Text, photos by Travel Food People
I remember the morning when I first arrived in Serifos, the wind hauling through the limpid narrow streets of Chora and the starking desert-like Cycladic backdrop around. A lot to suck in, especially when you're in the search of a much-needed breakfast and coffee, and you find yourself at Stratos in the main square that serves as the meeting point for all the locals.
It's rare that you'll find such a unique hideaway very close to a country's capital but Serifos, sitting beautifully atop a mountain, is just that.
Located 2.5 hours away from Athens, Greece, and being far from touristy Serifos features small white houses with colourful windows and a handful of unspoiled beaches. Scroll down to get a taste!
One of the first beaches I discovered there was Kalo Ambeli. Beautiful turquoise waters and a relatively long sandy stretch await those that will brave an adventurous trek down the hill for at least 15 minutes. Going downhill under the scorching August sun, my friends and I had to even trespass a beautiful yet deserted church complex in order to get down there. Water and other supplies, not to mention beach equipment such as frisbees and beach rackets can go along way when you find yourself in this deserted strip of sand.
Lia beach, on the eastern part of the island, can be equally tranquil and adventurous although the walk is a lot less steep and shorter. Beware you may find a few nudists down there.
If you're up for a more relaxed day, you can opt for Vagia beach which other than being home to the eco-friendly CocoMat hotel it also features a few thatched umbrellas and a small bar for some water and cocktails to quench your summer thirst.
Food is not Serifos' strong point. Nonetheless it is ours. So if you want to avoid unpleasant experiences, carry on reading.
Stou Stratou is by far the pace where everything begins and concludes. What I always like to do is to wake up relatively early and head up to Chora for a generous breakfast before hitting the beach. The sun doesn't hit the square until mid-day, and if by any chance it does you can always retreat to the small patio labelled with a sign "a la place".
Just before sunset, the crowds start to flock in but it's probably the best time to catch a fresh slice of Stratos' signature chocolate cake (before it's gone!). And a walk up Kastro (castle in Greek) for amazing views of the Aegean sea will definitely work your appetite.
The soil of Serifos, rich in ore deposits, became a source of wealth for the Grumman family that began excavations back in 1885 in the area of Megalo Livadi. Although there are currently only a few remains from that era of the island, a trek towards that side of the island will time travel you back to Serifos' past. A stop by the beach Megalo Livadi and the Kyklopas tavern can reward you with some local delicacies (see below).
- Kastro - old fortress up in Chora; great views to the port and further south to the rest of the Cyclades islands if the sky is clear
- Panagia Skopiani - beautiful church int he northern part of the island with great views to the sea
- Cocomat Serifos - located on the one edge of Vagia beach, this eco-friendly hotel is a unique retreat if you want to relax. The trip to Chora is not ideal (especially at night) but the view to the sea will make up for that. Only downer is that you will probably need to stay at least 5 days to get rates here
- Rizes hotel - a classic choice for those wanting to have the luxury of a hotel and a pool
- Airbnb - there are serval nice small houses available but here are two of our favourite picks (one, two)
- Vagia - great location, some umbrellas and a nice small bar
- Kalo Ambeli - sandy beach, but requires a 20-min trek down the hill and through a small church; make sure you get supplies with you
- Lia - next to Agios Sostis, but much nicer. Follow the path to the right of the main road and 8-min later you'll probably find your way to the beach (need to go around a small house)
- Ganema - half of the beach covered in small pebbles and half in sand, this long stretch is nice if everything else is crowded
- Sykamia - located in the northern part of the island and some good 20min from Chora; nice sunset views to the Aegean sea
- Stou Stratou - great laid-back ambience, nice treats and traditional setting make this spot the primary reason to come back to Serifos. Visit at any time of the day and you'll be rewarded
- Aloni - nice local specialties, especially the lemon-infused veal. Perfect for a quiet night out
- O Kyklopas - visit after the beach, get a table under the trees by the sea and make sure you order some zucchini fried puffs!
- Aerino - when you're done with Stratos, head down back to Aerino for drinks and cocktails. The roof terrace is also very nice (if it's not too windy)