The place where the love can be borned again!
Serifos Island, one of the islands of Cyclades, with plenty of life-giving sun light, welcomes us like a real ‘’lord – madame’’ and it guides us to its uphill backstreets of its white colored center. It tours us in its picturesque villages and the old mines, walks us on its blooming paths and reveals to us so many enchanting beaches with the turquoise waters. As the night falls, we will relax, with delicious flavors, in its picturesque taverns which combine harmoniously the sea salty and the aroma of tradition!
Article – Photos : By Ioanna Paravalou
Since many years ago, Serifos which is located near Sifnos, Kythnos, Paros, Syros, and Milos Islands, used to be one of the special Aegean Islands and to make you have a sense of tranquility and tranquility from the very first moment you will see the landscape around you. In this place, everything is changed as the day goes by, and all the myths are unfold in the ravines and the stone-built terraces, in order to retain the soil capable of bearing the delicious fruits and the vines producing the local wine with the special taste. Serifos Island has a lot of beautiful beaches, which can satisfy all the different preferences of the visitors.
In particular, beaches with white sand or fine pebbles, with emerald and transparent waters that do not have to envy any exotic destinations … The few settlements, such as Livadi (the port), Panagia, Galani, Kendarhos or Kallitsos, the Megalo Livadi … waiting to be discovered.
The totally white center of the Island, called Chora – A balcony in the Aegean Sea!
The center of the Island, which is 5 km from Livadi port is one of the magical places that attracts all types of travelers, even the most demanding ones. Some kilometers far away from the sea, there is a high hill from where someone can see the nice view of the Aegean Sea. At the highest point of the hill, there are the remnants of the Venetian Castle of Serifos, built in 1434 by the Mikelli family, whereas, at the top of the hill, there is the total white chapel of St. Konstantinos that has a panoramic view of the island. Near the chapel, there are other churches as this of St. Barbara and this of Jesus Christ.
Just underneath it in a cavity, wedged in the rock, is the chapel of St. John the Theologian, built on the ruins of an ancient temple of the goddess Athena, with a fantastic view of Livadi and not only .
The settlement is divided into Ano and Kato Chora. At the entrance of Ano Chora, the old and restored windmills rise sharply.The urban fabric of the settlement was formed during the Middle Ages, when the pirates looted all the Aegean islands. So, to protect their lives, the inhabitants of the island built their homes at high places of the island, at the base of the Castle, which was their shelter, every time they were in danger … As we descend from the Castle, we meet one of the two lodges, which were the gateways to the Castle and had old coats of arms. Walking in the Strait,freshly cobbled slopes of Chora, we are left to the magic of the atmosphere of the old times …
Our steps will definitely bring us to the beautiful Square of St. Athanasios, with the church of the same name (Metropolis of the island) and the impressive neoclassical building of the Town Hall, built in 1907. In this comfortable and beautiful square, there are cafes and taverns for all those who want to relax and enjoy the place there. In the Milos of Chora there is the small Archaeological Museum with a significant collection of findings from the Hellenistic and Roman times. (For visiting hours tel: 22810-51138).
In Kato Chora, opposite of the church of St. Antonios and Hero, there is the Folklore Museum (For visiting hours tel .: 22810-51181), founded in 1976 by the Association of Serifos, in order to preserve and promote the heritage of the place. A representation of a sheriff’s house, with woven, household utensils, porcelain, embroidery and more. Just behind the museum, the Serifos Theater, with a capacity of 300 spectators, was created, where various cultural events take place during the summer, under the auspices of the Serifos Festival.
In order we can to relax and to regain our strength by walking in Chora, we will make a stop in the “Chalida bakery“, for tasting handmade puff pastry, traditional sheriff, brioche, cookies, raisins and bread baked in the woods. In case we want to drink coffee and planning our excursions to the island, we will make an appointment at “Kafene of the King“, which is located at the entrance of the traditional settlement.
Excursions to the Panagia, Galani and Kentarhos settlements …
Knowing as traditional settlements, those three picturesque villages are located to the north of the island and each of them has its own personality and history … We will meet them on the road that leads from Chora to Taxiarchon Monastery and undoubtedly it worths the walking…
The Panagia village is only 5 km away from Chora and it is named from the church of Panagia that dominates in its small square and is the oldest church in Serifos. The village is built by refugees of Moria, after Ibrahim’s conquest in the Peloponnese. A walk in its neighborhoods will calm us and travel us to the northern coast of the island. From Panagia we take a swim at the beach of Sykamia. From the village also begins a hiking trail that crosses the overgrown ravine and reaches to the sea.
The Galani village is 9 km away from Chora and it is named from the existence of mining galleries. The view that the village has on the north side of Serifos is magnificent. The nearest beach from there is the protected bay of Platis Yialos.
Our next stop is the Kentarhos or Kallitsos village which is 13 km from Chora and which is amphitheatrically built on the northeast place of the island. It is worthwhile for someone to walk to the beautiful cobbled path that crosses the settlement. The view from the village is panoramic and the homonymous beach, which is situated on its “feet” and is distinguished from above, is approached by walking down the old glade path (about 30 minutes).
Continuing our journey by car on this side of the island, we will reach a series of enchanting beaches with white sand or fine pebbles, with clear blue-green waters, such as Psili Ammos (opposite to the island of Vous), St. Ioannis with a few shady trees and St. Sostis with its sheltered bay and its double beach.
Visiting the important Taxiarches Monastery
In the northwest of the island, the imposing Taxiarchon Monastery dominates. It is built on a steep hill it has an incredible view to the sea … From Chora to reach there, we will walk about 10 km. The monastery was built around 1572 and is dedicated to Archangels Michael and Gabriel, whose miraculous image was transferred there from Cyprus. A small blue door at the top of the steep steps, leads to the interior of the monastery and its own austere, plain and pious world …Father Makarios, who is there today, will tell us about the long history of the Taxiarches Monastery over time. From 1617 to 1911, there was a teaching room there. During the Venetian era, it was plundered several times and the pirates did not let it go quiet … For that reason, it took the guaranty form we see today and its windows look like loopholes.
The iconostasis of the katholikon is of high interest and importance, sculptured with marble and wood, as well as two frescoes crafted by Emm. Skordilis. It is also worths taking care of the relief bicephalous eagle on the marble floor of the church floor (construction of 1659). The Taxiarches Monastery celebrates on 8 November. (For visiting hours: tel .: 22810-51027).
Visiting the Megalo Livadi and the old mines …
Walking along the magical beaches of Vagia, Ganema, Koutalas and Maliadikos, we will arrive, after 13 km, in Megalo Livadi, a windy bay with a sandy beach, at the end of a fertile valley. Beyond its natural beauty, this place has written its own story at Serifos Island.
Around the 1880, the houses of the settlement were built and shortly thereafter the headquarters of Serifos founded by the French Mining Company of Lavrion – called SPILIAZESA – was established. In 1885, the German metallurgist Emilius Gromman made a contract with the company and took over the mining contract and his work continued from the next generations (his son and grandson).
The ruined imposing building at the edge of the beach (the school of Chiller) had become the headquarters of Gromer company. A few meters far away, there is the simple marble Hero, dedicated to the four miners who died in the bloody strike of 21 August 1916, defending their right to better and safer working conditions.
In the valley of the Great Meadow , there were the chemistry, the school, the ‘’tsagkaradika’’ that made the shoes of the workers who worked in the galleries, the groceries, the ovens and the houses of the workers … At the time of the mines, the workers reached the seven hundred and were locals, but there are some also from other islands like Paros, Amorgos, Mykonos, Karpathos … as well as many miners from abroad.
Today, in order to get a taste from that time, we will walk in the area with the rails, the rusted carriages, the stairs that loaded the merchandise on the ships, the old stone buildings that remain there irrepressible witnesses of an important period of the island. Near the loading stair, in the area of ”Almyros”, there is a spring with tepid thermal water. At this point, Groman had built baths for use by the workers for healing purposes (buildings that are no longer preserved).
Going down to the beach of Megalo Livadi, we will visit the small but interesting Rock and Minerals Exhibition of the Municipality of Serifos and we will see various rocks , books, work tools, clothes and shoes of the workers that are kept on the mines. In addition, we will learn that iron mining started in Serifos from antiquity, continued on Venetian rule and became systematic between 1880 and 1963. There are remnants of this time in many parts of the island, such as Megalo Livadi, Mega Chorio, Koutalas, Avessalo.
There are also deposits of galenite, hematite, magnetite, crystals and quartz on the island. The mines ceased to operate after large landslides in the galleries in July 1963.
Time for a bit of relaxation and delicious local and sea food, drinking of traditional ouzo, on the beach of Megalo Livadi, in the traditional tavern of “Cyclops“. It is good to stay there until the afternoon, to enjoy with all our senses a loud sunset!
Visiting the White Tower with the incredible view!
Returning from Megalo Livadi to Chora, we will take a stop to visit the White Tower or Aspropyrgos. Built in the 4th c. B.C. from local white marble, it is located at a point with great views across the southwest coast of the island!
It was used as an observatory that alerted the other observatories (Psaropyrgos, Tower at the Flea) and alerted the inhabitants of Chora for raids by the aspiring conquerors and the pirates who were ravaging the islands of the Cyclades … Next to it, there is the white chapel of Saint Charalambos, which is built with building materials from the tower.
The best beaches
Serifos has many beautiful beaches for all tastes: for families, for groups, for loners, for lovers … With white sand, with fine pebbles, with shade of salami, without umbrellas, with picturesque taverns by the sea … Some of the most beloved beaches of the island are Karavi, Psili Ammos, Agios Ioannis, Agios Sostis, Sykamia, Ganema, Vagia, Koutalas, Maliadikos, Megalo Livadi, Avesalos, Avlomonas … Of course, ourselves we will discover our own beach to enjoy the sea in Serifos and the Aegean sun.
Tastes from Serifos …
Holidays without good food are not meant … On this island we will enjoy delicious flavors with a perfume of tradition, made with local ingredients and old secret recipes. Among the most traditional appetizers (called ‘’mezedes’’ in Greek) are marathotiganites (or marathokeftes) – a type of meatballs – , chickpeas cooked in a clay pot, greek kapari ragout, specific green fresh beans, louza which is a type of sausage and the greek fava. All the salads are accompanied by capers (kapari) and local cheeses (such as xinomyzithra , mizithra, piperati). The famous cheese factory Papadopoulou, locted in Livadi, is another one place that travelers have to visit. The glasses are cracked with a local wine with a special taste and color from the winery of Christos Chrysoloras ( labeled “Xiro Chorio”) or the Souma ( a type of traditional raki). Traditional sweet of the island is called Serifos’ cake (simple and delicious, with vanilla cream and chocolate biscuits), almonds, pastels on lemon leafs and spoon sweets. In Ano Chora, in the shop “Glykaromata“, we will find delicious sweets with aroma and taste of tradition.
Before leaving the island, we will buy good thyme honey, sheriff hard cheese, caperops and capers, sweets with almonds. We will also look for the book “Traditional Foods – Sweets of Serifos” by Mrs. Margarita Paraskevopoulou – Gerondari, to take with us the flavor of the island. It is also a good idea to know that in the beginning of August there is a local bazaar of the Serifos Women’s Association “Andromeda”, where we will find many homemade spoon sweets, jams, liqueurs and aromatic herbs, and it is still a reason for a traditional feast delicacies, music, dancing and plenty of traditional local wine.
How to get there: (Ship schedules)
Ships to Serifos Island, depart daily from the port of Piraeus and arrive in the Island in 4 hours, while the high-speed ships in less than 3 hours.
Information Piraeus Port Authority: +30-210-4172675, +30-213-2147600.
From Serifos you can easily visit most Cycladic islands.
Information Serifos Port Authority: +30-22810-51470.
“Rizes Hotel” (Sypotama, tel .: 6944 730869, www.hotelrizes.gr).
«Coco-Mat Eco Residences Serifos» (Vagia, tel .: 22877-72977, 6948 303164, serifos.coco-mat-hotels.com).
“Maroussa’s Apartments” (Ramos, tel .: 22810-51807, 6948 463846, www.westcyclades.com).
“Selana Apartments” (Livadi, tel .: 22810-51208, 6942 555838, www.westcyclades.com).
«Alexandros – Vassilia» (Livadakia beach, tel. 22810-51119, 22810-51903, 210-9888766, 210-5615456, 6946 910840, www.alexandros-vassilia.gr).
“Alisaxni” (Avlomonas, tel .: 22810-51914, 6973 820795, www.e-kyklades.gr).
«Serifos Palace» (Livadakia, tel .: 22810-51391, 52389, 6933 015977, 6932 191883, www.westcyclades.com).
“Astarti” (Livadi, tel .: 22810-51042, 6977 598119, http://astartiserifos.com).
«Coralli Camping & Bungalows Serifos» (Livadakia, tel .: 22810-51500, www.corallicamping.gr & www.corallibungalows.gr)
Where to eat:
In Megalo Livadi: “The Cyclops” (for beef with red sauce with macaroni and local cheese, chickpeas, marathokeftedes, roasted pork with apple and quince, fresh fish, lobster and roasted lobster).
In Livadi: “Bakakaki” (for marathopita, saganaki with pastourma, yogurt, pancakes and galotyri – type of traditional cheese-).
“Marina” (for fresh fish, seafood and local ‘’mezedes’’).
“Takis” (for fresh seafood and fish, fish soup, tuna salad, all well cooked and with rich cellar of numerous bottles of wines and drinks).
‘Porto Vecckio’ (for Italian pizzas).
In Chora: “Petros” in Myloi (for fried meatballs, lemon couscous and traditional mezedes).
“Marathoreza” (for Mediterranean and local delicacies, such as honey and marathopita).
“Aloni” (for a wonderful view and red-breasted goat, kontosouvli, maratrotiganites, mastelo and sundried tomatoes).
“Stou Stratou” (for delicious varieties and sweets).
“Plakes” (for tender pies and local meat on the grill).
“Luis” (for traditional mezedes with local wine or souma).
“Aerial” (for sweet, coffee, drink and music).
“The Balcony” on the way to Chora (for coffee and drink with great view across the harbor).
In Avlomon: “Margarita” (for goat in the oven and homemade cooked plates).
On Livadakia Beach: “Alexandros – Basel” (for grilled and well cooked plates).
In Platys Gialos: “Nicoulias” (for seafood, cooked and grilled meats, with a great view to Platis Gialos beach).
Traditional recipe of Serifos
2-3 onions finely chopped
300 g fennel
500 g flour
Salt , pepper
Put the onions and the fennel finely chopped in a deep frying pan, boil them with a cup of water until all the water is drawn. Add 2 tablespoons of oil and cook them. We turn off the fire.
In a bowl, put the stuff (onions, fennel), flour, salt, pepper water and make a dough thick enough. Fry the marathon-fritters on medium heat, throwing them in the pan with a spoon.
(The above recipe is from the book “Traditional Foods – Sweets of Serifos” by Mrs. Margarita Paraskevopoulou – Gerontari).
We met a real investment opportunity in Serifos Island, that you may be interested in and we are spoiling for you.