22 October 2013

{Greece}: The Island of Sifnos

I've put off posting about Sifnos for awhile now... and it's mostly because I'm not quite sure that I want the secret to get out.  This little island tucked away in the Greek Cyclades completely stole our hearts.  Full of charm and small enough to explore in just a few days time, we couldn't believe that we were virtually the only tourists on the island.  It was as though we'd walked straight into paradise.


Prior to our trip to Greece, neither of us knew Sifnos existed.  Of course we'd heard of Santorini and Mykonos, both of which we ultimately decided not to visit due to our trip coinciding with peak tourist season.  As I began to research the plethora of other islands in the Cyclades, Sifnos emerged as an appealing option due to its intimate size, reputation for exquisite cuisine and relative proximity to Athens.  I also kept reading reviews dubbing it Greece's "best kept secret".  Add to this the fact that the small island is home to 365 churches {one for every day of the year} and our final decision was quite easy.  Sifnos it would be.

As soon as we debarked from the ferry, we knew that we couldn't have made a better choice. The port town of Kamares was the epitome of what every Greek Island should be and the streets were lined with adorable outdoor cafes pressed right up against the water's edge. As we began to explore, it didn't take long for us to realize that tourists were somewhat of a rarity. It was as though we had discovered some sort of Greek fairytale. There were pristine open beaches as far as the eye could see, traditional white-washed churches around every corner and some of the friendliest people one could ever hope to meet. Not to mention the quality of the food. I must have gained five pounds in the three days that we were there. 

But it was oh so worth it.

We spent the bulk of our time in Sifnos on the back of a scooter hopping from beach to beach and popping into every other little church along the way.  Our mornings were spent sleeping in late, afternoons were dedicated to jogging along hidden mountain paths and our nights involved dining alongside the sea, ouzos in hand.  For those three days life was exactly as it should be and the rest of the world just sort of faded into the distance, far far away from our little Greek utopia.  In Sifnos, I'm convinced that one would need to try incredibly hard to have a single care in the world.  It's just impossible to feel anything aside from contentment.

And so I'm reluctantly passing the secret of Sifnos on to you... because I just can't help but share this tiny Mediterranean oasis.  I doubt there's any other place on earth quite like it.  My only advice is to visit soon, as I doubt the island will remain a secret for much longer.  It simply has too much to offer.


By the numbers:

We stayed at ALK Hotel in Kamares for 75 euros per night.
Breakfast and transfer to and from the ferry were included in the above rate.
We ate plenty of souvlaki, octopus and greek salads.  A typical meal cost between 8 & 12 euros.
We got around on the back of a scooter at a cost of 10 euros per day.
Our Sifnos highlight?  Dinner on the beach in Vathy.  Pure bliss.
Our Sifnos "must see"? The idyllic town of Kastro.

{Linking up with Travel Tuesday}

{In other news, I've recently created a travel page.  You can find it here!}

55 comments:

  1. I just want you to know that I'm reading this post while listening to the wind and rain beat against our windows on this very miserable & cold Fall day. If I could teletransport myself there in this moment, I would.

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    1. We have also been having the most miserable weather here... rain and hail everyday. Ugh. What I also wouldn't give to be on just about any Greek island right about now :)

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  2. I love the whitewash buildings with the contrasting blue shutters and railings, gorgeous. A bit of sunshine to read on a cold, wet day.

    Louisa @ My Family & Abruzzo

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    1. Greek design and architecture must be some of the most warm and welcoming in the world :) Oh if only I could go back!

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  3. sooo beautiful! these photos make me want to go back to santorini. xo jillian - cornflake dreams

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    1. Santorini is definitely on our 'someday' list! We'd planned to visit until we realized how crowded it was going to be.

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  4. Greece is number one on places to visit. Blue and Gorgeous.

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    1. Oh, you really must visit Val! You would fall in love with the Greek Islands :)

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  5. Beautiful!! I love visiting places that aren't packed with tourists! This looks like the perfect place for a relaxing vacation :)

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    1. Yes, crowds are always something Jurgen and I try to avoid! Whether it be through travelling during the off season or visiting more off the beaten path places, we've become experts ;)

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  6. Jenna, this truly does look like paradise! And you're making me want to hop on a scooter right now :) Absolutely gorgeous.

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    1. It definitely was paradise... and renting a scooter was the best decision we could have made! Cheap, efficient and fun!

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  7. Jenna, this place looks gorgeous and it was so sweet of you to share it! I’m the same when I find hidden gems, it’s hard not to want to keep them hidden. It seems like Sifnos offers what is so great about Santorini without the tourists. So glad you found a slice of authentic Cyclade life all to yourselves. :)

    abroadsworld.blogspot.com

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    1. We definitely felt like we had somehow landed in Greek paradise yet without all the crowds... we couldn't believe our luck :) We also went to Milos, which is often referred to as what Santorini was 20 years ago. It had the most incredible beaches!

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  8. Wow, this place looks stunning! Great pictures and I'm going to check out your travel tab!

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    1. So so beautiful! Wish we could just teleport back whenever we felt like it :)

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  9. Oh my gosh...what a find!! I have never been to Greece and it looks beautiful, but full of tourists. Glad to know about this little gem. I won't tell anyone ;)

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    1. Yes, my advice is to keep this place a secret and visit as soon as possible! It's easily the closest we've ever come to paradise. The whole island is like one big beautiful painting.

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  10. I hope to go back to Greece for the third time with my cousin and his new Greek wife. I would love to see Sifnos. Beautiful photos!

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    1. Oh you must make a point to visit on your next trip... it's absolutely amazing!

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  11. Wow! So beautiful! My dream is to one day visit Santorini! So so so beautiful!

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    1. Santorini is definitely also on our 'someday' list! There are so many islands we'd love to see someday :)

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  12. Gorgeous! The colors of the place are wonderful—maybe I'll add this gem to my travel list!

    Michelle @ Mishfish13

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    1. Definitely a hidden gem to add! Such a beautiful little piece of the world.

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  13. Looks like paradise, indeed! We've talked about going to Greece for our honeymoon (which is long overdue) but it looks like we won't be able to visit because of the time of year when we'll actually be able to take a holiday. If we do go, Sifnos is on the list!!

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    1. Yes, unfortunately SA holiday times only allow for travel during winter in the northern hemisphere. We're sitting with the same dilemma for our potential honeymoon next year. What other options are you considering? :)

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    2. Go to Puerta Vallarta MX.
      Great spot from Nov to Mar, after it's too hot.
      Hopefully you had the honeymoon, this is an anniversary or any other excuse destination.

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  14. How can a place be so utterly beautiful and charming? I certainly hope this place will stay a secret a little bit longer so I have chance to explore it like the two of you did! :)

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    1. Yes, you must get a chance to explore it before it becomes overly commercialised! You will love it :) Paradise at its very best.

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  15. i love that you stayed somewhere completely different from where people usually go when they visit greece. its' absolutely breathtaking!

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    1. Isn't it stunning!? We were a bit wary when we booked our ferry tickets since you never hear anyone talk about Sifnos, but we honestly couldn't have chosen a better island to start our trip with. Paradise at its best.

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  16. Secret's out and I am thankful! I have never been to Greece (ok, barely, ferry from Turkey to Kos but hard to count it). Amazing!

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    1. We'd love to explore the islands on Turkey's side, but didn't have time on this trip. If you've been there it totally counts! Next time you find yourself in that part of the world definitely add Sifnos to the list :)

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  17. Absolutely stunning photos ! The Greek Isles have always been in my top three places I want to travel to along with Ireland and Norway (and well lets be honest your pictures of South African safaris has me conflicted about whether or not I should bump on of those countries off my list and replace it with South Africa).

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    1. Of course I may be a bit biased, but I would say that South Africa should be #1 on your list with Greece as a close second :) My brother and sister-in-law just visited Ireland on their honeymoon and loved it. And Jay's photos from Norway make me want to travel there too! So many places to see, so little time and money ;)

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  18. That looks absolutely perfect! I adore Greece, especially the islands, but some of the places I used to visit as a child have been spoiled now. This looks like going back in time for me.
    And the prices! Oh my....
    I am definitely telling my husband about this for our holiday list! THanks so much for sharing x

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    1. You definitely need to visit! Completely uncommercial and a total lack of tourists even during peak season, but still lots to do and see. We were told it's a favorite holiday destination for the Greeks.

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  19. I'd be hesitant to let the secret out on such a beautiful place too but I'm glad you did! You make it look and sounds amazing!!

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    1. It's such a beautiful little piece of the world. Absolutely gorgeous! You and B definitely need to visit sometime :)

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  20. Sifnos sounds perfect! I went to Greece for the first time in May, and we chose to go to Crete for many of the same reasons you chose Sifnos: it has less tourists and is supposedly known for really delicious food. Well, the food was really delicious, but because it was low season there was only ONE restaurant open in the entire area we were staying in! And it didn't have the quaint white-and-blue villages of many of the other Greek islands. I think I would have liked Sifnos better; thanks for pointing it out for next time. :)

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    1. We also considered Crete, but since it's so far away and we were short on time (i.e. couldn't afford a day spent on a ferry) we opted for somewhere closer. Surprised to hear that only one restaurant was open... sounds like what happened to me in Croatia ;) You would love Sifnos, definitely add it to the list for next time :)

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  21. That first photo literally took my breath away! I saw it and gasped. It's beyond beautiful, it's like a dream :)

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    1. Sifnos is so so beautiful. The whole island seems like one big painting... everything is picturesque :) I think it's time that you and the hubs made a trip to Greece!

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  22. oh, thank you for sharing this. i think santorini is too popular right now, haha.

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  23. Oh wow, ok definitely adding this to my list of must see places.

    Mel
    Mel's Corner

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  24. Frikkin' AWESOME photos Jenna girl!

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  25. WOW I have to start planning a trip to Greece!
    It looks magical!
    http://johced-ourjourneytoeverywhere.blogspot.com/
    xxx

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  26. Gorgeous!!!!! These pictures are stunning!

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  27. Wow Jenna, what a lovely find!
    The Greek Isles are on my To Do of Travel Lists - so I will make a note of this one - thank you!

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    1. Definitely make a note of it. It's easily the closest I've ever come to paradise :)

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  28. ah, Jenna, this looks amazing. You have me itching for Greece!

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  29. Greece has been on my destination wishlist for years now. These photos are inspiring.

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  30. even if i travel a lot i've never been to greece!
    i have to!
    Amazing pics and brightful colours!

    have a nice day

    Selene

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  31. That's Fabulous Blog I'm glad that I drop by your page and found this very interesting. Impressive blogs i have seen, Thanks so much for this post.

    Places to visit in Greece

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  32. WOW what a great time you had in Greece! The accommodations look well appointed. I like greece.
    Places to visit in Greece

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Thanks for commenting! I love reading each and every one of them :)