10 reasons why you should visit the Greek island of Serifos
Every now and again, you find a place that steals your heart and makes you long to return year after year. Serifos was that for the writer of the British newspaper Evening Standard News. The article is entitled “10 reasons why you should visit the Greek island of Serifos in 2017”.
“Once we sped away on the coastal road that circumnavigates the twists and turns of the island, we found a Greece that seemed to have stood still since the 1960s and where island life remains unspoilt by mass tourism. I’d already ticked off Santorini sunsets and chi chi Mykonos beach clubs; this time, I was in search of a low-key, slow-paced Cycladic experience – and Serifos surpassed my expectations at every turn. Deserted golden beaches you can have all to yourself, glass-clear aquamarine waters and warm, hospitable people are just some of my reasons to visit Serifos, this largely untrodden Greek island. A smattering of smart Athenians have been coming here for decades and it’s not hard to see why” Kate Lough explains in her article.
See the 10 reasons to visit Serifos as published in the British newspaper:
1. The people
Greeks are known for their warmth and hospitality, but on Serifos – where there are only 1,400 inhabitants – it feels like being part of the family.
One of Serifos’ most alluring characteristics is its beautiful beaches – and the sheer number of them. With a magnificent 72 – according to locals – scattered around the island, you’d find it impossible to visit them all. If you visit out of season, you are likely to have them all to yourselves. A few minutes drive from the port on the south side of the island, you’ll see a dusty turn-off for Kalo Ampeli. Take the dusty road as far as you can, before parking just above the blue and white church and finding the footpath. After an easy 10 minute descent, you’ll be rewarded with a stretch of golden sand lapped by turquoise water – perfectly positioned to catch the last of the sun’s rays. There are no restaurants so make sure you pack your own lunch. Further on in a clockwise direction, you’ll find Ganema bay which is the middle of a trio of lovely beaches, including Koutalas and Vagia. One side of the sweeping bay is pebbly, the other sandy, so it suits everyone. After a long dip in the impeccably clear water, head to the shade of the beachfront taverna for keftedes (traditional meatballs) and marinated octopus – and a glass of ouzo, of course.
3. Rocky swimming spots
If, like we were, you’re determined to be the only people on the beach, there are endless rocky spots where you can peacefully sunbathe and dive in from. Head to the north of the island to Sikamia and on the right hand side of the bay, follow the ‘footpath’ (helpfully marked out by splodges of white paint) over the headland where you’ll discover a perfect little cove with a smattering of sand and emerald-green water.
4. The simplicity and seclusion
There aren’t late-night bars, chic boutiques or slick restaurants, but this is exactly Serifos’ charm. You come here to enjoy the scenery, watch the stars and luxuriate in having found a patch of hidden Greece.
5. Myths, legends and history
Serifos was an important iron mining island and this very much in evidence around the island. In Megalo Livadi, the remains of the old mining rig, wayward wagons and railways lines can be seen on the opposite side of the bay, serving as a reminder of the island’s past and giving it a butch beauty. This village also holds the Metal Workers Monument, a testament to the miners who died fighting to demand working conditions and an eight hour working day. Take a boat around the island and you’ll notice gaping tunnel mouths in the mountainside – which certain islanders will tell you they have walked right through to the other side. Legend has is that Serifos was also inhabited by the Cyclopses, who were the first to discover the island’s mineral wealth. You can see the ‘Cyclops’ Throne’, who were the sons of Poseidon, on the road between Koutalas Bay and Megalo Livadi – the view down is pretty spectacular too.
6. Stylish boltholes
Where chic Athenians holiday, chic boltholes follow. The quiet charms of Serifos have not gone unnoticed by the boutique hotel world. A series of old mining cottages perched just above the wide beach have been converted in chic and contemporary split-level suites with kitchenettes and verandas.
7. It’s easy to get to
Although there is no airport on Serifos, it’s really very easy to get to there from Athens. Avoid the slower ferries and take one of the faster speed jets which takes two hours from Piraeus port.
Serifos is built in the typical Cycladic architectureal style and its most impressive town is without doubt the capital Hora. Sitting theatrically above the port and clinging to the hilltop in the style of a medieval castle settlement, exploring Hora is a lovely way to spend a late afternoon. After you’ve wound around its narrow streets and climbed to its highest point, the church of Agios Constantinos, head to the main square for a glass of something cold and local. The views from the top are spectacular.
9. Old-school beach tavernas
Scattered around the island, you’ll find a decent number of beachfront tavernas dishing up Greek classics: fresh fish – lots of barbounia (red mullet) and scorpios, keftedes, fava beans, pastitsio and moussaka. Pair that with some ouzo or a carafe of local white (normally around 6 euros) and you’ve got a winning lunch or dinner.
10. The sunsets
Forget Santorini, I’ve never seen such magical evening light shows as I did on Serifos, from our clifftop base in the bay of Megalo Livadi. As the sun began to dip, the sea was shimmer in gold and then red, as the sky lost of dark blue hue to take on a lilac glow. Just stunning.