EVERYTHING is delicious on Sifnos – a tiny, mountainous island that rises from the dappled blue water of the Aegean sea.
There’s the food bursting with zingy, sunny flavour, a landscape of steep hillsides carved with agricultural terraces, azure-domed churches perched by the sea and whitewashed villages.
Even the air – aromatic with salt, wild herbs and olive trees – smells good enough to eat.
The chicest place to stay is Verina Astra, where an infinity pool, tastefully decorated rooms and terraces jutting over the ocean make it an idyllic spot to soak up the sun. Expect breakfasts of berries, yoghurt, eggs and French toast. Doubles cost from £115 B&B (Verinahotelsifnos.com).
It’s a short stroll from the hotel to the village of Artemonas, with its cobbled streets lined with white, pink and lemon houses. Here you must visit family-run Theodorou, which has been selling hand-rolled amygdolata – traditional almond sweets laced with lemon and rosewater – since 1933.
You can learn more about Sifnos’ cuisine at nearby Narlis Farm. Owner George hosts a feast of a cooking class with dishes such as revithada, a stickily sweet and smoky chickpea stew that takes two days to cook in a wood-fired oven. Classes cost around £60 for three hours (Sifnos-farm-narlis.com).
Kastro, a medieval walled village that clings to the cliffs on the east coast, has several cafes and tavernas tucked down its labyrinthine alleyways. Try Leonidas for typical dishes like mastelo – lamb marinated in red wine and baked overnight in a clay pot – where mains cost from around £8 (Facebook.com/leonidastavern).
For an after-dinner drink, follow Kastro’s winding streets past small chapels and duck through millennia-old archways to find beer and rum bar Kavos Sunrise. It’s tiny but perfectly positioned, with a scattering of colourful cushions and rugs to perch on while looking out over the bay.
Many of the island’s shops – which sell locally crafted jewellery and beautifully-glazed pots spun from Sifnos’ natural clay – are in the capital, Apollonia, a seven-minute drive from Verina Astra.
It’s also worth popping by pottery workshops, such as Apostolidis near the ferry port of Kamares, where Giannis Apostolidis makes expressive sculptures and colourful ceramics (Apostolidis-ceramics.gr/en/).
Take a hike
Hiring a car is handy, but there are cheap taxis and good buses connecting villages – and much of the landscape is best discovered on foot. The hiking paths known as the Sifnos Trails loop the coast and weave past olive groves and monasteries (Sifnostrails.com).
For a beach day, head to Platis Gialos, a stretch of sand backed by chic bars and eateries. Grab a spot at Omega3 for seafood dishes such as sea urchin ceviche, paired with regional wines. Mains cost around
The coastline is laced with smaller beaches and secluded rocky coves. Our favourite swimming spot? Just below the blue-domed church of Panagia Poulati –reached via a short, but steep, hike down from Verina Astra. Floating in the clear water, and having the place all to ourselves, was the most delicious feeling of all.
Flights from the UK to Athens cost from £60 return (Easyjet.com).
Catch a ferry from Piraeus Port to Sifnos, around two hours, from £60 return (Seajets.gr).
Plan your trip at Visitgreece.gr.
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