Sifnos – The chic Cycladic

Sifnos – The chic Cycladic

 Keeping a low profile, without boasting for its virtues, Sifnos reveals very quickly its rich qualities! It’s picturesque, with a valuable gastronomic inheritance, rich in folk art and tradition, architecture, aesthetics and natural beauties which are everywhere around you.

 Do you like walking around? Start with a walk along the “Steno” in Apollonia.  Especially during afternoon/evening hours. Everyone’s there at that hours! Have a drink while listening to fine music, make your purchases…. Don’t miss the unique strolling around the alleys of the medieval “Castle” settlement. Follow the descended the stairs to the chapel of “Eftamartyros”, perched on a rock emerging from the sea. You will be compensated! Still not enough walking? Walk from Apollonia to Artemonas through the narrow streets, taking pictures at every corner / courtyard / door way that suddenly looks more scenic than all the others and reach Artemonas with the magnificent neoclassical buildings, the bougainvillea houses and the elaborate ceramic pots that decorate the chimneys (flaroi). Are you a real hiker? Sifnos has a well organized network of trails with maps and all (100 km) –

 Do you like swimmming? Of course! You don’t have to go far! Covering all tastes and at short distances you can reach every beach. Sandy ones (Kamares, Platis Gialos, Apokofto, Glyfo, Fasolou, Vathi, Herronissos – the furthest …), rocky, for dives from rocks (Panagia Chrisopigi, Seven Witnesses / Castle …). Organized … in Kamares, Platis Gialos and Vathi and you will find everything at your feet . Or maybe you and the beach trees (Glypho) and then settle there for hours. If you fancy a boat tour you can have it, too. You will discover small lonely bays just for you.


 Do you want to eat well? You came to the right place. The path was well shown by Tselemendes the first Greek cook to publish a cook book! You will traditionally eat: “mastelo”, capers’ salad, dishes with “manoure” and local “mytzithra” (local types of cheese) and of course “revithada”, the famous chick peas soup. Do you want more modern dishes, gourmet cuisine, appetizers, Italian cuisine? There are top choices in every field, hosting excellent restaurants in narrow streets, verandas, courtyards with immense views …

 Do you love sunsets and sunrises?

“Chrysopigi” church on the cracked rock, with her bell tower, is the perfect scenery to see the sun rising up, coloring the Aegean sky. Then sunset at “Agios Simeon”, at the highest point of the island. You can see the church from “Kamares”. At night it’s illuminated looking like a spacecraft! In the evening it “dives” in orange. Do not miss the sunset view from up there!

Agios Simeon

 Do you want to entertain yourself? Drink your cocktails at the bars along the “Steno” in unique settings. See if your visit comes upon a local feast “Panigiri” at some chapel or the “Tselemendes festival” or some other event organized by the superactive Cultural Association of the island. Be informed about the cultural events of the island on their pages: ,

Lots of things to learn about Sifnos on the most accurate web tourist guide 

Where the unique charm of Sifnos comes from, it is up to each one of you to discover. Look for its hidden gems and take with you what will make you want to turn back over and over again.


We stayed at Meropi Rooms & Apartments . We also highly recommend Nymfes Hotel  both in Kamares

We TRIED & we liked: “Maiolica” in Platis Yialos  (modern Mediterranean cuisine- fantastic!!!)

“Drakakis Cafe” in Apollonia, (small dishes – very good)

“Cayenne Restaurant Art Gallery” in Apollonia, (more gourmet, slightly expensive but it’s worth it- perfect)

“Okyalos” in Apollonia, (We had wonderful Sifnian dishes)

“Mamma Mia” in Apollonia (Italian cuisine) (very good)

“Doloma” Bar in Apollonia (on a nice corner)

“Kitrino podilato” in Artemonas (for a nice dessert or coffee in a lovely courtyard)

“Smaragdi” in Artemonas (we had a nice breakfast)

“Syrma” in Kamares (delicious breakfast on the beach) . Free sun loungers!

Beach bar “Old Captain Bar”  in Kamares. Really nice shadowy setting, great music, good service.

Kyma” beach bar in Kamares. Nothing special. The sunbeds are charged for 3€ each

We tried “loukoumades” at “Three blond angels”. .  Average for our standards.

WE VISITED the ceramics workshop of Yiannis Apostolides, on the road from Kamares to Apollonia. Do not miss it!


Amorgian dive into the big blue !

Amorgian dive into the big blue !


   Amorgos! You step your foot on the island, having seen a bunch of pictures that have stunned your mind and are urging you to see for yourself! And you do it!

  You arrive at Katapola, a natural, sheltered port with the three settlements, “Katapola”, the harbour, “Rachidi” in the middle and “Xylokeratidi “ across the bay.  Whatever you are looking for, you will find it in numerous shops that cover all your needs (supermarket, bakery, cafés serving breakfast, taverns, even laundry … see suggestions below) along with the renovated Municipal Camping. Stay here (“pension amorgos”–  at the port) and you’ll have everything you need at hand! From here you will also take the boat that leaves every half hour for the nearby beaches of the bay. Later walk along the beach, enjoy the sunset on the benches along the coast and choose one of the picturesque taverns in “Xylokeratidi” to taste the Amorgian cuisine (try at “Youkali”). You will walk in the alleys of the settlement, walk past “Panagia Katapoliani”, a monument of the island and the fountain of Katapoliani that brings drinking water from the mountain !!!. Agios Panteleimonas

In “Rachidi”, you will see the neoclassical building of the Primary School and the imposing parish church of Ag. Georgios. And if you feel like walking a little further, then take the dirt path after the settlement of Katapola to the west, and you’ll arrive at Ai Giannis who sees over the whole bay, with the statue of Erato, gazing the sea every day. Walk east ways, crossing “Xylokeratidi”, with its houses descending into the sea, and you reach the picturesque chapel of “Agios Panteleimonas”, with the homonymous beach and the Maltezi beach just below (20’ easy hike- wear a hat though). Take your swimsuit with you! You might want to dive into the wonderful waters! Alternatively take the boat and reach Maltezi beach (boats in front of Cafe Kamari, for 4 € both ways) that is sheltered and organized, though small and crowded. You can take your dives in “Kato Akrotiri”, a 2nd beach at 150m. far from the port to the west.

 Next thing you do is rent a car (we did so in (Αsset rent a car) and start to get to know the island. You can also get the KTEL (bus) of course. There are frequent routes to all destinations. See what’s in your interest!


Beaches 2 beaches left and right of the harbor with sand and some municipal umbrellas Maltezi (sandy – few deck chairs – from 20′ hike, 5’ by boat /4 € return ticket)


“Youkali”, Xylokeratidi

For breakfast

“Kamari” (must taste the handmade pies of Mr. Giorgos), “Honey and Cinnamon”, “Teleion” Sweets / Crepes “Pothiti’s sweets”, “Elychrison”

Explore Kato Meria

 Olympia - ship wreck  Scattered villages in the southwestern part of the long shaped island are spread depicting the strong rural element of the island. The road from Hora passes through “Agios Georgios the Valsamitis” and Markiani and suddenly you feel a scene change, away from the island’s touristic profile. On your left, the view of the endless blue of the sea and on the right, the hinterland with the dry fields, small valleys and the farmhouses. Drive through the villages of Kamari, Vroutsi, Arkesini (one of the ancient cities of the island), Kolofana and Kalotaritissa (26 km from Chora). On the way you will definitely stop to see “Olympia” ship wreck in the bay before Kalotaritissa. Carefully hike down the path to the beach. Don’t be lazy! It’s worth the effort! Driving further on, you reach the sheltered bay of Kalotaritissa. From here, boats take you to the islet of Gramvousa (uninhabited today) with the virgin beaches of crystal clear waters! In case you want to stay here for a swim, some sun loungers and umbrellas (8 € per set) as well as a canteen will make your stay more comfortable. Otherwise, you may need an umbrella of your own. The beach is sandy and the waters wonderful!


Mouros  Close by is “Paradisia” bay and the chapel of Agia Paraskevi with its popular festival where the local dish “Patatato” (baked goat meat with potatoes) is served, a special traditional dish of the island.

  Should you feel hungry, “Marouso” tavern at Arkesini will host you in their yard! Taste the rooster dish! It’s  in a family portion! Mind your order! One serving suits for two! Prices are more than reasonable!

  In the same area is the beach of “Mouros”, their “best” beach as they say. And they are right! Fine sand and pebbles on the beach, under high rock formations. A scenery unique in its entirety, with incredibly turquoise waters and sea caves for exploration. You will walk a bit on the path that goes down there. Take an umbrella with you! A free parking space and a fish tavern high on the plateau will serve your needs.



Kalotaritissa beach (sandy – few sunbeds – 8 € the set with umbrella / canteen) Gramvousa beaches (sand and fine pebbles – boat from Kalotaritissa) Paradisia beach (sandy – small canteen) Mouros beach (sand and fine pebbles – downhill path – 5 ‘descent / 10’ ascent – free parking and tavern high on the plateau)


“Marousso” tavern, in Arkesini

Agios Pavlos

Heading northwest


  On the way to Aegiali you make a stop at “Agios Pavlos” bay with Nikouria, an  uninhabited islet opposite the beach where you can get by a boat from the impressive beach of Agios Pavlos that resembles an earth tongue entering in the sea with the turquoise waters. A hotel is right on the pebbled, sheltered beach. Another 5 km distance and you reach the second port of the island, Aegiali, which is in fact a village complex. There is “Ormos” (otherwise Yialos – the center of Aegiali) with the harbor pier. Just over “Ormos”, on the slope, lays the settlement of “Potamos” with a breathtaking view, while above the hill, “Langada” and “Tholaria”. “Ormos” bay, with many hotels/cafes /restaurants/ souvenir shops and bars will cover your needs. You will sunbathe on the longest sandy beach of the island (there are no sunbeds but many “armyrikia” to offer you their shade if you like).  Eat at the “Port of Kyra Katina” in the narrow alleys. Choose “Ormos” in the evening if you are looking for a bit of nightlife at a more intense pace! Do not imagine anything too intense though! The island is best suited for quite holidays and is ideal for camping lovers.

In “Tholaria” (3 km from Ormos), near the site of Ancient Aegiali, you will wander in the traditional arches, the narrowlyTholaria whitewashed alleys with cafes and traditional restaurants and in “Langada” (4 km from Ormos) you will be urged to stop for a photo shot at every wonderful corner or door at the paved square on the eastern entrance of the village! Visit during sunset hour, when the panoramic view becomes even more magnificent. Driving down, the “Holy Trinity” chapel, wedged in a rock cavity, will surprise you on the way!

All villages are an excellent example of Cycladic architecture with traditional tavernas and local bakeries with Amorgian delicacies, traditional Amorgian roasted raki, accompanied by amorgian dishes such as goat, thyme honey and the famous Amorgian fava with capers.



Aegiali beach (sandy – inside the settlement – many shady trees) Levrosos beach (next to Aegiali beach – sandy – hike on the path after the long beach or drive Agios Pavlos beach (pebbled – hotel with beach bar- access by car) Nikouria Beach: (sandy – opposite Agios Pavlos – by boat / hour from Agios Pavlos or Aegiali


“The Port of Kyra Katina”, Ormos “The tavern of Nikos”, Lagada


  The jewel of the island is “Hora”, with the 13th century Venetian castle, built at 65 meters height also hosting the church of Kyra Leoussa in it. Take the key to enter the castle (ask at café “Helios”, at Lozza Square) and carefully climb the narrow stone staircase. Admire the view from the loopholes towards Hora and the surrounding islands, especially near the sunset.

  Walk on the narrow, cobbled alleys, up and down paved steps, past numerous churches and through the two squares, Lower and Upper Loza (very scenic) with all kinds of stylish shops to invite you to try their delicacies. Amorgian feasts such as the Savior’s (Christ’s) on August 6th and the celebration of the traditional Amorgian “pasteli” (sesame and honey sweet) are revived in these squares.

  Go up to the Upper Neighborhood with the whitewashed houses, move to the east and you will find yourself in “Emprostiada”, a series of arches, head right Emprostiadaand you find yourself in “Troulos” neighbourhood which is the entrance to the windmills on the breezy hillside of Hora. Located just opposite the castle, in a panoramic, prominent position they are proudly standing for hundreds of years against the winds that usually blow strong. Fabulous sunset view! Taste Amorgian dishes in “Arbaroriza” (at a nice quiet corner) or at Καθοδόν and “Tranzistoraki” (on the main street) and treat yourself a desert at “Callisto”.

  At 5 ‘drive from Hora swim in amazingly clear waters in “Agia Anna”, with the homonymous chapel, reviving all the magical scenes from the movie “Big Blue” by Luc Besson. It’s not exactly a beach! Pick a rock (since there is barely any sand) and live the ultimate relaxation and freedom of diving in these waters!

  Look up to your left! The monastery of “Panagia Hozoviotissa” (9th century AD) looks like a white dove on the steep rocks. You notice the road that leads there, shortly before turning to Agia Anna. On its five meters width and eight levels – floors, all the cells of the monks, the guest quarters, kitchens, bakeries, warehouses, cisterns and wells, Panagia Hozoviotissaare wedged into the rock that is transformed into a functional structure and a marvelous sample of functional local architecture. Walk from the bus station to the platform or leave your car in the space before the entrance.  Climb the 300 stone-paved steps to the Monastery.  What a fantastic view of the endless blue sea! Step up the stairs and follow the instructions to chapel with the miraculous icon of the Virgin Mary and the treat of traditional roasted Amorgian raki. Caution! There is dress code as usual, specific visiting hours… and a shop at the entrance. A must see!!! (Visiting hours: 08:00-13:00 & 17:00-19:00)

And if you are fond of hiking, you will enjoy unique experiences following the well-designed network of trails with a variety of routes (almost 20) in the wild beauty of the island! Far from mass tourism Amorgos is the place where you will feel really free!




Agia Anna beach (rocky – few paved steps – café / canteen – free parking area) Syrma beach ( right of Agia Anna on the same bay – short downslope dirt path/ rocky)


“Arbororiza”, “Καθ’ οδόν”, “Liotrivi”, “Transistoraki” (tavern)

Sweets “Callisto”


KTEL Amorgos (bus timetable) Check itineraries and prices / they change during the season

Asset rent a car tel. 22850 74301 35 € / day (18-20 July)

Port Authority – Katapola: 22850-71259

Police – Hora : 22810-71210

Health Center – Hora of Amorgos: 22850-71207

Doctor – Aegiali: 22850-73222  /  Catapola: 22850-71805

For more information


25/7: Agia Paraskevi, Kato Meria                                 26/7: Roasted raki Feast, Katapola

19/8: Pasteli feast, Hora                                                8/9: Festival of xerotigana,Aegiali

Visitable winery  “AMORGION“, Katapola

Traditional Guest House “Embrostiada” , Hora,


A tasty Sifnos

A tasty Sifnos

The first time we visited his beautiful island, George, our friend from Sifnos, told us: “Sifnos has an energy that you either accept it and worship the island, or you reject it and never come again.” After three years holidays’ in a row in Sifnos, guess what has happened! The DNA that builds our chromosomes has now a trickle of the “blue” of Sifnos!

   As you understand, it’s a little difficult to tell you which places we visited and what we ate in all three visits. “So here are the highlights. And you’re lucky, to come along at the best!

   How do you go to Sifnos? Just …take a boat from Piraeus. There are many itineraries offered during the day by various ferry companies. You’d better get the fast ferry. Three hours later you’ll be there! Here’s a tip: You will find it handy to have your car with you. Sifnos is a big island which means you need a means of transport. You can always rent one but we can’t guarantee the prices! If, on the other hand, you don’t have a car, no worries! KTEL with its frequent itineraries all over the island, will be at your service.

   For a stay we will tell you a name: HOTEL NYMFES in Kamares (at the port). George (yes, it is the one that we mentioned above) and Moscha (his gentle sister) are our friends, we really can not tell you anything about their hotel: neither about the Greek, most traditional and handmade breakfast nor about the pool that will cool you off on the days when you are lazy enough to go to the beach, or the rooms that have a view to the harbor and the sunsets of Sifnos. No, we won’t tell you anything, so that you don’t think we are biased! Just look at the photos and draw your own conclusions.

  Have you been settled in your room? Put on sunscreen and off to the sea. Sifnos has beaches for all tastes. From sunset and calm, without human intervention, to organized beaches with the comfort of sunbeds and umbrellas. Choose among the sandy beaches in Kamares, Vathi, Platis Gialos, Apokofto, Faros, the pebbled one in Vroulidia (hold your breath on the way back, walking the up cliff path!) And if you wish for a beach on rocks, then go to Chrysopigi. You know, there is the church of Panagia Chrisopigi! Exquisite! Most photographed sight! You may have heard about the many weddings taking place there.

   We went to nearly all of them. Do you want to know our favourite ones? Kamares, at “Syrma” café, Wire (very polite people, free of charge sunbeds along your order. You’ll enjoy your coffee as well as their dishes ). Faros (Glypho), see that you go relatively early there, to catch up the shadowy spaces under the trees to lay your body and finally the Apokofto, which also has trees along the beach and you enjoy a view of Chrysopigi.

cafe Wire Apokofto Faros

   And now we reach our favorite theme. FOOD! We don’t know if you’ve heard, but Sifnos is the island of gastronomy! The Greek chef of the 20th century, Nikos Tselementes was born and first cooked here the famous Siphneian chickpea recipe. And of course, there is also a Gastronomic Festival named after Nicholas Tselemnedes. On September 2016, Artemonas organized the 10th festival in a row, and it has reached the point when the festival is slowly expanding to the rest of Greece and abroad as well. We also met the president of the Cultural Club of Sifnos Ms. Maria Nadali The success of the festival was more than certain being organized by such active members of this club. Visiting each pavilion and tasting the traditional delicacies of each place is, by no doubt, a form of happiness. Good food is also happiness (Yes, we ate a lot and we returned heavier)!

Nicholas Tselemnedes Gastronomic Festival

    And here’s what we tasted! In Kamares, if you want cooked food and delicious seafood, go to “Meropi”. If you want “gyros” or “souvlaki”, go straight to “Maria” at Avlemon. In case you wish for Italian flavours, we recommend the pizza house Da Claudio. You’ll eat well!

   In Apollonia you can choose “Dremon”, the Italian “Mamma Mia” and Art Restaurant Cayenne (a bit pricey but you will experience a cultural and delicious taste shock).

   In Artemonas, visit Mosaic and the Yellow Sweet Shop Bike.

    Finally, for something completely different try the Lebanese delicacies in Maiolica in Platis Gialos . Strong and spicy flavors in deliciously served dishes!

    And when you are done with food, wouldn’t be nice to go for a drink? Oh, yes! You’re gonna go! You have a lot of choices, especially in Apollonia, but for a special experience choose Rabaga. A great multi-purpose place that combines food, drink, shopping and fun.

  Before we let you go back to what you read, we suggest that you go to Castro. Great location with panoramic view. If you are an early bird, then this is your place to be! A perfect sunrise spot!

  P.S. 1: Hey!… We forgot to tell you about the church of Saint Symeon, at the top of the mountain, above Kamares! A 360 ° view! What’s more, at night, when it’s lit up, it looks like it’s flying!

  P.S. 2: Almonds and anthers cooked by Gregory in Artemonas! And the ceramics, a gift to mummy by Giannis Apostolides in Kamares

  P.S. 3: Don’t forget to bring all the above home as souvenirs. The memory of Sifnos will be with you forever !!

Pametaxidaki in Syros!

Pametaxidaki in Syros!

     The summer of 2015 will be recalled by everyone as a latecomer. While waiting for the hot days to come, the eurogroups, the referendum and the capital controls outran them. All these sudden developments forced us to change our plans. The departure for Syros was postponed until after the referendum. We set off on 6th July, a little cheerless at first, but our mood quickly reversed as the time of arrival on the island was near.
Many things connect us to Syros and turn us back in 1991, when we first stepped foot on the island as newly appointed state teachers. We spent eight years of our lives in that place, which offered us great moments and strong relationships with people we met there. It’s them we are going to visit now!

        As the boat approaches the northern part of the island and changes direction to the south, we are trying to identify the Chalandriani area, where more than 600 graves with grave goods were found (prehistoric). Shortly afterwards the bell of St. Dimitri is heard tolling and at the same time the whistle of the boat. Immediately after that we could see the characteristic hills of Ermoupolis and Ano Syros, and the pier with the Port Authority. The journey lasted for three and a half hours on Blue Star Ferry 2. A fast and comfortable journey let aside the strong wind blowing that day. There was the same feeling on our arrival, although six years have passed since our last visit. Everything was so familiar, as if we hadn’t missed anything! Matina and Michalis were waiting for us and hosted us in their home, high on the hill of the Resurrection, overlooking the stunning harbor and Agios Nikolaos church. We had so many things to talk about!
The following days we stayed in Vaggelio and Christos, in Azolimnos, the first village after Ermoupolis, to the south of the island. We have shared many years of our common life on the island. And how wonderful those years were!
So what can one do and see on an island like Syros?
It’s a small island with a long history that goes back to the 3rd millennium BC and through successive historical periods reached the prosperity of the early 19th century, when the population was growing rapidly, along with the commercial activity of the port. The outbreak of the revolution of 1821 and the massive influx of refugees from Chios, Smyrna, Psara, etc. changed the island immensely! From the settlement of Ano Syros, the activity was transferred to the port, Hermoupolis which, very quickly, became the largest urban, industrial and commercial center of free Greece. Rich, unique architectural buildings, decorated with ceiling paintings, spiritual and cultural development and the operation of the shipyards have characterized Ermoupolis for many years, for almost the entire 20th century, before its decline. From 1990 and onwards, a new flourishing period for tourism development began for the island. The city was ready with dozens of mansions, squares and historic buildings of the public to receive, as a living museum, visitors who admire its unique beauty that does not remind in any way the Cyclades. Characteristic is the harmonious coexistence of Catholics and Orthodox inhabitants on the island, since here is the most famous center of the Catholic Church in the country. (For the significant and very interesting history of the island, and particularly of Hermoupolis, one can search for information on the internet or be informed by a guidebook before his visit, something that, in my opinion, is necessary in order to see this place as it deserves to be seen!)
Let’s start with a city tour. The walks on the cobblestone streets of Syros are a “must”. Going up the street of St. Nicholas, from Miaoulis Square, in front of OTE, will offer you the opportunity to visit the old image of Syros. A few meters further on, we come to the famous theater “Apollo”. It was built in just two years, (1862 to 1864) on standards and influences from La Scala of Milan (among others), to meet the housing needs of a permanent theater for the city that then had an explosive spiritual movement and radiation. It enjoyed years of golden prosperity during the years of growth, hosting renowned artists and great theater groups. In 2000, the rehabilitation was completed after years of neglect. The old ceiling paintings and the famous wooden galleries that were not saved were replaced, restoring the old glamour of the theater. You can browse the floors and perhaps take a tour by volunteer high school students who have taken the role of tourist guides for the summer! We were delighted by that!!
Continuing the uphill road with the most typical mansions, architectural masterpieces, some restored and others abandoned, testifying the life during the glorious times of the island, we meet Velissaropoulos’ mansion on our right, now the Labour Centre of Cyclades. At the entrance, you can see the initial letters (G.D.V.) and you can visit it to admire its walls, decorated with frescoes and its impressive painted ceilings.
A few meters further up, a road to the right of the triangular garden with the monument, “Apollo” road, will lead you in a residential area with old family mansions, of renowned ship owners and wealthy merchants. Today they have turned them to luxury lodges and hotels. The road leads to the small square with the Cyclades Prefecture being the dominant building. There is a great story to be told for each one of them, if you want to look it up.
  Just above the triangular garden lays the church of St. Nicholas (built in 1870). A symbol for the people of Ermoupolis, with its blue dome standing out, visible from afar, the church is impressive both inside and out, day or beautifully lit at night. Lined with historic pictures, priceless offerings and precious sacred vessels, with incredible marble iconostasis, an artwork of C. Vitali,  is a sight you should definitely visit! What’s more, there is an organ that works and accompanies the services, an influence of the Catholic churches.
From Agios Nikolaos and as far as “Doxa”, walk uphill overlooking the sea, through the “Vaporia” district, which today retains its glamour, with its neoclassical mansions, bringing into life the aristocratic atmosphere of the era of prosperity. Especially those who face the beautiful bay (Asteria), formerly a fishing anchorage with makeshift shelters carved in the rocks. Today it’s one of the city’s “beaches”. Do not imagine sand, pebbles and such things. Two concrete piers with stairs, and a “beach bar” equipped with sun beds fill in the scenery. More like a Pool Bar! Only that the pool is natural! The sea itself!!! If you are an “early bird”, there is nothing more enjoyable than a morning coffee in “Asteria.” Just after the church of St. Nicholas, on the right, there is a road that goes down to the bay, where many locals take a swim, overlooking the beautiful neoclassical mansions, most of which have now been restored, changing owners or use. There we had our coffee one morning, away from the noise of every human activity, listening only to the sound of waves and a few whispers of bathers that reached our table, along with relaxing music in the cafe “Stars.” Of course, there is nothing keeping you from taking a swim in the crystal clear water in front of you! If you want to view the bay from above, choose one of the tables of All day Cafe-Restaurant «… sta vaporia…” (22810 76 486). You may have noticed it on your way down the stairs!
   Getting on with our stroll in “Vaporia”, on the road that leads from Agios Nikolaos to “Doxa”, the same impressive, neoclassical mansions are located on parallel and perpendicular streets of the district. Huge buildings, with high-ceilinged rooms, impressive balconies with ornate corbels and fantastic sea view, luxury entrances with columns and knockers on the big wooden doors, a landscape of unique beauty with lush bougainvillea gushing from the walls that surround the gardens. It goes likes this as far as a mansion at the left right on the road turning, with characteristic palm trees in its  garden.
For anyone who wants to continue further, the road leads to “Ai Dimitris” church and the desalination plant, through a dry and windswept mountain scenery. The view from there is unique! Tinos, Mykonos right in front of you. (If you plan to go and combine it with a walk in Vaporia, leave your car in the first parking of “Doxa”, go down to your strolling in Vaporia and return again to take it and continue). Another option is to turn left (by your car) towards” Dili” and “Vrontado” districts. You can follow this “horseshoe” type road, that leads to the other side of Syros (south) and separates Hermoupolis from Ano Syros. ‘A totally different world lays here! Old refugee- neibourhoods (although very few of the original houses have survived today), on the side of the city center with another church on the hilltop, the “Resurrection of Christ” (1909). Make a stop here. The panoramic view is of course unique!
In the historic center of Hermoupolis you should spend one more, maybe two days, or even better a morning and an evening so that you can see the city at all hours. If you are there during morning hours, drink your coffee in “Cafe Greek ‘, at the square, on the corner of Chios Street, (the street where all the grocery stores / fish shops and shops with traditional products are gathered). Excellent coffee, in the cool breeze under the arches, accompanied by fresh “louloumi” (Turkish delights) we bought from “Korres”, right opposite us (if you intent to buy loukoumia, and I’m sure you will because they are a famous local product, buy them from “Korres” in the square. They are unmatched! And of course you will also get nougats (halvadopites) made from Syros’ thyme honey and freshly baked almonds.)
And what a view! The Town Hall in Miaouli Square. The heart of Ermoupolis beats here. Most visitors and residents pass by the square many times daily. The square is one of the largest in Greece .The statue of Miaoulis (a hero of the 1821 revolution against the Turks) with the cannons on his feet and next to it the marble bandstand, where bands used to play and enjoy the locals, adorn the eastern part of the square that is visible from the port via El. Venizelos road. One side is full of tables where the cafes serve refreshments and ouzo under the arches of the old buildings while on the other side stands the Town Hall. Huge in size, with a marble staircase in the center, it is the work of the great architect E. Ziller (1898). Enter and admire the historic building with its impressive stairs, patios and ceiling paintings and tour the halls that host historical relics.p>

In the same building, follow the stairs leading to the City Clock, and there is the Archaeological Museum of Syros. Relatively small, it hosts representative samples of Cycladic vessels, figurines and other findings from Chalandriani, but other islands as well. On the other side of the building, with an entrance from the side of OTE, is the Cultural Center of Syros which hosts the Museum of Cycladic Art Replicas, following the example of Athens Goulandris Museum.
While visiting the square, you can also take a walk through the market streets. All the shops are in the narrow alleys between the square and the coastal street and especially on Protopapadaki, St. Proiou and Thimaton Sperchiou streets. You’ll find handmade jewelry and decorative objects and local products. A really nice shop for traditional foods “Prekas” (22810 87556), at 4 Chios str.. Buy capers, “San Michalis” cheese, olives, sesame bars and anything else you find interesting!
If you find yourself there in the evening, the coastal street with numerous cafes, taverns and bars overlooking the harbor and the impressive building of the Customs with the transit warehouses, would be the best choice. We tried the “Plaza” (serves snacks / sweets-tel. 85 337 22810), the “Barola” and “Severo” cafe/bars. All the night life is concentrated there, particularly in the evening. However, in the mornings as well, although it’s bathed by the sun, it is equally beautiful. Walk along the sea wall, overlooking Tinos, Mykonos, “Gaidouronisi” with lighthouse and Vaporia, in the area of “Nisaki” , along the buildings of the Yacht Club and the School of Skippers.
Setting off from Hotel “Hermes” and taking coherently the streets “Th. Sperchion”,  “Protopapadaki str.” And “St. Proiou” following a long straight road you can reach Neoreio and “Heroon” and the road leading out of town, to Manna and Azolimnos. At some point on St. Proiou str. you will encounter the church of “Assumption of Mary”. The “jewel” of the church is the icon of “Assumption”, an invaluable work of El Greco.
All these sights went back in the morning. We took photos of every corner that reminded us of the past and enjoyed beers on the beach with our old, good friends, tsipouro  in the taverns in the narrow streets behind “Protopapadaki” str. (‘in Ithaca of Ai’), and a drink at the “Palace” owned by George Zormbanos in memory of the past !
While neoclassical Ermoupolis inspired writers and poets you are transferred yo  a very different scene during your visit to Ano Syros which in turn inspired songwriters with its beauty. It is the first settlement created in the island centuries ago and the historic capital of the island.
The shape and position your city was dictated by the phenomenon of piracy that for centuries plagued the Aegean islands. Tight construction of whitewashed houses with colored doors and windows, arcades and narrow cobbled streets, facilitated the communication of residents without having to go out of their homes. Everywhere bougainvillea on the whitewashed walls, terraces of geraniums and countless steps leading to innumerable levels. And every now and then, an opening to reveal the blue of the Aegean. Two – three cafes and restaurants, with that of “Lili” standing out for us. We have spent many evenings in the “cellars” with the wine barrels in the winter, under the large portrait of Markos Vamvakaris (a song writer and bouzouki/baglama player), next to the old juke box! And in the summer, out on the terrace of the new shop, overlooking Ermoupoli.
You can enter the heart of the settlement through the Portara, which once used to close for safety, The settlement is inaccessible to cars. The road will lead you in front of the “Lilis” tavern, past the museum of M. Vamvakari where his personal belongings, photographs and manuscripts of the well-known rebetis are exhibited, and a little further to a small square,( looks more like a terrace), with a great view (there is a tavern). At the top of the hill stands the Cathedral and center of the Catholic diocese “St. George”. The church has gone through numerous vicissitudes during the centuries and has recently been restored. Catholic bishops who served the church are all listed, by their names on a marble slab in the arcade outside the temple.
You can reach more easily the church from the upper entrance of the settlement (entrance “Pano Terma”), near the windmill, the last windmill that has survived today, renovated and offered for rent. In both entrances there is limited space for parking.
TIP: For your stroll in Ano Syros, it is preferable to select evening hours, if the weather is too hot. However, in the morning it’s quite different and very beautiful! At 10:00 we were ready for coffee! Unfortunately, we did not find anything open at that time!
The road continues above “Pano Terma”, leading to the northern part of the island. For those who like to see the northern part will do so through narrow streets and chapels, huge capers, small settlements Foinikia the Mytakas the Kyperoussa the Lygeros the Plati Vouni. The springs of Syringas, giving tasty water sold in tanks, San Michalis who gave its name to the delicious cheese of Syros, and the archaeological site of Chalandriani …. Here is where the paths start that lead to the north beaches of the island (Letters, Lia, Eagle)  isolated and not accessible by car. Alternatively and more easily you can visit them by boat from Kini. A unique experience!
And when it comes to swimming, where would you swim? While choosing a beach can take you around the island! The first beach, after Ermoupolis to the south, is  Azolimnos, 4 km from Ermoupolis. Organized, with free sunbeds and many taverns if you want to combine dinner. The Beach Bar “Iguana” offers sun loungers free of charge (you only pay what you order). It serves waffles, pancakes, etc. For dinner “Philomela” would be a good choice. Then you meet the beach of Vari. It is also organized, with two restaurants / cafes on the beach, picked by young people. Crowded, therefore and more noisy (music, rackets, etc.). Rarely wavy.
On the next turn, “Achladi” beach, a little beach with a taverna and at 3 kilometers further “Megas Gialos” beach. On the road, sandy endowed with natural shade. After 17.30 it is half shaded. The other half is occupied by sunbeds. There are taverns, a mini market and a kiosk. Park on the road sides. A family beach with calm, shallow waters. Do not choose to swim here if a strong south wind is blowing. And we continue at 3 km., reaching the beautiful village of “Possidonia” (Della Grazia) with the impressive villas. You will notice them on your way to “Agathopes” beach surrounded by gardens with tall pines and palm trees. On the sharp downhill road turn left when you see the sea. Watch out for signs. The road leads to a beautiful beach with fine sand, organized (we were requested extra charge for umbrellas). There are few trees that shade some places. The old cafe / restaurant on the edge of the beach was under reconstruction. Passing the beach by car, following the road up the hill you will reach the quiet beach of “Komito”. This year there is a small, but very helpful beach bar, with loungers and umbrellas. Both beaches are open to the southwest.
Back at the intersection of “Posidonia”, if we turn left, after two/ three turns, you see from above the beach of “Phoenix”. It’s close to the road with trees shading it. Beautiful sea but you have to step on an extended stone slab to get in. Continuing on the right, at the end of the beach, the road leads north to Galissas. We reach the long sandy beach, well organized today, with the hotel complex of Dolphin Bay at the slope and the hill with the chapel “Agia Pakou” on the top. The sea is very shallow, for several meters from the coast and there are facilities for beach volley, beach soccer, water sports (A sports- tel. 6936342004). Several options for coffee and eating here. The cafe / bar «Argo” with its vivid colors on the walls and the nice music was our frequent choice back then. On this own part of the beach lays the only camping on the island.
What has changed a great deal since the last time we visited Syros is  beautiful Kini, a village at the west part of the island. You can visit Kini if you take the street that goes past the hospital. Facing west, it offers a fantastic sunset! Once isolated, Kini is now visited by a lot of people, since it has improved the services to the visitors, offering an organized beach with sunbeds, free of charge, beach volley, locer cabins and many options for quality food / coffee / drinks. A tavern that stands out is “Allou gialou” (22810 71196/6938565865) and “… two cicadas on the tamarisks” (71 151 22810)Back in the days we were living on the island, we spent many Sunday afternoons with our friends at ‘Zalonis’.
For those who prefer a more tranquil beach, although the road that was built allows now more people to visit it than in the past, look for the way from Kini to “Dolphin”. You will be rewarded for your trouble. There is a tavern there, as well.
If you are in the mood, you can explore some beaches that are only accessible by boat. Remote beaches to the north / northwest of the island, like “Lia”,”Barbararoussa” and “Grammata” (= letters) that was named after the inscriptions carved on the rocks by seafarers hands, found there to protect themselves from rough seas or washed up shipwrecked on the small bay. It would be a unique experience !  The boats usually depart around 12:00 and return five hours later. You can inquire about here: Perla-I, Daily cruises (6947308580)
Many things bind us to Syros. And no matter how many years will pass, we always long for travelling there again. In fact, it’s not only the place. More than anything it’s the people we met there, tied with them for life.
SUGGEST IONS… ..for those who have the time or inclination for further exploration
• In the harbor, in front of the building of the Cyclades Region, there is an tourist information stand. You can obtain brochures with information and the association of tourist accommodation guide book that is distributed for free.
• Visit the “Industrial Museum of Syros”
• Drive to the inland villages of Syros. “Chroussa” and “Piskopeio” villages with the beautiful summer houses, built in huge estates. Once glamorous resorts in the mid and late last century, now crumbling to reveal the size of their wealth.
• There are a bunch of other coves with small beaches, almost prive,  you can look for them if you want (“Santirinioi”,” Fabrica”,” Ambela”, “Kokkina”,”Armeos” ….)
• Look for the program of events “Syros Culture”. It is rich and variable and you will surely find something that interests you.

Milos – where nature makes art!

Milos – where nature makes art!

Off to Milos, the horseshoe-shaped island, a volcanic island, a “nature’s artwork” with one of the largest and safest natural harbors in the Mediterranean, “Adamas” port.

With two sandy beaches in a short distance and accessible without any means of transport (“Lagada” –at 500 meters and “Papikinos” -1 km from the center of Adamas), “Adamas” gathers all the commercial traffic as well as many sailing yachts, that anchor at the marina! The KTEL bus stop and the taxi rank are at a central spot. (Boating and sailing excursions to the inaccessible beaches of the island and tours around Milos and Kimolos set off from the port.)the mines of Milos

In Adamas visit the unique “Milos Mining Museum” that uniquely highlights the rich mining history of the island, as well as the current mining activity, with innumerable rocks and fossils that you rarely have the chance to see. See also here:
the old German WWII shelter
Visit the galleries of the old German WWII shelter in Adamas, Milos (frequent art exhibitions), to the left of the port of Langada. For dining try “Zygos” (2287023120, 6949721963) and “O! Chamos! “(2287021672) or taste the original “gyros” at “O gyros tis Milou” at the port. Rent a car, like we did, or take the mini bus to “Plaka”, the capital of the island and one of the most intact capitals of the Cyclades. Choose afternoon hours to avoid heat. (Vehicle traffic is forbidden.)

in the straits of Plaka Plaka

Enjoy idyllic sunsets with splendid colors and panoramic views of the bay of the island from the top of the Plaka hill and the imposing 13th century Venetian “Castle”. Walk as far as the church of the “Assumption of Virgin Mary” or “Messa Panagia” at the top of the Castle and below “Panagia Thalassitra”. Or even visit “Panagia Korfiatissa”, for a dreamy sunset from its marble courtyard.sunset from «Panagia Korfiatissa»
Two museums preserve the cultural heritage of the island. The archaeological museum housed in a neoclassical building of Tsiler, small but impressive, with the copy of Aphrodite and the Folk art museum (opposite Panagia Korfiatissa), housed in a 19th-century traditional architecture building. Both located in Plaka. Dine at “Archontoulas” tavern, on the main street! Spend a day at the northwestern part of the island. On the way to “Pollonia” or “Apollonia” (10 km from Adamas), visit the beaches of “Mytaka”, “Agios Konstantinos” and “Papafranga” and the ruins of the ancient city of “Filakopi”.

nautical museum Papafranga

From Pollonia, you will reach “Psathi”, the port of neighboring Kimolos. Small boats, water taxis and Ferry-boats take you there in just 30’. Get on an excursion boat to the cave of “Papafranga” and the rare rock formations in “Glaronisia”. Swim on the sandy beach of Pollonia and select the “Gialos” tavern (tel. 2287041208, 6977746472) for your lunch! On your way back take the road to the area of the Mines. If you have a mood for adventure! A geological paradise! More here:

For a further tour, choose “Sarakiniko”, one of the most photographed landscapes, a volcanic formation of white rocks, similar to lunar scenery. Many take a swim in the narrow sea lane that enters the rocks. Visit the traditional settlements with “wires”, Mandrakia and Fyropotamos. There you can swim and eat (“Medusa” – Mandrakia). Alternatively, swim in the very pretty Platyna.Klima

Visit “Klima”, a traditional settlement – fishing village under the village of Plaka, with the colorful “sirmata”. Buy handmade souvenirs in the “Yellow Wire”. Continue to “Trypiti” with its windmills, head down to the Catacombs, leave your car and walk down the steps to the only catacombs in Greece. Call for hours of visit: 2287021625. Discover the beaches of the south: “Paliohori”, “Agia Kyriaki”, “Tsigrado” and “Firiplaka” with the shallow turquoise waters. The variety of colors is unforgettable! The unbelievable variety of pebbles and the rock formations!!!Firiplaka

“Hivadolimni”, right at the center of the boulder forming the bay, also has a beautiful sandy beach, the longest in length, with an organized camping site.

Experience the unique tour of the island by the sea! There are plenty of boats, caiques and yachts suitable for sea trips and you have the luxury to choose the one you prefer according to your needs and mood and enjoy the colorful kaleidoscope of the beaches of Milos! (Be careful! Ask for details and make sure you have all the necessary things with you !!!)

Agios Dimitrios, Vani, Triades, Agios Ioannis, Sykia cave and Kleftiko cave in the caves of medieval pirates who had their lakes on the island, leaving their tracks on the spectacular gray-white rocks with strange figures next to caves. Here the caiques stop to dive in the turquoise waters! Continuing the trip, you admire all the beaches of the south with the most spectacular of the Sulfur mines with the abandoned factory. Going east and then north until you get back into the harbor offers unforgettable pictures! Did you count all the 75 beaches of the island?

Have fun at Milos Festival (exhibitions, concerts, theatrical performances, music and dancing evenings)! Enjoy!

Buy local products such as pies (stuffed with peppery dry local cheese), sweet made of white round pumpkin, watermelon pie and the well-known tomato sauce. Local cheeses and traditional baked goods, as well. Everything so delicious!

For our trips (car rental, tickets) we were served perfectly by “Riva Travel agency” just across the harbor (2287024024, 6946278528)