Never heard of the island of Sifnos? Well, you’re not alone – but I’m pleased to bring you in on this wonderful secret. Part of the Cyclades islands, Sifnos’ immense beauty defies its modest reputation. A week or two at one of the charming Sifnos hotels or villas will go down as one of the most memorable vacations you’re likely to have!
Known for its excellent food, nice beaches, and beautiful scenery there’s never been a better time to get in on this destination before you regret it!
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When to visit Sifnos
The best times to visit the Greek Islands are April-June and September-October. The weather is mild and there are few crowds. High season is late June to early September, and prices will reflect that.
Summer on Sifnos is great, especially for beach time. The water is warm, there are blue skies every day and a fun holiday atmosphere. Sifnos has a number of lovely beaches so it’s a great places to be in summer when late lunches and dips in the sea are daily events.
Best beach and swimming weather: June to September
Best sightseeing weather: March to June and September/October
Where is Sifnos?
Located in the Cyclades islands in Greece, Sifnos is northeast of Milos and West of Paros and Naxos. It is part of the Western Cyclades which includes Serifos, Kithnos and Kea.
How to get to Sifnos,Greece
There is no airport on Sifnos so all access is via the sea. It is connected to the ports of Piraeus and Rafina in Athens and the other Cycladic islands as well as Crete, Rhodes, and other Dodecanese and East Aegean Islands.
Depending on the day you may catch a high-speed ferry or a more conventional, slow one.
Athens to Sifnos
Currently serviced by 3 operators there are up to 38 crossings per week to Sifnos in summer from Athens. The fastest of these is SeaJets which takes just over 2 hours from Piraeus port in Athens.
Check all times and prices on Sifnos to Santorini
In summer there are daily fast ferries to Santorini that take around 2.5 hours as well as a slow ferry which takes 7 hours at a much lower price point.
Sifnos to Mykonos
There is one ferry a day direct to Mykonos in summer which takes just over 2 hours. There are plenty of other options however via Ios or even Santorini. Paros and Naxos are both on the way.
How to get around Sifnos
There is a bus service for the island that is safe and reliable but check the timetable before setting out.
The best way to explore the island is to hire a car. Whilst there are taxi’s there are only a few and there can be long waits in Summer. As most of the nightlife and good restaurants are in the interior town of Pollonia it is likely you will want a car almost daily but even getting one for a single day can be a big benefit. They can also book out well in advance so ask your hotel to organise this for you.
Where to stay – Sifnos Hotels and Villas
Ports are not always known for their beauty, but Kamares is somewhat of an exception. With a long, sandy beach that is overlooked by beautiful whitewashed buildings, it’s quite a nice spot.
The beach is certainly not deserted in summer, but there’s plenty to go around and it’s particularly popular with families with calm, shallow water.
Visitors are also sure to love taking advantage of the many amenities in Kamares. Here you’ll find many restaurants, tavernas, and shops. In addition, Kamares has good transport links to the rest of the island.
All in all, there’s a good reason why many visitors to Sifnos make Kamares their home base as we did when we visited.
Recommended budget hotel: Hotel Kamari
Recommended mid-range hotel: Margado
Recommended luxury hotel: Sifnos House + SPA
Recommended villa for groups: Kamares Port Villa
The other option, if you’re looking for amenities and convenience (along with buckets of charm), is Apollonia, the capital of Sifnos. With whitewashed buildings and a healthy local population, this town oozes charisma and offers a glance at authentic island life.
Apollonia lies about six kilometers inland from Kamares, so you’ll need to sacrifice easy access to the beach.
In exchange, however, you’ll be able to enjoy an absolutely gorgeous location with an abundance of amenities. Here, you’ll find plenty of shops, tavernas, bars and it really comes alive at night.
The size and central location of Apollonia also mean it is extremely well connected for public transport. If you’re planning to do lots of day trips to other parts of the island, then Apollonia is a great base.
All in all, along with Kamares, Apollonia is one of the most popular places to stay on Sifnos.
Recommended budget hotel: Margarita Karidi
Recommended mid-range hotel: Arhontou
Recommended luxury hotel: Gerofinikas
Recommended villa: Cycladic Vineyard Home
If non-stop surf, sun and sand are high on your “must have” list for your Sifnos holiday, then Platys Gialos is a great choice. Located in the south of the island, it boasts one of Sifnos’ most beautiful beaches – a recipient of the ‘Blue Flag’ status by the European Union.
The looping, sandy horseshoe-shaped bay is flanked by crystal clear water which is relatively calm and safe for swimmers. You can also add to the fun by hiring stand-up paddle boards, boats or other watersports equipment which are all available nearby.
Thanks to Platys Gialos’ popularity with sunseekers, you’ll find a good selection of amenities. In summer, there are quite a few tavernas, beach bars and shops vying for your attention. As well as the beautiful beach, there are also a few historic points of interest nearby.
Recommended budget hotel: Sifnos Hotel Benaki
Recommended mid-range hotel: Platys Gialos Hotel Sifnos
Recommended upper mid-range hotel: Alexandros Hotel
Recommended villa: Villa Alnetti
All of Sifnos is pretty charming, but the village of Kastro really turns things up a notch. If it’s historic beauty with just a hint of dramatic intrigue that you seek, then this beautiful village may well be ideal.
The village juts out on a peninsula on the south east of the island. Evidence suggests it’s been occupied for at least 3000 years, and for a time it was even the capital of the island. As it was a target for pirates, the village is compact and sits within imposing walls. You can learn more about the history at the archaeological museum; although just walking the maze-like streets transports you back in time.
As well as the museum, Kastro offers a selection of traditional tavernas and amenities. There’s also a small but charming beach, and a little port where fishermen still bring in fresh fish. Not one but two beautiful old churches are also within a pleasant walk from the village.
Recommended budget hotel: Petra & Fos Studios and Rooms
Recommended mid-range hotel: Aegean Eye Apartments
Recommended luxury hotel: Verina Astra (actually in Artemon nearby)
Recommended villa: Traditional House in Kastro
If you have ever imagined running away and escaping to village life on a secluded Greek island, your dreams probably featured somewhere like Vathi (or Vathy). It may be small, but its abundance of charm and natural beauty makes it a great place to stay on Sifnos.
The most famous feature of Vathi is its harbour and wide, sandy beach. It is shallow and calm, making it ideal for families and nervous swimmers. Nearby, you’ll also find a spattering of amenities including tavernas and shops.
For many years, Vathi was largely cut off from the rest of the island, however the addition of a paved road has seen greater traffic arrive.
While some mourn the loss of some peace and quiet, it has made access far more convenient and seen a few more services move in. Plus, despite the development, the village has certainly never lost its charming soul.
Recommended budget hotel: Studio Anna
Recommended luxury hotel: Elies Resort
Recommended villa: Sea View Maisonette
Who doesn’t love a pint-sized and perfect fishing village? It’s certainly hard not to fall in love with the charming village of Faros, located in the south east of Sifnos. So, it should come as no surprise that it’s long been popular with artists, and particular potters.
More than a century ago, Faros was also one of the main ports of Sifnos.
In fact, the village name is drawn from the lighthouse which welcomed boats, and can still be seen near the Monastery of Stavros.
Its history is closely linked with the sea, and to this day its biggest drawcard is the three beautiful beaches of Fassolou, Faros and Glipho.
It’s not just the tranquility and beaches that make Faros an ideal base for those seeking serenity and natural beauty. There are also numerous hiking trails that depart from Faros, taking you past some of the most scenic vistas and historic sights on the island.
Recommended budget hotel: Fassolou
Recommended mid-range hotel: Aperanto
Recommended villa: Little Orchard Villa
Sifnos restaurants and tavernas
Lunch: In Kamares we like to walk right around to the end of the bay to Delfini who do beautiful traditional Greek food with a great view.
If you are driving around the island it’s worth the drive to Vroulidia Beach for lunch at either Ta Vroulidia or Katerina’s Beach Cafe. They are the only 2 places in the bay and both offer good food with umbrellas and sun lounges on the beach.
In Vathy you will find a couple of small tavernas right on the beach and covered by big shady sea-loving trees. Our favourite is Symposio at the end.
Dinner: Most of the best restaurants in Sifnos are in Apollonia. You will need to book ahead for Cayenne which does innovative modern Mediterranean food with a twist in a lovely courtyard/art gallery setting.
There are often queues of people waiting to get into Drakakis and Okyalos who both do excellent Greek food at very good prices. Worth the wait!
Things to do in Sifnos
The Church of Seven Martyrs
This charming little church is one of the most photographed in all of Greece. Located in the village of Kastro not far from another small church, Saint Nicholas – both of which have incredible views. If you are lucky perhaps there will a wedding or religious event on the day you visit!
To visit the Church you will need to park in the parking area at the beginning of town and walk down. If you walk even further there are some lovely spots for swimming and snorkeling that are hardly ever used.
It wouldn’t be a Greek Island if we didn’t mention the beaches! Like every island Sifnos has many to visit and some are really quite lovely.
Kamares : great for families with a wide sandy beach and calm,shallow water
Faros : quite isolated this is popular with couples
Platys Gialos : the busiest and most organised beach on Sifnos with numerous tavernas, cafes, sports and beach activities on offer
Vathi: quiet and quaint at one end, busy at the other this is our favourite
Sifnos is best explored by car but if you are keen to explore on foot there are a number of wonderful hiking trails to explore catering to all fitness levels.
Sifnos Trails is an excellent website with up to date maps, tips, and information to help you.
Shopping and galleries
Sifnos is particularly known for its pottery. Dating back to ancient times there are many interesting workshops and galleries where you can see the products being made with the high-quality local clay.
There are also many interesting art galleries and boutiques in Pollonia that are worth exploring.