Sikinos is one of the smallest and most unspoiled islands in the Cyclades, a monument to the wild beauty of stone and sea beneath the dazzling Mediterranean sun. For the poet Odysseus Elytis, it was a symbol of pure and authentic Greece that he referred to constantly in his works. Indeed, the tiny island has a very particular identity owing to the integrity of the place and its people. Eschewing the usual touristy clichés, it is a haven for in-the-know travellers looking for unique experiences that explore tradition and the natural world, and a paradise for anyone who wants to enjoy one of the loveliest destinations in the Aegean. Visit it by choosing one of the itineraries for Sikinos.
- To discover one of the most attractive and authentic capitals in the Cyclades. Built on the edge of a cliff 280 metres above the sea, Sikinos Town comprises two parts, the 15th-century Kastro and the newer Horio, which together form a dazzling mixture of narrow whitewashed streets, gorgeous stone houses, picturesque churches, windmills, traditional shops and cafes, and bougainvillea and jasmine.
- To enjoy the sunset from the Church of the Virgin Mary Pantanassa, in Kastro, an impressive building dating from 1787 with a blue dome, a gilded wooden icon-stand, and some fine post-Byzantine paintings by artists of the Cretan School.
- To explore the enigmatic Monastery of Episkopi, a 3rd-century Roman mausoleum that was converted into a Christian church (dedicated to the Assumption of the Virgin) through the addition of a dome in the 17th century. Situated amidst stunning surroundings, the monastery comprises Byzantine chapels, vaulted crypts, the ruins of ancient buildings, monastic cells, and fragments of marble statues.
- To gaze out over the sea from the courtyard of the historic Monastery of the Lifegiving Spring in Sikinos Town, a marvellous example of fortress architecture dating from 1690, with ramparts, crypts, secret passages, high walls, and a heavy wooden door. Built on the edge of a cliff, it seems to be suspended between the earth and the sky.
- To visit the excellent Folklore Museum in Horio, which is housed in an old olive mill. The collection offers a unique journey into a bygone era on the island, through old farm tools, household items, and traditional equipment for producing olive oil.
Alopronia: The island’s busiest beach, next to the port, is large and sandy, with umbrellas, benches, and tamarisk trees for natural shade. The sea is clear and shallow, which makes it ideal for playing in, especially for families with children. There are also restaurants and cafés here.
St George: Coarse sand and small pebbles, shady tamarisk trees, and crystal-clear blue-green waters make this the island’s most popular beach. It stretches around a picturesque cove with a view of the rocky islet of Avolada in the middle of the sea. There are also some straw umbrellas and a taverna.
Dialiskari: This narrow inlet with limpid turquoise waters set in a landscape of wild natural beauty boasts a large beach with small pebbles. Shade is provided by tamarisk trees and a few umbrellas. Access is via a dirt road.
St. Panteleimon: A small beach with pebbles and blue-green waters in the bay of the same name, with a little cave offering the necessary shade. Access is via a path from Alopronia or by boat. It is well-worth visiting if you choose one of the ferry tickets for Sikinos.
Santorineika: Two gorgeous coves with sand, pebbles and transparent turquoise waters form a small beach surrounded by rocks. This is where boats from Santorini used to load up with local produce and building materials, hence the name. It can be reached via a small path from St. Panteleimon Bay.
- Exploring the trails that cross the island, revealing a splendid interior and landscapes of unrivalled natural beauty. There is much to discover here, from dry-stone walls, terraces, old barns, and sheepfolds, to Byzantine churches and remains of ancient settlements, as well as remote beaches, caves and high vantage points offering panoramic views of the Aegean.
- Taking a boat trip around the island to seek out otherwise inaccessible beaches (such as Karas, Malta and Ai Giannis) and enchanting small caves.
- Watching the sunset from the elegant little church of the Virgin Mary Pantohara with its breathtaking sea views. Also known as Elytis’ Church, it was a gift to the island from the Nobel laureate, built in fulfilment of one of his last wishes, although not completed until 2011, some fifteen years after his death.
- Visiting the majestic Black Cave below the Monastery of the Lifegiving Spring, one of the largest marine grottos in the Cyclades. Access is only possible by sea.
- Discovering the secrets of viticulture on the island with a visit to its only winery. The exemplary organic vineyard, operating exclusively with renewable sources of energy, has breathed new life into an ancient local tradition. The restaurant terrace has stunning views of nearby Cycladic islands.
- Try stuffed goat, roast rabbit with potatoes, or kokoras krasatos (Greek coq au vin) with spaghetti.
- If you choose one of the ferry tickets for Sikinos, you can enjoy local mezes such as pickled onions or pickled samphire, favokeftedes (split-pea fritters), kaparosalata (caper dip), pourazenes (dolmades wrapped in large leaves of wild greens), and filo parcels (filled with cream cheese or onion and sour cream).
- Satisfy your sweet tooth with diangourenia (a pudding of watermelon juice and flour with added honey and sesame seeds) and watermelon preserve.
- Taste loukoumades (doughnuts) drenched in the local thyme honey.
- Don’t leave Sikinos without trying some of the excellent wines produced here.
In ancient times, Sikinos was called Oinoe, because of its extensive vineyards and fine wine (oinos).