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The Serene Charm of Sikinos

View of Kastor, the largest village on the island of Sikinos, Greece
View of Kastor, the largest village on the island of Sikinos, Greece. Credit: limitsios/CC BY 2.0

There are many islands in the Cyclades, all of the them with beautiful sandy beaches and crystal clear waters, but each one having its own unique characteristics. In Sikinos, it is its serene charm that wins over the visitor.

Sikinos (ancient Oinoe or Oenoe) is one of the smaller islands of Greece, located in the southern part of the archipelago between Ios and Folegandros. It has a population of 273. The south side has gentle terrain, while the north-west has a steep cliff 280 meters (918 feet) in height, atop which the town is built.

History

The island takes its name from Sicinos, one of the sons of the King of Lemnos, though in ancient times it was also called Enoe, due to its numerous vineyards. According to mythology King Thoas had to flee from his native island to save himself from the women of the island.

Ancient site of Episkopi, Sikinos, Greece
Ancient site of Episkopi in the Greek island of Sikinos. Credit: limitsios/CC BY 2.0

The women of Lemnos started a rebellion against all the men and killed them one by one. The king managed to escape by hiding in a trunk which floated to Oinoi. There he met a nymph and had a son with her whom he named Sikinos. From here the island took its current name.

The archaeological remains found on the island show that it has been inhabited since prehistoric times. Its first inhabitants arrived on the island in the Mycenaean period, later being populated by the Ionians.

The natural charm of Sikinos

Although most of the Greek islands developed their own infrastructure, and tourism activity flourished, Sikinos lagged behind due to a lack of natural resources and skilled labor. The island has produced fine honey, olive oil and famous wine since ancient times.

The Greek island attracts mostly families and travelers who seek peaceful and quiet holidays. It has all the natural elements that characterize the Cyclades, but without the hustle and bustle of the most popular isles.

For that reason, in recent years several foreign families mostly from Germany, Sweden and Norway have bought old houses on the island, renovated them and spent time there enjoying the serenity of the landscape.

The town of Sikinos (Kastro) is an excellent example of Cycladic architecture with its picturesque alleys and the church Pantanassa at the center. The island’s main attractions are the castle of the Zoodochos Pigi Fountain (1690) and the Diocese of the Roman funerary monument’s monumental facade (2nd-3rd century AD) retrofitted into a Christian church.

Most of the island’s beaches are in sheltered coves and bays at the foot of rocky headlands. One of the most popular, and practically the only one on the island with tourist amenities, is Alopronia, a very long beach with golden sand and crystal clear waters, ideal for diving.

Alopronoia beach in the island of Sikinos, Greece
Alopronoia beach in the island of Sikinos, Greece. Credit:limitsios/CC BY 2.0

Agios Georgios, located very close to Alopronia, has crystal-clear waters and pristine beaches.

To the northeast of Alopronoia is Dialiskari, a small cove that can be reached by boat or on foot. It has white sand, crystalline waters and the characteristic blue of the Aegean Sea and it is surrounded by trees that provide shade on hot days.

Malta is a small cove in the northern part of the island, ideal for relaxing and enjoying total privacy. Some ancient ruins are on the top of a hill above the beach.

The beaches Alopronoia, Agios Georgios and Dialiskari, as well as the island’s unique Black Cave attract many visitors every summer.

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