Serifos

Crystal clear waters & astonishing views to the Aegean blue

ISLAND OVERVIEW

Serifos will win you over with its mesmerizing Chora and crystal clear beaches. The island holds a captivating atmosphere that seduces its visitors as it is blessed with great beauty. Serifos’ naked hills, fertile valleys, and endless beaches create dazzling sceneries. Here you will relax in golden coves, dive in emerald waters and get inspired by its rich history and mythology. Serifos’ Chora is considered one of the most impressive villages in the Cyclades, full of cobblestone alleys and whitewashed houses with colorful flowers on their vaulted arches, which travel you back in a bygone era with the remnants of its medieval castle and astonishing views of the Aegean Sea. The island keeps a low profile, which is why it is considered one of the most beloved and authentic summer destinations in the Cyclades.

HIGHLIGHTS

  • The Monastery of Taxiarchis: is a men’s monastery built in 1572 at Galani village, dedicated to the patron saints of Serifos, Archangel Michael and Gabriel. The monastery enjoyed great power and wealth, which is evident by its fortified architecture, as its numerous treasures attracted many pirates. It remained a great economic, religious and educational center until the late 19th century. Inside you can admire a stunning wooden and golden temple, priceless manuscripts, the Sacred Codes of 1753 and the beautiful murals painted by Emmanuel Skordilis representing the fight of Archangel against the Dragon of the Revelation.
  • Chora: is the capital of Serifos and one of its well known gems. This medieval castled settlement is considered to be one of the most beautiful Cycladic villages. It is built amphitheatrically on the edge of a cliff offering panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. At the top of the hill you will find the ruins on an old castle that was built in 1434, while at the highest point of the hill you will find the church of Agios Constantinos, which is probably the best spot to enjoy the sunset on the island. In the narrow streets of Chora you will meet whitewashed houses with colorful front yards and archways, charming churches, atmospheric cafes, small ouzeries and traditional tavernas serving local delicacies. The places that reflect the essence of Chora include the Piatsa of Pano Chora (the Town Hall square), the imposing church of Evangelistra and the picturesque neighboorhood of Kato Chora. There is also the Folklore Museum and the Archaeological Museum to visit.
  • Aspropirgos (White Tower): are the remains of an ancient tower built in the 4th century BC on a hill over Koutalas bay. This circular marble tower used to be 12m high and was probably used as an observatory for the protection of the area’s ancient mines. Today only a small part of the tower is standing. It goes without saying that from here you can admire panoramic sea views.
  • Megalo Livadi: is a historical village with great past. In this picturesque seaside village lived about 700 locals back when the mines of Serifos were thriving. Actually, this is where the headquarters of the mine company “Serifos – Spillaleza” were located. The impressive neoclassic building can be found at the edge of the coast. Near the building there is also the memorial of the heroes, dedicated to the workers who lost their lives on the bloody revolt of the mines, in 1916, while fighting for better working conditions. Across the bay, at Almyros there are old mining facilities including a metallic mine loading-unloading ramp built in 1932, transportation wagons, ruins of buildings and rails and other machines. Today only some of the village houses are used, while down on the beach there are few seaside taverns. In the old Elementary school you will find an exhibition of rocks and mining tools and learn more about the village’s great history. Additionally, remnants of underground mining trails serve today as an open air museum where visitors can see wagons, rail tracks and half ruined bridges. These paths lead from one beach to another and should be entered only under the presence of an experienced escort, because one can easily get lost.

TOWNS & VILLAGES

Livadi

Livadi is the port and the biggest village of Serifos. It is the most touristic developed area on the island and the liveliest part of the island. Here you will find many taverns, shops, bars, cafes, clubs, and the vast majority of accommodations available.

Chora

Chora is the capital of Serifos and one of its well known gems. This medieval castled settlement is considered to be one of the most beautiful Cycladic villages. It is built amphitheatrically on the edge of a cliff offering panoramic views to Livadi bay. At the top of the hill you will find the ruins on an old castle that was built in 1434, while at the highest point of the hill you will find the church of Agios Constantinos, which is probably the best spot to enjoy the sunset on the island. In the narrow streets of Chora you will meet whitewashed houses with colorful front yards and archways, stone passages, charming churches, atmospheric cafes, small ouzeries and traditional tavernas serving local delicacies. The places that reflect the essence of Chora include the Piatsa of Pano Chora (the Town Hall square), the imposing church of Evangelistra and the picturesque neighborhood of Kato Chora. There is also the Folklore Museum and the Archaeological Museum to visit.

Megalo Livadi

Megalo Livadi is a historical village with great past. In this picturesque seaside village lived about 700 locals back when the mines of Serifos were thriving. Actually, this is where the headquarters of the mine company “Serifos – Spillaleza” were located. The impressive neoclassic building can be found in the edge of a coast. Near the building there is also the memorial of the heroes, dedicated to the workers who lost their lives on the bloody revolt of the mines, in 1916, while fighting for better working conditions. Across the bay, at Almyros there are old mining facilities including a metallic mine loading-unloading ladder built in 1932, transportation wagons, ruins of buildings and rails and other machines. Today only some of the village houses are used, while down on the beach there are few seaside taverns. In the old Elementary school you will find an exhibition of rocks and mining tools and learn more about the village’s great history.

Galani

Galani is a mountainous village located on the northern side of Serifos. This beautiful Cycladic settlement is built amphitheatrically offering majestic views to the Aegean Sea. The village was named after the ancient galena mines that where located in the area. From here you can follow the trail that leads to the wonderful beach of Sikamia.

Panagia

Panagia is a small village situated on the north side of the island. The settlement is rather small but it is worth taking a walk around its picturesque alleys and rest on its square next to the homonymous church.

Pyrgos

Pyrgos is a small abandoned settlement between Panagia and Galani villages. Although Pyrgos is one of the most ancient settlements on the island, its 2000 inhabitants left the village due to lack of basic infrastructure (water and power supply, sanitary spaces). Nevertheless, every 16th of August, a big feast takes place at the village and brings it back to life.

BEACHES

Serifos is known for the beauty of its beaches. With more than 70 sheltered beaches, Serifos will satisfy your every mood. Whether you are looking to have some relaxing family time, swim in emerald waters, explore underwater caves, lay on exotic bays, have some water sport fun, hide under the shadow of tamarisks trees or dance by the beach, Serifos’ coastline will delight you in the most pleasurable way. Some of the beaches you need to visit while on the island include:

Livadakia: is a sandy beach with emerald waters just a few kilometers from the port right next to Livadi beach or a short walking distance via a shortcut. Livadakia is especially popular among younger crowds. Its lively beach bar with swimming pool attracts many visitors. In the area you will also find numerous other amenities including sun beds, umbrellas, water sports center, taverns, a few hotels and the camping site.

Livadi: is the beach of the port of Serifos. It is a long sandy and pebbly beach with crystal waters surrounded by many trees. Due to its close proximity to the port it offers many amenities and vivid nightlife. Here you will find many tavernas, shops, bars, cafes, clubs and accommodations.

Agios Sostis: is a secluded sandy beach with few tamarisks trees. Although its protected blue waters attract many visitors, the beach manages to remain peaceful and serene. The beach took its name by the idyllic chapel of Agios Sostis located on its right side. The small chapel offers amazing views and hosts every year many weddings. In order to reach the beach there is a 5 minute walk from where you park your car.

Lia: is an impressive beach of wild beauty with divine waters rather close to Agios Sostis. This secluded beach is preferred by many naturists. To reach the beach you drive up to a point and then take a short walking path.

Psili Ammos: has been voted as one of the most beautiful beach of Europe. It is an exotic beach with soft fine sand, turquoise waters and trees providing ample shade. Its beautiful wild landscape is surrounded by nice taverns and few accommodation options, while its crystalline waters are chosen as an anchor point by many yachts.

Agios Ioannis: is a long sandy beach right next to the popular beach of Psili Ammos. Agios Ioannis is rather isolated and ideal for those looking for relaxation. The beach was named after the charming chapel of Agios Ioannis in the area.

Kendarhos: is a secluded pebbly and sandy bay located under Kalitsos village. To reach the beach you only can come by the sea, or hike for about 20 minutes, however although the path is challenging it offers amazing views passing by small waterfalls.

Platis Yialos: is a beautiful gulf with two beaches. The beaches offer golden fine sand and crystalline waters. The smaller of the two looks like a hidden secluded paradise, with ample shade from the tamarisks and a popular local tavern. On the way to Platis Yialos you will come across the picturesque church of Agia Skopiani overlooking the entire cove. A brief stop to enjoy this beautiful Cycladic landscape is highly recommended.

Koutalas: is a sandy and pebbly beach with crystalline waters located on the south side of the island. Here you will find old mine installations including old buildings, vehicles, loading ramps and an open air museum. Restaurants are also available in the area.

Ganema: is one of the longest beaches in Serifos located next to Koutalas beach. Although it is not organized this long sandy and pebbly beach is highly preferred by swimmers while on its blue waters you will see many anchored yachts.

Vagia: is considered to be one of the most beautiful beaches in Serifos, and was included in the Natura 2000 as a protected area. It is located next to Gerama and Koutalas. Here you will find golden thick sand and emerald waters. There are no trees for natural shadow but the beach offers sun beds, umbrellas and amazing views. Some accommodation is available in the area.

Kalo Ambeli: is a beautiful, secluded beach near Livadi with rather difficult access -there is a 40min walk to reach the beach. When you arrive you will come across a small exotic gulf with transparent turquoise waters and golden sand. The beach is completely unorganized and has no trees so it is advised to be equipped for the day in the sun.

Sikamia: is one of the biggest beaches on the island. This wild beauty is located on the northern part of Serifos where it’s quite windy. Its characteristic grey sandy and pebbly shore offers a quiet and relaxing setting. On the beach you will find a popular tavern serving local delicacies.

HISTORY & MYTHOLOGY

Mythology

Cyclops
According to mythology, Cyclops, the legendary giants, lived in Serifos, in a cave near Psaropyrgos. Cyclops were the first to exploit the mineral wealth of Serifos, creating an early civilization which later left to humans. In fact, the remains of the Cyclopean walls are attributed to them.

Perseus
Another important myth is that of Perseus. Arkisios, the king of Argos, received a disturbing prophesy from the Oracle at Delphi. According to prophesy, his future grandson would someday kill him. Arkisios decided to imprison his daughter Danae, so as she wouldn’t give birth to any child. However, Zeus, the king of Gods, fell in love with Danae and managed to unite with her, and she gave birth to Perseus. When Arkisios found out, he threw both of them in a box to the sea that was washed away to Serifos island. Mother and son were rescued by Dikris, the king’s brother, and Perseus grew up in Serifos. When the king saw Danae, he fell in love with her and send Perseus to bring the head of the Medusa, so as to seduce his mother. The horrible Medusa petrified whoever looked into her eyes. Perseus succeeded in killing Medusa and returned to Serifos. While demonstrating her head to Polydefkis he petrified him and his peers. According to the legend, this is the reason why Serifos is so rocky.

History

  • Prehistoric Times: According to findings in Koutalas cave, Serifos has been inhabited since Prehistoric times. The first inhabitants were the Aeolians from Thessaly. Then Cretans came and exploited the mines of Serifos. After the Cretans, the Phoenicians and the Mycenaean settled in the island. Traces of these settlements include the remains of the White Tower over Koutalas bay and other monuments like tombs. 
  • Ancient Times: The island developed rapidly thanks to its mining activity and actively practiced democracy. At the period of the Persian Wars it became part of the Second Athenian Alliance along with the majority of the Cyclades. Afterwards the island came under the Romans and was used as a destination for political exiles.
  • Medieval Times: The island came under the Venetian domination and experienced many improvements in terms of economic and cultural development. Imposing buildings were constructed in Chora, whereas the mines were reopened after 1000 years of inactivity, contributing greatly to the economical growth of the island.
  • Ottoman Times: Serifos was conquered by the Turkish Empire and many pirates’ attacks began. The fortified castle in Chora and the monastery of Taxiarches were used by inhabitants for protection. The mines were closed once again, resulting in a dark period for the island. In 1821 Serifos participated in the Greek revolution and a few years later became part of the Greek state.
  • Modern Times: The modern history of Serifos is mainly connected with the 1916 workers strike. On August 21st, 1916 the mines went into a massive strike demanding the establishment of the 40-hour workweek. Four workers and two police officers lost their lives on the violent incidents that took place in Megalo Livadi. Workers finally won their fight and the 40-hour workweek was officially agreed and signed, a commercial law still in place until today. The mines were shut down in 1965, and many residents left Serifos because they could no longer find work. Remnants of the mines still exist in Koutalas and Megalo Livadi. Today the island’s main source of economy is agriculture, fishing and tourism.

GASTRONOMY & LOCAL SPECIALTIES

  • Almonds
  • Bread
  • Cheese (mizithra, xinomizithra)
  • Dried Tomatoes
  • Fava
  • Honey-sesame bars wrapped in lemon leaves
  • Local sausages
  • Local wine
  • Loutza (sun-baked pork with sun-dried tomatoes)
  • Marathotiganites (fried funnel and cheese pancakes served with yogurt)
  • Revithada (baked chickpeas)
  • Souma (local raki)

EVENTS & FESTIVALS

Religious Events

Several religious festivals take place through the year in Serifos island to honor the local saints. They are organized by Ktitores (church property owners) who take care of the preparations, including food and wine which is complimentary to the visitors.

  • Agia Eirini: is celebrated on May 5th at Koutalas
  • Agioi Anargyri : is celebrated on July 1st at Kalavratsena and Galani 
  • Profitis Ilias: is celebrated on July 20th at Vounia and Xero Chorio 
  • Agia Paraskevi: is celebrated on July 26th at Chora and Galani 
  • Panagia Skopiani : is celebrated on August 14th
  • Virgin Mary: is celebrated on August 15ht at Ramos, Skopous and on August 16th at Pyrgos.
  • Agios Ioannis Prodromos: is celebrated on the August 29th at Sklavogiannis
  • Agios Sostis: is celebrated September 7th at Agios Sostis beach
  • Agia Thekla: is celebrated on September 23rd at Sclavogiannis 
  • Agiou Pneumatos: is celebrated at Mavra Voladia

Cultural Events

  • Serifos Sunset Race: are unique running events that take place every September around sunset in Serifos island.

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