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Why Should I Visit to Serifos?

Serifos at a glance

Serifos is an island of wild rugged beauty, with bare rocky landscapes, steep cliffs plunging into blue-green seas, stone-paved footpaths going through pretty Cycladic villages, and a countryside dotted with picturesque churches.

An open-air museum of industrial archaeology, with visible signs of the wealth once generated by its mining activities, it also has one of the most atmospheric medieval capitals in the Cyclades, perched on the side of a mountain.

It is a mosaic of beguiling contrasts, unassuming but romantic, offering dazzling images and authentic experiences. It attracts discerning visitors who appreciate a laid-back atmosphere and the enigmatic energy that radiates from every corner.

7 reasons to visit Serifos
  1. To explore Serifos Town, one of the most attractive capitals in the Cyclades and an excellent example of medieval fortress architecture. Sit at the atmospheric marble-paved Pano Piatsa square, with its panoramic view of Livadi Bay. Admire the impressive Church of St Athanassios (1820), the neoclassical Town Hall (1904), and the traditional cafes surrounding it.
  2. To discover the fascinating history of Megalo Livadi. The now-ruined mining works outside the coastal settlement are like a unique open-air museum of industrial archaeology.  Here you can see the wharf, the old rails with the rusted wagons, and half-destroyed bridges, or walk through the tunnels of the mines. The mining company’s neoclassical local office of 1890, with tall palm trees at the entrance, is a protected building. Before you leave, make a stop at the simple marble monument honouring four miners killed in 1916 during the bloody suppression of a strike for better working conditions.
  3. To watch the sunrise from the small Church of St. Constantine. It is situated on the highest point of the hill where the Venetian Castle (1434) stands in Serifos Town, overlooking the western Cycladic islands.
  4. To see the historic Monastery of the Archangels Michael and Gabriel, an imposing fortress-monastery of 1572. Its austere fortified architecture, with an elevated courtyard, battlements, and single entrance (once accessed only by a removable ladder), is remarkable. The floor of the church has a marble slab with a relief carving of a double-headed eagle, the symbol of the Byzantine Empire.
  5. To visit the Archaeological Museum in Serifos Town. The collection is small, but includes some wonderful finds from the Classical to the Roman period that have been excavated locally, including vases, marble statues, and grave markers.
  6. To look out over the Aegean from the extraordinary Throne of the Cyclops, an enormous structure built from slabs of schist at Megalo Horio, with an unparalleled view of the sea. A short distance away is the entrance to a tunnel (the Cyclops’ cave, according to legend).
  7. To go to the atmospheric Serifos Festival, with its excellent programme of Greek music concerts. It is held every August in the open-air theatre in Lower Serifos Town, which has a magnificent view of the Aegean.
The top 5 beaches

Psili Ammos: The island’s most popular beach stretches around a bay on the east coast of Serifos and is notable for its golden sand and exotic setting, with tamarisk trees and sea daffodils, while children are especially fond of the shallow blue waters. The tavernas offer a wide range of food. In 2003, it was voted ‘Europe’s Best Beach’ by the Sunday Times.

Ganema: One of the island’s biggest beaches, in Koutalas Bay, has cool azure waters and tamarisk trees for natural shade. One side is sandy and is especially popular with families, while the other is covered in white pebbles. There is one taverna here and another on the road to Koutalas village.

Lia: A gorgeous beach with coloured pebbles and crystal-clear sapphire waters. The rocky hills surrounding the attractive bay make the beach ideal for lovers of seclusion and unspoiled nature, and there are good views of the island of Vou. It has no shade or amenities, so you will have to equip yourself with everything you need before you go. The route to the beach involves a 10-minute hike along a path.

Vayia: The first beach in the scenic Koutalas Bay is a paradise of wild beauty with coarse golden sand and clear emerald waters. It is also great for snorkelling, with a seabed – said to be the island’s best – covered in pretty coloured pebbles. While generally lacking in natural shade, it does have a few straw umbrellas and sunbeds. It is worth staying until evening to enjoy the unique sunset. You can enjoy it by choosing one of the ferry tickets for Serifos.

Agios Sostis: One of the island’s loveliest and most picturesque beaches, with fine golden sand, large tamarisk trees offering plenty of natural shade, and clear blue waters. The beach is sheltered from the wind and has good views of the tiny island of Vou, while the church of the Holy Saviour on the rocks above is well worth a visit. There are no amenities, so make sure you have everything you need before you go. It can be reached by car followed by a five-minute walk along a path.

Don’t leave Serifos without…
  • Stocking up on sweet preserves, jams, liqueurs, and herbs from the food market held in August by the Andromeda women’s cooperative.
  • Visiting the Byzantine Church of the Virgin Mary in the picturesque village of Panagia, where the most popular feast-day celebrations in Serifos take place. The church is the oldest on the island, having been built in the 10th century, and is decorated with outstanding frescoes from the 14th and 17th century.
  • Climbing up to the imposing White Tower, a round structure dating from the Hellenistic period. Made of white marble blocks, it was once an observatory and offers amazing views of the Church of the Holy Trinity and the island’s south-east coast. It is located in the abandoned village of Megalo Horio.
  • Discovering the countryside of Serifos through the island’s well-maintained network of paved footpaths. Lovers of exploration will find trails leading to enchanting coves and beautiful beaches, while those interested in traditional folk culture will enjoy coming across unique monuments of vernacular architecture hidden away in the island’s hills and valleys, including skilfully built dry-stone walls, pigeon houses, shepherds’ huts, farm buildings, and wine cellars. Don’t miss the trail from the village of Kendarhos (also known as Kallitsos) to Serifos Town, and the route from Pirgos to Sikamia Bay.
Tasty experiences
  • If you choose one of the itineraries for Serifos, don’t miss the opportunity to try the famous chickpea soup and aromatic fennel and onion fritters served with yogurt.
  • Sample pork with string beans and broad beans in tomato sauce.
  • Enjoy an ouzo with favourite local mezes such as fava (split-pea mash), louza or syglino (pieces of air-dried or cured pork), string beans, sun-dried tomatoes, vine-leaf dolmades, deep-fried cod, and sun-dried octopus.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with local treats such as pasteli (a honey and sesame-seed bar) and pastaki (a small cake with vanilla and chocolate cream on a biscuit base).
  • Drink the local raki (souma) or wine.

According to legend, Serifos was the main manufacturer and supplier of the swords used by Alexander the Great and his allies on the Anatolian campaign.

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