Serifos

SerifosIn the centre of western Cyclades, between Kythnos and Sifnos, where light of the blue Aegean meets red rocks and white of the houses.Serifos invites the traveller to get to know the place and its people, to find calm and relaxation in golden coasts and to take place in the rhythms of the island’s way of life. Serifos is a small island of Cyclades that impresses its visitors with its wild beauty of mountainous volumes and its enchanting traditional settlement of Hora. With an extent of 75 square kilometres, length of coasts of 70 km and 1200 roughly permanent residents, Serifos maintains intact its authentic island colour, since it has accomplished to remain outside intense tourist growth like other Aegean islands. Its capital is the beautiful Hora of Serifos, built panoramically on the top of an abrupt rock, with a Venetian castle on the top that gazes at the light blue Aegean. The port of Hora, at a distance of 5 km to the south, is Livadi, a picturesque settlement that is stretched out in a well protected by the north winds gulf, where you can swim in a splendid sandy beach. In order to really get to know Serifos you owe to walk in its paths, which lead to many bays and sandy beaches. Serifos is a natural balcony in the Aegean with views to all surrounding islands – Kythnos, Syros, Paros, Sifnos, Kimolos, Milos.

Hora
The beautiful Hora of Serifos, built panoramically on the top of an abrupt rock, with a Venetian castle on the top, which gazes at the light blue Aegean Sea. The settlement has two districts: the Epano Hora and the Kato Hora. Here the traditional Cycladic architecture reveals all its grandeur: white picturesque houses with colourful small door-windows, narrow cobbled streets, white labyrinths which invite visitors to get lost in their beauty, old windmills that catch the eye, reminding of past periods labour.
Above Hora, on the top of a hill you will find the Castle and inside it the church of Agios Konstantinos.
Under the castle, the Pano Piatsa is found, an old commercial centre, built in 1907. Important churches, as well as an archaeological and folklore museum, are located in Hora.

Kastro
A Venetian Castle is found on the top of the hill above Hora.By going up to the castle, we meet two entries, parts of the walls of houses (with Venetian blazons) which shaped the exterior defensive ring and relics of the ancient citadel. From the top of the castle, where the church of Agios Konstantinos is built, the view is impressive while the sunset is one of the most beautiful in the Aegean!

Churches
The churches of Serifos are many and appreciable. Apart from Agios Konstantinos-which is built on the top of the Castle-in the same region, built inside rocks, we find the church of Agios Ioannis Theologos, and next to the precipice, stands the church of Christ with the chapel of Agia Sofia. The church of Agios Athanassios from the 19th century (metropolis of the island), with wood carved iconostasis and marvellous icons, Agios Eleftherios and Evaggelismos, are also found in Hora.
In the southern region between Hora and Megalo Livadi we find the churches of Agios Nikolaos, Agia Triada (in Megalo Horio) and Agios Ioannis Prodromos (in the Avessalou bay).
The church of Panagia (the oldest on the island) with remarkable icons from the 13th century, dominates in the settlement Panagia. Other churches of the region are Agios Stefanos and Panagia Skopiani. After Galani you will meet the imposing Monastery of Taxiarhes, that from a distance resembles a castle, built in 1572 with tall walls for protection from pirate raids.

Museums
In the Archaeological Museum, which is found in the neoclassical building of the Town hall (1904), you will admire a very interesting collection of Hellenistic and Roman exhibits. In the Folklore Museum you will see old photographs, equipment of old houses, as well as samples of the mining wealth of the island. In the open theatre of the Folklore Museum, cultural and artistic events take place during summer.

Megalo Livadi
This is a small settlement next to a splendid beach. The houses were built in 1880. It was the seat of the Serifos-SPILIAZEZA company, which was founded by the French Mining Company of Lavrion, aiming at the excavation of iron ore from the island. The head office of the company and the “Monument” that was built to honor workers that lost their life in the revolt of 1916, stand today in Megalo Livadi.

The monastery of Taxiarhes
Near the Galani village, you will find the eminent Monastery of Taxiarhes which is the most important monument of Serifos. It was founded around 1600, has the form of a fortress, and had a school functioned in its space for centuries. Pay attention to what has remained from the murals of the 18th century; exceptional iconostasis, an embossed two headed eagle in the centre of the floor, but also its appreciable ecclesiastical heirlooms.

Serifos has been inhabited since ancient years and it demonstrates a comprehensive historical path. The myth connects Serifos with Perseas, the son of Zeus and Danae, who lived in the island, and still with Odysseus, who on his return travel to Ithaca came out in Serifos and remained captive of the Cyclops Polyfimos in his terrible cave.Locals still show to visitors, at the Koutalas bay, the rock that Polyfimos threw to Odysseus when he was escaping and sailed from the island, as well as the remnants from huge cyclopean walls.
Serifos is known from antiquity for its mining wealth: lead, silver and other rare ores. The most ancient habitation of the island dates to the 2nd millennium B.C., therefore Serifos was colonized first from the Minoans and later from Mycenaean’s that began exploiting its subsoil. The first residents of Serifos were of “Thessaloaiolic” origin. Later the island was inhabited by Kares, Phoenicians, Cretans and Iones. Then the island faced great development, which was owed mainly to exploitation of iron layers, which made the island known to the ancient world. At the duration of the Persian wars, Serifos was on the side of Athens. In 363 B.C. the Macedonians conquered Serifos. In 266 B.C. the island passes to the hands of the Ptolemy’s of Egypt. In the years that followed, Serifos had the same fate with the rest of Cyclades. In 146 B.C. the Romans dominated in the island and used it as a place of exile. A new historical period begins in 1204, when the Franks arrived.After many centuries, in the years of Venetian governing-with Ermolao Minotto as the sovereign-mines of the island began to operate. Thus, the economy of Serifos met a big blossoming. In 1537, the Turks conquer Serifos. Serifos was included in the newly established Greek state in 1829, like the rest of Cyclades.
Nevertheless, history of the island of Serifos does not stop in the 19th century. During August of 1916, one of the most notable pages of the Greek Labour party takes place. 2000 miners from the mines that at the time were situated at the island are on strike and along with their families are protesting for a clean 8 hour shift, a raise in wages and most important of all: for health and safety requirements in their working environment that have caused a variety in industrial accidents. The result was fatal as 5 people were killed when suppression of the uprising proved to be more than necessary aggressive. The auster monument in the region of Megalo Livadi was constructed in memory of the strikes’ victims as well as of those of industrial accidents in the deepest depths of the Serifos land.
Psili Ammos
In a wonderful environment with wild blossomed lilies and dunes and usually calm blue waters.
Settlement/ Remote: Remote
Approach: Asphalt roadway
Access: Less than five minutes’ walking
Beach: Golden thin sand
Sandy cedars: Yes, innumerable
Taverns: Two, on the beach with parking

Agios Sostis
A narrow strip of sand separates two beaches, one at the north, where waves bluster, and one at the south, with always calm crystal waters and a small church gazing to the Aegean Sea.
Settlement/ Remote: Remote
Approach: Asphalt roadway and 500 meters passable dirt road
Access: Less than ten minutes walking
Beach: Thin sand
Sandy cedars: Yes

Sykamia
Gazing to the north, usually with turbulent sea, ideal for the fans of waves.
Settlement/ Remote: In a settlement
Approach: Asphalt roadway and 500 meters passable dirt road
Access: Less than five minutes walking
Beach: Thin sand and small pebbles.
Sandy cedars: Yes
Taverns: One in the settlement with parking

Platys Gialos
The beautiful long main beach is connected by land or sea with two other smaller but equally beautiful beaches.
Settlement/ Remote: At the end of a small settlement.
Approach: Asphalt roadway and about 1 km of road made of 3Α
Access: Comfortable parking next to the beach.
Beach: Thin sand and small pebbles.
Sandy cedars: Yes
Taverns: One with amphitheatric view to the settlement with parking

Lia
A clean beach, far away from the civilization, with crystal green-blue waters, a paradise for hermits and explorers.
Settlement/ Remote: Remote.
Approach: Asphalt roadway and about 500 meters passable dirt road
Access: Approximately 20 minutes’ walking
Beach: Small pebbles.
Sandy cedars: A large pine

Avlomonas
One of the longest in the Cyclades oriented towards the south, cosmopolitan, with rental umbrellas and deck chairs.
Settlement/ Remote: In the main settlement.
Approach: Asphalt, cement and 3Α roadway, local road.
Access: Comfortable parking next to the beach.
Beach: Golden thin sand
Sandy cedars: Yes, innumerable
Taverns: Innumerable, next to the beach, with comfortable parking.

Livadakia
Settlement/ Remote: In a settlement.
Approach: Asphalt and cement roadway.
Access: From the settlement, without parking next to the beach.
Beach: Golden thin sand
Sandy cedars: Yes, innumerable
Taverns: Two next of the beach, one of them with parking.

Vagia
A long leeward beach for the fans of the sun, the most beautiful on the island, rightfully integrated in the Natura 2000 protection program.
Settlement/ Remote: Remote.
Approach: Asphalt roadway, 3Α, local road.
Access: Less than five minutes walking
Beach: Small colorful pebbles.

Kalo Abeli
For those bearing walking, the sun and the strong swimming in crystal blue waters. Swimming in the calm, leeward waters, they can discover other small remote bays with unique thin golden sand and warm, swallow, crystal waters.
Settlement/ Remote: Remote.
Approach: Asphalt roadway.
Access: More than twenty minutes walking
Beach: Golden thin sand.

Ganema
Such a long beach so that it may have crystal clean calm waters in one side and waves in some distance further.
Settlement/ Remote: Remote.
Approach: Asphalt roadway, local road.
Access: Less than minutes walking
Beach: Golden thin sand.
Sandy cedars: Yes, innumerable
Taverns: One, next to the beach, with parking

Koutalas
Settlement/ Remote: In a settlement.
Approach: Asphalt roadway.
Access: Comfortable parking next to the beach.
Beach: Thin sand and small pebbles.
Sandy cedars: Yes.
Taverns: One, next to the beach, with parking

Megalo Livadi
Settlement/ Remote: In a settlement.
Approach: Asphalt roadway.
Access: Comfortable parking next to the beach.
Beach: Thin sand.
Sandy cedars: Yes.
Taverns: Two, next to the beach, with parking

Agios Ioannis
Settlement/ Remote: At the end of a small settlement.
Approach: Asphalt roadway, local road
Access: Less than 10 minutes walking
Beach: Thin sand and small pebbles.
Sandy cedars: Yes.

You will not really get to know Serifos, if you do not walk in its paths, in a rugged and rocky ground, that however hide green meadows and lead to a lot of bays and sandy beaches, filling the sightseer with majestic pictures. Proposed ways are:

1. Hora-Livadera-Megalo Horio-Megalo Livadi.
This is a route that crosses southern Serifos at a marvellous region included in the network Natura 2000, from the southern coast to the top of Troulos, the highest point of Serifos (582 m.) in the centre of the island. The path leads to the coastal settlement of Megalo Livadi, the old harbour from where the transport of the iron ore took place. Here you will see the elegant neoclassical palace that accommodated the offices and the depots of the mining company and the monument of miners that lost their life in 1916 at the duration of a revolt for the conditions of their work. Near Megalo Livadi, on the slope of the mountain, we find the mineral mines from the 1880-1912 period. The beach in Megalo Livadi is offered for good swimming and medicinal baths.

2. Megalo Horio -Koutalas.
In the bay of Koutalas you will find a small coastal settlement with a splendid beach, at the foothills of the imposing mountain of mines. Here be well prepared for a fascinating travel in time,when observing the old rail system, on stone roads and ramps, where carriages transported minerals from the slopes of the surrounding hills to the loading dock.

3. Koutalas-Aspropyrgos- Psaropyrgos-Kastro Grias.
In the north-west of the bay of Koutalas, you will find ruins of the circular marble Aspropirgos tower, and above the elevation of Kyklopas, those of the stone Psaropyrgos tower,both cherished monuments of the Hellenistic period.Finally on the hill above Koutalas, at the “Kastro Grias”, ruins of walls and residences are still preserved.

4. The Kyklopas Cave.
On the west of the bay of Koutalas, we find the impressive Kyklopas Cave, which was a place of religious adoration in antiquity. The first room of the cave is decorated by stalactites and columns, while the next chamber is covered by a small lake. In the chamber that follows we find an altar, traces of fire and bones, covered with stalagmite material. The access to the cave takes place from Livadi towards the area of Mavra Voladia and from then on another 10min walk.

5. Hora-Panagia.

The street of north Hora, leads after 4 km, to the settlement of Panagia, where the one thousand year old church of Panagia dominates – the oldest church on the island with remarkable icons from the 13th century.

6. Panagia -Sykamia.
The motorway from Panagia, leads to the northern coasts of the island, to one of the most beautiful beaches of Serifos, Sykamia.

7. Panagia –Pirgos-Galani-Moni Taxiarhon-Kentarchos.
From Panagia , the asphalt street is directed north-east to the picturesque settlements of Pirgos, Galani and Kentarchos. After Galani, you will reach to the imposing monastery of Taxiarhes- that from far away resembles a castle- built in 1572 with tall walls for protection from the pirate raids.

How to Arrive
Serifos is connected daily in spring and the summertime with Piraeus with ferries and high speed boats. The island is also connected with the other western Cyclades (Kythnos, Sifnos, Kimolos, Milos) and a few times a week with Paros and Syros.
For more information:
Port Authority of Serifos, Tel. 22810 51470
Port Authority of Piraeus, Tel. 210 4226000-4, 210 4593140, 210 4593150
Port Authority of Rafina, Tel. 22940 22300
GREEK TELECOME: 1440

Local transport
Transport takes place with buses, taxi, rented cars and motorcycles, and with fishing boats that execute regular itineraries towards the most distant beaches.
For more information:
KTEL: 22810 51034, 51211, 51345
ΤΑXΙ: 22810 51245, 51435, Galanos Tel: 6973 801051, Gounaris G. Tel: 6944 473044,
Moustakas Tel: 6944 908637, Chalida P. Tel: 6932 431114

Useful telephones
POLICE: 22810 51300
PORT AUTHORITY: 22810 51470
MUNICIPAL AUTHORITY: 22810 51210
HEALTH CENTRES: 22810 51202

Webpage of Serifos: www.serifos.gr

Local Products
Serifos is famous for its marvellous sausages (louza, siglina and sausages) and its dairy products (mizithra “charaniou”, xinomyzithra, piperati), along with the essential capers and the sun dried tomatoes. The local thyme honey is also exceptional!

Local Recipes
The revithada, marathotiganites and the sun dried octopus are beloved dishes of the island. A classic recipes of Serifos is:

(Materials: 1 kilo dry broad beans, 1 cup olive oil, 3 onions, 1 spoonful tomato paste or ½ kilo fresh tomatoes, 1/2 glass vinegar, 2-3 laurel leaves, Salt, pepper)
We put broad beans in water from the previous evening and in the morning we rinse them well with cold water. We cut onions and sizzle them with a little oil, we add broad beans, tomato, the remainder oil, laurel leaves, vinegar, salt and pepper and as much water as to cover the broad beans and we mix. We boil for two hours, until they are cooked. We can serve hot or cold.

Sources: www.cyclades-tour.gr and www.serifos.gr