The Venetian Castle of Serifos

The Venetian Castle of Serifos

A steep walk up a series of whitewashed steps leads to the historic Venetian castle of Serifos, a place that offers some of the best views on the island.

The Venetian Castle of Serifos

When the sunset colors hang over the Aegean Sea, a soft haze of blue, purple and orange, it seems simply heavenly from the top of Serifos’ main town called Chora.

Actually, the view is magical any time of the day. I’ve been up there in all types of weather, day to dusk, and every time I reach the top — it’s stunning. The magical viewing spot is located around the ruins of the Venetian castle of Serifos.  In Greek, the Venetian castle is referred to as the castro.

Views of Serifos from the Chora.

Views of Serifos from the Chora.

Getting to the Venetian Castle of Serifos

No matter where you may be in the Chora, you can find various ways to get to the Venetian castle, just take steps up.

I recommend starting at the steps to the left of the Vatrahos Bar Cafe in Milon Square behind the windmills.  The white steps will curve here and there. You’ll pass lots of charming cubist houses with pick-your-shade-of-blue shutters.

Serifos Chora homes.

Serifos Chora homes.

Then you’ll get to the big wide series of steps that lead to the top.

Reach the top of those steps and you’ll reach the whitewashed church of Agios Ioannis Theologos. It was built in a cavity of a rock and on an ancient temple of Athena. It opens up to some of the  best views of the island’s livadi (harbor) and the sea. On a clear day you can spot the surrounding Cycladic islands including Sifnos, Kythnos, Milos and Kimolos.

View from Chora in Serifos.

Head up another round of steps and the views will only get better as you find yourself among the remains of the old Venetian castle walls.

Small parts of the once grand walls remain. Imagine that in one point in time, in the 13th century and onward, a whole castle fortress dominated the top of the cliff.  It was built to protect the community from pirates and invaders.  Here, you’ll find another whitewashed church called Agios Constantinos.

An old window in the Venetian Castle of Serfos.

An old lookout point in the crumbling Venetian Castle of Serfos.

The Venetian Castle of Serifos at Sunset

Here are some photos of another walk to the Venetian castle of Serifos. I brought along my sister who was visiting from New York.  I loved the pastels of that sunset.

 

Views of Serifos from the Venetian castle after sunset.

Tips on Walking to the Venetian Castle of Serifos

  • Wear comfortable walking shoes.
  • Wear a sunhat. The sun is very strong in Greece.
  • Protect you skin. There is no shade.
  • Best time of day to walk to the castle/castro is in the early morning and before sunset. The strong sun and heat of the summer season may be unbearable otherwise.
  • It can be dangerous for those not accustomed to walk up or down longer flights of steps or uneven steps. My parents did it and they hate walking up and down steps.  They were very careful and took their time. They didn’t complain that much and they loved the view!
  • Bring water.
  • Beware of the meltemi winds. They are the strong island winds that hit the Cyclades during the month of August.  It can be hard to stand up there if the winds are blowing quite hard. Trust me, they can really blow hard to the point of being very annoying.
  • If you are athletic, enjoy the workout.
  • No matter what, enjoy the view!
  • After you see the great views, follow the steps leading down. There are some arrows painted on the walkways and on some buildings that point the way to Pano Piatsa, which is a little scenic square and the home of the island’s town hall.  Take some time to have lunch, a coffee or a drink. After the walk, you’ll deserve it.

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 with lovely amenities, I recommend Indigo. From €80 a night, depending on the season.

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 have tons of posts about everything Serifos on this blog.

 

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Have you ever been to a castro in the Greek isles similar to the Venetian castle of Serifos?



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