Serifos is like an introductory class to the typical landscape of the Cyclades islands, a small group of Greek islands in the middle of the Aegean Sea, southeast of mainland Greece. The name refers to the islands around (κυκλάς) the sacred island of Delos.
Steep mountain slopes with low, scarce vegetation that end abruptly in mesmerizing blue sea. Long sandy beaches with nowhere to hide from the bright, ruthless Aegean sun but for a few tamarisk trees here and there. Low, square buildings in the unmistakable white and blue that sets Cyclades architecture apart and narrow unruly streets that resemble a maze.
Life in Serifos follows its own slow, contemplative pace: The locals move and talk slowly, local public transport is every hipster’s vintage dream and reaching the aforementioned beaches feels like old-school flirting – it requires persistence, diligence and a generous helping of humor.
(Yes, you will need to walk or hike. But, as you can see below, it will all be worth it.)
Psili Ammos, Ganema, Agios Sostis, Vaya and Kalo Ampeli definitely deserve a spot in your to-do list when visiting Serifos.
The photo below is from Lia, a hidden but gorgeous beach next to Agios Sostis. However, it is a nudists’ beach so you might want to take this into consideration if you decide to go visit it.
If you visit Serifos, I would recommend finding accommodation close to the port, in the area called Livadakia, as it allows easy access to restaurants, cafes and public transport to the main beaches and Ano Chora, the “capital” of the island. Chora is used to refer to the largest village of the island, which is usually perched on top of a mountain or hill. The location was chosen out of practicality reasons, as back in time, islanders needed to protect themselves from pirates raiding the Aegean Sea.
Nowadays, Ano Chora is where you need to go to watch the sunset (yes, you need to walk all the steps to the top), get lost in the narrow cobblestone alleys, enjoy a mezze platter at Stou Stratou, pick some uniquely crafted souvenirs, and finish your evening with a round of drinks (or two, or more, I leave it up to you) at gaidaros, vatrachos or aerino. Make sure to bring a warm jacket as it can get quite chilly in the night and to leave your high heels at home – the cobblestone streets won’t agree with them.
Serifos left our taste buds quite happy: My friend, Ioanna, and I would wholeheartedly recommend marathoriza in Ano Chora (just make sure to arrive early as it gets packed really quickly), thalami for traditional Greek cuisine, to mpakakaki for meaty dishes and meli mou for crepes and desserts. For coffee break with a generous sea view, go to Yacht Club or Indigo cafe. Local delicacies include marathopita, a fragrant pie filled with fennel and drizzled with local honey, kormos, a chocolatey, decadent dessert, and revithada, a hearty chickpea soup.
What I loved about Serifos is its unwavering honesty. Unlike some of the more cosmopolitan, glamorous Cyclades islands, Serifos is simple, modest and unpretentious. Judging from it wild landscape, dry soil and fierce wind spells, it feels like the people of this small island have been surviving on their sheer persistence alone. Locals look straight into your eyes when talking to you; they maintain eye contact for a few, unnerving instants longer than what urban savoir vivre would allow. You do not dress up to go out; there’s a come as you are mentality. After a hectic period in London, Serifos felt like the perfect place for me to unwind, indulge and catch up with one of my favourite Earthlings. It was like stripping life down to its bare basics: sand between my toes, sun on my skin, salty winds messing with my hair and a huge grin from ear to ear.
Daydreaming (as always),