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A gemstone in Cyclades

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Serifos: A gemstone in Cyclades

Serifos, an island with rich history and culture, is a destination chosen by those seeking the authentic Cycladic experience.

A prominent land since the ancient times thanks to its rich subsoil, Serifos was particularly associated with mythical figures. It is said that the "Cyclop’s Cave" on the island was inhabited by giant Cyclopes, sons of Poseidon, the god of the sea. According to other myths, the hero Perseus hid Medusa's head on the island. In fact, the inhabitants of Serifos worshipped Perseus and coins from the 6th century BC depict him with the head of the mythical monster.

With a beautiful Chora, the beaches that bring to mind exotic paradises but also with its monuments of contemporary history that testify to its intense past, Serifos magnetizes its visitors again and again...

Routes & Attractions

The seaport of Chora, Livadi, which is also the island’s harbour, will welcome you as soon as you get off the ship. There, you’ll find several options for coffee, drinks, and food by the sea. In the nearby Livadakia, you’ll find an organized beach and the island’s camping site.

Chora of Serifos, perched on a hillside, is one of the most beautiful settlements of the Cyclades. Start your walk from the ruins of the Venetian castle dating back to 1434, built as a fortress for protection against raids. Enjoy the view from the four chapels. The church of Agios Konstantinos with the paved courtyard located at the highest point and the churches of Agia Varvara, Christos and Agios Ioannis Theologos right below, built on the ruins of an ancient temple of Athena. The chapel is tucked into the rock and according to tradition, Medusa's head is hidden in its catacombs.

The neighbourhood of Ano Chora was built as an extension of the first settlement of Kastro, right on the rocks, with its white houses built as an acropolis. Its paved square, "Pano Piatsa", resembles a theatrical setting. There, the Town Hall, a neoclassical building of 1908 and the Metropolis of Serifos stand out. In Piatsa you can rest for a coffee or dessert in the picturesque kafeneia.

In the neighbourhood of Kato Chora you will find the imposing church of Evangelistria in the central square and the Folklore Museum, where objects from the daily life of the island are exhibited.

The Archaeological Museum in Chora has findings from excavations from the classical era to the Roman period, such as marble statues and amphorae.

Don’t miss a visit to Megalo Livadi, which, apart from being a seaside swimming destination, is a great place of historical memory with the abandoned facilities of the island's mines. Stay until late, to experience one of the most soothing sunsets. The half-ruined metal bridge, the loading and unloading ladder and the old rails with the wagons are characteristic remains. The Mining Museum opens during the summer months and exhibits objects and tools of the miners, as well as a collection of rocks from the rich subsoil of Serifos. The old mining company Headquarters building stands out in the area, a characteristic example of Ziller’s architecture.

In Platis Gialos you’ll find the imposing Monastery of Taxiarches that resembles a fortress. On the floor of the temple, you will notice a marble slab with the double-headed eagle, the symbol of the Byzantine Empire. According to tradition, the captain of a ship from Cyprus, who arrived at Platis Gialos in 1570 to escape the Turks, donated the icon of Taxiarchis (Michael) to the chapel; the icon was thought to be miraculous.

Let your imagination free, as you marvel at the sea from the Throne of Cyclops, in Megalo Chorio. It is a huge rectangular building, which, according to the legend, is associated with the Cyclopes. Nearby is the entrance of a gallery which is believed to be the cave of the mythological Cyclops Polyphemus.

The stone lighthouse in the south of the island, standing 65 meters above the sea, built on the rocks of Cape Spathi in 1901, is one of the most beautiful and most photographed sights on the island.

Beaches & Activities

Among the dozens of beaches of Serifos, Psili Ammos towards the east, stands out with its shallow blue waters, golden sand and tamarisk trees. Several tavernas operate on the beach.

The sandy beach of Agios Ioannis, near the homonymous chapel, has crystal-clear waters and natural shade from the tamarisk trees. In the bay of Koutalatha you will find two wonderful beaches: Ganema, a large beach, half sandy half with white pebbles, and Vagia, with colourful pebbles on its seabed. If you stay on the beach till late you will enjoy a wonderful sunset.

There is a path that takes you to the sandy and sheltered beach of Agios Sostis. The beach is not organized, so make sure you bring all necessary supplies. To reach Lia you also need to walk for ten minutes, but it’s more than worth it, as this is a beautiful beach that seems untouched by time.  Kalo Ampeli is a small, picturesque bay for loners.

The island is ideal for hiking with tracks that are only a few kilometres long. There are many cobbled trails next to dry stone walls and paths leading to hills, coves and beaches. Walking along these tracks, you will witness the daily life of the island, passing through farmhouses, chapels, cellars and dovecotes. Indicatively, the most popular route is the one that leads from Chora to Livadi, where you pass most of it through a stone-paved road. The Aspropyrgos-Koutalas route is also quite easy and short, yet very impressive, as you will see many mine galleries and remnants of another era, the heyday of the mines.

Flavours & Cuisine

Serifos will charm you with its tastes. The famous oven-baked chickpea soup and fennel pancakes or fennel balls moulded with fennel and onions and served with yogurt are unforgettable. Don't miss the opportunity to try the louza, a type of local pork pastrami. Taste the delicious xinomyzithra cheese and look for some "tyri tou lakkou" or “moschotyri”, made from sheep and goat milk. You must also try the capers of Serifos, the fava beans, ampelofasoula in salads or cooked with pork.

Don’t forget to taste the famous wine of Serifos or Souma, which is the local raki.

Finally, for dessert, try the Serifos pasteli and pastaki - biscuits with a layer of vanilla and chocolate cream.

Traditions & Events

Many festivals take place on the island, often with organ-players, where local dishes are usually offered along with wine from Serifos. The largest feast is the Festival of the Virgin Mary on the 15th of August.

On the last Saturday of the Carnival, one of the oldest local customs, that of Gyra, is brought back to life in Serifos. Participants wander around Chora, Livadi and the villages having fun with souravlia (greek folk instruments) and violins.

Don’t miss…

Walk up the conical hill above the bay of Koutalas, where you will discover the Castle of Gria, of which the ruins prove that a fortified settlement used to stand here along with an ancient wall. At its peak at 250 meters, you will be compensated with the unobstructed view of the Aegean Sea.

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