Sep 10, 2023
Sitting in the idyllic Cycladic islands, is Sifnos. This once forgotten island by travellers, was a place where the Greek people went to spend their summer days.
Over the years the secret has slowly gotten out, and this once Greek only island is seeing a slow transformation into a tourist hotspot.
So, before this island becomes the new Paros or Milos island, take the short 2.5 hour ferry ride from Piraeus and experience a true Greek island, before the prices go up and the Greeks move on to the next unknown island.
How to get to Sifnos Island
From Athens, there are direct ferries from Piraeus. The ferry takes 2.5 hours via the SeaJet fast ferry.
During the summer season there a numerous ferries leaving Piraeus daily, but during the off season, it is best to check the ferry timetable to see the departure times and frequency.
How To Get Around the Island of Sifnos
The best way to get around the island is by car. The island is large and the villages are spread across the island. Without a car it will be hard to get around to visit other villages on Sifnos.
A pro tip for booking your car. If you are able to, pre-book your rental car especially during summer. Cars are snapped up months before summer hits, so its best to book as soon as you book your ferry tickets.
The best car hire place I found was Apollo car hire. They have an office right at the port in Kamares.
As of writing this article, American, Australian and British citizens do not need an international license to hire a car. Just make sure you have your passport and a credit / debit card with you when picking your car up!
There is a taxi service on the island, but there are less than 10 taxis that service the whole island. So the wait for a taxi can be painfully long.
Best Things to do in Sifnos
The best thing to do in Sifnos is to just relax and spend the days exploring the island. As the islands villages are spread across the island, it makes it fun to drive to new places each day sampling the tavernas and swimming in the sea.
The main villages on the island are:
- Platis Gialos
All are worth visiting as they each have their own character and charm.
Apollonia is the capital of the island, and is the centre for shopping on Sifnos.
During the day you will find some beautiful shops selling unique jewellery, dresses, shoes and handbags. Nestled in between these shops are some fabulous places to eat and drink.
During the night, Apollonia is where the actions happens, as the small white windy streets are packed with people looking to eat and drink the night away.
You are able to stay in Apollonia, but as it sits on top of the islands mountain you are a good 15-20 minutes drive from the beach. So if you are waiting to stay in a hotel with a view of the Aegean, there are plenty of other villages to stay at!
Artemonas is the next village above Apollonia. It is less busy but boasts some great restaurants and places to grab some excellent desserts.
The village is your typical Greek village. Small windy streets lined with whitewashed houses. It is fairly quiet so if you are looking for a place away from the crowds, then Artemonas could be for you.
As this village sits above Apollonia, you are not close by the sea.
The village that has the spectacular church of the seven Martyrs. Sitting on the east coast of the island, this old fishing village is like going back in time. The whole village is lined with old fishing houses which are still used today.
If being cliff side in a pure and peaceful setting, then Kastro is for you.
When visiting Kastro take the cliff side walk (it is safe, done worry!). It will take you to the Church of the Seven Martyrs. The church sits on its own ledge that peaks out from the rest of the cliff face, providing the best view on the whole island.
As you make your way back to the village, you can get lost with the small windy pathways that lead you to restaurants and a beautiful cliff face bar called Loggia wine bar.
Not too far from Loggia wine bar is another beautiful restaurant called The Konaki.
For me, this is the place to stay in Sifnos. It is the most developed area of the island for tourists and has a wide range of hotel options, that either sit on the beach front of have beautiful views of Platis Gialos beach.
Right around the corner from the main beach is Lazarou Beach, which is a must visit! The perfect alcove with sun-beds right on the Aegean sea, and a restaurant that will provide delicious food all day long!
Be careful when driving there as the road leading to the beach is a 2-way street, but in true village style, the road can only fit 1 car at a time.
Overall this town has everything you need, great food, both upmarket restaurants and local tavernas, sun-beds, beach and cocktails.
If you were to go by the accommodation available, this village is where the most development is happening to accommodate the influx of visitors the island is seeing.
Kamares is the first village you will see when arriving on to Sifnos. The village has some great restaurants, beach bars a great beach for families, and probably one of the best bakeries in the Cyclades.
Their Spanakopita was a daily ritual, sometimes sneaking 2 in one sitting!
Best Beaches in Sifnos
Located in the North of the island, it is a favourite place to go to get away from the busier beaches on the island.
The beach is not organised, but there are 2 tavernas serving some great greek food.
The waters are clean and crystal blue, and best of all, it is a sandy beach.
Located on the eastern side of Sifnos, this beach has seen an influx of sun-beds over the years.
There are 3 main beach bars that provide an organised beach experience. There is also plenty of room on the beach to throw down a towel and go for a dip.
The beach is surrounded by tavernas with Deep blue being the highlight. Not only is the food great, but the water splashes up table side. Its the perfect place for lunch!
Located at the port, this beach is perfect for families as the beach is very shallow.
The water is clear and warm and contains several beach bars that provide sun-beds, food and drink.
If beach food is not what you are after, the port is surrounded by great tavernas.
This beach is the perfect location to enjoy a secluded day at the beach. There is no sand at this beach, instead the sun-beds and umbrellas sit on a top of the cliff face, with a short walk to the sea.
Food is served along with a range of cocktails and drinks.
It is possibly the best place to swim on the island. The view is spectacular and the water is so clear you can see straight down to the sea floor.
Best Accommodation on Sifnos
Location: Platis Gialos
The villas have 2 locations, 1 that sits north of the beach, and the other site, that sits on a short distance from the main road leading into the village.
Both sites are beautiful and have been newly developed.
They come equipped with a modern design, western style bathrooms and a kitchen.
These villas are on the higher end of the price range.
Another fantastic group of suites in Sifnos. This beautiful hotel sits on the cliff of Faros looking out to the Aegean Sea.
The hotel not only has access to the sea, but also has a pool where you are able to relax poolside on the hotels sun-beds.
Nos Suites are also in the higher end of the price range.
Location: Platis Gialos
On the lower end of the market, the Benaki hotel is clean, the staff are great, and their bookings include a delicious buffet breakfast.
The hotel is perfectly located, just 100 meters from the sea, tavernas and bars.
Best Restaurants and Bars in Sifnos
The capital of Sifnos has one of the best restaurants on the whole island. Serving modern Greek food, this is a must on the list of places to eat at.
Their lamb and potatoes is a great dish along with the chickpea stew with apricot jam. Actually, their menu was hard to find any dish that was not appetising.
The staff are great and the location makes this the perfect dinner venue.
Αργύρης serves great taverna food right at the port. Everything from their dips, Greek salad and pork pancetta, it all tastes oh so good.
If you are after some local taverna food, then Αργύρης is the place to go. Along with the food, the location (right on the water front), makes the perfect place for lunch.
Serving some great dessert and coffee, this place makes and serves only desserts.
Nestled in the back streets of the village, it can be hard to find. But continue the search to find this gem of a place. You wont be disappointed.
Highlights for me were their homemade ice cream and their American cheesecake.
The best bakery on the island. Their spanakopita is the best on the island and their flat breads stuffed with cheese are also a must taste!
The best part is, when are are ready to continue your island hopping, the bakery is at the port, so you can stock up on your pastries for the ferry ride!
For the best coffee on the island, head to Maison in the capital. Not only is the coffee great, the staff a super friendly and will (when asked) give you the best places to eat (where the locals go!).