How to do a weekend on Serifos island, your new favorite Cycladic destination

serifos island is your new favorite destination
Serifos Chora cascades off the mountain, image by Stathis Chionidis

Let the pristine beaches, healing vibrations and filoxenia of Serifos island capture your heart

Oh Serifos. I must admit that as I type this, I’m still quite smitten with the place from a recent weekend visit. I almost didn’t leave (no joke, I tried to get rid of my ferry ticket back but alas, no takers…guess no one else wanted to leave, either.)

It has all the charm of its white-washed Cycladic sisters without the intensity (or cost) of islands that tend to be more popular with non-Greeks, such as Mykonos and Paros. It’s also quite small, convenient, has some of the nicest, calmest beaches I’ve ever been to and was absolutely perfect for a solo traveler. It has an ideal mix of young groups of friends, families, couples, and solo weirdos like yours truly.

Mythologically, it’s associated with Perseus and Medusa. Its history is deeply intertwined with the mining industry, and many claim to feel certain effects as a result of its unique geological components.

exploring the Castro of Serifos, our photo

Add to the equation that Serifos has its own unique cuisine (enter: the best capers I’ve ever eaten) and I really can’t speak more to how it’s the ideal dream escape. Oh, and it’s affordable relative to many other Greek islands. I was so captivated by my time here that I put together a *quick* guide to help you make the most of a short visit – though a longer stay is highly advisable.

Livadi (the port area) is an excellent spot to stay, especially if you don’t have a license to rent a motorbike and want to catch public transit. Serifos has ample transportation to its Chora and several of the must-see beaches… more on those below. Serifos island also has an excellent campground right behind Livadakia, one of its beaches, and ample walking trails for those interested in a more active versus “beach bum” experience.

Read on for the DR guide on how to make the most of your trip to Serifos island, including what to eat, where to shop unique Greek designers, and how to make the most of the island’s beaches and landscape.

Eat:

For delicious, locally-endorsed food with a view, check out Aloni and Plakes. Both tavernas are located in Chora, though Aloni is farther down from the main Chora stop, and you’ll want to ask the bus to drop you there.

local dishes on Marathoriza’s menu

The cuisine on Serifos island features many local specialties, including dishes with fennel and the best capers I’ve ever eaten. You can get a taste of these as the aforementioned restaurants, but Marathoriza in Chora specializes in traditional Serifian cuisine.

In Livadi, some locals suggested Restaurant Takis for fish and Stamatis for everything else. I didn’t try either, but will leave those two as an offering… if you try them, I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Beach:

Agios Sostis scampers, our photo

If you only have 2-3 days, below is one possible way to see some of the best beaches…

Take the public transit (check hours upon arrival, but I departed at 11 AM from Levadi) to Psilli Ammos. The beach has rightfully received quite a bit of recognition and was voted Europe’s best beach in 2004, if that’s the sort of thing you care about. It’s excellent for swimming and has two tavernas. There aren’t chairs or umbrellas, but that’s part of the charm, and it has ample trees for shade (but do arrive early to claim your space… I visited on a Saturday and was happy to have arrived before noon).

Serifos Greece is your next favorite Cycladic island
panoramic view approaching Agios Sostis, chapel barely visible in the distance. our photo.

After lunch by the beach, you’ll want to hang a bit longer. I then hopped the 4 PM bus and asked to be dropped at Agios Sostis. This beach stole my heart. DO NOT sleep on it. Explore the area around Agios Sostis chapel and the rocks.

You can also walk from one beach to the other, but you’ll want comfortable shoes and WATER. It may not be your ideal walk in the heat…

Agios Sostis chapel by the beach, our photo

On another day, explore Ganema and Vagia beaches. They’re also located close to one another, and could be done together in a day (though, again, you may not want to rush so much…). Vagia is also home to the COCO-MAT eco-residencies and restaurant. It’s beautiful and trendy if you’re into THAT sort of thing.

Vagia and Ganema are both breathtaking and natural, surrounded by large mountains. The drive from Livadi alone is worth it for the kind of epic, sweeping views that make you understand why these lands inspired myth and drama in ancient times.

COCO-MAT and Vagia Beach, image courtesy of COCO-MAT’s website

SHOP:

serifos island is your new favorite cycladic destination
inside Fe in Chora, a small space I couldn’t help but visit twice

Serifos isn’t a PRIME shopping destination, but it has its share of local shops featuring Greek designers and products. In summary: you can find high-quality Greek design without feeling overwhelmed and without the expense factor of an island like Hydra.

A few that stood out…

outside Fe in Chora. Photo courtesy of their Facebook.

Fe in Chora is a charming jewelry shop where you can find pieces from the owner herself, as well as much loved Greek designer Marmarometry.

A new concept store in Livadi, CUCUCA, is another must-see. Featuring Guanabana hats, Christian Zen, TomyK. and more, the inviting shop has heaps of summer essentials.

Theta – Θήτα The Cycladic Concept Store in Livadi is like a wonderland of amazing Greek designers. I could have spent hours in this store, and they carry some Delphi Reclaimed favorites such as Nefelia-Out of Fashion‘s incredible geometric jewelry. (Read our interview with the brains behind this quirky brand, if you haven’t already!) The owners also make beautiful ceramics and have studio/shop called Kerameio. When I inevitably return to Serifos, I’ll be hitting this store for all “gifts from Greece” shopping. Check out their website, THINKOFSERIFOS, to learn more about their artistic endeavors and philosophy.

EXPLORE:

serifos island is your new favorite cycladic destination and greek island
ruins and vistas from the “Castro” in Serifos, photo by us

Do not leave Serifos without walking to the top of the Castro in Chora, preferably near or right after sunset. DSLR photos to come….

It’s a bit of a hike up, but worth it. Work up an appetite and then enjoy your dinner at Plakes 🙂

Serifos is also brimming with walking paths, many of which are better organized than those found on other islands. Its eco-tourism and mining history make it a destination for those interested in something more than just a “beach bumming” type of vacation.

Paths of Greece has some great resources for those curious.

As does the Coralli Campground website – which, by the way, is an awesome camping location behind Livadakia beach.

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This is by no means a comprehensive guide to Serifos island, and I will be back for more. If you’ve visited or end up going, we’d love to hear what you think.