Sifnos. The island of food, pottery, and great vistas. Sure, you can lay claim to that on any Greek island worth its salt, but you’d find no other island with a pedigree as impressive as Sifnos’, and that becomes apparent the moment you step off the pretty harbour of Kamari. The steep inclination of the mountain looks otherworldly and impossible, but it is. And if you want to get in on the action, then you’d do well to heed this clarion call and visit before the secret is out. Some of the best beaches, food and nightlife are to be found in this Cycladic Island gem, so read on and find out why Sifnos should figure high in your bucket list of Greek island destinations.

The History

Sifnos’s history, like most Greek islands, is one of highs and lows. Life on the island can be traced back to Neolithic times, with the Pelasgians, Phoenicians and Cares making the island their home. Later in the Bronze Age, the Minoans took over, followed by the Myceneans and Ionians. During the turbulent Middle Ages, it was passed around Italians and Spaniards, with the island finally being returned to its rightful owners in 1821, when the Greek Revolution began.

The Food

Sifnos has many charms, one of which is the underreported culinary tradition emanating from this island. To start, the nation’s first modern cookbook was concocted by Nikos Tselementes – a Sifniot native who injected some old-world flavour into the largely vegetarian and oriental type food staples of the time.

What’s more, Sifnos is a legit chickpea producer, which has meant that the islanders have created a tasty cornucopia of tasty dishes, based on the humble legume. In addition to that, the island has seen a large contingent of chefs who’ve set up shop on the island, including Omega 3 – Tom Hanks’ favourite haunt.  The island’s menu has grown exponentially, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t urge you to sample the transcendent ‘mastello’ dish, made with slow-roasted lamb and cooked in red wine.

The Culture & Villages

What is interesting about these chickpea and oven roasts is the fact that they are made using ceramic pottery pots from the island’s extensive clay deposits. You’ll find them being used extensively throughout. The pottery tradition in Sifnos is unparalleled, and you can even find pottery classes so you can make your creations.

Getting about is a doddle. Rent a vehicle and explore the best there is to see at will – it’s the best way to discover and get a lay of the land. If you’re after some pretty optics, then check out the village of Exampela. It is where Nikolaos Tselementes was born, but more importantly, the place exudes a good feel vibe that is as unshakable as the windmills that line its horizon. Definitely visit the Museum of Ecclesiastical Art, housed in the Monastery of Panagia Vrysiani. This Greek Island will enthrall you.

There are numerous other charming villages and settlements. Take Vathy for instance. It is a seaside fishing village that was once the gateway for the ceramics exports of the Sifniots. Nowadays it is a sleepy settlement with oodles of picture-worthy nooks.

Likewise with Chersonissos – another authentic fishing village with postcard perfect coves.

Apollonia is easy to get to, but you’ll find it hard to leave it, as it is drop-dead gorgeous. The capital town of this Greek island, it also goes by the name of Chora

But of course, the biscuit goes to Artemonas. You shouldn’t consider leaving without visiting this amazing village in the centre of the island, high up in the mountains. This is the cultural hub of the island, with numerous restaurants, and neoclassical mansions, not to mention the old ‘Kastro’ fortification. This is a remnant of medieval times, with the stone walls still standing in one way or another. While there, don’t miss out on the Archaeological Museum, the church of Eftamartyros, and the small churches of Agios Ioannis, Agios Stefanos, and several other small ones dating back to the 16th Century.

The Beaches

You’re probably wondering where the beaches are. Well, on this Greek island, the beaches are pure awesomeness. As you’d expect, most of them are traditionally Cycladic, in as much as they are arid, featuring yellow, fluffy sand, and small pebbles, with green-blue waters to boot. Check out Makri Gialos, some 9km from Apollonia. It’s great for families, with enough shade and amenities to keep you occupied for a day. Meanwhile, Faro’s beach offers more seclusion, but enough stuff to do. Apokoftos and Hersonissos are also worth your time, with the former lacking any organized facilities, and the latter partly organized.

Sifnos: The Greek Island Paradise You’ve Never Heard of

This Greek Island is full of history, nightlife, good food and tremendous beaches. It is still somewhat undiscovered, so make your way soon.

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