We should all be as lucky as young Perseus and his mother Danae to wash up on the shores of Serifos, an ancient Greek island that featured greatly in the mythological legend of heroic Perseus. To visit the island is like stepping back in time to an enchanting world. One of the western Cyclades islands, Serifos lies in the Aegean Sea and boasts a population of nearly 1,500. The island is small; it can boast only twenty-nine square miles. Throughout its history, however, Serifos was extensively mined for its rich stores of minerals like copper and iron. During the ancient period, Serifos was visited by both the Mycenaean and the Phoenician peoples. Small traces of these groups can still be seen among the island’s archaeological ruins. After its Hellenistic period, the island would come to be ruled by Romans, Venetians, and Turks.
[php snippet=1]During the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, the island’s mines and workers were exploited and historic labor disputes resulted in great violence. Today, however, Serifos is known for its quaint fishing villages, agriculture, and tourism. Many visitors desire to walk the sandy beaches where the infant Perseus might have washed ashore. The island’s capital is Hora and it is one of the most captivating towns of the Cyclades. Its view of the sea is breathtaking as are its traditional white-washed buildings and narrow old streets. The town also contains a fifteenth-century Venetian castle that has become a popular island attraction as well as an archaeological museum that contains ancient Serifos artifacts. Hora lies about a mile up the hillside from the island’s main port of Livadhaki. The port contains a wide variety of taverns and cafes as well as nice hotels. When visiting any of the island’s bars, be sure to try the local wine.
Serifos is a sunny island that is known for the small inlets and bays of its rugged coasts. It has some beautiful beaches, however, like Psili Ammos, Agios Iannis and Agios Sostis. The remote beaches of Karavi and Sikamia are ideal for nature enthusiasts. Serifos is the ideal island for visitors who want to spend a holiday lounging on a sun-drenched beach on an ancient sea. When visiting Serifos, be sure to see the village of Galani and its monastery that dates to 1500. The monastery contains manuscripts from the Byzantine era and some wonderful eighteenth-century frescoes. A tenth-century church is also located near the village and is a must-see attraction of the island. Hiking the island’s various trails is a great way to experience its captivating scenery. The island is largely unspoiled by tourism; it has many small fertile valleys that add to it scenic beauty. For a relaxing island get-away, Serifos is an extraordinary destination.
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