From beaches to abandoned mines explore this Greek island
The Chora (main settlement on a Greek island) of Serifos gazes up from the hills at the vast blue horizon and defies the winds with its pure white graciousness. Around it, the imposing arid landscape of the Aegean island is littered with deserted mines and rusty machinery like huge iron talons popping out and grabbing the earth, mechanical ghosts of a bygone era still carrying the lost voices of the miners. These otherworldly industrial monuments, the smooth lines of the landscape, the sandy beaches, the bustling port and the local rich cuisine have blessed Serifos island with a unique beauty, sought out by many travellers of the Aegean Sea in Greece.
As the boat passes Sifnos, the great sister of Serifos, the beautiful port of Livadi will welcome you to the island with all its colourful shops and taverns parading by the sea. Some nice hotels and beautiful studios can be found in Livadi, and there are two impressive hotel complexes for a luxury escape with spectacular views: the Rizes and the Amphitrite complexes are sure to make your vacation unforgettable. The Chora is considered as more of a romantic solution and is probably the most economical also, while there is also wonderfully organised camping for the adventurers, the Corali with a swimming pool and a small library. The port area offers some good meals by the sea. Take a short walk a little further down and at Avlomonas beach you will find interesting and very affordable taverns with tables on the sand.
From high up in the Chora, the view is certainly different, of an eerie beauty, with a vast horizon all around you where the sea becomes one with the sky. The Chora of Serifos is divided into an upper and a lower part, but essentially you can easily roam about in its entirety and get lost in its amazing alleys. Travel by bus or car to reach Chora from the port, or, if you’re adventurous enough and of good stamina, you can hike your way up there following the impressive stone path, which will take you about 40 minutes. Once there, you may taste good local cuisine at Aloni or the relatively new Marathoriza restaurant savouring the famous ‘revithada’ (chickpea soup). Afterwards, you can enjoy ice cream at the Town Hall Square or indulge in an exotic fruit juice at the bustling small terrace of Aerino bar while listening to music. In the same square, at Café Stratos, you can have your own private retreat to enjoy your coffee in a separate small space watching the hustle and bustle of the Square.
When the sun is unbearable and you seek the embrace of the sea, Serifos has many sandy beaches to offer and they are generally accessible. The southern beaches – Livadakia, Ganema, Vagia – stand out and are the closest to the port, though Ganema is the best among them. However, you should pay a visit Psili Ammos beach, believed to be the best on the island.
The haunted mines Perhaps the most neglected part of Serifos Island, and what seems to possess an eerie, mysterious beauty, are the abandoned mines. In 1870, the Greek Mining Company began exploiting and exporting the island’s important iron ore reserves. But the strike launched on August 21, 1916, by miners in the Megalo Livadi, caused a bloody uprising that resulted in the death of eight people.
Today, what remains of the once powerful machines that were digging the bowels of the earth are silent monuments, like sculptures of an unnatural beauty and witnesses of a long-gone time. Once you visit Megalo Livadi you can find open tunnels that lead into the depths of the island without any indication or protection measures, rusty mine carts and ghostly bridges that lead nowhere. They form a spectacular attraction of a post-industrial and spooky magnificence that will haunt your mind.
Need to know
Getting there Gulf Air flies to Athens via Bahrain from Dhs1,856 return. Take a bus to Peiraius Port and then a boat to Serifos. www.gulfair.com.