About a year ago I was in Greece, where I had the opportunity to explore this beautiful country for a week. The idea was to get to know the place in a new way. We know Athens, Mykonos and Santorini – our feeds are full of these places. But Greece has so much more to offer, not least in terms of culinary delights!
In fact, Greece consists of more than 3000 (!) islands, many of which may look alike at first sight, but which reveal very distinct characteristics at a closer look. Every island in itself is worth a trip. But where to start? Which islands would the Greeks themselves choose?
After a bit of research, the choice became clear pretty quickly: Sifnos and Serifos.
Fortunately, the two islands are basically next to each other. They are quite similar in terms of landscape, but each of them is genuinely unique.
Why that is, and why you should change your existing travel plans in favor of atrip to Sifnos and Serifos? Let me give you 10 good reasons:
It’s a well-kept secret.
While there is really no shortage of islands in Greece (I repeat, more than 3000!), only a handful have become well-known tourist destinations. Once again, Crete, Santorini and Mykonos come to mind – islands with airports of their own. Focus on these places overshadows genuine gems like Serifos and Sifnos. The upside, of course, is that the latter are stillpretty well-kept secrets. In fact, these islands are popular destinations especially among Greeks, which means visitors will enjoy a much more authentically Greek vibe there – and far fewer people than on the crammed tourist islands.
The weather: sunny with a light breeze
Doesn’t that sound just perfect?
It’s exactly what the Greek islands provide. You get sun, but due to a constant, light breeze from the sea it never gets too hot. That said, you do have to be careful in July and August, when temperatures peak and sunburns are a real possibility. Greeks recommend May or September as ideal traveling months, when the weather is perfect and the the main season is yet to start or already over. So, go ahead, buy a last minute ticket, you won’t regret it!
It’s a stone’s throw from Athens.
Getting there only seems complicated at a first glance, but in fact it’s really simple: you fly to Athens, take the 45 minute ride to the port of Pyraeus. The you jump on a ferry (which runs several times a day), and 2-4 hours later you’ll set foot on the first island. If the sea is calm, and if you wisely decide against a speedboat, the ferry trip can be a fun leg of the journey in itself. I’d strongly recommend you rent a car directly at the airport, to drive directly to Piraeus from the airport and to explore the beautiful landscape of the island(s) that way. It just makes life easier.
The Greek Salad is a dream in Greece. Promise!
It’s partly due to the traditional recipes, which are passed on from generation to generation, but also to the incredibly fresh fruit and veg growing over there, under the strong, nurturing sun: tomatoes are extra sweet, cucumbers super crisp, and everything tastes somehow better and more intense.
if you’d like to take some of that culinary delight home with you, and if you enjoy local experiences in countries you visit, I highly recommend a cooking course at Narli’s Farm! You pluck ingredients in a giant garden, learn how to cook them, and in the end you’ll enjoy a fantastic meal. It’s as organic as it gets.
During our trip we ate Greek Salad pretty much every day. Instead of Feta it is served with the local cheese Myzithra, which is incredibly delicious. Generally speaking, Greek cuisine is a culinary dream, the flavors irresistible. Even today, a year later, I can say that my trip to Greece was one of the absolute culinary highlights og my life.
Greeks are the nicest people. As I got to know the country and its people, I found myself connecting extremely well with the locals. The reminded me a little of Berliners: accommodating, but they also give you the space you need without ever bothering you. You may know some of the notorious holiday destinations where the service staff is just too enthusiastic, and where at every step someone tries to usher you into some club or other. I’m not a fan of that at all, which is why I extremely appreciated the casual vibes in Greece. The Greeks are very hospitable, with a laid-back vibe that is perfect for a well-rounded holiday feeling.
Clear water, all the way to the bottom of the sea.
We took a boat tour once, and at some point I couldn’t hold myself back anymore. I HAD TO get into the water. The clear, turquoise sea summoned me! I have never seen suchclear seawater before, and was mesmerized by it. The Cyclade islands (among the Sifnos and Serifos), are famous for their clear water even within Greece.
Tip: if you take a boat trip around an island, you’ll discover numerous tiny beaches, that will be yours alone. Let down the anchor, get off the boat and enjoy a moment that belongs only to you.
A Mecca for wine-lovers.
Clichés aside, the Greeks don’t only love ouzo, they are real aficionados of wine! And, well, what can I say – for me as a wine-lover that works just fine. Greek wine is not exported that widely, but that may be for the better, as it tastes best where it grows. If you are so inclined, I recommend a trip to a vinery, e.g. OINOPOIEIO CHRYSOLORA on Serifos. The view is spectacular, you learn how wine is produced, and of course you get to sample it there and then, with some tasty olives as a perfect complimentary snack. Pure holiday feeling!
The Greeks are justifiably proud of their culture and traditions. Traces of the imperial glory days are still everywhere, in ruins, legends and myths. It’s great fun to explore historical sights, and to learn history right where it unfolded. I love how keenly the Greeks preserve their culture, from the intangible aspects to the architecture: every spring, people paint their white houses and make sure to preserve the traditional architectural elements, so that the visual atmosphere remains intact. I found this love for tradition to be quite infectious.
Instagram backdrops everywhere
It’s no secret that the Greek islands are outstanding locations for Instagram shoots. But if you’ve been to Santorini, you also know how overrun some Greek spots really are by now. Taking pictures is not fun if you’re shooting amongst a million other tourists. You won’t have that problem on Sifnos, and even less on Serifos. You’ll get almost the same visual backdrops, but without all those other people in them.
Luxury without the luxury price point!
Luxury vacations in Europe at fair prices? Sifnos and Serifos are your choice! Unlike many other (Greek) holiday destinations, Sifnos and Serifos are comparatively affordable, because they are still off the beaten tourism track. Nights in luxurious lodgings like e.g. Hotel Rizes (Serifos) or Selana Suites (Sifnos) come at fair prices, and eating out doesn’t break the bank either. In the end, your holiday budget will stretch to include a wide range of activities once you’re there. So, what are you waiting for?
TOP 3 Restaurants:
-Takis Restaurant in Serifos
– Restaurant Cyclades in Sifnos
– Dolci Cafe in Sifnos