Is Sifnos Greece a Good Island for Hiking?

posted in: Cyclades, Hiking | 2

Updated August 14th, 2021 by TraveltheGreekWay

Absolutely! Sifnos is a fantastic Greek island to hike, no matter what level of hiker you are. There is a Sifnos hiking trail for everyone, for both beginners and more advanced hikers.

Sifnos has a dreamlike quality and feels a little bit like the island that time forgot. It is an authentic Greek island, ideal for both outdoor explorers and lovers of good quality of life.

Where is Sifnos in Greece?

Sifnos belongs to the Cyclades group of Islands along with the likes of Mykonos, Santorini, Milos, and Paros. It is a middle size island and lies between Serifos and Milos. It is 75.79 miles far from Athens.

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How To get to Sifnos

Ferries from Athens: The ferry to Sifnos from Piraeus (Athens main port) normally takes 2.5h, if you take the speedboat, and costs around €60.

If you take the conventional boat, it takes around 5h and costs start at €38. If you are traveling to Sifnos in August, I advise you to pre-purchase the ferry tickets much earlier because the Cyclades are very popular and you may not find a seat.

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Alternatively, as there is no airport on Sifnos you can fly to Milos island (spend 2-3 days on this stunning volcanic island) and get the ferry connection to Sifnos (about an hour ferry connection).

Athens International Airport to Piraeus Port: If you are arriving at Athens International airport you can travel straight to the port by taking the X96 express bus (3 euro), which departs every 30-40 minutes.

Or you can take the Athens Metro (10 euro ticket) easily found right across airport arrivals (light blue lineM3) until the Monastiraki stop and very easily change to the green lineM1 going to Piraeus port which is the last stop of the line.

A bit of caution about pickpocketing inside the public transport. Put your backpack in front of you and don’t lose sight of your belongings. Check out this Pacsafe Metrosafe Anti Theft Shoulder Bag

Sifnos Geography

  • Sifnos has 4 mountains, with the peak being Prophitis Elias (682 m.), and a few low hills
  • It has very fertile valleys covered by olive, almond trees and vineyards although its vegetation mostly includes junipers and shrubby low vegetation. Sifnos island completely lacks high forests of any kind
  • Its terrain is mainly granite rock formations, sandstone, limestone, and mineral deposits, including iron ore, copper, lead, manganese, galena, and magnesium

Greek Island Weather Tip: In Sifnos and all the Cyclades islands during the summer strong winds are blowing from the North (meltemia).

Meltemia make summer days cooler but can be slightly chilly in the evening: take with you a sweater or a sweatshirt.

Is Sifnos Worth Visiting?

  • Sifnos is one of the most beautiful Greek Islands, peaceful and authentic with exclusive character. It has all the unique Cycladic characteristics that Greek Islands share: whitewashed houses, towering cliffs, remote chapels and endless vistas to the blue Agean waters
  • Sifnos island is a more quiet island compared with its superstar siblings of Mykonos, Santorini, or Paros. That makes it a perfect Greek Island for relaxing holidays
  • Sifnos is a much more value for money island, getting excellent accommodation choices at very reasonable prices
  • Sifnos is renowned for its exquisite cuisine. A famous Greek chef, Nicolaos Tselementes, came from Sifnos and created quality Greek cuisine tradition – and between you and me, a fantastic food choice is a good enough reason to visit a place! A great time to taste Sifnos delights is to visit the island at September gastronomical Sifnos festival!
  • Sifnos island has an incredibly rich ancient history. The Cycladic Civilisation is one of the major ancient Greek civilisations. Due to its mining riches, Sifnos had devoted a very impressive monument in Delphi Greece.
  • Sifnos Best Trails and Hiking choices! Sifnos has more than 100km of professionally designed and signposted hiking trails and walking paths, one of the largest trail networks of the Aegean. Generally speaking, they are easy trails, with few exceptions, perfect to enjoy the beautiful nature of Sifnos

How Many Days Do I Need in Sifnos?

3 to 5 days although If you asked me, I could easily stay there for a month! 3 to 5 days should be enough time to explore most of the network of hiking routes in Sifnos island and get relaxed as well.

Sifnos Hiking Trails

Sifnos is a superb place for hiking, so many places to visit and explore on your trails that you never get bored of walking the island. And this is the most amazing thing about hiking in Greece, you walk and then find remote tiny chapels over rugged cliffs or you dive into the clear Mediterranean waters if you feel like it.

There are 48 walking trails in Sifnos, 19 of which officially marked paths. You can find printed inexpensive maps of the trails on the island’s bookstores or souvenir shops.

I will briefly describe three of the trails so that you get a basic idea of how hiking on Sifnos is.

Sifnos Trail #1: Mycenaean Acropolis of Agios Andreas to Artemonas

  • You can reach the start of the trail by bus
  • Length 8.6 Km, elevation gain 453m, easy to medium difficulty (2/5). Duration 3 h
  • Trail analysis: some paved road, mostly signposted cobbled trail
  • You will hike by rural areas, the monk monastery of Vrysi, the medieval Kastro town, an old watermill, coastal route Panagia Poulati church – and an opportunity for a dive in the nearby beautiful bay, to Agios Loukas village and then Artemonas.
  • The trail passes by stunning nature, ancient and medieval sites and ends up at a great place for calorie replacement, namely Greek taverns, and Greek food!

Sifnos Trail #4: Platis Yialos, Profitis Ilias Kontou and Fykiada Loop

  • This is one of the longest trails on Sifnos, 11.4 km, with an elevation gain of 458 m and is considered moderate to hard (3/5). Duration 5h.
  • Trail Analysis: Paved Road: 1810m, Dirt Road: 1117, Signpost Clear Trail: 8238 m
  • The most accessible way to this loop hike is getting by bus to Platis Yialos trail (nearby there is a secluded beach for a swim)
  • The trail begins with a steep canyon up which will be very challenging if you are hiking in the dead of the Greek summer as there is no shade. In that case, you can do the loop counter-clockwise.
  • You pass by the small chapel of Profitis Ilias Kondou, descent to the remote and most impressive beach of Fykiada (only accessible through hike or boat), walk through an old olive grove, by the abandoned mansion of Moussia, and to the coast volcanic rocks hike all the way to Platis Yialos.

Sifnos Trail #6:  Apollonia – Panagia Toso Nero – Apollonia

  • This is the longest route of all Sifnos hiking trails, 15 rich and versatile km, with an elevation gain of 450 m and is considered moderate to hard (3/5). Duration 6h.
  • You will witness Sifnos’ wild nature, calm and serene all around you with superb sea vistas
  • The trail starts from Apollonia, you pass olive groves, the Monastery of Agios Eleftherios, see panoramic views of Kamares, visit the Monastery of Panagia Toso Nero, a really really beautiful but hard hike.

Find detailed descriptions of all the Sifnos trails in the Cycladen. be

Hiking Ethics

  • Please leave no rubbish behind you, no plastic bags or other items
  • At no circumstance should you light a fire to bake or for any other reason on the island
  • The animals shouldn’t be annoyed and they are not here for our entertainment. We respect their natural habitat. Serpents, turtles and snakes are shy creatures and avoid human contact as much as they can. If you come across one of them, change your route and leave it alone.
  • If you open a gate in one of your hikes please close it behind you. It is closed for a reason, the most usual of which is keeping animals inside. Shepherds get really annoyed if they have later on to search for their goats all over the place if the door is left open
  • Refrain from visiting private properties because it is a “great” spot for a “great” Instagram shot. You wouldn’t like it if this was happening in your house. We respect the locals
  • Remote Churches and Chapels: they may look abandoned, they may look in disrepair, they may be half-demolished, still Greeks love their churches and would never tolerate any disrespect or vandalism.

What is the Best Hiking Gear for Greek Islands?

The best hiking shoes are the ones that you have chosen through trial and error and fit your feet best. Nobody wants to try a new pair of hiking shoes on a new territory or trail, even less in a new country like Greece.

If you are planning to hike in Greece in the dead of the summer then you will need lightweight, hiking boots for the more demanding trails or trail runners for the easy to medium trails.

Merrell Moab 2 Mid Waterproof Boots

A great budget option with both normal and wide versions, especially if you have wider feet.  I like them because they offer good ankle support but they are not too high. Very high ankle support hiking boots make my ankles swollen and sore.

Salomon Outline GTX Hiking Shoes 

Trail runners (hiking shoes), even if they get wet, dry fast, have great traction, are lightweight, and don’t need a break-in period as the hiking boots do.

The important downsize you need to keep in mind with trail runners is that they are much more narrow in the front part than hiking boots. This may cause you big trouble, pain, and blisters on a hot Greek hiking day.

Salomon is super light, look more like trainers than hiking shoes and they are great for summer hiking in Greece

Which are Sifnos Best Beaches?

Sifnos’ beaches are often cataloged as some of the top beaches in Greece. In no particular order, you should check out those beautiful beaches:

  • Vathi Beach: sandy, with shallow water, protected from winds and waves. There is a small village around the beach with taverns and you can get there by car or bus. If you feel up to, pay a visit to the whitewashed Church of the Taxiarchis.
  • Platis Gialos: sandy, shallow and organised beach. Although it is a wonderful beach, it gets a bit too crowded as it is very close to Apollonia, Sifnos’ Chora (the capital town).
  • Kamares is the port of Sifnos. Sandy, crystal clear waters, shallow waters and a huge variety of accommodation and restaurants make it even more crowded than Platis Gialos
  • Faros &  small Glyfo Beaches are my favourite ones. Sandy beach with trees to hide under for some shade, a gorgeous sheltered small bay, few taverns, this is your ideal quiet secret spot of the island. In Glyfo, you may come across many neutered cats, they are being looked after by the local residents. From Glyfo, different paths start to reach the beaches of Apokoftou and Chrysopigi
  • Apokofto or Chrisopigi Beach, sandy and pebbled at places and one of the most stunning beaches in Sifnos, very close to the famous Chrisopigi Monastery
  • Herronisos Beach, 15 km from Apollonia, small, sandy, and with a very familiar atmosphere, set on a tiny fishing village. If you want quiet holidays, this is the place for you
  • Fykiada Beach, small, only 150 m long, with golden sand and crystal clear waters. Absolutely stunning to swim!

Where to Stay in Sifnos Island

Hotels in Sifnos are located all around the island and some of the nice places to stay in Sifnos can be found by the beaches and around towns. I have selected some great accommodation choices in Sifnos for all budgets that also have characteristics that I like, light colors, great breakfasts, hospitable hosts, and a cozy atmosphere:

  • Nival Boutique Hotel (luxury). A new and modern design clean-cut fabulous luxury hotel in Apollonia, with emphasis on great customer experience and quality accommodation. Check out prices and availability on Booking.com here
  • Astarte Luxury Apartments(luxury). Located in a stunning set in Artemonas, this fine accommodation option offers amazing sea views in an eclectic sparklingly clean stay. Check out prices and availability on Booking.com here
  • Aerides Boutique Rooms (mid-range). Located right on the beach of Vathy, with the sea only meters from the house, beautiful clean rooms and amazing hosts. Check out prices and availability on Booking.com here
  • Agnanti Traditional (mid-range). The location has a fantastic view on the Kastro, an outstanding patio, stylish rooms in very Cycladic style and helpful and kind staff. Check out prices and availability on Booking.com here
  • Kouki Maria Rooms (budget). With a beautiful terrace with view, very friendly owners and staff, spotlessly clean rooms and conveniently located within 10-minute walking distance from Apollonia and Artemonas, it is a great Sifnos hotel choice. Check out prices and availability on Booking.com here
  • Giaglakis Rooms (budget). Located at Platis Yialos, with a lovely garden to chill out and have your breakfast, very close to the beach, clean nice room and very friendly staff. Check out prices and availability on Booking.com here

What else to see on Sifnos Island?

A Lot! Check below the most important sites of Sifnos island that are worth your visit and time:

  • The picturesque village Exabela in central Sifnos
  • You can visit some – or all if you are a history buff – 76 ancient towers scattered all over the island
  • See up-close 65 pigeon breeding houses, some abandoned some still in use
  • Walkthrough the Sifnos 60 Windmills and 6 Museums
  • Visit the island’s 360 churches one for each day of the year.
  • Walk by the oldest silver mine in the world (since 3rd millennium BC)
  • Visit the ruins of 4 ancient Acropolis
  • Drive through or hike many beautiful postcard-like villages
  • Take the short ferry to the small uninhabited islet of Kitriani, with its only building, the church of Panagia Kitriani (10th c AD)
  • Get romantic and admire the Best Sunsets Spots: Beach of Vathi, Chruch of Agios Symeon, Chruch of Seven Martyrs, Settlement of Troullaki
  • Sifnos is famous for its traditional crafted pottery, visit the ceramics shops just to see the craft and art behind it
  • Try the local cuisine, eat revithada (beans soup), go to festivals, drink its local wines, leave the island like a local and the island will live in you forever!

Sifnos Island Payment Tip: Sifnos payments in the pre-COVID era were more cash-based, but this may have changed. In any way, if you will need cash, there are ATMs in Apollonia, in Kamares, and Platis Yialos.

Solo Female Traveling to Sifnos

Women who travel alone are perfectly safe in Sifnos, or any other Greek island or large city.

Traveling around the country is quite easy as Greek people are very friendly and eager to help and reply to any questions from visitors.

Having said that, common sense should always be exercised and sketchy places should be avoided. 

Sifnos for Animals – Local Welfare Group

There is a registered animal welfare group in Sifnos island called “Sifnos for Animals”. You can contact them directly for any inquiries you may have on their Facebook Page here or you can help them by donating to one of the Animal Boxes set at various public places for the help of Sifnos stray, abandoned, sick, or injured cats and dogs.

How to Get around Sifnos

The twelve villages of the island are connected during summer by buses which pass frequently.

PUBLIC BUSES(Sifnos KTEL): Find all the updated information on Sifnos Ktel buses departures from the Sifnos Municipality website or call them at +302284033661 for any question

TAXIS: Sifnos has 10 taxis with their rates depending on how far you are going from wherever you are getting the taxi. For example, the distance between Faro and Agios Andreas would be around €18. If it is peak season, you may have to wait for a long time to get a taxi. Call them for a reservation:  +302284031216

RENTALS: This is my preferred option because I need the freedom of getting wherever I want whenever I want. To rent a car in Greece you need an International Drivers Permit. Some of the Sifnos rentals are in the list below but there are more options on the island:

Emergency Phone numbers for Sifnos

Port +302284033617 Municipality +302281052311 Police +302284031210
Hospital +302284031315 Pharmacy +302284033541

How to choose the Best Greek Island for Hiking

Check the infographic below if you need help with deciding upon which Greek islands are best for you:

Greek Travel Resources

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2 Responses

  1. Fred

    Great article! I’ve been hiking in Sifnos during 2 visits. It is for sure one of the top Greek hiking islands. The trails were pretty well marked when I was there, and with a good map you are unlikely to get lost At the time there was also a camping site in Kamares, one of the few I found in the islands that was open in early spring.

  2. Evgenia Mataragka

    Thanks, Fred for your comment on Sifnos. Indeed, it is a great island for hiking, I totally agree with you. I checked it out and there is still a campaign there, Makiscamping. Good point to mention it!

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