5 top things to do in Sifnos

One of the most typical islands of Cyclades is Sifnos. Located on the western side of the group, this small island has evident traditional architecture: small white houses, blue-domed chapels and fantastic beach water. This is a favorite holiday haven for families with kids and visitors who enjoy quiet places. Although it has no famous historical monuments, there are many things to see and do there. Here are our 5 top things to do in Sifnos island, Greece.

#1 Swim in Platis Gialos beach

Platis Gialos is among the largest bays in Cyclades. Found on the southern side of the island, this is a sandy beach with crystal waters. Part of the beach is organized with sunbeds and umbrellas. There are many seaside taverns along Platis Gialos, as well as many hotels and studios in a walking distance from the sea. Close to Platis Gialos are two other popular beaches of Sifnos: Vathy and Faros.

#2 Walk around the picturesque village of Kastro

Kastro is the most beautiful village of Sifnos. This is a Medieval settlement that was once the capital of the island. Walk around the narrow paths, see the nice churches and enjoy the breathtaking view to the Aegean Sea. At the entrance of Kastro is the famous church of Seven Martyrs, a small white chapel with blue dome that is the most photographed spot of the island. In the evenings, visitors can enjoy a lounge drink at the few bars of the village.

#3 Pay a visit to Chrissopighi Monastery

A visit to the Monastery of Chrissopighi, on the southern side of the island, is among the top things to do in Sifnos. This all-white monastery is built on top of a rocky promontory in the sea. This promontory is actually cut in two parts and the local tradition says that this was due to a miracle in the Medieval times. The Monastery of Chrissopighi was established in the 16th century and celebrates the first Friday after Greek Easter, attracting many pilgrims from close islands.

#4 Taste seafood

Tasting local dishes, and especially seafood, is something we could not miss from the top things to do in Sifnos. All around the island, you will find nice taverns with traditional dishes, made from fresh local products. For best views, try a tavern by the sea. You will find plenty of such seaside taverns at the beaches of Kamares, Platis Gialos, Vathy, Faros, Apokofto and more.

#5 Have a night drink in Apollonia

The most popular nightlife spot in Sifnos island is Apollonia, the capital of the island. This is where people head after sunset for a lounge drink in the bars that are spread in the narrow streets and the small squares of the village. Some cafe bars stay open until midnight, while others do not close before 2-3 o’clock in the morning.

Activities in the Greek islands: where to practice certain sports

The Greek islands are mostly famous for beach holidays during summer time. Most visitors choose to come to Greece to relax and soak the hot sun by the sea. However, over the last years the country offers many chances for active holidays. Activities in the Greek islands are various and each destination is specialized in certain sports.

# Hiking

Greece is a fantastic place for hiking. In fact, this is a sport that can be practiced 10 out of 12 months and can give a boost to the development of year round tourism in Greece. Local authorities and volunteers are cleaning and signposting hiking trails in the islands and the mainland. These trails were in use until few decades ago, when cars and buses were scarcely introduced in the Greek countryside. The best months for hiking in Greece are from March to June and from September to November. Due to the hot weather, July and August are generally not suggested for hiking.

Hiking is one of the most popular activities in the Greek islands. An island with great hiking trails is Kefalonia. The trails are signposted and cross many green forests with breathtaking view to the sea. Crete, Rhodes, Corfu and Karpathos also have an organized network of hiking paths. Recently the paths of Sifnos were cleaned and signed. For detailed hiking paths in the Greek islands, advice FoxyIslandWalks.com

# Windsurfing

Windsurfing is a popular activity in the Greek islands. There are numerous islands for windsurfing due to the strong winds that blow over the Greek seas in summer. The Cyclades islands of Paros and Naxos are two popular windsurfing destinations in Greece, especially Golden Beach in Paros and Mikri Vigla Beach in Naxos. Along these beaches, there are windsurfing centers that rent equipment and provide courses. Rhodes and Kos are also two popular islands for windsurfing, while a developing windsurfing destination is Karpathos, especially the beach of Afiartis.

# Diving

Among the most popular activities in the Greek islands is scuba diving. The Greek seas are fantastic places for divers of all levels. The safe waters and the numerous shipwrecks from all historical periods create magnificent regions for diving. Visitors can find diving centers that offer courses and organize diving trips in many Greek islands. Especially popular for diving are the islands of Paros, Naxos, Leros, Corfu, Kefalonia and others. Interesting info of the day: Amorgos island is the place where scenes from the famous movie “The Big Blue” were shot.

# Rock climbing

The most popular Greek island for rock climbing is Kalymnos. The top quality solid limestone rocks of Kalymnos have given the ground for more than 2,500 climbing routes, mostly concentrated above the villages of Myrties, Massouri and Armeos, in the central and northern parts of the island. Many climbers head to Kalymnos every summer, climbing clubs offer courses and even a rock climbing festival takes place there every October. Very popular for climbing is also the neighboring island of Telendos.

Spring holidays in Greece: pros and cons

Spring is finally here… March has already begun and in few days (April 1st) the tourist season in Greece will officially open. In popular islands, such as Santorini and Crete, the first visitors arrive even in middle March with the first cruise lines and the relaunch of direct flights from abroad. In fact, apart from summer holidays, many visitors also choose to come for spring holidays in Greece.

So, what exactly can visitors do in Greece and the Greek islands during spring? How easy is it to travel around? Are the islands still closed down, like many of them are in off season? Here are some answers to these questions.

Greek islands for spring holidays

The most popular destinations for spring holidays in Greece are the tourist islands, such as Santorini, Mykonos, Kefalonia, Rhodes, Corfu and Crete. These are large islands that get busy during the entire tourist season and have direct air connections with foreign airports.

A popular destination for spring break in Greece is also Athens, the city with historical charm and interesting sightseeing. In fact, many visitors choose to spend their spring holidays in Greece with a short visit in Athens and then take a multi-day tour around the Greek mainland or hop to one or two islands.

The less popular islands usually open for season in early May. This is when air and ferry transportation is more frequent, hotels gradually open and so do restaurants, taverns, cafeterias and shops. Of course most islands are not entirely closed down off season, but they are not busy with tourists, only with locals.

What to do in Greece during spring

Early spring is not a beach season in Greece. The weather gets more appropriate to swim in the sea from early May and onwards, until early October. Of course, if your background is from a cold country, you can start swimming in Greece even earlier, in April, when the temperature is 15-20oC in the day.

Although sea swimming is not totally guaranteed in Greece during spring, there are many other activities to try. Spring holidays in Greece are a great chance for hiking. The weather is not too cold and not too hot, the nature is blossoming and rains are not frequent at all in spring, therefore it is the perfect time to discover beautiful hiking paths. In fact, many Greek islands has developed a great hiking route along forests, ancient sites, monasteries and traditional villages, usually ending at a secluded beach.

Such islands with a developed hiking network are Kefalonia, Andros, Crete, Sifnos and many others. Some islands also have such paths that may not be marked or signposted, but they were in use until very recently.

Another great activity for spring holidays in Greece is sightseeing. The moderate weather permits easy walking through archaeological sites or within the premises of a historical city. The limited number of visitors in sites, museums and guided tours during spring is surely a plus for visitors.

How expensive is Greece? Costs for hotels, transportation, dining and more

In this article, we aim to present the basic costs in Greece for tourists. As we receive messages from people who ask questions on how expensive is Greece, we have decided to give you an idea of the basic costs for Greek hotels, ways of transportation, dining, tickets of archaeological sites and more. This way you can calculate more easily your budget for your Greek holidays.

# Cost of hotels

Naturally the cost of accommodation in Greece depends on many factors: the stars, the popularity of destination, the type of room and the season. In low season, which ranges from April to June and from September to October in Greece, prices of hotels are cheaper, even 40-50% more economic than high season (July and August). In general, hotels are more expensive than studios and apartments. Accommodation in popular destinations, such as Santorini, Mykonos, Rhodes or Athens, is more expensive than accommodation in off the beaten track destinations.

To set few examples, the cost of a hotel in the centre of Athens ranges in average 40 euros per room (double) in low season and may reach 200 euros per room (or more, depending on the hotel stars) in high season. A double room in 3-star hotel in Milos, an uprising island in the Aegean Sea, costs about 45 euros in low season and 80 euros in high season. If you want to visit a more popular destination, such as Santorini, Mykonos or Paros, you should be prepared to pay about 50-70 euros for a double room in low season and 100-200 euros in high season.

Of course, all these rates are per average. Prices differ from one accommodation to the other. Visitors may find better prices if they book early or if they find a last minute offer.

# Dining

Although there are many upscale type of restaurants in the popular Greek destinations, the most common place to eat in Greece is a tavern by the sea or at the squares of the little villages. In these taverns, you will find handmade dishes with fresh products, most of which are produced locally. A meal with a salad to share and house wine (no need to order bottle, house wine is excellent in Greece) costs about 15-20 euros per person. For a more economic solution, you can eat in a souvlaki house. The normal wrapped souvlaki will cost 2.5-3 euros if you take it to go, while if you seat at a table the cost will be about 10 euros per person.

# Transportation

The most usual way to travel to a Greek island or to hop from one island to the other is by ferry. The cost of a ferry ticket varies depending on the seat type (salon, air seat, cabin, etc) and the speed of the ferry. For some routes, for example from Athens to the Cyclades islands, there are both normal and high speed ferries. You can check schedules and prices of Greek ferries at an online ferry booking engine.

Some islands also have airports, but the flight cost with the Greek national carriers, Olympic Air and Aegean Airlines, can be expensive. Over the last couple of years, the low cost company Ryan Air has launched flights from Athens to popular destinations with prices starting from 10 euros per way.

If you want to get around on the island, the most usual way to get around is by bus. The local bus is pretty economic, especially for small islands where distances are short. Bus tickets in the islands usually range from 1.5 to 3 euros per person one way.

# Tickets for museums and sites

Depending on the size of the archaeological site and the museum, entrance tickets range from 3 to 8 euros per person. In some cases, there is a combined ticket for entrance to site and museum. For example, the combined entrance ticket for site and museum of Ancient Delphi is 9 euros per person (2016) and the combined ticket for the 12 main archaeological sites of Athens including the Acropolis Hill is 16 euros (2016).

Which is the best time for Greek vacations?

Greece is obviously among the most popular countries for holidays. It is usually ranked at the 15th or 16th position in the list of the most tourist countries in the world, according to the UN World Tourism Organization. As we frequently receive messages on which is the best time for Greek vacations, we have prepared this article to explain in detail all you need to know on this issue plus the current trends.

The tourist season

The majority of tourists visit Greece for summer holidays. Traditionally, July and August are the most popular months for Greek vacations. This is due to the hot sunny weather which provides a great opportunity for enjoy a long day at the beach. Swimming in the sea is actually the most popular activity when you holiday in the Greek islands or nice resorts in the mainland. July and August is also the period when most Greek employees take their summer break and head to the islands to relax.

These two months (July and August) is the best time for Greek vacations if you enjoy very hot weather (about 35oC in the daytime) and crowded resorts. Of course, the crowded resorts applies only to the most popular islands, such as Mykonos, Santorini, Paros or Lefkada, which get very busy during these months. If you choose less popular islands, such as Kythira, Ithaca, Serifos or Andros, you will not have to worry about mass visitors.

Greek vacations in low season

Officially low tourist season in Greece is the period from April to June and from September to October. These months are less hot in temperature, prices are lower, visitors are fewer and beaches are not crowded. They surely offer a fantastic chance to explore the most authentic side of Greece. Due to the cooler weather, these periods are perfect for various activities, such as hiking, mountain biking, diving and more. In fact, if you are fan of a particular sport of activity, it is a good idea for look for a Greek island that is ideal for this activity. For example, Kalymnos island is world famous for rock climbing, Leros for diving and Kefalonia for hiking.

Greece in winter season

Although the most popular time to visit Greece until now has been the summer season, over the last years there is a large effort to attract tourists even in winter season? Some popular islands, such as Santorini and Crete, have decided to stay “open” this past winter (2015-16), although in the past they used to close down at the end of October and open again in early April. This means that there are hotels that stay open all year round, many restaurants and shops as well as better public transport. This is pilot program in an effort to attract visitors in the islands even in winter time.

However, apart from the islands, winter is also a great season to visit the Greek mainland, an unknown part of the country with traditional villages, interesting archaeological sites and rural lifestyle. In addition, did you know that there are about 10 ski centers in the Greek mainland, especially in the central and northern part of the country? So, why not try something alternative for your winter break like spending few days in Greece?