Sifnos sailing holidays

The island of Sifnos - Σίφνος lies approximately in the middle of the triangle formed by Milos, Serifos and Paros.

The north and north-west of the island are occupied by barren ranges of hills, the east and south by gentler uplands.

The coast is much indented and lined by cliffs for much of its length.

Agriculture (particular onion-growing) on the island's fertile soil, the manufacture of pottery of traditional type and weaving bring the inhabitants a modest degree of prosperity.

The Chrisopigi Monastery - Παναγία Χρυσοπηγή is just south of the exceptionally blue waters of Faros and Apo­kofto.

Sifnos island ports & anchorages

The port of Kamares on the west coast of Sifnos offers only a few useful berths behind the ferry mole.
Our yacht alongside the ferry quay, in Kamares, just after sunset: docking is allowed there after the last ferry has left port. A magical spot with lots of cats to cuddle

Kamares

Kamares - Καμάρες is the main & ferry port of Sifnos where the optimal berths are typically appropriated by local (fishing) boats. There is usually just room for 3 – 6 visiting yachts.
However, once the last liner has left the bay, the Port Police will allow you to dock alongside the ferry mole. Until that moment you will have to wait at anchor → aim for the NE corner of the bay in 5 m.

Note, that the quay is a lee shore in the prevailing winds / Meltemi; not always good holding so use all of your chain; otherwise allround protection, but very strong and lasting W and S winds can bring in perilous waves.

Eventually – it's in the planning stage – the port of Kamares will be getting an L-shaped breakwater creating a basin with additional room for charter yachts / catamarans.

Enjoy the interesting Greek dishes at the “Absithe” taverna at the start of the beach; also from that beach you can walk the very steep path NE all the way up to Agios Symeon Church - Άγιος Συμεών for spectacular views. In the evening of the 31st August there are festivities here – Sifnos is renowned for its religious festivals.
Uphill towards the south there is the rewarding trail leading to the small archaeological site of Mavri Spilia.

The more eminent restaurants (notably To Liotrivi - Το Λιοτρίβι) can be found in Apollonia, the capital of the island. Rent scooters to visit the villages of Faros, Exambela, Artemonas, Petali, Kastro and indeed Apollonia.  

Agios Giorgios / Cherronisos

Agios Giorgios - Αγιος Γεώργιος, known to the inhabitants as Cherronisos - Χερρονησος is a curved cove which ends in a depressing beach overwelmed by permanent moorings. Local fishing boats and the odd tripper boat claim the useful quaysides, so you probably need to anchor Lat Long
Holding is poor in some places: take a line ashore and note that the wind inside can have the complete opposite direction than out at sea even expect gusts from the south-east.
The least attractive venue on Sifnos…

Kastro

Kastro - Κάστρο is a truly monumental and cerulean anchorage which is – alas – susceptible to N – SE winds. Good holding in sand / shingle, avoid the patches of weed; note that Navionics and especially EagleRay show the correct situation. Anchor as close as possible to the rocks south of the beach and take a line ashore or place the second anchor between the submerged rocks Lat Long

The natural stronghold of Kastro, the former capital of Sifnos, has been continuously occupied since the Geometric Period as recorded by several ruins. Also worthwile to discover: a section of Mycenaean Wall, a citadel from the Classical Period, a plethora of 16th and 17th c. Churches – all within the fortifications and surrounded by the “lotzies”, arched galleries.
Furthermore, on the east cape is the quintessential Church of the Seven Martyrs and just south of the tiny “Seralia” beach are the remains of the medieval port. Several windmills have been restored (without the vanes though); all crispy white & blue interspersed with vibrant coloured flowers and palm trees.
In other conditions than westerlies or calm weather you must visit from Kamares by car or scooter.

A minute gulet motorsailer and a sailing yacht anchored at Kastro, with the iconic Church of the Martyrs on the headland.
Faros bay and Fassolou cove with Cape Stavros in the foreground left, looking north-west.
The Chrisopigi peninsula with the celebrated Monastery in front of Apokofto cove, with to the right the stretching bay of Faros.

Faros

Faros - Φάρος, meaning “Lighthouse”, is an elongated bay to the north of the famous landmark of Chrisopigi "Our Lady of the Golden Spring” Monastery.

Most yachts avoid mooring stern-to the Faros quay; mediocre holding so use maximum scope, or rather go along-side; only the southern half of the quay has sufficient depths, the alternative is to anchor in the bay or take a line to the rocks between the two beaches Lat Long
Mind the permanent moorings, we use a tripline; gusts from the north-east, but good shelter against the Meltemi; open to southerly winds; taverna “To Limanaki”.

The delightful Apokofto - Αποκοφτό cove directly north-west of the Monastery Lat Long is the preferred location in milder conditions or SE – N winds; turquoise waters; dine at the Χρυσοπηγή - “Chrysopigi Tavern”; larger catamarans and superyachts often use Cape Charalampos (NE corner of Apokofto) to take lines ashore.
Across the bay is Fassolou cove, which is too shallow for most keeled yachts Lat Long

The reef (or even islets in GWP) shown on nearly all maps as “Vrak Triada” just north of Chrisopigi almost certainly does not exist and EagleRay confirms our scepticism.

The Monastery has a small quay on the north side with 35 depths, yet the nearby rocky shelfs make it very difficult to moor: dinghy only.

Platis Gialos

The squarish bay of Platis Gialos - Πλατύς Γιαλός has a pocket port near the north-east corner, where – although the mole endures violent gusts from N – NE plus is a lee shore in prevailing winds – there is ample safety during a Meltemi.

To avoid the silts – caused by the port's construction – approach the green light from the SSE.

The port is not recommended in strong southerlies Medium holding in sand / rock but currently most berths have laid moorings and fixed fenders. Sometimes the extremity of the smaller (local boat) pier can be used.
Low-key settlement with amazing blue water and many gastronomic opportunities along the waterfront.
See photos further down.

Sailing holidays Cyclades, Sifnos and Kitriani islands, Greece
Kitriani islet in front; the anchorage is the deepest inlet; looking WNW.
Sifnos island in the background with Platis Gialos settlement on the right, South-East Bay ahead and around the Sifnos' south cape is Fikiada. Hi-res image

Kitriani islet

Kitriani - Κιτριανή lies off the SE coast of Sifnos and can be visited be using the “mole” under the Church or – much more accomplishable – the unknown   anchorage on the east shore.
It is a difficult & fair weather anchorage; swell will penetrate; mind the reef on the approach from the east, which is only shown (as “awash” even) on C-Map; solid holding in sand; open to NE – SSW winds; low cliffs make it difficult to get a line ashore; fine snorkeling and fishing Lat Long

South-East Bay

Sifnos' “South-east bay” – across from the north tip of Kitriani – is a glorious lunch-stop anchorage; nothing ashore except for a single conspicuous villa on the saddle towards Fikiada; anchor in 4 – 6 m; highly suitable in south winds Lat Long

The pocket-sized port of Platis Gialos looking north-east.
The wide Platys Gialos bay looking north. This is early May, in summer the port is brimful with visiting charter yachts, so many will ride at anchor in the bay.
Cape Dragatsi – the north side of Vathi bay's entrance – and the short pier and village of Vathi on the right.

Fikiada

The deserted Fikiada - Φυκιάδα cove on the SE shore of Sifnos is a narrow anchorage with little room to swing at anchor.
Suitable in NW – SSE winds; solid holding in sand / weed; catamarans can haul their second anchor onto the beach; yachts should take a line ashore to the quay of the spotless white Agios Georgios Church or slightly to the west.
Mind the reef on the opposite shoreline, which is not accurately drawn in the otherwise esteemed GWP the correct situation is shown on EagleRay, Navionics and C-Map.
Stunning surroundings & snorkeling Lat Long

Vathi

The Ω–shaped bay of Vathi - Βαθύ offers allround shelter, even in SW winds: anchor west of the pier Lat Long

The Taxiarches Church pier barely has sufficient depths on the west and south sides, keep the yacht well off the east side has mostly ballasting. Turn to the taverna next to the Church for water / electricity.
Gusts from the NE; there are tiny coves in the south away from the crowds and the resort; restaurants at the north section of the bay.
Magnificent crescent beach with ample room to anchor away from other yachts.
Also see photo above.

Vathi's short pier with moored sailing yachts / catamarans at the north of the Omega-shaped bay.

The Athens' Alimos Marina, and the islands of Paros and Mykonos further east are the most convenient yacht charter bases to start your sailing holiday and visit Sifnos and the other western Cycladic islands.

History

Already well populated in the period of the Cycladic culture (3rd and 2nd millennia BCE), the island grew so wealthy in classical times from the produce of its silver mines that the Siphnians built a treasury in the Sanctuary of Apollo at Delphi.

When the flooding of the mines made it impossible to work the silver the island declined into insignificance. Entrances to the silver works can be seen near the sea at Ayios Sostis and Ayios Minas.

Archaeological sites

Mycenaean Acropolis at Agios Andreas – mid westcoast on the road to Vathi – 12th century BCE, with ruins of five buildings in the walls. The archaeological site features a compelling museum with some of the locally excavated gems.
Furthermore, the fortress of Sifnos located just east of Apollonia near Kastro (castle).

Further reading

For sailing holidays in Sifnos and the other Cyclades islands, please visit my yacht charter page.
More photos and information can be found in this logbook of our trip from Athens to Milos via Sifnos.