The time has come for full disclosure…. I am not a fan of Greek island holidays! There, I’ve said it, and before you start raining judgment on my head let me dilute the hate by saying I was almost converted into thinking like the rest of the world during this summer’s stay in Sifnos.
If you like peaceful vacations in stunningly beautiful Cycladic islands then Sifnos is definitely the place to visit. I wasn’t surprised to learn that almost all of our fellow holidaymakers were repeat visitors, coming year after year to this surprisingly untouristy isle. They seemed like a friendly, fun loving yet respectful bunch of people that could easily turn into good friends given half a chance.
I do have long time good friends who have loved Sifnos for years and three of them have turned that love into successful businesses. Kelly and Tony run the wonderful Old Captain’s Bar and George has opened the magnificent Absinthe restaurant, both places giving the port of Kamares some serious attraction. Another friend, Matt, (of Greecetravel.com) has been telling me that Sifnos is fabulous for YEARS but it seems I’m a stubborn cow who refuses to actually listen!
We stayed in Kamares and rented a car to see more of the island. As we drove around, I realised there are many places to stay in Sifnos apart from the port of Kamares and the main town of Apollonia. I found the little village of Kastro fascinating with its narrow streets lined with huge ancient sarcophagi and there is even a tiny museum housing Ancient Greek and Roman artefacts dug from the area.
The beach at Chrysopigi is the perfect spot for a dip and a bite to eat at the beach taverna which sits almost on the crystal clear sea.
Now we get to one of the other BIG draws to Sifnos-the food! It is way above most standard taverna fare and at every place we ate in we were served something delicious and a little different. George’s Absinthe restaurant dishes up some seriously good fare and many places serve the traditional dish of lamb mastello which is a slow baked lamb cooked in wine and is mouth-wateringly good.
Reluctantly tearing ourselves away from the Old Captain’s Bar cocktail hour, we ventured into Apollonia for a night on the town, deciding to visit the “Steno”, a narrow strip lined on both sides with bars, restaurants and shops. Here, as everywhere else on the island, noise is kept to a minimum which makes walking through the “Steno” incredibly pleasant. Many of the bars have rooftop terraces overlooking the Cycladic white cubist houses that always make me think Picasso and Braque would have died and gone to heaven should they have found themselves here.
So, reflecting on my Sifnos summer, am I now an island hopping freak? No, not exactly, I still prefer the city but that’s not to say that I won’t be returning to Sifnos again next year!