Sifnos is a lovely off-the-beaten-track destination in the west Cyclades full of its own sophisticated charm. Here’s a photo tour post to give you ideas on what to do in Sifnos.
What to do in Sifnos
Sifnos is my summer neighbor. That’s because the island is next door to Serifos, where we spend a lot of the summer. Much like Serifos, it is a quiet island that hasn’t faced mass tourism.
About 2,500 people call Sifnos island home. Most locals live in Apollonia and Artemonas. Here’s a photo tour along with some insight on what to do while you are on the island.
While I was visiting, I discovered the main sources of income are tourism, fishing, agriculture — and pottery! So…
Buy Sifnos Pottery
Pottery has been a tradition on Sifnos since 3,000 BC. The tsikalaria or pottery workshops were built inland, in villages like Artemonas, so pirates couldn’t get to them. Then, when pirates were no longer a threat the workshops moved to the sea shores of the island. Today there about a dozen traditional workshops left. Atsonios Pottery, founded in 1870, can be found in Vathi.
Just exploring the island you may notice some pottery just hanging out on the whitewashed rooftops. Those are clay chimney covers. Some of them are very intricate and beautiful. While shopping for local pottery, be sure to look out for beautiful clay dishes, mugs, jugs and pots.
Visit the Villages
When you are thinking of what to do in Sifnos, spend time at its villages. I really liked Apollonia, Artemonas, Vathi and Kamares. My favorite by far was Castro.
Apollonia is the capital of Sifnos. It is a great nightlife spot. The narrow streets fill with all kinds of folks including teens to singles, elderly couples holding hands, big families and groups of friends. For more about nightlife options and some places I liked, check out my earlier post Nightlife in Sifnos.
Kamares is the port of Sifnos, where the ferries dock. There’s a beach that curves around the coastline and a bunch of shops, restaurants and cafés to enjoy the view.
Although it is a favorite tourist resort these days, Faros still maintains its traditional fishing village charm.
Our local guide, an old family friend of Stef’s named Mr. Lefteris, showed us around his lovely village. Even with a lot of tourists come summer, it is still a quiet place with a few nice beaches and traditional tavernas.
On the eastern part of the island is the village of Artemonas. This village is very picturesque with great summer crowds full of lively energy.
Castro is my favorite part of the entire island. It is incredibly picturesque and atmospheric. It is an authentic Cycladic island town that has been inhabited since ancient times. You can read about my experience strolling this beautiful place by visiting my blog post Castro of Sifnos.
Go to the Beach
I’m going to sound like a beach snob saying this… but… coming from an island like Serifos, Sifnos beaches don’t compare. However, Sifnos has very nice places to go. The top beaches, as referred to me by Sifnian locals, include Kamares, Vathi and Faros. I had a chance to visit them all and have my opinion on them. For more detail check out my earlier blog post called Best Beaches of Sifnos.
Eat in Sifnos
Local specialties include revithokeftedes which are deep fried chickpea fritters. Sifnians are proud of their kolokythokeftedes which are deep fried zucchini fritters.
In the Cyclades, traditional Greek horiatiki cucumber and tomato salads are topped with mizithra cheese instead of the famous Greek feta cheese. Mizithra is lighter in flavor – I love it. Also popular in Cyclades is the caper salad called kaparosalata. A slow-cooked specialty is revithada or chickpea stew.
Some of the best restaurants to try include To Tsikali Taverna in Vathi, Manolis in Vathi, Giorgos Boulis Taverna in Apollonia and Absinthe in Kamares.
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.
Have you ever been to the Cylcades? Would you like to experience a calm, non-touristy Greek island like Sifnos?