When most people think of visiting the Cyclades Islands in Greece, they think of Mykonos and Santorini. They don’t think of visiting a little known island named Sifnos. It quickly became my favorite island. While I adore the Greek islands I’ve visited in the past such as Zakynthos and Crete, something about Sifnos really moved me.
For one thing, it was completely authentic, and when I went in early June, there were few tourists. Sifnos is an absolutely beautiful island with gorgeous clear water beaches, towering mountains, incredible food, and quaint whitewashed villages to explore and get lost in. The best part is it’s only a three-hour ferry ride from Athens. I stayed in the port area of Kamares (pictured above), and loved staying in this area because it meant I was there for sunset. Here are my favorite things to do in Sifnos.
What To Do In Sifnos
1. Eat The Most Delicious Greek Food You’ve Ever Had
Sifnos is known for having some of the best food in all of Greece. There’s a reason why it has that reputation. I was swooning at each and every meal. Sifnos is known for its pottery, and while much of Greece grills its meat, Sifnos does slow braises in its clay pots and ovens. Meropi in Kamares was a wonderful restaurant for trying the traditional foods like mastelo, a dish of slow cooked lamb in wine with dill. This was the best lamb I’ve ever had! You should also try the revithada, slow cooked chickpeas. Usually, they are served on Sundays, but Meropi had them every day.
My very favorite restaurant was Kafenes at the Hotel Boulis. This restaurant had a beautiful sunset view and was known for its mezedes, but offered full meals as well. Most of the vegetables are from their garden and absolutely everything is homemade. I had the saganaki made with a local cheese and the wild goat that came from the surrounding mountains. It was incredible. For dessert, I had an exquisite chocolate orange cream that had Greek yogurt on top. I definitely recommend walking by and making a dinner reservation, as it’s a small place and everyone seems to know this is the best place to eat on the island.
2. Explore Medieval Kastro
Kastro is the Greek work for castle and was the first capital of Sifnos. It’s also the first place in the entire world where gold was mined. You will find narrow whitewashed alleys, the famous Seven Martyrs Church, and Seralia Bay, a beautiful beach. There’s a mysterious feeling here, and it’s fun to just let yourself get lost in the alleys. There are no cars or motorbikes in the village, so it’s pure tranquility.
3. Go To The Beach
Sifnos has glorious beaches with beautiful crystal waters. My favorite beach in Sifnos was Faros Beach because its water was just so clear. You can also easily walk to Vlychos beach from here. Faros beach has four restaurants and a mini market, so it was nice to have lunch after being on the beach. There are no sun beds at either of these beaches, which I prefer, as it keeps out the crowds. You can also walk over to Fassolo beach from here. I walked to all three and enjoyed the views at each of them. And, if you want to escape the beach for a minute, it’s an easy hike to Chrissopigi Monastery, which has legends of many miracles by the Virgin Mary.
I also went to Platys Gialos (also known as Yialos) Beach, which was the most developed beach on the island. It’s surrounded by beautiful mountains, but also a lot of resorts, restaurants, and bars. Many families tend to go to this beach, and there is a very touristy feel here. I did have a wonderful lunch, one of my favorite of the trip, at Yalos Seaside Obsession. I had fava bean purée with smoked eel, picked shallot, and truffle oil served with turmeric olive bread and octopus with little spheres of ouzo gel, smoked eggplant cream, and spicy red pepper cream.
4.Wander The Narrow Streets Of Apollonia
Apollonia is the capital of Sifnos, and is filled with charming narrow streets with whitewashed houses. It’s filled with family-owned businesses and feels more authentic than some of the more touristy Greek towns I’ve visited. There are great restaurants, cafes, and bars in the area, and it is the place to go if you’re looking for some entertainment after dinner. If you don’t mind being inland, it’s also a great place to base yourself if you will be taking the bus, as the bus stops more frequently here.
5. Cat Watch
I’m pretty sure I saw more cats than people in Greece, and Sifnos was no exception. I had fun watching them, and their antics. I might just have to make a coffee table book of all the cats I’ve seen around the world!
6. Gaze At the Sunset From Kamares
I chose to stay in Kamares because that is where the sun set each night, and I didn’t want to miss it. Even though the last part was behind the mountains, it still gave the water a better clarity and beauty than during the day. Also, if you have a car, you can drive up to a viewpoint to get a better view of the sunset.