as an abandoned set of caves. It was getting dark and well, you can get lost. Apparently, Stef made a wrong turn inside and froze in panic. Cole followed him unknowing that they were lost. Soon enough, Stef somehow managed to recognize a rock and he found a way out.  The lesson here — don’t go in wandering those caves without a tour guide. Or just don’t go in at all! They are not well marked.

How to Get to the Mining Trail of Serifos

Park your car off of Megalo Livadi and take the path up toward the rusty old “Bridge to Nowhere” as I call it.  Just wander around. There are no marked paths really. It is a wide open place to explore.

Hiking Tips:

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes. There are many rocks and you don’t want to stub your flip-flopped feet on anything rusty laying around.
  • Watch the children! The abandoned mining cars and old equipment have rough edges.
  • Don’t explore the caves deeply.  They are not marked and they are dark.
  • During the summer season you can visit the Old Mining Museum right in Megalo Livadi near the parking area for more insight into Serifos’ mining past.

Hiking in Serifos.

*Update Spring 2017

Hiking the Mining Trail Video

Here’s a short video of my hike, this time with 11-year-old Ilena in tow.  Easter 2017 gave us amazing weather!

 

How to Get to Serifos

The only way to travel to Serifos is by ferry or private boat/yacht. The island does not have an airport.

The frequency of ferries depends on the season. Ferries leave from the port of Piraeus in Athens.  The trip lasts anywhere from 2.5 to 5.5 hours, depending on if you book a seat on a fast or slow ferry. For updated ferry schedules check www.openseas.gr.  I usually take the SpeedRunner which is about a 2.5 hour journey (45-50 Euro each way).

There are regular connections to the other west Cyclades, including Milos, Kythnos and Sifnos.

How to Get to Serifos

To get to the Greek islands, many international travelers arrive by air, usually with a change in Athens or another major city.  There are some direct seasonal flights to certain island destinations too.  You can find the best flight deals with Vayama.

The only way to travel to Serifos is by ferry or private boat/yacht from the port of Piraeus in Athens. The island does not have an airport.

The frequency of ferries depends on the season. Ferries leave from the port of Piraeus in Athens.  The trip lasts anywhere from 2.5 to 5.5 hours, depending on if you book a seat on a fast or slow ferry. For updated ferry schedules check www.openseas.gr.  I usually take the SpeedRunner which is about a 2.5 hour journey (45-50 Euro each way).

There are regular connections to the other west Cyclades, including Milos, Kythnos and Sifnos.

Where to Stay in Serifos

Boutique: Rizes Hotel is a four-star hotel with a beautiful pool, individual plunge pools, a great view, excellent buffet breakfast and a beautiful view to the Chora and the Aegean Sea. From €100 a night, depending on the season.  Coco-Mat, the luxury Greek brand, also has a small boutique hotel right on Vagia beach.

Mid-Range: The Livadi is ideal for a convenient stay, especially for those without a car. You’d be within walking distance to everything: beaches, eateries, nightlife and the ferries. For an atmospheric apartment stay, I recommend Indigo. From €80 a night, depending on the season. Great stay for families.

Basic: For a basic clean rooms, no frills, I recommend Ms. Lambrini’s Cavo d’Oro (+30 2281 051160). From €50 a night, depending on the season.

Where to Eat on Serifos

For a rundown of the eateries in Serifos, check out my post the Best Restaurants in Serifos.

What to Do on Serifos

Serifos is a nature lovers dream.  There are many beautiful beaches, hiking trails and a fantastic main town to explore. I frequent this island the most so I have tons of posts about everything Serifos on this blog.

Where to Eat in Serifos

For a rundown of the eateries in Serifos, check out my post the Best Restaurants in Serifos.

What to Do in Serifos

Serifos is a nature lovers dream.  There are many beautiful beaches and a unique cascading hilltop Chora to explore. I frequent this island the most so I have tons of posts about everything Serifos on this blog!

Would you like to go hiking on the mining trail of Serifos?

Comments (2)

  • Avatar

    Mark

    Love the photo of the bridge. It reminds me of a bridge to nowhere yet the world is out there beyond. All you gotta do is take a flying leap or in my case a cannonball! Tempting.

    Reply

  • Avatar

    CrazyGuyinThailand

    Awesome pics.

    Reply

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