DAYS BEGIN AND END IN CHORA, THE CENTER OF THE ISLAND, AND MORE SPECIFICALLY, AT STOU STRATOU. THIS ATHENIAN TRANSPLANT SERVES THE BEST WILD FENNEL PIE, HOMEMADE CHOCOLATE CAKE AND GREEK COFFEE. TURQUOISE COLORED TABLES SIT AND ADMIRE ONE OF THE MOST PICTURESQUE CHORAS I’VE SEEN. SMALL, QUAINT AND AUTHENTIC. YOU CAN FEEL THE PULSE OF THE ISLAND HERE.
As we disembarked the ferry boat, we were welcomed by a warm slap in the face by the μελτέμια winds; a (very) strong, dry north wind that blows in the Aegean, especially during the month of August. The wind dictates much of life on the Cycladic islands – which beach to bathe in, what restaurant to dine at and so forth. Serifos’ wild and vast topography, secluded and unspoiled beaches give an intimate vibe to the island. One of discovery and authenticity. You’ll find an adventure-seeking, off-the-grid crowd who occasionally craves a slice of luxury. You can’t help but notice the all-consuming color of burnt ochre on the island. So, it should come as no surprise that this rugged, windy island was once referred to as “the iron island” and said to have been inhabited by the giant cyclops that roamed the Earth during mythological times.
Serifos is one of the closest islands from Athens, a short 2.5 ferry boat ride from the port of Piraeus. Far less touristy than it’s Cycladic neighbors and a great jumping off point if you plan to continue your tour to the surrounding islands. Serifos offers secluded and unspoiled beaches with a handful of lovely properties to stay at and while food is not Serifos’ strong point, I managed to hunt out some delicious meals while on the island.
WHAT TO EXPECT ON A WEEKEND IN SERIFOS ISLAND | THE ISLAND OF THE CYCLOPS?
Serifos propels you into vacation mode; with an isolated and secluded feel to the island, Serifos acts as the initial disconnect to kick-start your holidays. Days begin and end in Chora, the center of the island, and more specifically, at Stou Stratou. This Athenian transplant serves the best wild fennel pie, homemade chocolate cake and Greek coffee. Turquoise colored tables sit and admire one of the most picturesque Choras I’ve seen. Small, quaint and authentic. You can feel the pulse of the island here. After an attempt to soak up rays at Vagia beach, and without much success due to the winds, I hopped over to Ganema beach where I spent the next two days swimming and sunbathing. A secluded and unorganized beach with crystal clear waters, plenty of large trees for shade and even a cantina to refresh.
Typically, the ports of an island tend to be a bit too touristy and overpriced for my liking; however, the seafood at Kalhs was surprisingly delicious. Between the marinated anchovies, steamed mussels and char-grilled red snapper, nothing about the experience felt unauthentic. If you’ve tired of eating Greek food, head to Chill & Co. where you’ll find some of the best coffee on the island and international breakfast dishes like avocado toast and smoothies.
Sunsets in the Aegean are special. Something all their own. The sky and sea run into one another. Colors of purple, ink and gold. For sunset – and dinner – head to CocoMat Hotel on Vagia beach. My experience and meal was by far one of the best I’ve had in Greece. Dare I say, ever. While everything I ordered was delicious, it was the seafood orzo pasta that wowed. For another epic sunset, make sure to take a walk to the church of Agio Konstantinos in Kastro for sweeping views of the island.
Serifos has a way of growing on you. Slightly off putting in the beginning; perhaps even a bit harsh on the senses but if you give it a chance, you’ll be pleasantly delighted. Check out my other weekend getaways here and here.
WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW
LOCATION: Part of the Cycladic Islands in the Aegean, Serifos is a short 2.5 ferry boat ride from the Athens port of Piraeus. Perfect for a quick weekend getaway or as a jumping off point for the neighboring islands.
VIBE: With wild and vast topography, secluded and unspoiled beaches and a small, intimate vibe to the island, Serifos still gives you the notion of discovery. You’ll find an adventure-seeking, off-the-grid, authentic crowd who occasionally craves a slice of luxury.
EAT: Stou Stratou for wild fennel pie, chocolate cake and Greek coffee in Chora; Aloni for traditional food and sweepin vistas of the island; CocoMat Hotel on Vagia Beach for a special night out (reservations recommended); Chill & Co. for coffee and breakfast at the port and Kalhs for exceptional seafood.
BEACHES: Ganema, unorganized long stretch of sandy beach with a cantina and plenty of trees for shade; Lia, don’t be surprised if you see a few nudists; Vagia, organized with umbrellas and chairs and partially private to Cocomat guests; Psili Ammos a secluded cove with turquoise waters is a must; Livadi, at the old mining headquarters of the island, the beach is casual and has a few good tavernas like Kyklopas where you can grab a bite post-swim.