The Best Things to See and Do in Sifnos, Greece
Church of Seven Martyrs, Sifnos | © Nikita / Flickr
A three-hour ferry from Athens takes you to the wildly beautiful Cyclades island of Sifnos. Here, low-impact tourism meets idyllic beaches, rich history and perhaps the best food in Greece. Aromas of fresh herbs and sizzling calamari waft through whitewashed villages, while olive groves glow across the mountains during golden hour. Good bus links connect fascinating museums, archaeological sites and blue-domed churches, but it’s also worth renting a car to pack in all the best things to see and do.
Soak up the sun at Fassolou Beach
Fassolou Beach sits in a small, quiet cove that’s a five-minute walk from the charming village of Faros in southern Sifnοs. Its well-cared for changing rooms, showers and toilets mean you can spend hours on Fassolou, bathing beneath the shady branches of tamarisk trees, surrounded by sea cliffs and views of the Chrisopigi Monastery. After a cooling dip, tuck into the succulent cheese balls served at the local taverna on the beach.
Spend the afternoon at Agios Andreas
© Niall Ferguson / Alamy Stock Photo
This huge hilltop acropolis – dating back to around 13th-century BCE during the Mycenaean period – sits in the heart of the island, just south of the town of Apollonia. For history lovers, the archaeological site is a salient landmark in the island’s heritage; you can drive to the top of the hill or hike the old path which takes about 20 minutes. Spend the afternoon soaking in the spectacular views, the ancient ruins and the whitewashed 1700s Christian church built seamlessly among them.
Check out the Archaeological Museum of Sifnos
Buried in the labyrinth town of Kastro, this tiny, intriguing museum often goes completely unnoticed. But be sure to visit, as it boasts a unique collection of treasures from civilisations that once lived on Sifnos. Spend time wondering past coins, sculptures and artefacts from the Archaic and the Roman eras, before grabbing some fresh tzatziki at one of the nearby local restaurants.
Brush up on local art at Folklore Museum of Sifnos
This is a wonderful tribute to traditional Sifnos life. The museum, in the central square in the town of Apollonia, offers a quirky assortment of old clothing, textiles, ceramics, agricultural tools and photographs that document the local culture. Spend extra time reading about the important Sifnos personalities, who are immortalised as sculptures.
Visit Chrisopigi Monastery
Monastery, Historical Landmark
© George Atsametakis / Alamy Stock Photo
The Chrisopigi Monastery, built in 1650 and considered the protector of Sifnos, is perched on a rocky islet surrounded by the sea, which you can only reach via a tiny footbridge. After spending time on nearby Chrisopigi Beach, you’ll appreciate a break from the sun at the Orthodox Greek monastery. Inside, marvel at a fascinating boat-shaped metal candelabra and the carved wooden icon of Panagia (Virgin Mary), once found by fishermen floating in the sea.
Discover the church of Agios Symeon
The church of Agios Symeon was built in 1667 on one of Sifnos’s highest points. From the port town of Kamares, you can see the small white building perched on the impressive rock high above. Bike or drive up the road that winds up to the church, where an incredible panoramic view of Kamares begins to unfurl. Once you reach the church, snap some photos of the vistas, before discovering the exquisite floor tiles and pastel-coloured murals inside.
Head to Panagia Poulati
© Jan Fritz / Alamy Stock Photo
Few people visit Panagia Poulati – a remote church built in the 1870s – as it’s only accessible via a wild walking path from the village of Artemonas. If you make the trip, you’ll be rewarded with peace and quiet, and a close look at its bell towers and pretty courtyard. On your return, keep the theme of seclusion going with a stop-off at Dialiskari Beach.
Snap an iconic photo of Chapel of the Seven Martyrs
© Tuul and Bruno Morandi / Alamy Stock Photo
The Chapel of the Seven Martyrs, built on a cliff edge at the seaward end of Kastro, is one of the most photographed spots on Sifnos. A steep path winds down to the traditional Cyclades church from the mainland; it’s lined with wildflowers in spring, while on windy days expect huge waves to crash against the cliffs up around the church. You usually can’t go inside the church, but the picturesque setting and accompanying photos are well worth the trip.
This is an updated rewrite of an article by Ethel Dilouambaka.
These recommendations were updated on September 30, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.