Although less known than its more famous sisters (Mykonos, Naxos, Paros, Santorini), Sifnos has the distinctive charm of the Greek islands: crystalline sea, white houses and blue domes, waterfront taverns, warm and hospitable people.
The island has an area of 74 square km (29 square miles) and several settlements: the capital town Apollonia, the port of Kamares, the small villages by the sea of Vathy, Faros and Cheronissos, the historical villages of Artemonas and Kastro.
Their typical Cycladic architecture is preserved with great care, while over 300 churches and chapels dot the landscape with their blue domes.
In the past Sifnos played an important role, evidenced by archeological finds of considerable interest, as the acropolis (about 13th century BC) located on the hill of Agios Andreas and the ancient mines of Agios Sostis.
The island was very wealthy in ancient times, thanks to its gold and silver deposits, but by the 5th century BC the mines were exhausted.
Legend attributes this event to the wrath of Apollo. Every year the Sifnians sent to the temple of Delos a golden egg for the god, but once they sent an egg-shaped stone painted gold. Apollo became aware of the fraud and retaliated by subjecting Sifnos to the tyranny of the ruthless Polycrates who stole all the gold from the mines.
Sifnos still has an aristocratic charm making it different from other islands of the Cyclades. Pristine architecture, natural beauties preserved with love and the care taken in maintaining villages and churches are its present-day treasure.
In National Geographic 2011/2012 special edition “Journeys of a Lifetime – 500 of the World’s Greatest Trips” Sifnos is included in the Top Ten list of “Islands Under the Sun”. Here is an extract from this special edition: “Spots in the ocean that someone could hardly notice on a map. Yet if you find yourselves there, you’ll know there’s no other place of equal beauty in the whole world”.
Sifnos is an ideal place for those who love trekking. Unspoiled footpaths criss-cross the island, offering breathtaking vistas and allowing to reach creeks and coves otherwise accessible only by sea.
Those who just want to relax away from mass tourism will find nice beaches with tamarisk trees for shade.
The meltemi wind blowing from the north mitigates the summer heath.
The island has an extensive asphalt road network and also a reliable bus service connecting all major villages and beaches. There is a good selection of cars, motorcycles and scooters for hire.