Why Visit Sikinos Island

September 2021: Sikinos Island has all of the beauty of Santarini-high sea cliffs, white walled villages but without the over-development and droves of tourists. Sikinos is a quiet island, which still has working donkeys. One of the reasons I chose Sikinos is because I read from other travelers that it resembles what Greece used to be like before the arrival of mass tourism.  There are only about 300 permanent residents on the island and only a few thousand visitors arrive every year compared to millions in Santorini. Sikinos is also a favorite get-away for actor, Tom Hanks, who is known to frequent the island because of it’s relaxing and laid back character. 

Most of Sikinos Island is un-inhabited wilderness only accessibly by hiking trails or by boat. Although few people live on the island now, there are traces of ancient villages left all through out the island. Hiking trails that lead over it’s mountainous interior will take you passed village ruins, abandoned churches and farming terraces. Remote pebble stone beaches of marble greeting turquoise green waters can still be found throughout it’s remote shorelines. 

 

How to Get to Sikinos Island

The only way to reach Sikinos island is by ferry. There is no airport on the island. During the summer there is a daily ferry that runs between the islands of Ios-Sikinos and Santarani. Outside of the summer months the frequency of ferries to the island drops significantly and is subject to bad weather cancellations.

We reached Sikinos by taking a ferry from Heraklion, Crete to Santarini. We spent a day relaxing in Santarini and then took the evening vehicle ferry to Sikinos. Only 8 of us departed from the ferry and the ferry was off as soon as it stopped. We arrived in the dark and had no idea how beautiful the island was until the break of dawn the next day. 

Map of Sikinos in the Aegean Sea

View of Sea Clifftop Dwellings on Santarini Island

Where We Stayed

View Outside Our Bedroom of Sunrise from Our Roof Terrace

We stayed in the top floor of a beautiful house owned by a Greek grandmother. She was very hospitable, made us cookies and constantly looked after us to make sure were happy. Her beautiful house was built by her husband, who was born on the island of Sikinos.  He worked his whole life in order to build dreamhouse on Sikinos. He finally achieved his dream of building it but sadly did not live long enough to enjoy it.

The house was heavenly. We had the entire top floor to ouselves with a massive outside deck overlooking the ocean, sea cliffs and mountains. When we awoke in the morning, I was captivated by the beautiful view and I found it very hard to leave the house and explore the island.

Within walking distance was the small village of with a restaurant, store and marina. During the day most of the locals could be found sitting  by the marina chatting over a coffee by morning and a glass of wine by evening. 

View Outside Our Bedroom of Sunrise from Our Roof Terrace

Below the cliff in from of our place was a beautful cove with turquise green waters spalshing among marbel and quartz rocks. We woke up after sunrise and went for a swim, exploring the small sea caves along the shore. 

Cove outside our homestay where we swam every morning

Boat Trip Around the Island

Marina in Alopronia Village

After having breakfast by the marina in town, we rented a moped for the cheap price of 15 euro a day. I could only get fuel at the only gas station in town for the few hours around noon that it was open during the day. While I was getting gas I asked the gas station attendant to give me a refersher on driving a moped.  After I secured fuel for the moped, we found a local guy with a boat that runs daily trips around haff of the island to some of the remote pebblestone beaches where there are no roads. We made arrangements with the captain, who didnt speak english and for a cheap 25 euro trip, Paula, I and  5 others set off by boat to see the beauty of the island’s remote coast.

Remote Beach we visited by boat with an old church overlooking it

Remote Beach we visited by boat

The weather was idyllic, and the Mediterranean waters placid. It was heaven on earth. We visited three remote beaches and swam ashore from the boat, swimming into small caves admiring the polished marble boulders and sparkling rocks.

Remote Cave we visited by boat

Exploring the Island by Motorbike

We set off to explore the island on the motorbike. Driving the bike up and down the steep hills with Paula holding on to my back was exhilarating but difficult with the strong winds. The road was empty with few other vehicles on the island. We followed the paved road to it’s end along the towering sea cliffs overlooking the Folgenadros Island in the distance. Dotting the cliffs were random abandoned small church’s from an era that has long since passed.

We stopped at 1800 year old tomb of Episkopi, which is under renovation and sadly the shoddy techniques of restoration are destroying the beauty of the ancient tomb. During the restoration efforts of the tomb, archeologists found a mysterious women, whose body was perfectly preserved along with treasures and jewelry. It is believed that she was a Roman queen. 

Around the tomb, trails led passed the scrubland through the stone walls and farming terraces that are that is left from villages that existed hundreds of years ago. We followed a path through the mountain top to an old stone church. More paths continued on to the remote ends of the island and I wish we had more time to explore. 

Paula and I on a motorbike

View of the island from the top of the sea cliffs

Paula Inside a 700 plus year old plus Abandoned Church on the Mountaintop Near the 1800 year old tomb of Episkopi

We also stopped at a Zoodochos Pigi Monastery overlooking the village of Kastro. The monastery is perched atop the tallest peak of the island, clinging precariously to a sheer sea cliff overlooking the village of kastro and connected by a marble stone path. it is a working monastery still occupied by a female nun. The top feature photo is of the view looking out from the top of the monastery walls overlooking the village of Kastro and the old church sitting below. 

 

 

Zoodochos Pigi Monastery

Zoodochos Pigi Monastery

Zoodochos Pigi Monastery

Paula with Resident Cat at Zoodochos Pigi Monastery

Old Walkways Connecting Village of Kastro and Zoodochos Pigi Monastery

Random Old Church Abandoned on Sea Cliff

On our last day on Sikinos, for the first time on the trip, we slept in and relaxed. We woke up gradually, listened to the sounds of the waves below our balcony and had a relaxing breakfast. Until our ferry departed in the afternoon to Santaroni, we did nothing but relax, swimming in the cove and chatting with our Greek grandmother host. Sikinos is a magical and awesome place. 

 

 

Saying Goodbye to Sikinos by Ferry

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