Where to stay in Sifnos
I first heard of Sifnos back in 2000 when I lived in Athens and a colleague suggested it to me.
He described it as an enchanting destination for the unpretentious Athenians and, more widely, for chill-out travellers.
So I planned my trip and….what a great finding!
The great news is that it has not changed that much since.
It’s still a lovely island with a few gorgeous villages that differ in character so it comes to no surprise that it may be hard to understand where to stay in Sifnos.
In this post, I go through the best areas, so that you have a better view of the island and you can decide where to book your accommodation
But without further ado, let’s dig into it
In this guide you will see
- 1 Best place to stay in Sifnos – in a nutshell
- 2 Where to stay in Kamares (practical, for families, beach and on a budget)
- 3 Accommodations and tips for Apollonia (practical, lively, for couples and trekking)
- 4 Platis Gialos (for families and beach)
- 5 Faros (for couples and trekking)
- 6 Kastro (coolest place)
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Best place to stay in Sifnos – in a nutshell
Sifnos is a small island in the Cyclades halfway between mainland Greece and Santorini.
It does not have any airport, which has helped to keep this island still so enchanting and full of character.
To reach Sifnos, you will need to fly to Athens and from the port of Piraeus you take a ferry.
The sea trip can take from just above 2 hours, with a passengers-only flying dolphin, up to 5 hours with a car ferry.
Here below is a map of the best villages and towns to stay.
Following are a few key points on where to stay in Sifnos
- Best place to stay in Sifnos for sunset: the arriving port town of Kamares is probably the best spot. Book your accommodation on the north side of the small bay, opposite the pier, in the Agia Marina area. You will be able to witness the sun falling in the water, spectacular. Apollonia has also a few bars with rooftops that have a great view over the island and the coast, but they are far from the water.
- Where to stay in Sifnos for families: Kamares is a great choice for a few reasons. It’s practical (your accommodation will be minutes from the pier). It has one of the best beaches on the island. There is a much wider choice of accommodations and restaurants. Finally, you will be a short bus ride from the lovely Apollonia. A good alternative is Platis Gialos, the largest resort area in the south, again with a lovely long beach. You will be more isolated
- Best area to stay in Sifnos for couples: the town of Apollonia is the most romantic option, however, you will be in the centre of the island and you will need a bus ride to reach a beach (15-20minutes). A great alternative is the tiny port village of Faros, for a more secluded and chill-out stay, so picturesque. A real local experience.
- Coolest place to stay in Sifnos: Apollonia is beautiful, however, Kastro is a real gem, almost unreal. One of the most characteristic villages in the Cyclades, without the tourism part of it, almost untouched. There is no much going on there, just a few restaurants, and that’s probably the best part of it. It looks like you are travelling in Greece in the 60s.
- Best place for nightlife: easy, there is no nightlife. This is one of the most relaxing islands in the Cyclades and that’s the main reason to travel to Sifnos. In saying that, the town of Apollonia is the most lively one, with more character and some bohemian cafes and bars, a few opening till very late, with chill-out music. There is also some partying going on, but mostly around the week of the 15th of August with lots of Athenians coming down to have a good time.
- Where to stay in Sifnos for the beach: there are 4 destinations with beaches: Kamares has the larger of all but that is where the ferries arrive (still the water is so clean!). Platis Gialos is another one, long but not wide. It has organised sections. It’s sandy with lovely blue water. Faros beach is small, with a mix of sand and pebbles, probably not as nice as the other two. The last one is Vathi, where you will find the only real resort, with big size pool. My personal choice goes to Platis Gialos, however, Kamares is much more practical with the busses and ferry. It’s a head to head fight though.
- Best area on a budget: Sifnos is not an expensive island. In fact, it’s one of the best value of the Cyclades. You will find most of the cheap accommodations in Kamares, on the port side. They are usually 100-200m from the beach which is great. You will be also a very short walk to the ferry and the bus station. The only drawback is that you will not see the sunset from there as it is the first part of the town to be in the shade from mid-afternoon.
- Best place without a car: you will not need a car on the island. The public bus system works great and it’s very good value for money, besides having frequent runs. There are also about 10 taxis on the island. Book your accommodation in Apollonia and you will be in the hub of the network.
- Best area to stay in Sifnos for trekking: Apollonia and Kastro are both great destinations to stay if you plan to do some trekking. Faros is another great spot.
- Where to stay for a resort stay: there is only one option and that is Elies Resorts in Vathy. It’s a lovely resort, very boutique style with plenty of luxurious details. It has a big swimming pool and even a tennis court. The view from the rooms is spectacular (see photos here)
- Best time to visit Sifnos: obviously this is a very quiet island and from November to April you will be quite likely to share it with just the locals. As the days become warmer in May the island becomes more popular, especially with Athenians that spend the weekend there. June is the start of the summer season when things are becoming busier, especially on the weekend, but still in a relaxed way. Peak season is July and August, especially the first two weeks of August. That is the time where you can find also some partying time in Apollonia. In September and then October things start being extremely quiet. In May as well as October you may experience some coolish days.
- Which month works best for Sifnos: this is down to a personal choice of course. I may just add that in July and August it’s busy everywhere and you should book in advance. August is the only month where you can really party and that’s in Apollonia. In May/early-June and late-September/October, I would recommend staying in either Kamares or Apollonia as the other towns are very quiet and possibly with a few restaurants and bars closed.
For more details on the destinations keep reading below
Where to stay in Kamares (practical, for families, beach and on a budget)
Kamares is the port of arrival to Sifnos, with a very long and wide shallow beach.
The water is absolutely amazing and clean, probably one of the best ports areas I have ever seen in my life.
There is only a small number of ferries arriving each day and the quality of the turquoise seawater is not impacted.
It’s always a subjective choice, however, I think this is the best beach in Sifnos, especially for families that can leave the little ones playing in the very shallow water without worries.
It’s also a very practical place to book your accommodation because your room will be minutes from the ferry boat and you have plenty of bus options to move around the island for day excursions.
The part of Kamares I love the most is Agia Marina (north side of the bay) where you will have the best sunset views of the island.
This is also the town where you will find a good choice of budget accommodations, mostly near the port and the main parking area.
It’s a relaxed and sleepy town except when the ferry arrives or leaves, that’s when you will see some traffic.
Restaurants wise, you have a great choice and they are all very good.
Kafenes is set in a beautiful garden, cooking mostly with locally sourced ingredients with special of the days that adapt to the island availability.
Folie in Agia Marina is a great spot for dinner or drinks, or both, at sunset time.
For one of the best sunset viewpoints, you should book at Villa Frazeska. Absolutely amazing
You will have the whole bay in front of you from the balcony (see photos here)
It’s only 5 minutes from the beach and a short walk from town.
Check availability at Frazeska
For a family holiday, you should check out the Efharis accommodation.
It is a one-bedroom apartment with a modern interior (see photos here)
It’s 200m from the beach and the restaurant area, so convenient.
If you are on a budget then the Meltemi Hotel is really unbeatable.
It’s just 5 minutes from everything and surely one of the best value on the island.
Rooms are very spacious and spotlessly clean.
Accommodations and tips for Apollonia (practical, lively, for couples and trekking)
Apollonia is the main town of Sifnos, right in the centre of the island.
It is still quite a traditional settlement, with most of the people around actually living there all year round.
Right in the centre of the town, you will find a small lane where most of the action is, with nice bohemian bars and a couple of clubs.
Off-season, most of them are closed. They have a soft start in early June and they are fully functional towards the end of the month.
It’s in August, however, that the tiny lane becomes really busy and the party starts, with its peak on the festivity of the 15th of August when it’s actually packed.
The Argo is a historical bar on this lane, with great music and cocktails. Go up to the rooftop for the amazing view.
The Grado Club is the place to go for dancing, with plenty of Athenians till late at night.
The Kafeneio Drakakis has amazing mezedes (small plates to make a meal) in a lovely environment, perfect for dinner
Once in Apollonia, you should stay at Kampos Home for the unique and amazing view (see photos here)
It’s a quiet place metres away for the bar lane, in a perfect location.
The rooms are spacious and clean. Again, the view is the main reason to book at Kampos
Platis Gialos (for families and beach)
Platis Gialos is the biggest village on the south coast with a lovely long beach, calm water and a relaxing vibe.
It’s a great spot for anyone looking for quiet beach time, families and not only.
It may get busy with day-trippers from Apollonia, however, in the late afternoon you will not see so many people around
Once in Platis Gialos, you should check out the Maiolica Restaurant for the amazing local food and the lovely view on the beach
One of the best places to stay is the Ammos Accommodations, right in front of the beach.
You can book either a studio or a one-bedroom unit which works better for bigger families.
They are both incredible value for money.
Faros (for couples and trekking)
Faros is a small and romantic village with a little pier that is picture-perfect.
The village beach is small and nice with a couple of restaurants with table straight on the beach.
However, walk down to the east side, follow the path through the white house and you will end up on a second secret beach called Blycho, a real boutique one.
Well, it may be not that of a secret in August, but on any other month, you will share it with just a bunch of people.
Once in Faros, plan a lunch or dinner at Fasolu for the breathtaking view and the lovely Greek food.
The Γοργόνα (Gorgona) accommodation is the ideal place to stay for couples.
The room is furnished in a classic Greek style with a balcony facing the little bay (see photos here), so cute!
Kastro (coolest place)
This is a settlement over 3,000 years old, with whitewashed housed perched on a small hill.
It used to be the capital of the island, it is now more of an open-air museum, a maze of small lanes to get lost where you will find more small churches than inhabitants.
You can visit Kastro on a short trip, by either bus or private vehicle. You can even walk from Apollonia (although a long one).
Once there you should also make it to the Church of the Seven Martyrs, right on top of the cliff and facing the sea, spectacular.
There are a few restaurants and cafes around. Leonidas Restaurant, right at the entrance of the village, is a must-try for booth the food and the view, besides being a very good value.
You may keep Kastro for a short trip or you may decide to book your accommodation there, a real unique, quiet and calming experience.
The Athina Exquisite Houses offer boutique rooms and studios which are so lovely.
The interior and exterior design has been inspired by the local materials and landscape, unique (see photos here).