One of the more northerly islands in the Cyclades, a short ferry from Athens, Serifos is popular with mainland Greeks for short breaks and weekends away. They spend them in the postcard-perfect whitewashed main village of Chora, or swimming in the neon-turquoise waters off sandy beaches such as Ganema or Agios Sostis. Hikes to crumbling monasteries and along craggy coastlines add a bit of action but, in general, this is a pulse-slowing pace of life.
This chic, simple guest house sits in the hills high above Karavi Beach, lighting up pink and peach with the sunrise. With elegant monochrome furnishings, stylish concrete bathrooms, blue-painted window frames and well-equipped kitchenettes, you can self cater with a fabulous sea view. Walk down to the wild, unspoiled beach below for a dip in jewel-bright waters; or walk the half hour to the island’s main port, with its handful of quaint tavernas and bars, for a laid-back, ouzo-laced evening.
This apartment complex is right beside sandy, pine-speckled Livadakia Beach. Its basic-but-elegant rooms have blue and white fabrics, dark-wood furniture and relax-into balconies, looking out over gardens, Cycladic houses and the Aegean Sea beyond. Hand-painted room signs, candle lanterns and a taverna-style patio bring a quaintness to its communal areas. It’s not cutting-edge, but it does feel comfy and traditional, with smiley staff to give you tips on beaches and excursions beyond the neighbourhood.
On the opposite side of the port from where the ferries arrive into Serifos, Studios Niovi has a delightful terrace of deckchairs looking out over the Med. Inside are neat, if slightly old-fashioned, blue and white rooms with cooling tiled floors. It’s a relatively simple stay, but friendly staff have great recommendations that’ll make your holiday. The views here are of the harbour – idle away hours watching the boats come and go – but the glowing shallows of beautiful, sandy Psili Ammos beach are only a 10-minute drive (or a 30-minute hike) away.