Fantastic Things to Do in Sifnos, Greece

things to do in Sifnos

Picturesque and refined, the Greek island of Sifnos is not among the first places to think of when dreaming about a holiday in Greece.

However, this welcoming island is ideal for a short vacation. Small enough to be seen in a few days, Sifnos can be a great destination on its own or an intelligent addition to your island-hopping itinerary.

No matter what your plans are, make sure to check this article for the best things to do in Sifnos.

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The Most Incredible Things to Do in Sifnos  

things to do in Sifnos

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General Things to Know about Sifnos

things to do in Sifnos
Kastro, Sifnos.

Part of the Cyclades island group, Sifnos is a beautiful Greek island home to a variety of impressive beaches, some quite famous for their pristine waters and golden sand.

The island has an elegant inland capital, Apollonia, and one of the prettiest ports in the Aegean, Kamares.

things to do in Sifnos
Pidgeon houses in Sifnos are a common sight; they can be found scattered around the island.

One of the most famous things about Sifnos is their pottery and unique ceramic pots, known as gastra, a word that originated the term gastronomy.

And in fact, food on Sifnos is quite an important thing. The island was the birthplace of one of Greece’s most influential chefs, and some unique Greek dishes originated in Sifnos.

What’s the Weather Like in Sifnos?

things to do in Sifnos
Kastro, Sifnos.

As with many other islands in the Aegean, the climate is mild all year round, boasting long, dry summers and pleasant temperatures from the end of May until the end of September.

You will find the highest temperatures during July and August, the months with most tourists. Winters are short and not as cold as on the mainland, although it can be rainy and sometimes windy.

Frequently Asked Questions about Sifnos

things to do in Sifnos

How long does it take to get to Sifnos from Athens?

Usually, it can take anything from 2.5 to almost 6 hours to get to Sifnos from Athens, depending on the type of ferry you choose (regular vs. high-speed).
Daily ferries from Athens (Piraeus) depart all year round, while a ferry route connecting Sifnos to the port of Rafina (also on mainland Greece) runs during summer.

What is Sifnos known for?

The island is known for its relaxing atmosphere and elegant architecture. It is also known for its ceramics and delicious food, especially revithada, a typical chickpea soup or stew cooked on the island.
One of the most famous sights of Sifnos is Chrisopigi Monastery, located in a dramatic position facing the sea.

How much time should I stay in Sifnos?

Sifnos is not among the biggest islands on the Aegean; therefore, any length of time ranging from three to five days will give you enough hours to explore the island, discover the hidden gems, and try some of the best things to do in Sifnos.

What things should I do in Sifnos?

When visiting the island, it’s a good idea to get a close-up look at some of the local traditions, including the production of ceramics, especially popular in Vathi and Kamares. Foodies will love to learn about local gastronomy, sampling tasty dishes such as revithia or homemade cookies.
But that’s not all; you can also venture on hikes and walks surrounded by the island’s breathtaking views as there are many interesting marked paths, and hikers from all over the country come to explore them.

What other islands can I visit from Sifnos?

Some nearby islands include the popular Serifos, Paros, and Naxos, while lesser-known islands include Milos, Kimolos, and the smaller Syros and Antiparos. Although not all of them have regular ferry connections, several private excursions depart from Sifnos to reach the coast of these islands.

Map of Sifnos, Greece

Top Things to Do in Sifnos

Let’s now look at some of the things you can do in Sifnos if you stay there for three to five days.

Explore the Capital, Apollonia

things to do in Sifnos

The gorgeous Apollonia is the island’s capital, a whitewashed Cycladic settlement built on the slope of three relatively low hills.

Not only is Apollonia a very picturesque settlement to visit, but it is also the right place to visit at night for food, drinks, and even music.

This is also one of the places to get those typical souvenirs we all love buying in Greece!

things to do in Sifnos

Staying in Apollonia is a good idea if you are not interested in direct access to the beach every morning but are keen on exploring the island and walking some of its fantastic hiking trails.

When exploring Apollonia, don’t miss a stop at the Folklore and Pop Art Museum, located in the village’s main square.

This is a great place to start learning about Sifnos’ pottery and other crafts and jobs typical of life on the Cyclades.

things to do in Sifnos
Church of Agios Sostis in Apollonia.

The museum also exhibits interesting objects of domestic use, agricultural tools, and elements used for embroidery and textile works.

Walk from Apollonia to the village of Artemonas

things to do in Sifnos

A well-marked road will take you from Apollonia to Artemonas; it is a pleasant walk of about half an hour (1.6 kilometers), although you can also do it by bike or car (there is a public parking spot in the village, not far from the church of Agios Konstantinos and Agia Eleni.

Artemonas is another picturesque settlement named after the Greek goddess Artemis (yes, just the same as Apollonia gets its name from God Apollo).

things to do in Sifnos

This is the second most important village on the island, and it includes some other small villages such as Herronissos (also spelled Cherronissos), Agia Marina, and Troulaki.

From Artemonas, you can have an outstanding view of some windmills that remain on the island.

Windmill Artemonas
Windmill in Artemonas.

Although some of them have been turned into fancy accommodations, they are silent witnesses of the agricultural character Sifnos used to have.

Artemonas is an excellent place for an afternoon walk after a day at the beach (for instance, the nearby Herronissos). 

things to do in Sifnos
Windmills near Kastro are also a common sight.

Don’t miss a relaxed stroll along the narrow alleys while you discover some gorgeous mansions with blossomed gardens telling us about this island’s thriving economic past.

Eat at the Port of Kamares

things to do in Sifnos

As your ferry approaches the island’s coast, Kamares will be the first place you see of Sifnos.

Home to the main port on Sifnos, Kamares is a picturesque village with a broad golden sand bay lined up with great fish taverns and other souvenir shops.

things to do in Sifnos

Do not miss the quintessentially Greek experience of having a delicious fish platter right by the sea when you visit Kamares.

Here, it is possible to visit some of the last remaining pottery artisans and purchase a few interesting souvenirs to take home with you.

Discover Local Crafts

things to do in Sifnos
White clay pottery.

Trademark of Sifnos, pottery has always been one of the most essential products of the island as its soil has always been rich in high-quality clay. 

Pottery has been produced in Sifnos for centuries and is known worldwide for its refined qualities. 

things to do in Sifnos

The best places to learn, purchase, and even put your hands on clay are Apollonia, the village of Vathi, and the area of Kamares, yet there are producers all over the island.

And if you’d like to buy a traditional piece of pottery from Sifnos, make space in your luggage* for a gastra, a typical clay pot that locals use to prepare their chickpea stews. The ones used for roast meat are known as tsikalia.

pottery sifnos
Typical pottery decorations on the roofs of the local homes.

Once all the ingredients are inside the gastra, they are often sealed with bread dough and put to cook overnight in a wood oven on a Saturday night and then shared with the family for Sunday lunch.

However, you can buy other ceramic objects, including cups, plates, and stamnes (water pitchers). And not everything is about ceramics. Purchasing handmade textiles, embroideries, straw hats, or bags is also possible.

*You don’t really need to make space in your bag, though. Many local artisans ship their products abroad for an affordable fee.

Check out the Churches and their Panoramic Locations

things to do in Sifnos
Church of Seven Martyrs.

One of the main reasons why many people visit Sifnos is the beautiful collection of churches and monasteries scattered around the island, many in breathtaking locations, perfect for laconic pictures… in fact, photographers love Sifnos!

Arguably, the most famous picture of Sifnos, which you have probably already seen hundreds of times, is the Church of Seven Martyrs, a famous chapel and trendy place among photographers in the village of Kastro.

things to do in Sifnos
Church of Seven Martyrs.

Situated on top of a rocky islet with the background of the sea, this is another traditionally Cycladic building with a typical blue dome you’ve already seen on many other islands of the Aegean.

The most curious trait of this church is that the islet on which it has been built is linked to the main island by stairs.

things to do in Sifnos
Monastery of Panagia Chrisopigi.

Another religious building not to miss is the Monastery of Panagia Chrisopigi. A gorgeous Cycladic church standing atop a rock with incredible views over the sea and a perfect place to witness the sunset.

Finally, at 690 meters above the sea, the highest peak on the island is home to the whitewashed Monastery of Prophet Elias, a beautiful complex with protective walls and remarkable underground cells and corridors.

things to do in Sifnos
Monastery of Panagia Chrisopigi.

This church is quite old, dating back to the sixteenth century, and it’s a popular place in Sifnos as it is considered a miraculous temple.

If religious art interests you, head to the village of Exambella, where you can also check out the small Ecclesiastical Museum in the Monastery of Panagia Vrysiani.

Explore the Village of Vathy

things to do in Sifnos

One of the most beautiful settlements on the island, Vathy (or Vathi), is the perfect place to spend a whole day. It is a quiet village by the sea with a gorgeous and quiet beach perfect for families.

Right by the small harbor of Vathy and along its wide beach, you will find delicious taverns and some good rooms and studios for those who want a relaxing stay. 

Also, there are several small ceramic studios and a few souvenir shops.

things to do in Sifnos

If you don’t have a car to drive from Apollonia (a pleasant 15-minute ride), you can board a boat from Kamares. 

Remember that driving in the village is impossible, so you must park your car, head down to the beach, and move around on foot.

Visit the Fishing Village of Herronissos

things to do in Sifnos

Another great place for a day out is Herronissos, a tiny seaside settlement and fishing village you don’t want to miss.

The most important feature of the village is, in fact, the beach, considered one of the most beautiful shores on the island.

things to do in Sifnos

The attractive sand beach has trees for natural shade and crystal clear water, perfect for diving and, of course, for small kids.

Check out Kastro, the Former Capital

things to do in Sifnos

The island’s former capital, Kastro, gets its name from the word castle.

In fact, this is where the island’s main settlement was built back in the fifteenth century. 

Today, the village develops along the narrow alleys of the former Frankish fortification, featuring gorgeous little houses, small patios, and incredible ancient churches and aristocratic mansions, some of which turned into rental homes and villas.

things to do in Sifnos

Also, in Kastro, it is possible to discover the Archaeological Museum of Sifnos, located inside a beautiful medieval building.

Here, you can check out findings from archaeological sites around the island.

The Archaeological Site of Agios Andreas stands at the top of a hill between Vathi and Apollonia.

things to do in Sifnos
Agios Andreas archaeological site.

Over here, archaeologists unearthed an ancient Mycenaean settlement where you can still admire the old citadel on the top of the hill, and it is considered one of the best examples of Mycenaean fortifications in Greece.

Discover the Old Settlement of Faros

things to do in Sifnos
Faros Beach

About 7 kilometers from Apollonia, Faros is another gorgeous place you can check out on the island.

You can combine a few hours on the beach and spend some time exploring the traditional whitewashed homes along the small alleys of the village.

Other than the main beach of Faros, you can also check out Fasolou Beach and Glyfos Beach (both described here). Faros gets its name from the lighthouse located on the small harbor.

Visit the Ancient Towers

things to do in Sifnos
An old tower in the village of Kamares.

One of the main reasons people venture along the island’s trails is to discover the Ancient Towers.

This old network of watchtowers is believed to have been an ancient communication system used by the former settlers to be alert and defend the island in case of sieges and pirate attacks.

These round towers had been strategically built in several locations on the island, and the roof would be ignited in case of attack, alerting the next tower, which would also light a fire (a bit like you’ve seen in the Lord of the Rings, right?).

Today, there are remains of more than fifty ancient towers in different areas on the island, built around the fifth century BC, although some might be older. Aspros Pyrgos, or White Tower, is the best-known tower among the best-preserved ones.

Top 5 Beaches in Sifnos

Greece - Sifnos - BEST BEACHES IN SIFNOS, Beach near Chrisopigi

No visit to Greece can lack a few days lazily spent at the beach, even less so if you visit the Greek Islands.

There are some beautiful, pristine beaches you can visit. These are the top five beaches you must see in Sifnos.

Platis Gialos

things to do in Sifnos

Platis Gialos or Platys Gialos is a favorite beach among Greek holidaymakers who love the long line of tavernas by the beach.

This area in Sifnos is also known for an ancient open-air theater nearby. It’s possible to take different hiking trails from this beach to Vathy Beach and other picturesque settlements on the island.

The sand is golden under the sun’s rays and crystal clear waters. In the area, it’s possible to practice different water sports too.

Although this might not be the best beach on the island, it is certainly popular among all visitors.

Fasolou Beach

things to do in Sifnos

Fasolou is located towards the east of the more popular Faros Beach.

It’s a tiny settlement with a picturesque beach well-protected from winds and waves.

At the beach’s end, an imposing peninsula hosts the picturesque white monastery of Timios Stavros. A hiking trail in the area leads directly to Kastro, the former capital of Sifnos.

Faros Beach

things to do in Sifnos

Faros, which was Sifnos” main port until 1887, is a gorgeous sheltered port with stunningly beautiful blue waters and a spacious sand beach.

The beach is considered one of the best corners in Sifnos. It has calm and pristine waters, soft fine sand, tamarisk trees offering nature shelter, and a few tavernas on the waterfront.


things to do in Sifnos

Kamares is the main port on the island. It is a pristine sandy bay, long and quite wide, with spectacular turquoise waters.

The area known as Agia Marina is probably the most popular place to stay in Sifnos and enjoy this beach.

Over here, there is plenty of accommodation, restaurants, bars, and some night entertainment. All these reasons make the place quite crowded during most of the summer.


things to do in Sifnos

This is one of the most relaxing places to stay on the island… why? Since cars do not have access to the area and are not allowed in the village, the beach is truly a quiet place to spend the day by the sea.

The beach of Vathi is located on a sheltered harbor, making it an excellent shore for families with children looking for calm waters and soft sand.

Top Tours Not to Miss in Sifnos

things to do in Sifnos

These are some of the most fantastic organized tours, experiences, and activities to do when visiting Sifnos.

  • Private Speedboat Cruise to the South Coast of Sifnos Island:
    Take a private speedboat with an experienced captain, explore the secluded coasts of southern Sifnos, walk to beautiful churches built on the rocks, and see traditional monasteries in the middle of nowhere.
    Click here for more details and to book this tour.

Best Places to Stay in Sifnos

Greece - Sifnos - Entrance to Sifnos Castle

One of the first things to sort out when organizing this Sifnos trip is accommodation. These are the places I recommend on the island:

Budget Accommodation in Sifnos

Margado: This place is built on a hill over the bay of Kamares, the picturesque port of Sifnos, 300 meters from the beach. It offers a variety of accommodation types, surrounded by a beautiful outdoor pool with views of the sea.
Guests can start their day with the buffet breakfast at the property’s dining area. There is also a parking area available for guests and barbecue facilities.
Click here for more information and to get the latest prices.

Mid-range Accommodation in Sifnos

Niriedes Hotel: This fantastic 4-star hotel in Platis Gialos is an excellent option for families and friends. The hotel is built above the bay of Platis Gialos, just 100 meters from the cosmopolitan beach. It features an outdoor pool, a hydromassage area, and a small art gallery. Guests can enjoy breakfast made with local ingredients on a sea-view terrace.
Click here for more information and to get the latest prices.

Luxury Accommodation in Sifnos

Gerofinikas Boutique Hotel: This Cycladic-style accommodation in the heart of Apollonia offers panoramic views over the Aegean Sea and includes a lovely swimming pool and a poolside snack bar. The property has rooms and apartments with a mini fridge, while some also have a kitchenette. Continental breakfast is served in the morning.
Click here for more information and to get the latest prices.

Rental Homes in Sifnos

I’ve written a post about the best Airbnb homes and some picturesque rental villas on the island that you can read here. Alternatively, check out these places to stay if you prefer the comfort of a house in Sifnos.

Villa Celestina: Less than 14 km from the port of Kamares, this rental home offers direct access to a secluded beach in a tranquil area in Chrisopigi. The villa has a garden and a sun terrace, and it features three bedrooms, a comfortable living room, a fireplace, and a fully equipped kitchen.
Click here for more information and to get the latest prices.

What to Eat in Sifnos

things to do in Sifnos

More than where to eat, you should be focusing on what to eat in Sifnos!! Home to delicious cuisine, the island is heaven for foodies! Sifnos has a long culinary tradition that’s famous all over Greece. 

Nikolaos Tselementes, a renowned Greek chef who published the first Greek cookbook in 1932, was born on the island. He is considered the father of Greek Cuisine with its fascinating mixture of Western and Eastern flavors. 

Today, the island continues the great chef’s legacy by keeping food standards at the highest level, experimenting with new tastes but keeping the core of local gastronomy, an essential key to preserving the island’s century-old recipes. 

Revithada (courtesy It’s All Trip to Me)

The island’s signature dish is revithada, or chickpea stew. Slow-cooked to perfection in a clay pot for an entire night in a wood oven, long hours under slow fire ensure that chickpeas will be incredibly tender and flavorful.

Revithokeftedes or fried chickpea balls are also famous on Sifnos. They are usually served as a meze dish or starter, but they can definitely be enjoyed as a main alongside some salad.

Also popular among locals is mastelo, the island’s typical meat-based dish made of lamb or goat’s meat, washed in red wine, and doused in dill. It’s then slow-cooked inside a clay pot called mastelo or tsikalia

things to do in Sifnos

The three main types of cheese produced in Sifnos are chloromanouragilomeni manoura, and xinomizithra. Depending on the producer, local cheese can be spread-like or firm.

Where to Go in Sifnos for These Dishes

  • Iliovasilema Sto Troullaki: Located in Troulaki (in Artemonas), you will enjoy the typical dishes on the island and an incredible view of the sea. Go when the sun is about to set. More info on their website.

Sifnos at Night

things to do in Sifnos

The island is not known for its nightlife but rather because of its elegant and quiet atmosphere.

For more options and venues to discover, head to Apollonia, the island’s capital, where a few clubs are open until very early in the morning.

However, you can also enjoy a drink at the beach of Platis Gialos or in Kamares. Kastro’s open-air lounges have a unique vibe and atmosphere, and Artemonas offers a few surprises for night owls.

How to Get to Sifnos?

Greece - Sifnos - Kamares port
Port of Kamares, Sifnos.

The only way to get to Sifnos from Athens is by ferry. The island is pretty well connected to mainland Greece and many other islands.

How to get from Piraeus to Sifnos: With BOOKAWAY, you can book a ferry, car, flight, or minivan from and to Sifnos 24/7 with trusted local operators.

Alternatively, you can find the most convenient ferry routes, schedules, and prices here.

Three to five daily trips sail from the port of Piraeus, depending on the season.

The trip can be pretty short if you book a ticket on a high-speed boat (a bit more than two hours). The traveling time on regular ferries is about 5 hours.

How to Move Around in Sifnos?

things to do in Sifnos
Road to Herronissos Beach, Sifnos.

Once you’ve reached Kamares, it’s possible to use the public bus to get to Apollonia and Artemonas; there are hourly buses with an increased frequency during the hot season. 

You still need to take the same bus to reach other destinations, but you must change the bus once you arrive at the island’s capital.

Other places you can reach by bus include Faros, Platys Gialos, Kastro, and Vathy. 

Car rental can offer great freedom to those eager to explore and maybe stay in one area longer than any bus schedule would dictate.

Which car rental service is the best to choose? If you want to rent a car for your trip, consider Discover Cars, a worldwide car rental booking service.

The island is also a great place to visit by motorbike or bicycle since most of the roads are in relatively good condition.

Essentials You Should Pack for Sifnos

things to do in Sifnos

Luggage: Travel light, carry-on only whenever possible, especially if traveling from one island to another via ferry. A good 40-liter backpack or a backpack like mine is a good solution.

If you prefer a suitcase, check out this hard shell model. And add a small foldable daypack for excursions or day trips.

Beach & Excursions: Other than the essential swimming suits, pack your snorkeling gear and a high SPF lotion.

Hikers will undoubtedly walk better when wearing breathable walking shoes and add a good quality hat to your outfit.

If you want more details about how to prepare your beach bag, check out this article!

Sifnos island

Clothing and accessories: Pack clothes that you can easily mix and match. Choose breathable material or garments that dry fast for you to wash and wear the day after. Three T-shirts, two pairs of shorts, and a couple of summer dresses will be more than satisfactory.

For men, a nice shirt for dinner, three to five T-shirts, plus two pairs of shorts or bermudas are more than enough for a week on the islands.

When it comes to shoes, if you’re a woman, avoid heels and prefer flat sandals or wedges. For men, the best shoes are summer loafers or soft leather sandals.

Don’t leave your flip-flops at home; don’t forget your toiletries, electronics, photo camera, extra memory cards, and a good guide to the Greek islands.

On Sifnos for a Short Visit? Don’t Miss…

things to do in Sifnos
Vathy, Sifnos.

If you’re visiting Sifnos for a couple of days only, don’t miss these three things:

  • Admire Chrisopigi Monastery: Walk to this religious complex to enjoy one of the most gorgeous views in the Aegean.
  • Visit the fishing village of Vathy: If you like quaint, traditional villages, spending a day in Vathy (or Vathi) will transport you to heaven.

Are you visiting Sifnos this summer? Let me know in the comments below!

Read More about Sifnos

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things to do in Sifnos

About me:

Gabi Ancarola | The Tiny Book

Gabi Ancarola

I have lived in Chania, Crete, since 2016. As a local, I have an intimate knowledge of the Crete. I host culinary and concierge tours and experiences in Crete and write about the island for several travel media. During the last five years, I have helped many travelers plan the perfect holiday in Crete. I co-authored DK Eyewitness Top 10 Crete and had more glasses of frappe than any regular person could ever handle.

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