With an area of 73,949 sq.km, Sifnos is an island of the Western Cyclades between Milos, Kimolos and Serifos. The highest peak of the island is Prophet Ilias with an altitude of 682 meters. In ancient times it was called by Plinos "Meropia" or "Akis", while human traces have been found on the island since 4,000 BC.
At the newest edition of the Map of Sifnos, you will find all the significant information for your trip on the island. Moreover, it includes suggested hiking routes, that cross the whole island. Buy the map here
Arriving by ferry to the island, the first settlement you will see is Kamares. Kamares is the port of Sifnos. The main settlement spreads out on the south side of the bay, where the dock is also located. There is another small core on the north side, the district of Agia Marina and between them opens a nice sandy beach. The valley of Kamares is squeezed by two mountains, the higher Prophet Ilias and the lower Agios Simeon with the monasteries of the same name on their peaks. Until the middle of the 20th century, there were many potteries (tsikalaria) in Kamares, as well as in Faro, Platy Gialos and Vathi. Pottery and its first samples date back to the Proto-Cycladic period. The timeless flowering of pottery was based on the abundance of raw materials: clay, water and sun.
The capital of the island and seat of the municipality of the same name is Apollonia, it extends linearly along the central pedestrian street that starts from the windmills of Exampela and reaches "Stavri", the crossroads where the roads to Kamares, Artemona and Platy Gialos divide. To the right and left of the pedestrian street are the churches of the settlement. Starting from above, we first encounter the Metropolis of Ag. Spyridon (Ai Spyris). Near the intersection is the small but interesting Folklore Museum. Together with Artemonas and other smaller settlements, a residential complex is created on a gentle hilly relief. In the settlements you will find beautiful Cycladic houses as well as cobbled streets leading to various parts of Central Sifnos.
Leaving Apollonia, you can visit Kastro, the main town of ancient Sifnos, occupying a strategic position on a steep coastal hill.Remains of a marble wall from the ancient acropolis remain, while the site has been continuously inhabited since then. Characteristics of medieval town planning are preserved, with the walls of the outer houses forming a fortified enclosure and unique entrances five vaulted gates - arcades. A paved path goes around the settlement and its branch leads to the chapel of the Seven Martyrs, which stands on the rocky promontory.
The rich ores of gold, silver, iron and lead gave ancientwealth and special glamor in Sifnos. The treasury is known (the "Treasuryros”) of the Sifnians in Delphi, an all-marble building where precious offerings of Sifnian origin were kept. Sifnos was, together with Lavrio, Halkidiki, Thassos and Pangaeo, one of the important mining centers of precious metals in antiquity. Part of the ancient mine of Agios Sostis has been sunk. In the same area but also in other places of the island, iron mines operated at the beginning of the 20th century.
Coastal settlements, ideal for a visit are Kamares, Vathy and Platys Gialos. archaeological Museum. Vathi is a small fishing village that until a few years ago was only accessible from the sea, it was clustered around the pier where the beautiful church of Taxiarchis is located. Hiking route 5 ends here, from Katavati, passing through Mavro Chorio.
Platys Gialos is a tourist resort which is developed linearly along its longest sandy beach. Recently, a marina was also built, on the left side (NE) of the bay. On the hill above the marina stands one of the numerous and best preserved ancient circular towers of Sifnos: the "White Tower". Route 3 from Apollonia and circular route 4 end at Plati Gialos.
In Sifnos there are many churches and chapels with a rich religious history and excellent iconography.
Panagias Poulati is located at the end of a downhill dirt road and at the crossroads of four paths.The imposing temple is built in 1654 and it is surrounded by fortress buildings. From the roofs of the cells one can gaze over the whole island and, in clear weather, half of the Cyclades. The church celebrates on July 20. A well-marked paved path ascends from the south end of Katavati (near the Firoyia monastery) and drives here in about an hour and a half.
A strategic position is also occupied by the hill of Agios Andreas, with the fortified settlement created in the 3rd BC. Millenium. The Mycenaean acropolis is surrounded by theft walls to which repeated additions were made until the Classical period. An asphalt road and path leads to the acropolis from the east side in 20 minutes (section of hiking route 1). At the entrance (from the street side) there is archaeological Museum.