Sifnos is a beautiful, small island in the central Cyclades, fringed by sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters. The island has a subtle appeal and pervasive tranquility, all heightened by its excellent food scene.
Sifnos is an island famed for its pottery, with dozens of studios lining the streets. The island’s many boutiques are a treasure trove of ceramics, from rustic terracotta pots to delicate glazed vases. One of the oldest manufacturers is Atsonios, who produce their distinctive white-looped pieces from a workshop overlooking the small bay of Vathi. For a more contemporary style, head to Julie Tzanni’s atelier, where porcelain, stoneware and ceramic are transformed into delicate items of homeware and jewellery.
It is thought that the island’s historic pottery culture led in turn to highly developed cooking capabilities, resulting in today’s exceptional culinary scene. Sifnos is remarkable for its world-standard food, focussing on local produce complimented with international techniques, twists and standards. Birthplace of acclaimed chef Nikolaos Tselementes, who wrote a seminal Greek cookbook in 1926, good food is in the island’s DNA. Although seafood is important, it is in fact stews and casseroles that take pride of place on local menus – baked, of course, in local, handmade pots. Be sure to try the rivithia (chickpea soup), a speciality dish baked over charcoal in a traditional earthenware dish. Alternatively, for a classic taste of the Aegean, take a seat at the seafront Omega 3, a tiny fish bar favoured by Tom Hanks and Scarlett Johansson, where fresh sea urchin, ‘Greek island’ tacos and slow-cooked octopus are served right by the beach. After dinner, those with a sweet tooth will love sampling local amigdalodta, soft almond cookies, or velvety loukoumi (Turkish delight).
Beach-lovers are spoilt for choice when it comes to choosing a secret cove or hidden bay on Sifnos. Vroulidia Beach is difficult to access, but well worth the effort, whilst Chryssopigi looks out towards an elegant, white-washed monastery perched on a remote promontory.