Can you imagine an island where a Hollywood star, say Tom Hanks, and a Podemos leader, say Íñigo Errejón, can enjoy the same beach in harmony without anyone being surprised? A paradise without ideologies or paparazzi? Stop imagining; this island exists and is called Sifnos. So much time vying for the perfect postcard of a Greek island, and little Sifnos arrives — which in summer can grow from 2,500 to 25,000 — and submits a bid for the Aegean’s best-kept secret. Pearl of the Cyclades, the essence of the Mediterranean spirit seems suspended on the arid surface of this beautiful corner of the planet, barely 18 kilometers long and 8 kilometers wide. In total, about 70 kilometers of coastline that can be covered in one day by scooter, from north to south, between incomparable views of its white houses and its churches located by the sea. Nearly 300 Orthodox worship temples plant a landscape proud of itself and which drinks from East and West in its architecture, its gastronomy and its craftsmanship. A harmony and beauty that gives much more than just a quick motorcycle ride.
How do you get there?
The journey is a bit long and requires, except miracle in the connections, to spend the night in Athens. You have to go to the Greek capital and then, for around 50 euros, take a fast boat that takes four hours from Piraeus to the island. There is another cheaper boat, but the trip can be doubled. Kamarés is the main port of Sifnos. There you can rent a car or a motorbike.
What is special about your food?
The father of modern Greek cuisine, Nikolaos Tselementes, was born here, and it shows. There is a huge variety: from the octopus that hangs on the terrace suspended above the sea of the Capitan Yorgos taverna to a local pizza in the capital, Apollonia. Be sure to try the local cheese, lamb and revitrias, delicious chickpeas in the form of meatballs. Opposite the traditional taverns and beach bars, most of which are delicious and cheap, stand out proposals such as Omega 3, a bar to taste fish on the beach of Gialos. Every morning, its manager, the handsome Vasilis Vlachogeorgakis, goes out to spear the dishes of the day. Tom Hanks and his wife can attest to the delights of this place.
How are the beaches?
The calm sea of the island can be appreciated from the sandy beaches (not too many), but especially from the small coves and rocks that hide along the coast. Located at the foot of a church, in one of the most beautiful corners of the island, Anse Poulati offers the best bath possible: mystical and blue in equal parts. Although perhaps the most beautiful spot for swimming is the rock of Chrisopigi.
Is the capital worth it?
Apollonia is the capital of the island and a lively place to stroll in the afternoon and evening and imagine yourself in a sequence of Mamma mia, the popular musical set on a Greek island. It is a small white town, perfectly preserved (like the rest of the island) and with places where you can have breakfast, receive the international press, go shopping or dine.
Where to stay?
The rental offer of houses and rooms is wide and varied. Besides the capital, Artemonas is one of the most beautiful towns, with old villas and steep streets. Near Artemonas is Kamaroti, a hotel built by three brothers from Madrid who, following in the footsteps of their mother, decided to drop anchor on the island to build one of the most charming and quality accommodations in the city. ‘Isle. Nearby Kastro are some of the most beautiful churches, such as the Seven Martyrs and St. Nicholas.
What is the star activity?
Walking is one of the biggest attractions of Sifnos thanks to the well-preserved paths. With its nearly 300 churches and hermitages, you can almost cross from town to town on foot and on ancient paths.
And what is special about the architecture?
There is not a single building that does not respect the local popular architecture: one-storey white rectangular houses (inspired by traditional constructions called Themonies) or tube houses. The reason: it is illegal to build without respecting the rules of an island that pampers its traditional landscape in every detail. Inside, the old houses are gems, especially the kitchens, with their beautiful cupboards from which hang popular earthenware dishes.