Greece, with its multitude of islands, is a dream trip for many. While Santorini and Mykonos are frequently in the spotlight, there are some hidden treasures that provide a more true, unspoilt Grecian experience. For those who want to take the route less traveled, here are three lesser-known Greek islands, including the lovely Sifnos.
In this article:
Nestled in the Cyclades, Sifnos strikes a perfect balance between tradition and modernity. With its whitewashed houses, labyrinthine alleyways, and cerulean blue waters, it’s a slice of paradise.
- Culinary Delight: Sifnos boasts a rich culinary tradition. Be sure to savor local dishes like “revithada” (chickpea soup) and “mastelo” (lamb cooked in red wine).
- Artistic Heritage: Known for its pottery, you can visit local workshops and even get your hands dirty in a pottery class.
- Monasteries and Churches: The island is dotted with beautiful churches and monasteries, each with its unique history and architecture.
Named after Icarus, who, according to myth, fell into the sea nearby, Ikaria is more than just its folklore.
- Blue Zone Island: Ikaria is known for the longevity of its residents. Some attribute this to the relaxed pace of life, while others believe it’s the local diet and wine.
- Thermal Springs: The island has numerous natural hot springs, believed to have therapeutic properties.
- Panigiria Festivals: Experience local culture by attending one of these community festivals with music, dance, and food.
A stone’s throw away from the bustling Santorini, Folegandros is a haven of tranquility.
- Cliff-Top Hora: The island’s main town is perched high on a cliff, offering panoramic views of the Aegean Sea. The town is a maze of medieval streets, lined with bougainvillea.
- Secluded Beaches: Unlike the more popular islands, Folegandros offers beaches that are peaceful and often deserted.
- Local Gastronomy: Relish the flavors of dishes like “matsata” (handmade noodles with rooster or rabbit) and “karpouzenia” (dessert made with watermelon, honey, and sesame).
While the allure of popular Greek islands is undeniable, there’s a unique charm in exploring the less frequented ones. Sifnos, Ikaria, and Folegandros offer not just stunning landscapes but a chance to immerse oneself in the authentic Greek way of life. So, pack your bags and set sail to discover the hidden treasures of Greece. 🇬🇷🏝️🌅
How greeks travel to their islands
Greek residents have been traveling to their islands for generations, both for leisure and to visit family and friends. While the methods and frequency might differ from one individual to another, here’s a general overview of how Greeks themselves travel to their islands:
- Ferries and Boats: This is the most common mode of transportation to the islands. Major ports like Piraeus, Rafina, and Thessaloniki serve numerous islands daily. Greeks prefer booking tickets in advance, especially for summer weekends and national holidays when ferries can be fully booked. They often have their preferred seating areas and might bring along snacks, a frappé coffee, or even a tavli (backgammon) set!
- Domestic Flights: For islands that are further away or for those looking for a quicker mode of transportation, domestic flights are available. Airlines like Aegean Airlines, Olympic Air, and Sky Express operate routes to many islands.
- Private Boats: Greeks who own boats or yachts might travel to the islands privately, especially if they have summer homes or businesses on a particular island.
- Group Tours: While this is more common for tourists, some Greeks might opt for group tours or packages that offer deals on transportation, accommodation, and sometimes meals.
- Overnight Stays: For distant islands or for those wanting to maximize their stay, Greeks might take overnight ferries. These ships often have cabins, and it’s common for families or groups of friends to book a cabin together.
- Local Knowledge: Many Greeks have tips and tricks for traveling, such as knowing the best time to book tickets, which ferry line is the fastest, or which airline offers the best deals.
- Travel Light: Given the frequency with which some Greeks travel to the islands, they’ve often mastered the art of packing light. For those visiting family, this is especially true, as many essentials might already be waiting for them at their destination.
- Off-Peak Travel: While tourists often flock to the islands in the summer, Greeks might choose to visit in the shoulder seasons (late spring or early autumn) to avoid crowds and get better deals.
- Connections and Networks: Greeks often have family or friends on various islands. This network can be invaluable for getting recommendations, finding accommodations, or even securing a last-minute travel deal.
In essence, traveling to the islands is a cherished tradition for many Greeks. Whether it’s for a weekend getaway, a summer holiday, or a family reunion, the journey is often as memorable as the destination itself.