Sifnos & Sérifos
Area of island: 73 sq. km/28 sq. miChief place: ApolloníaSífnos, one of the southern Cyclades, lies roughly in the center of the triangle formed by Melos, Sérifos and Páros. The north and northwest of the island are occupied by barren ranges of hills, the east and south by gentler uplands. The coast is much indented, and lined by cliffs for much of its length. Agriculture (particularly onion-growing) on the island's fertile soil, the manufacture of pottery of traditional type and weaving bring the inhabitants a modest degree of prosperity.Already well populated in the period of the Cycladic culture (third and second millennia B.C.), the island grew so wealthy in classical times from the produce of its silver-mines that the Siphnians built a treasury in the sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi. When the flooding of the mines made it impossible to work the silver the island declined into insignificance.Entrances to the silver workings can be seen in the sea at Áyios Sóstis and Áyios Minás.Regular service from and to Athens (Piraeus), several times daily (5.5 hours; cars carried).Local connections with Sérifos, Kímolos and other neighboring islands.
Kamares & Apollonia, Greece
From Kamáres (beach; pottery workshops), on the west coast of Sífnos, a road goes up to the island's capital, Apollonía. The church of Áyios Sózon has fine wall paintings, as have the church of the Panayía Gourniá in Artemón (to the north) and the church of the Panayía in Katavatí (to the south).Apollonia, on Siphnos, stands on three hillsides and has a typical Cycladic style of architecture.The town also has an interesting folklore museum.
Five km/3mi east of Apollonía at Sífnos, above a sheltered bay, lies the picturesque little town of Kástro, with a medieval castle. On the evidence of Herodotus, this was the site of the island's ancient capital, Asty; there are still some remains of walls of the fourth century B.C.
Siphnos Archeological Museum
The Siphnos Archeological Museum at Kastro has a collection of Archaic and Hellenistic sculpture and ceramics from the Geometric to the Byzantine period.
Opening hours: 8:30am-3pm; Closed: Mon
Always opened on: Assumption Day - Christian (Aug 15), Óhi Day - Greece & Cyprus (Oct 28)
Always closed on: New Year's Day (Jan 1), Greek National Day (Mar 25), May Day / Labor Day (May 1), Day after Christmas, St Stephen's Day, Boxing Day (Dec 26), Christmas - Christian (Dec 25), Easter - Christian, Good Friday - Christian
Entrance fee: Adult Free
Siphnos - Watch-towers
Around the coasts of the island of Sífnos there are numerous Hellenistic, Roman and medieval watch-towers.
Siphnos - Pre-Greek remains
On the hill of Áyios Andréas, southwest of Apollonía, are the remains of a pre-Greek settlement. There are tombs of the same period at Vathy and Mávro Khorió.
Siphnos - Monasteries
There are a number of interesting monasteries on Sífnos, some of which have accommodation for visitors. Particularly notable is the fortified monastery on Mt Profítis Ilías (680m/2230ft; pilgrimages). Others are Áyios Khrysóstomos (with a lilac tree and a palm dating back to 1653), the Panayía tis Vrysis (library) at the southeastern tip of the island, the monastery of the Taxiarchs (Archangels) above Vathy Bay, the Panayía tou Vounoú (view) and the Panayía Khrysopiyí, on the south coast, with a 17th century icon which is revered as wonderworking.
Siphnos - Dovecots
All over the island of Sífnos, but particularly in the east, can be seen Venetian dovecots.
To the southeast of Cape Kontoú, the southernmost tip of the island of Siphnos, lies the little island of Kitrianí, which consists mainly of marble. There is a chapel on the island.
Area of island: 66 sq. km/25 sq. miChief place: Sérifos (Khóra)Sérifos, northwest of Sífnos, is a bare and rocky island, its hills slashed by gorges; its highest point is Mt Toúrlos (486m/1,585ft). The island's main sources of income are its modest agriculture and its opencast iron-mines, which have been worked since ancient times. The ore is shipped from Koutalás, on the south coast.Originally settled by Ionian Greeks, the island shared the fortunes of the other Cyclades. In Greek mythology it was the island on which Danaë and the young Perseus were washed ashore.The greatest attraction to Serifos is its magnificent beaches, including Mega Livadi, Koutalas, Agios Sostis, Psili, Amos, Ayios Ioannis and Sikimia.
Monastery of the Taxiarchs, Panayia
At the north end of the island of Sérifos is the monastery of the Taxiarchs (Archangels), founded in 1600, which has a fine library. Northwest of the monastery is the pretty village Panayía, with the church of Xyló Panayía.