Greek Guide

 

Sikinos Island Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Sikinos is one of the Greek Cyclades Islands located in the Aegean Sea 180 kilometres south east of the mainland port of Piraeus. The Cyclades are among the most visited of all the Greek islands but Sikinos is a true pearl of a find amid all the summer mayhem. It has remained completely untouched by mass tourism and is the place to head for if you just want to chill out, a million miles away from the madding crowds.

The island doesn't receive enough visitors to warrant an airport but there are good ferry links with the mainland and neighbouring islands. It wasn't so long ago that the few tourists curious enough to stop off here had to use a launch to reach the island from the ferry. There are regular ferries running between Piraeus and Sikinos (a nine and a half hour journey) and also to neighbouring Ios (30 minutes). The beautiful island of Santorini, which has an airport with Olympic Airways flights to Athens, is a two and a half hour ferry ride away. There are also ferry services to Naxos, Syros, Paros, Kimolos, Milos and Sifnos. Less frequent services connect the island with Thirasia, Anafi and Kythnos.

Once you're here, don't expect to do much more than relax. You won't find any banks with cash machines, internet cafes, car and rental firms or McDonald's. Stroll from your hotel to the beach or local taverna and back again, explore the island on foot or donkey and practise some Greek phrases on the locals (many of whom speak little or no English).

The island has some beautiful scenery but the harsh and infertile land has created conditions of hunger and poverty for the local population in the past. Vines, olives and figs are grown here but stock farming and fishing are the primary sources of income (with tourism slowly starting to creep but not on the scale to be seen in neighbouring Ios or on the hugely popular Cycladic islands of Mykonos and Santorini).

The islanders produce their own wine and in ancient times the island was called Inos meaning the island of wine. According to legend the name changed when the King of Limnos married a nymph and escaped to the island to avoid the women of Limnos (who were massacring all their men!). The couple gave birth to a son, Sikinus, who in turn gave his name to the island.

The Ionians settled here as far back as the 10th century BC and the Romans later used it as a place of exile. The Venetians held sway from the 13th to the 16th century and the Turks invaded in 1566. The islanders fought bravely during the War of Independence contributing to the liberation of Greece in 1822.

These days you'll find a traditional way of life on the island where, until recently donkeys and mules were the main form of transport. The islanders have preserved their time honoured festivities and customs and are renowned for their friendliness towards foreigners.