Greek Guide

 

Sifnos Tourist Attractions Day Trips Greece Greek Travel Guide

The best way to explore Sifnos by day is on foot, making use of the plentiful tracks which criss cross the terraced hillsides. If you stay in the capital Apollonia you'll be ideally placed to visit the neighbouring hillside villages, the medieval Kastro on the east coast and the ancient monastery of Profitis Elias at the summit of the island's highest mountain.

Apollonia is one of the island's most beautiful villages with winding back streets filled with pottery and jewellery shops, charming houses with flower filled balconies and some excellent tavernas. Pay a visit to the Museum of Popular Arts and Folklore in the main plaza, Plateia Iroon, where you can see an interesting selection of traditional costumes, weapons, textiles, lace and cooking implements.

Visit the island's ancient capital Kastro, either by bus or on foot, three kilometres from Apollonia. It's a pleasant downhill walk of just over half an hour to reach this delightful town which has retained much of its original medieval character. The town stands on a rocky outcrop with an almost sheer drop to the sea on three sides. The fortress like walls, formed by the backs of the houses, were originally designed to protect against the marauding pirates who once plagued these waters. These kastros (or castles) were typical of the pirate safe towns built by the Venetians in the 14th and 15th centuries and you can see examples on several of the Cycladic islands. Visit the town's archaeological museum to see a range of pottery, sculpture and other items found on the island, many dating back as far as the Archaic Period several centuries BC.

The village of Artemonas is a 10 minute walk north of Apollonia and has wonderful views, impressive Venetian mansions and the 17th century church of Agios Georgios. The church of Panagia Konchi was built on the site of an ancient temple of Artemis which gave its name to the village.

Interesting walking trails include a hike up to the hilltop church of Agios Andreas. The path starts about two kilometres south of Apollonia. At the top you'll find the ruins of an ancient acropolis and stunning views of the neighbouring islands of Syros, Paros, Ios, Folegandros and Sikinos.

If you're feeling fit, set off from Apollonia to the 12th century walled monastery of Profitis Ilias at the summit of the island's highest mountain. Allow about three hours for the round trip which takes you through a stunningly beautiful valley in the centre of the island. The monastery has a lovely chapel and an interior courtyard lined with the monks' cells.

Another impressive monastery worth visiting (and more easily accessed) is the 17th century Panagia Chrysopigi, perched on a rocky islet off the south east coast of the island. The monastery was built to house a miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary, found nearby in the sea by local fishermen. It's connected to the mainland via a bridge and until recently its monastic cells were used as tourist accommodation.