The unique things to do on Serifos island show off the authentic side of traveling the Greek islands.
I’ve been to Serifos dozens of times, a beautiful island that keeps its authentic character year after year. No cruise ships dock here. No airport, even! It has its tourism season and seasonal regulars, but it is not touristically developed like neighboring Mykonos or Santorini, and that’s okay.
It’s Serifos. It’s proud to be what it is, an island that has kept its beauty untouched and maintained its authentic charm.
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- A Guide to Serifos Island, Greece
- Where is Serifos
- The Best Time to Visit Serifos
- How to get to Serifos
- Where to stay in Serifos
- Unique Things to Do on Serifos Island
- Explore the Hilltop Chora
- Hike the Mining Trail
- Sit on the Cyclop's Throne
- Swim at Serifos Beaches
- Visit the churches
- Try the local delicacies
- Visit the Chrysoloras Winery
- Play with Clay at Kerameio
- Check out the view from the castle
- Explore the White Tower
- Check the port town of Livadi
- The Virgin Mary Church Skopiani
- Monastery of Taxiarches
- Join one of the local festivals
- Day trip to Sifnos
- Calm Island Nightlife
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A Guide to Serifos Island, Greece
Where is Serifos
Serifos is a small island located in the west of the Cyclades chain of islands, around 170km south of Athens. Nestled in the Aegean Sea, Serifos’ locale makes it a wonderful destination for a spring/summer getaway, with classic southern Mediterranean weather for months on end.
As Serifos is located between a number of other islands, it is also ideal for multi-stop trips; hopping leisurely from one island to the next.
The Best Time to Visit Serifos
As with most Greek islands, the best time to visit Serifos is during the summer season, from May to October. This offers the best weather, the warmest seas, and the easiest route options in terms of flights and ferries.
The peak season is also when most bars, tavernas, and guest houses are open in full, meaning you have the pick of the bunch!
Of course, the busiest summer months with both Greek and international tourists are July and August so if you want to avoid the crowds then you may be better off visiting in June or September instead.
How to get to Serifos
As Serifos is located a little off the beaten track, it doesn’t have an airport, and therefore the only way to reach the island is by ferry. This can be done directly from the Piraeus port in Athens (between 2 and 4 hours, depending on the ferry type) or via connections with nearby islands such as Sifnos, Milos, Paros, and Naxos.
Throughout the summer season (June-September) this can be done daily, while the shoulder season months offer services 3-4 times per week.
Where to stay in Serifos
Cristi Rooms: With stunning views of Livadia and modern, clean interior decor, the Cristi Rooms is a choice pick for those wanting small, boutique accommodation close to the beach. – Check here for more information and book your room.
Alisachni: Located just on the outskirts of Chora, Alisachni offers simple, clean, comfortable accommodation with friendly staff and decent amenities. All rooms offer kitchenette facilities and most have access to a small balcony or garden area too. Click here for more information and to check the latest prices.
Unique Things to Do on Serifos Island
For those looking for a little Greek island adventure, Serifos’characteristic Cycladic landscape of rough, rocky landscapes are ideal to roam around. Every Greek island boasts its charms, and Serifos certainly has its own.
Here are the top unique things to do on Serifos island.
Explore the Hilltop Chora
The Chora (main town) of Serifos is a unique vision to behold for the first time. Unlike other islands, the village’s whitewashed cubist buildings and homes tumble down a mountainside centered behind the main harbor.
During Venetian times, the Serifos Chora was hidden behind fortified stone walls to protect residents from pirate attacks. Today, you can see what remains of those walls up close and take in an incredible panoramic view from the stone paths, cobbled steps, and tiny lanes that wind around the town itself.
The Chora is comprised of a lower and upper part, respectively Kato Chora and Pano Chora. There’s no need for a map; just walk up, down, and around to poke through tiny shops selling local goods, a traditional bakery, small squares, and Greek Orthodox churches.
You’re bound to bump into locals hanging clothes to dry, kids playing in the lanes, or families eating at their outdoor summer dining tables.
Hike the Mining Trail
Another one of the unique things to do on Serifos Island is to hike the Serifos mining trail, which sits by the bay called Megalo Livadi. Here, a mining industry once thrived, and the remains are literally left out in nature. Seemingly untouched since the industry collapsed in the mid-20th century, a crumbling neoclassical building (once the mining headquarters) overlooks the bay and surrounding areas.
Rusted out mining tracks remain pinned to the earth, once utilized to reach deep inside the Serifian caves filled with precious metals. Finally, an imposing but broken down “bridge to nowhere” hangs over the sea, which was once necessary to fill ships with cargo.
Follow the natural seaside trail through Megalo Livadi and walk past these rusted-out remnants set on green fields and sloping hills lush with wildflowers. At some point, the path will reach the island’s actual mining caves as well as warm water springs that run over a colorful calico blend of rocks.
Tips: Don’t explore inside the caves on your own. They are not marked, and it is very easy to get lost inside them.
The Archeological Museum of Serifos is a small museum right in Megalo Livadi displaying some artifacts from Serifos’ mining history. Open during July-August.
Sit on the Cyclop’s Throne
In Greek mythology, Serifos was home to thrilling adventures with Perseus, Medusa (that snake-headed monster lady), and the one-eyed Cyclops. So, while on the island, you can visit the Cyclops Cape, which has a gorgeous and unique panoramic view of the island.
Then, climb to sit on the Cyclops’ Throne and feel like the king or queen of the Aegean Sea! Called Psaropyrgos by Serifians, it was made of lots of big rocks in the form of a gigantic chair.
Tip: There are no parking spaces around here, so you’ll have to be creative about where you park your car on the little road.
Serifos Island may be small, but it boasts a big selection of pristine and idyllic beaches that have been untouched by mass development. Psilli Ammos is a Blue Flag-accredited beach boasting soft powder sand and a shallow turquoise bay.
Next door to Psili Ammos is the beautiful AgiosSostis, where a lone whitewashed blue-domed church sits on the rocky landscape of this two-sided beach.
Kalo Ambeli, Vagia, and Ganema are western beaches with incredibly clear waters and picturesque pebbled and sandy depths.
Near the harbor, Avlomonas and Lividakia beaches are more populated but sheltered on most windy summer days. The more secluded beaches of Malliadiko, Avessalos, and Platis Gialos offer another pretty Serifos beach experience.
Tip: Serifos has great beachside family-run tavernas on Psilli Amos, Megalo Livadi, and Platis Gialos.
Visit the churches
One of the highlights of things to do in Serifos is exploring and walking between the churches and chapels dotted around the island. In total there are thought to be more than 115 churches and monasteries on Serifos, with some of the main sites being Agios Konstantinos, the Monastery of Evangelistria, and the church of Taxiarhes.
Try the local delicacies
In addition to sumptuous local wine, Serifos is also known for having some tasty traditional delicacies that are well worth a try when visiting. Almond sweets known as amigdalota are one such favourite as are marathotiganites (fried fennel cakes), revithada (baked chickpeas) mizithra cheese, and a local sausage known as loutza. Some of the top spots for trying these dishes include the Yacht Club, Skipper, Aloni, and Avessalos.
Visit the Chrysoloras Winery
If you’re interested in trying some fine local wine, head to the Chrysoloras Winery, where the focus is on organic, sustainable, bio wines grown in a waterless, low-yield manner.
Not only can you learn about the vineyard’s sustainable practices and production, and, of course, try some delicious wine, but the views from up here are incredible too!
Play with Clay at Kerameio
Kerameio’s Play with Clay courses are fun for all the family, giving people of all ages the opportunity to get creative with molding, sculpting, coiling, and painting their very own models. These courses take place during the summer months and allow you to be inspired by traditional Greek pottery as well as modern methods before coming up with your own design. Check their site for more information.
Check out the view from the castle
Situated high above Koutalas Serifos lies the ruins of Grias Castle, aka the Castle of the Old Woman, the remains of a small castle or settlement. From this vantage point, or from the White Tower of Serifos, you have a great view of the island and out across the Aegean, and it’s a wonderful spot to watch the sun go down.
Explore the White Tower
The White Tower is an ancient monument on Serifos Island, which stands on a hilltop east of Chora. It is estimated that it was built in 300 BC with walls reaching 2 meters in height. There is an interior staircase, and the outside is made from marble.
It used to have stories and a gate on the ground floor. The position of the Tower allowed the oversight of the land and the sea, avoiding Pirate invasions. Visitors can explore the outside of the Tower as the inside is still under restoration.
Check the port town of Livadi
Livadi is located in the southeastern part of Serifos Island, and the wind protects the bay. It is the only port on the island and has many visitor facilities. Also, it has the largest beach on the island called, Avlomonas. It has cubical houses built with traditional Cycladic architecture, and it extends to Chora, located 5 kilometers away.
In Livadi port, you can find many bars, clubs, taverns, and rooms to let, souvenir shops, and any other facility you need. While on the island, Livadi Port is worth a visit.
The Virgin Mary Church Skopiani
This impressive church is famous for its beauty and architecture. You will find this church in the northeast of Serifos after Kallitsos. It has white walls and a beautiful blue dome. Visiting this church will give you a chance to hike, and you will be astonished by the fantastic views.
Monastery of Taxiarches
While on Serifos Island, it is worth visiting the Monastery of Taxiarches. It is in the north part of the island near Platis Gialos and Galani. This Monastery is dedicated to the island’s protectors, the Archangels Gabriel and Michael.
It is estimated that it was built at the end of the 16th century. The Monastery looks like a castle with a fortified design and high walls. The church is surrounded by the Monastery’s rooms, which include a library and a teaching room.
Before visiting, make sure you find out the visiting hours, as it might be closed and only men are allowed in, as it is a men’s Monastery.
Join one of the local festivals
Like many Greek islands, Serifos has some really interesting events and festivals that run throughout the year, most of them in line with the Greek Orthodox calendar. These include the celebration of Agia Irini in May, Panagia in August, and the festival of Agios Sostis in September.
Each festival centers around a saint, with locals visiting a particular church or monastery to light a candle, say a prayer, and enjoy a family feast together.
Day trip to Sifnos
If you have longer to stay on Serifos, you may be interested in taking a day trip to the nearby island of Sifnos, one of the Cyclades’ most renowned foodie destinations. The ferry between the two islands takes just 50 minutes, so you can easily hop on a boat in the morning and be enjoying lunch by a different beach in the afternoon!
Similar to Serifos, Sifnos boasts an excellent collection of beaches, churches, museums, and dovecotes and even features the Archaeological Site of Agios Andreas for those wanting to learn more about Ancient Greek history.
Calm Island Nightlife
Serifian summer nightlife is not about a big beach party or crazy wild outings. Rather, summer nights on Serifos represent the ideal way many Greeks love to spend a calm island holiday.
Head to the Chora’sPano Piatsa square to sit and enjoy the energy of the warm summer night under a starry sky. Head out around 10 p.m. to secure a table and share a small bottle of rakomelo (cinnamon and honey-infused spirit) with friends at Stratos, Barbarossa, or Pano Piatsa bar.
Afterward, head to the rooftop bars in the Chora likeAerino. If you are truly feeling Greek, save up your energy for dancing at Batraxos club around 2 a.m., or if you are looking to listen to traditional Greek music – live – head to Vasilikos in the lower square of the Upper Chora.
Another option for a night out on Serifos is to head to Livadi (harbor). Groups of people will be eating late at the numerous restaurants lining the main street. Walk up and down the marina and take in the calm nighttime view.
After midnight, the Yacht Club is the main destination to squeeze between the crowds and dance to rock and funk. Down the way, Shark heats up with dance and pop.
If you want to simply get away from it all, you can go for a romantic drink at Calma Beach Bar on Avlomonas Beach and have your feet in the sand with a moonlit cocktail in hand. A beautiful calm view awaits at Rizes Hotel, where there’s a lovely poolside bar.
On the western side of the island, head to Coco-Mat Eco-Residences’ restaurant café-bar. Built on a Vagia beach hillside, the venue is another scenic option for an out-of-the-way cocktail.
BIO: Native New Yorker Marissa Tejada is an author, travel writer, and freelance journalist living in Athens, Greece, and publishes her own travel blog called Travel Greece, Travel Europe. Expat life also inspired her acclaimed romantic comedy novel Chasing Athens which is available on Amazon. Her favorite Cycladic island happens to be Serifos, but she’s still in love with every Greek island beach. .