Serifos has become known as one of the best Greek islands for couples, families and groups of friends and is an up-and-coming gem of the Cyclades. You could put it down to the many pristine beaches and intriguing history, centring on the island’s ancient iron ore and copper mines and tales of mythology involving Perseus and Medusa.
Or maybe it’s because the main town (Hora) is built like an amphitheater and was once a pirate lookout, gifting today’s visitors unbelievable views of the Aegean. We’ll leave it to you to decide.But to help you, we’ve selected 10 of the best things to do in Serifos. Let us know what you choose.
Taking in the Cycladic charm of Hora
Just strolling around possibly the most photogenic main town of the Cyclades is the best way to start your holidays on Serifos. From Kastro, the peak, you’ll be treated to views of other Cycladic islands, like Sifnos, Milos and Kimolos, and in cute little squares like Pano Piazza you’ll experience authentic tastes such as rakomelo (raki infused with honey and spices).
Pop into the town’s pottery studio (Kerameio) to learn all about the island’s handcrafted ceramics and pick up a souvenir. In summer months, the studio organizes pottery workshops for kids and groups of friends. A local tip is to follow the footpath up from Livadi. You’ll see more of the main town and the view is even more magical.
Exploring the old mines in Mega Livadi
Definitely one of the top things to do in Serifos. The old mines have influenced its history since the 6th century BC, when the riches they produced contributed towards it establishing a currency on which a frog, the island’s official animal, was displayed. The most important mines are found in Mega Livadi, in the south-west.
The first thing you’ll notice when you travel here are the remains of a bridge, half-destroyed in August 1916, during one of the first bloody uprisings of modern Greece that resulted in the establishment of an 8-hour working day for the miners. You can explore the mines and the rusty wagons and run your hands along the mineral deposits in the rock becoming, literally, one with the island.
Experiencing the festivals, especially on Aug 15
Every one of the Cycladic islands has its festivals, especially in August. And if you’re going to choose just one on Serifos, it has to be on August 15 (the climax of the festival season) at the Chapel of Panagia Skopiani, built on a slope facing the sea. It is Serifos’ biggest festival and is accompanied by plenty of local white wine, traditional chickpea soup and slow-cooked goat with potatoes.
Beach-hopping on the south coast of Serifos
Because of its landscape and the fact that it is a relatively small island, Serifos has an abundance of beaches (the locals count more than the official 72) that are all pretty close to each other. In other words, you’ve found an island that’s perfect for beach-hopping! Start from Kalo Ambeli, continue to wonderful Vagia, relax under the tamarisk trees of Ganema and make sure you don’t run out of time to visit the wild beauty of Maliadiko. They’re all beaches that deserve to be included amongst the best in the Cyclades.
Witnessing the sunrise from Hora
Ok so the main town doesn’t offer a sunset view over the sea but from here you’ll witness one of the most magical sunrises of your life. Obviously, this will happen after an unforgettable night in Hora. A few local tips: have a glass of rakomelo at Stou Stratou, one of the island’s iconic bars, or cocktails at To Gaidaros. And the hauntingly beautiful tunes of rebetika folk songs, such as those played at Vatrachos bar, will stay with you forever. Everything magical about the night will still be reverberating in your ears, making the sunset seem too beautiful to be real. It’s one of the things that makes Serifos one of the best Greek islands for couples.
Heading even higher on the Petria footpath
If the view from Kastro isn’t enough and you want to enjoy the Aegean Sea from even higher up, then head up the Petria footpath above Hora. The view of the main town from the top is so spectacular you’ll feel like you are flying.
Relaxing on quiet beaches, even in August
One thing adored by visitors to Serifos, especially ones seeking a quiet Greek island, is that holidays here involve a whole selection of empty beaches, even at the peak of summer. The likes of Platis Gialos, Skala and Avessalos are just a few of the top beaches to visit. The question is, how many of Serifos’ 72 beaches do you think you can tick off?
The harvesting of beehives in July
In Serifos, you’ll love nothing more than being close to nature. And you’ll quickly learn that locals have a unique relationship with their natural environment. Serifos’ bees produce honey with a distinct aroma of wild thyme and lavender that is about to be awarded Protected Designation of Origin status. The bees have managed to tame the brisk summer winds, dry conditions and Cycladic sunshine and locals, in turn, provide them with ideal conditions for their beehives to thrive, always handling the inhabitants delicately and with respect. The sight of the honey being harvested in July, accompanied by local music and a glass of locally brewed rakomelo, is a treat that can only be experienced in the Cyclades.
Enjoying a monastery visit and wine-tasting
The Taxiarches Monastery is an important part of the living history of Serifos, especially as it survived all the pirate raids of the island’s Venetian and Ottoman days. From the outside, it resembles a castle but within you’ll find a church, courtyards, dining quarters and the monks’ cells. The absolute highlight comes if you visit on the eve of November 8, during the festival of the Archangel Gabriel when guests have the honour of being cooked for by the monks and sleeping the night in one of the cells. And there’s a bonus just next door at the Chrysoloras Winery, where you can taste organic white wines and have a tour of the island’s first vineyard open to visitors.
Stopping for afternoon coffee in Pano Piazza
Legend says that when you have an afternoon coffee in a beautiful island square in the Cyclades, time stops. And when you choose Pano Piazza (also known as Agios Athanasiou Square), you won’t argue with legend. Multicoloured little tables, the Town Hall, a grandmother dressed in traditional attire smiling to you as she passes, the chime of church bells, the coffee brewed on hot ashes in the traditional way … these are all images and sounds that become yours in the island’s most atmospheric square.
The 10 best things to do in Serifos
We hope you enjoyed our Serifos’ island guide, especially if you are looking for a totally unspoilt Greek island and beach holidays in the Cyclades filled with sun and authenticity.
FAQs about Serifos, Greece
How do you get to Serifos island?
You can reach Serifos by ferry from Piraeus port and many of the neighbouring Cycladic islands (like Mykonos, Santorini, Milos, Sifnos and Folegandros). The voyage from Piraeus port to Serifos takes approximately 3 hours. There is no airport on Serifos.
What is the best time of year to visit Serifos?
Serifos is a very quiet Greek island so you will enjoy visiting at any time during the summer, even in the peak holiday months of July and August. The Aegean Sea is perfect for swimming from May/June till October.
What is Serifos island best known for?
Serifos is known as one of the most unspoilt Greek islands and is a perfect choice for couples, families and groups of friends looking for an authentic Greek island holiday experience. Despite being quiet there are plenty of things to do on Serifos, especially for those who love the atmosphere and beauty of the Cyclades islands but want somewhere quieter than the likes of Mykonos, Santorini and even Milos.
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