The pearl of the Aegean Sea
Sifnos is one of the Greek islands of the western Cyclades and is positioned between the neighbouring islands of Paros, Milos and Serifos. Sifnos has an area of 74 square kilometres and is 75 miles from Piraeus, the main port of Athens. Its highest mountain is Profitis Ilias, which reaches a height of 680 meters.
A century ago the island of Sifnos had about 1000 permanent inhabitants, today the number has doubled, reaching more 2200. Sifnos has a rich history – in fact, the wealth of its gold and silver mines was such that the ancient Sifnians built a treasury at the religious centre of Delphi. Each year the people of Sifnos sent a golden egg, but legend has it that one year they sent a fake and the wrath of Apollo flooded Sifnos island, leaving the mines barren.
These days people’s income on Sifnos is derived from less exotic sources: pottery, fishing and more recently tourism, with the deceptively barren exterior it presents to the sea giving way to valleys of lush olive groves. Decorative local ceramics are produced in local workshops and shops offer a quality of souvenir far removed from the bawdy T-shirts and kitsch fridge magnets of many other islands.
Sifnos today is known all over Greece, Europe and the rest of the world as an exceptional holiday destination, due to its exquisite natural beauty, its spirituality and the hospitality of its people. The 55 ancient towers, the all white painted villages of classic cubes draped with bougainvillea and surrounded by dazzling gardens, the multiple and picturesque churches, the historic monasteries, the white dovecotes that dot and cling to the hillsides and the popular and hidden beaches with crystal clear waters.
Yet, for someone to enjoy the rare beauties of the island of Sifnos, it is worth going on walking tours, starting from Apollonia and strolling for between 1 and 3 hours in the picturesque alleyways and footpaths. This is the only way visit some stunning little churches of Sifnos and get close to the beautiful countryside.
Many remarkable people were born on the island of Sifnos, contributing to the sciences, arts and literature. It has been characteristically noted that: if in ancient times the wealth of Sifnos could be measured in gold and silver, during the last centuries it is measured in mental wealth.
Sifnos is everything a Greek island should be…beautiful, traditional, friendly, with excellent local wine, unspoiled beaches, a delicious and distinctive cuisine, particularly the local chickpea dishes, and a reliable bus services linking all the main towns. All the ingredients for an unforgettable vacation and this is proven by the fact that visitors become keen friends of Sifnos Island and return year after year.