Sifnos is a Greek island in the Cyclades group. The island of Sifnos lies between Milos and Serifos. The main town of Sifnos is Apollonia, which is near the center of the island. The town’s name is thought to come from an ancient temple of Apollo located on the site of the church of Panayia Yeraniofora. The second-largest town on the island is Artemonas, which is thought to be named after an ancient temple of Apollo’s sister-goddess named Artemis, which is located at the site of the church Panayia Kokhi.
Sifnos is known to have been inhabited from 4000 BC. During ancient times, the island was very wealthy, which has left much archaeological evidence. Gold, silver, and lead were all mined as early as the 3rd millennium BC. Evidence of this is the treasury that the Siphanians built at Delphi in the 6th century BC, which housed their offerings. The mines were destroyed by floods in ancient times, which caused many inhabitants to put their offerings on hold.
Not much is known about Sifnos during the Roman, Byzantine, and Ottoman eras. The early 14th century would bring Hospitaller Januli I da Corogna who who either Spanish or Italian. They would proclaim the island independent from the Sanudo Dynasty, which then ruled much of the Cyclades. They would rule the island of Sifnos for over one hundred years. At the start of the early 17th century, the island was a major commercial center. The island of Sifnos would play an important role in the Greek War of Independence.
Thanks to its rich clay veins, temperature, and sunshine, the island of Sifnos is a capital of pottery in the Aegean. Their unique pots and jars are a trademark of the island having many uses such as food vessels, ashtrays, and even a type of chimney called “foufoudes.”
Administrative Region of Sifnos Island, Greece
Area of Sifnos Island, Greece
73.94 km2 (28.55 sq mi)
Population of Sifnos Island, Greece
Top Attractions in Sifnos Island, Greece
Monastery of Prophet Elias – Located in Apollonia, at the highest peak of the island (690 meters). Monastery is surrounded by walls. There are underground galleries, cells, and rooms for visitors.
Church of Seven Martyrs – Located on a rocky peninsula right before entering Kastro, this church is a site to see. The church is traditional Cycladic architecture, with white walls and a blue dome. Though not always open, it’s a great place to check out the view and take pictures.
Ancient Towers – These towers are thought to have been built after the invasion by the Samians (524 BC) for protection. Located in Platys Gialos. Many of the towers were used as watchtowers, which others were protective buildings for women and children and storing equipment.
Platys Gialos Beach – A busy tourist beach 9 km south of Apollonia. Beach is family friendly and partly organized. There are water sports and fish taverns lining the beach.
Chrissopigi Beach – Located 8 km from Apollonia on the southern side of the island. A beautiful beach with trees, blue water, and soft sand. A monastery is on the rocks in front of the beach making the view even more unique.
Monastery of Chrissopigi – This monastery is located on a rocky peninsula, which is connected to the rest of the island with a bridge. The monastery dates back to 1650. Considered the protector of the island.
Archaeological Site of Agios Andreas – This site was first discovered in 1899 with excavations beginning in 1970. Located at the top of a hill between Vathy and Apollonia. The town that stood here was Mycenaean and was thought to have been built during the 13th century BC.
Folklore Museum – Located in Apollonia. The Folklore and Popular Art Museum of Sifnos exhibits traditional life on the island. You can see folk costumes, weapons, photographs, furniture, and more.
Poulati Beach – A scenic beach with warm blue waters and pebbled sand. Can only be reached by foot. There is a beautiful church nearby to explore.
Sifnos Trails – This is a series of 19 trails that total 100 km. A must-do for nature lovers and hikers. The trails are not strenuous and well mapped out.