Sikinos island is a secluded place of Cyclades, geographically located in the southern Cyclades between Folegandros and Ios. With limited tourist development, Sikinos island is the ideal place for peaceful holidays, or it can be visited as a day trip from other islands or short holidays. The port is the main centre of activities in the small island of Sikinos and most accommodation, taverns and mini-markets are found there. There is a bus to Chora, the main village of the island and a few beaches.
A small village is gradually developing around the port, but this is mostly a place with tourist facilities and accommodation. Things to do are few in Sikinos, apart from swimming and hiking. The sandy beach at the port is the most popular and organized beach of Sikinos island. The other beaches of the island are more secluded and can be reached on foot or by bus. The few organized beaches of Sikinos do not have water sports centers, just sunbeds and umbrellas to enjoy a day under the hot sun. A very popular activity on Sikinos island is hiking. As vehicles are limited on the island, people frequently walk from the port to Chora or close beaches, and from Chora to the ancient site of Episkopi.
The towns and villages of Sikinos
CHORA: on the northern side of the island, it is the capital of Sikinos. It is constructed on the slopes of a mountain and offers amazing view to the Aegean Sea. Chora is a great sample of Cycladic architecture, with paved streets, white sugar houses and blue-domed churches. Worth a visit are also the old Monastery of Episkopi and the small but interesting Folklore Museum.
The settlements of Kastro, Vouni and Chorio together are forming a wider settlement called Chora. The entire settlement is surrounded by cliffs to the west and southwest and by walls to the east and southeast.
Kastro settlement was formed around the 15th century and was built on the edge of a cliff 280 metres above sea level. Typically this is the centre of the island where the town hall, the health centre, the post office and the majority of shops, cafes and bars are located. The church of Panagia Pantanassa has a characteristic blue dome and is located on the square of Kastro settlement. It was built in 1787 and inside you can observe the gold plated temple, some Cretan School style paintings and votive offerings to the picture of Panagia Pantanassa.
Chorio is a picturesque settlement of the 17th century, with alleys, old houses, narrow passages and stone steps. A unique and genuine taste of tradition that will lure you into a trip back to the past. Smells, images and an atmosphere of bygone eras, definitely a must-visit when vacationing on the island.
ALOPRONOIA: Alopronoia or Ano Pronia village is a small picturesque port located at the southeastern part of Sikinos, about 4 km from Chora. The population of Alopronoia counts about 50 people. At first sight, Alopronoia gives the impression of a semicircular bay; there is a pier for the fish boats on its left end, and in the middle a sandy beach of Livadi, a very charming beach, along with various small tavervas, cafes, bars as well as some hotels. The busy fishermen with fishing nets, the shining sand, beautiful taverns and colourful boats at the bay, the whitewashed houses and the scrubby and rocky land at the backdrop, all set the landscape of Alopronoia. Alopronoia is known for its intense fishing activity during August to December. The villagers use a special kind of bait called "kaftero" and fish for squids at night. Alopronoia is the centre of tourist activities in Sikinos. There are no night clubs except some taverns with live music found on the waterfront. Sikinos offers a moderate entertainment and, at the same time, presents one of the most serene and tranquil holidays to the tourists. Beaches of Alopronia are clean and pristine and offer complete privacy. Swimming and snorkeling are the main water sports arranged for the tourists. There are tour boats that can get the visitors to the isolated beaches of this island.
The beaches of Sikinos
On Sikinos the visitor will encounter a small number of beaches; nonetheless those vary from tranquil private beaches like Dialiskari beach, to popular ones like Alopronia and Agios Georgios, to satisfy every taste. A remarkable attribute of Sikinos beaches, in contrary to most Cyclades and other islands in Greece, is that most of them are not accessed by road but can be reached through paths leading to private beaches away from crowded spots or by boat making the whole vacationing experience somewhat different than on other islands.
Worth visiting on Sikinos:
- The Temple of Episkopi: located in the homonymous settlement, is the most strange and interesting, at the same time, monument on Sikinos. It was first considered to be an ancient temple of God Apollo but it has been discovered to bear the signs of Roman mausoleum architecture. The structure was built in the 3rd century A.D. and was modified to a Christian church with a dome and a tower bell in the 17th century A.D.
- The Monastery of Zoodohos Pigi (Chryssopigi): located on the northern part of Sikinos, built and perched on the rock, 300 metres above sea level. It was constructed around 1690 operating as a nunnery and was "heavy" as a fortress destined to protect the locals from pirates' raids. In 1834 the monastery was deconstructed due to royal order. In 1978 its renovation started and it is now almost finished. A cell of the structure has been formed to a small folk museum with old tools, utensils and the old wooden door of the nunnery.
- The Black Cave: this is one of the biggest caves among the Cyclades, located on the northern part of Sikinos below the monastery of Zoodohos Pigi. It lies on sea level and is accessible only by the sea
- Byzantine Museum of Sikinos: it is housed in a preserved building of the medieval settlement at the southwest corner of Kastro which is called Paraporti. Paintings of the post Byzantine era as well as icons from the byzantine churches of the island are exhibited in the museum.
- Religious feasts: All religious feasts and celebrations share common activities but they are not always the same as each one of them boasts its own customs and tradition. Generally the locals are gathered to attend the church service and then they celebrate with food, drink, music and dance. Visitors all always welcome to participate and have fun.