Sikinos

Photo Credits to Giulia Raciti

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The Island of Wine

Hidden Treasures, Authentic Festivals, Unspoilt Hospitality and Cobblestone Trails on the Land of the Little Lady of Cyclades
From the time of legends, Sikinos appears as a mysterious refugee and nothing seems to have changed up until now, as it remains a haven for those who are looking the beauty of simplicity. On this island, you might remember what seems forgotten from the gentle rhythms of a different lifestyle. The warmth of the local people and the unspoilt hospitality of the island will make you appreciate the simple moments in life. Hearing narrations for the ancient wines of Sikinos, the wild bees of Sikinos and the traditional custom of Panigirades from the local people of the island attest moments of a forgotten era. The local people are the true soul of Sikinos. You might feel like that they gave you a piece of their heart. As for its natural beauty, the pristine landscapes and sceneries of the small lady of the Cyclades are stunning, just with one word. Undoubtedly, the main village of Sikinos is one of the most authentic traditional settlements in the Aegean. Standing like a balcony to the open sea, the colours are even more intense in early morning. Only then, you will have the opportunity to enjoy the stunning clarity of the atmosphere. Discover the beautiful trails and the charming chapels, enjoy the crystal clear waters and wander around the labyrinthine alleys to enjoy the endless beauty of this pristine paradise. Shining in its simplicity, Sikinos is a hidden treasure located on the edge of the Aegean Sea!

Discover Sikinos

Best of Sikinos

The Capital of Sikinos

The Settlement of Hora is the capital of Sikinos located on the southeast side of the island. Considered as one of the most authentic villages of the Aegean, Hora consists from the settlements of Horio and Kastro. Kastro is the fortified settlement of the main village that was built in the 15th century on the edge of a high cliff. Today, the sole remaining part of the castle is called Paraporti. The heart of Sikinos beats on the spacious square of Pantanassa. The highest point of Kastro can be determined from the three windmills.  If you go to Kastro, you should definitely visit Horio that extends on the south side of Kastro. It is the oldest and most scenic village of the island and a fine sample of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades.

The Monastery of Episkopi

The Monastery of Episkopi is the most important monument of Sikinos located in the on the southwest side of Hora. The temple was constructed in the 3rd century AD as a Roman burial monument, becoming the temple of Apollo Pythius and finally converted into an Orthodox Christian church dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. The temple of Episkopi is surrounded from a complex of byzantine chapels, ancient ruins, wall stones and fragments of marble sculptures. One can access the monastery through a one-hour hiking trail that starts from Hora.

The Circumnavigation of the Island of Sikinos

The Circumnavigation of the Island of Sikinos is a beautiful experience. You will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful beaches of the island that are not accessible by land. These include the emerald waters of Santorinaika, the caves of Agios Panteleimonas, the rocky plaques of Poulati and the pristine seashores of Ai Giannis, Karas and Malta. Excursion boats operate from the harbor of Alopronia.

The Traditional Custom of Panigirades

The custom of hosting religious symbols, in the form of portable icons, within houses is greatly widespread in Sikinos. The host of the religious symbols is known as panigirades. These people are responsible of the icon for an entire year and they should honor it on a daily basis by keeping its holy candle burning day and night. Panigirades have to undertake the organization of the festival on the day of the celebration of the honored saints of the icon. After the festival, they pass the holy icons to their successors according to the waiting list.

Archaeological Sites

The Archaeological Site of Agia Marina dominates the homonymous hill on the southwest side of the island. Remnants of strong defensive enclosure along with ruins of buildings and churches are evident and date back to the Hellenistic and Roman periods. One can access the area through a hiking trail that begins from the monastery of Episkopi, which passes through the Pigadia of Manalis and ends at the chapel of Agia Marina. There, one will have the opportunity to enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding islands.

The Archaeological Site of Paleokastro is located above the bay of Maltas on the northeastern edge of the island. Extended remnants of an ancient settlement can be distinguished. Paleokastro dates back to the Geometrical up until the Hellenistic period. It is believed that the flourishing town of Oenoe might have been located here, as mentioned from numerous writers including Strabo and Pliny. One can access the area through a hiking trail that goes upwards from the beach of Maltas.

Churches and Monasteries

The Church of Panagia Pantohara is one of the most beautiful churches of Sikinos located in the middle of the route from Hora to the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi. The church constitutes a personal solemn promise of Odysseus Elytis, one of the most notable poets of Greece and a Nobel Prize winner, which construction was completed in 2011 from his wife namely Ioulita Iliopoulou, as it was one of the last wishes of the poet.

The Church of Panagia Pantanassa is the cathedral of Sikinos located at the central square of Hora. The church was constructed in 1787 and initially it was dedicated to Timios Stavros. Inside the church, one can admire the gilded wood carved iconostasis and the beautiful icons that belong to the Cretan School. Pay a visit to this pilgrimage center from 19:30 to 21:00 and do not forget to smell the fragrant beeswax, artworks of the local women of Sikinos.

The Monastery of Episkopi is the most important monument of Sikinos located in the on the southwest side of Hora. The temple was constructed in the 3rd century AD as a Roman burial monument, becoming the temple of Apollo Pythius and finally converted into an Orthodox Christian church dedicated to the Dormition of the Virgin. The temple of Episkopi is surrounded from a complex of byzantine chapels, ancient ruins, wall stones and fragments of marble sculptures. One can access the monastery through a one-hour hiking trail that starts from Hora.

The Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi stands on the edge of a cliff on the northeast side of Hora. It is a female monastery that was built in 1690, as evidenced from the fortified architecture, the battlements and the murder holes. However, its operation was terminated in 1834 following an order of King Otto, the first king of Greece. The monastery was the last resort of the inhabitants each time the island was attacked from pirate invasions. It remains open to the public from June to September. Here, one can enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding areas.

Museums

The Byzantine Museum of Sikinos is located at the main square of Hora. Exhibits include post-byzantine icons of the School of Crete. Following the fall of Constantinople, many painters fled to Crete and developed a style of icon painting namely School of Crete. The icons of the byzantine collection belong to this school.

The Folklore Museum of Sikinos is housed in an old olive oil press in Horio. The museum exhibits a private collection of old agricultural objects, household utensils and traditional media for the processing of olive oil. The olive oil press used to be the family home of an American expatriate who served the US Navy. The museum is open for the public every July and August.

Promenades & Villages

Alopronia is the harbor of Sikinos located on the south side of the island. The longest beach of the island, Livadi, is adjacent to the harbor.  Enjoying a coffee along the pier before the evening stroll is highly recommended. Also, you can either take the bus to Hora and Episkopi from Alopronia or the boat to discover the beautiful beaches of Sikinos that cannot be accessed by land.

Hora is the capital of Sikinos located on the southeast side of the island. Considered as one of the most authentic villages of the Aegean, Hora consists from the settlements of Horio and Kastro. Kastro is the fortified settlement of the main village that was built in the 15th century on the edge of a high cliff. Today, the sole remaining part of the castle is called Paraporti. The heart of Sikinos beats on the spacious square of Pantanassa. The highest point of Kastro can be determined from the three windmills.  If you go to Kastro, you should definitely visit Horio that extends on the south side of Kastro. It is the oldest and most scenic village of the island and a fine sample of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades.

Sunset Spots

Spot: Church of Agia Anna, North Sikinos

Spot: Church of Agia Marina, Southwest Sikinos

Spot: Church of Paraskevi, North Sikinos

Spot: Three Windmills, Southeast Sikinos

Excursions

Boat Tour: The Circumnavigation of the Island of Sikinos is a beautiful experience. You will have the opportunity to discover the beautiful beaches of the island that are not accessible by land. These include the emerald waters of Santorinaika, the caves of Agios Panteleimonas, the rocky plaques of Poulati and the pristine seashores of Ai Giannis, Karas and Malta. Excursion boats operate from the harbor of Alopronia.

Boat Trip: The Island of Ios is an island of history since the depths of centuries alleged as the home of Homer. An island with magnificent beaches, beautiful sceneries of extreme natural beauty and a lively nightlife. Ios hides inexhaustible mysterious beauties that will fascinate you with the spirit of Homer wandering around the island under the sun of the Aegean. Charming chapels and archaeological treasures, dreamy beaches and cultural attractions, Ios has managed to tie everything. It is an island of diversionary, which gives you the opportunity to meet the other, unseen side of it, an ideal place for exploration. When you arrive at the harbor of Gialos, the whitewashed church of Agia Irini will salute you while your eyes will be captivated from the beautiful village of Hora, the impressive windmills of Ios and the churches if you look higher, a landscape of traditional beauty worth seeing before you disembark. As for Hora, it is one of the finest villages of the Cyclades, a true specimen of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades. Whitewashed houses and blue windows, stone windmills and light blue domes, labyrinthine alleys and flowery courtyards spread amphitheatrically on the slope of the hill of the medieval castle. Ios is waiting for you to discover it, as it desires to introduce to you the side that is always left unexplored. The rugged coastline is dotted from scattered whitewashed churches that add a special touch of the grey mountains of Ios, overflown from olive trees and vineyards. One can say that Ios knows that the secret to remain forever young is at your heart.

Boat Trip: The Island of Folegandros has built its own myth as the island of the measure with residents keeping the authenticity of this mysterious island alive. While approaching the harbour of Folegandros, you will be fascinated from the barren beauty of the towering cliffs that resemble just a rocky mountain. Folegandros has built its own myth as the island of the measure as the residents have managed to maintain the authenticity of this mysterious island alive. The beautiful villages and the pristine beaches will definitely captivate the eyes of the travellers. Its just this wild beauty of the barren and rugged sceneries of Folegandros. As for Hora, it is one of the most beautiful villages of the Aegean, a true sample of the traditional architecture of the Cyclades. Scattered whitewashed houses with colourful windows, purple bougainvillea hanging amongst the successive charming squares and labyrinthine alleys perching on the edge of the vertical cliff. Undoubtedly it is one of the most beautiful and oldest medieval villages of the Cyclades. Folegandros creates a bohemian atmosphere with the romanticism of Hora and its medieval colours, the charming scattered chapels and the magnificent sunset colours under the scents of the shrubs of thyme and oregano that decorate the dry slopes of the arid landscape. The puzzle of the island is completed with the breezy landscape of Karavostasis dominated from the reddish rocks, and the traditional cottages and stone windmills of Ano Meria. The tremendous beauty of Folegandros will make you forget everything.

Activities

Bicycling and Mountain Biking: The mountainous topography of Sikinos makes it an ideal destination for cycling lovers. As the existent of asphalt road is scarce, the beautiful terrain of the island is also ideal for mountain biking.

Diving: The varied coastline of Sikinos offers numerous exciting explorations for diving enthusiasts. One will find a diving center at the harbour of of Alopronia.

Hiking and Walking: Sikinos hosts numerous paths ideal for lovers of hiking. Until the end of the spring, the northern side of Sikinos is a botanical garden with rare wild flowers. In the middle part of the island, the landscape becomes more mountainous offering panoramic views to the surrounding island while the south side of Sikinos has numerous sites of pilgrimage interest.  (1) One of the most beautiful routes is the one that starts from the monastery of Episkopi and leads to the chapel of Agia Marina. There, you will have the opportunity to admire one of the most beautiful sunsets of Sikinos. (2) Another interesting trail includes the one that starts from the steps leading to the Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi at Kastro. Following the path, you will pass the heliport and the church of Prophet Elias. From there, the trail continues uphill between the stone walls of Agia Triada. After thirty minutes, you will see the narrow path that leads to the beach of Malta. There, you will also have the opportunity to discover the archaeological site Paleokastro. Discover more information from the Municipality of Sikinos.

Sailing: With a coastline of forty square kilometers, Sikinos is an ideal place for sailing enthusiasts. There are numerous interesting places to explore including caves, rocky isles and inaccessible seashores. The southeast coast has milder coasts while the northwest side is wilder. It is worth seeing the imposing entrance of the Black Cave below the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi and the peculiar rocky formations in Kantouna of Athanasena.  Ideal anchorage points include the pier of the port of Alopronia along with the bays of Agios Panteleimonas and Malta. The bay of Agios Georgios is also a favorite spot for yachts. Keep in mind that the passage between the isles of Kalogeros and Karavos on the southernmost side of Sikinos are quite rough.

Beaches

Agios Georgios is a golden sandy and pebbled beach with crystalline waters located on the east side of the island. The beach is ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. In a close distance, there is a fish tavern. The beach is accessible either by car or by boat from the harbor of Alopronia.

Agios Panteleimonas is a sandy beach with blue waters located on the southeast side of the island. The beach is ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. A small cave offers natural shade. Agios Panteleimonas is accessible either by boat or by a path from the harbor of Alopronia.

Diakiskari is a sandy beach with blue waters located on the northeast side of the island. The beach is ideal for those looking for tranquility and relaxation. The sandy shore is covered with numerous trees that provide shade. The beach is accessible either from quaint path from the harbor of Alopronia or by boat.

Livadi is a long sandy beach with blue waters located on the east side of the island. It is the longest beach of Sikinos with numerous amenities including sunbeds, umbrellas and fish taverns. Livadi is the beach of the harbor of Alopronia.

Malta is a sandy and pebbled cove with crystalline waters located on the northernmost side of the island. The beach is fully exposed to the sun, so it is advisable to bring an umbrella with you. The beach is ideal for those looking for total privacy. The beach is accessible only by boat.

Santorineika are two pebbled coves with emerald waters located on the southern side of the island. The beaches are ideal for those looking for diversified landscapes. Santorineika are accessible either from a long hiking trail or by boat.

Coffee Corners, Gastronomic Delights and Cocktails Inspirations

Coffee Corners

Anemelo: Coffee and Pastries, Hora

Iliaxtida: Coffee and Pastries, Hora

Melitenia: Coffee and Pastries, Hora

Gastronomic Delights

Almyra: Seafood, Agios Georgios

Etsi Kai Allios: Greek Cuisine, Hora

Kapari: Ouzo and Meze, Hora

Klimataria: Greek Cuisine, Hora

Meltemi: Seafood, Alopronia

Steki Tou Garbi: Seafood, Hora

Cocktails Inspirations

Anemelo: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Kastro: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Themonies Club: Cocktails and Drinks, Hora

Local Products & Specialties

The local products of the island include fig, honey and olive. The islanders are known for collecting and preserving pure honey. Sikinos is also known for its delicious locally made cheese and pasteli, a sweet of sesame seed baked in honey. However, the island was well known for its excellent wine since the ancient times, as Sikinos was called Oenoe, a word derived from the word oenos meaning wine.

The local specialties of the island include stuffed lamb, rabbit baked in the oven with potatoes, rooster cooked in wine and red sauce with spaghetti, Greek salad with locally produced caper, diagkourenia, a porridge from watermelon juice, and dough poured with honey and sesame on top.

Events & Festivals

Every summer, the Documentary Days Film Festival takes place on the islands of Folegandros and Sikinos.

Every summer, the Festivities of Sikinos takes place on the island. The festival is a collaboration of the municipality of Sikinos and the Media dell’ Arte creative team.

Every 27th of July, the traditional celebration in honor of Agios Panteleimonas takes place on the island. The feast is followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Every 6th of August, the traditional celebration in honor of Timios Stavros takes place on the island. The feast is followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Every 15th of August, the traditional celebration in honor of the Dormition of Virgin Mary takes place on the island. The feast is followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Every 14th of September, the traditional celebration in honor of Holy Transfiguration takes place on the island. The feast is followed from traditional music, dance and food.

Every August, the Summer Festival of Sikinos takes place on the island. Numerous musical and cultural events are held during the last two weeks of August.

History & Mythology

Mythology

In ancient times, the name of Sikinos used to be Oenoe that derives from the work oenos meaning wine in Greek. According to mythology, the women of Lemnos killed the entire population of men of the island. However, King Thoas managed to escape with the help of Hypsipyle, his daughter, who put him in a large jar and threw him to the sea. Thoas was eventually rescued from the fishermen of the island of Oenoe (Sikinos). A local nymph was married with Thoas and had a son named Sikinos.

History

Archaeological remnants found on the island show that Sikinos has been inhabited since the Mycenaean times. The island was first occupied from the Ionians in the 10th century BC followed from the Dorians in the 5th century BC. Sikinos experienced numerous pirate invasions, as the other islands of the Cyclades. The island was conquered from the Venetians until it fell under the Ottoman Empire in 1537. The people of Sikinos actively participated in the Greek Revolution of 1821, and the island got its freed back in the 19th century becoming a part of the Greek State in 1830. One of the most significant historical facts in the history of Sifnos occurred in the period of the dictatorship of Ioannis Metaxas (1936-1940). More than one thousand people, mostly communists and socialists were deported to the Cyclades while the refugees outnumbered the island population. During the Second World War, the island fell under the Italian and German occupation.

Travel & Transport

By Boat (135 Nautical Miles): Sikinos is accessible by boat from the harbor of Piraeus. The journey usually lasts seven to eight hours. Sikinos is also connected with the islands of Folegandros, Ios, Kimolos, Serifos, Sifnos and Thirassia amongst others. The easiest way to travel to Sikinos is by airplane to Santorini. Then, you can take the boat to Sikinos from there. The journey usually lasts two hours. Book your tickets with FerriesinGreece.com !

Mysterious Greece Tips

A Handful of Salt from Santorineika Beach, Wine Tasting at Manalis, Pasteli on Fifteenth of August and Sunset Views from the Church of Panagia Pantohara

Grasp a handful of salt from the beach of Santorineika, taste the exquisite wine varieties of Manalis Winery, eat the traditional delicacy of pasteli on the religious celebration on the August 15 and admire the views from the church of Panagia Pantohara!

Book and Novels Under the Sun of the Aegean

Reading your favorite book under the sun of the Aegean is just marvelous! So, make sure you bring your favorite book with you!

Carved from the Sea and Wind: The Black Cave

The Black Cave is located below the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi in the most windswept point of Sikinos. It is one of the largest caves in the Cyclades. One can access it solely with the excursion boats departing from the port of Alopronia.

Escape from the World

Sikinos is an ideal destination for those looking for an escape from the real world!

Hiking at Its Best: Sikinos Hinterland

Sikinos is full of paths made for you to discover the mysterious beauty of the island! One will have the opportunity to discover traces of ancient settlements, inaccessible beaches, remote caves, byzantine churches and exquisite natural beauty sceneries protected from the European Network of Natura 2000. The protection of the environment as well as the preservation and maintenance of the footpaths ranks high in the agenda of the Municipality of Sikinos. One of the most beautiful routes is the one starting from the monastery of Episkopi that leads to the chapel of Agia Marina. There, you will have the opportunity to admire one of the most beautiful sunsets of Sikinos. Discover more information from the Municipality of Sikinos.

Observing like An Olympian God

Sikinos offers magnificent views to the endless blue of the Aegean. If you decide to visit the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi on the hill of Hora, you will enjoy panoramic views towards the endless blue of the Aegean. Also, the church of Panagia Pantohara stands like a fortified castle in front of the Aegean Sea. On the hill of Agia Marina, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful sunset views of the island!

Participate in the Custom of Panigirades

The custom of hosting religious symbols, in the form of portable icons, in houses is greatly widespread in Sikinos. The hosts of the religious symbols are known as panigirades. They are responsible of the icon for an entire year and they should honor it on a daily basis by keeping its holy candle burning day and night. The panigirades have to undertake the organization of the festival on the day of the celebration of the honored saints of the icon. After the festival, they pass the holy icons to their successors according to the waiting list.

Pay your Respects to the Church of Odysseus Elytis

The Church of Panagia Pantohara is one of the most beautiful churches of Sikinos located in the middle of the route from Hora to the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi. The church constitutes a personal solemn promise of Odysseus Elytis, one of the most notable poets of Greece and a Nobel Prize winner, which construction was completed in 2011 from his wife namely Ioulita Iliopoulou, as it was one of the last wishes of the poet. From there, you will enjoy one of the most beautiful views from the island of Sikinos! Every September, the traditional celebration in honor of the saint is held in the church.

Relaxing in Sikinos

It will be quite easy to adapt to the simple rhythms of life of Sikinos. So, make sure you leave all of your problems and thoughts in the ferryboat! Once you step in Sikinos, the air of serenity will definitely capture your body and soul!

Taste the Exquisite Honey of Sikinos

The honey of Sikinos is famous for its intense aroma, its sweet taste and its vibrant color throughout Greece! On the island, there are numerous honey producers who produce honey! Don’t miss the opportunity to taste the honey of Sikinos!

Wine Experiences: Oenoe or Sikinos?

In the ancient times, Sikinos was known as Oenoe due to its exquisite wine varieties. Today, George Manalis was a little bit visionary and became a winemaker. Started off with one small vineyard, he now serves an ecological vineyard of twenty acres producing three thousand bottles a year. Manalis Winery is open for visitors and it is located on the northwestern side of the island. There, you will have the opportunity to taste the wine varieties and discover the traditional way of wine production. Also, the balcony of the winery is blessed with panoramic views of the Cyclades islands!

Photo Credits

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Note: All the images are copyrighted from their owners. Please see Terms & Conditions. You can find the original images at the following links:

Agios Georgios: Giorgos Dachris by Flickr

Church of Agia Marina: Ioannis Kotsis by Yperion.wordpress.com

Church of Episkopi: Ilias Tz by Flickr

Church of Panagia Pantohara: Dimitris Athanasiou by E-theotokario.blogspot.com

Kastro Neighborhood: Nikos Desyllas by Flickr

Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi: Micheline Canal by Flickr

Sunset over Sikinos: EnKayTee by Flickr

Turquoise: Theofilos Petsios by Flickr