Serifos walking holidays in Greece
In Greek mythology it was from Serifos that Perseus, son of Zeus, was dispatched to kill the Gorgon Medusa. To do so he borrowed a pair of flying sandals, and later in his story he would ride the winged stallion Pegasus. Your own meanderings around Serifos will likely be a little more earthbound, but no less magical for that, especially if walking as part of a small group led by a local guide, who isn’t there just to show you the way, but also to introduce you to the island’s unique culture, wildlife, and traditions. And of course by holidaying here, you’re also doing your bit to help preserve them for the future.
Located in the western Cyclades, Serifos is still fairly off the beaten track for foreign tourists. though it has long been a favourite among Athenians (the island can be reached in just two hours from the port of Piraeus by high-speed ferry). Scenery-wise it’s a bit of a stunner, as you’ll certainly notice if you approach on the ferry from Kythnos. Serifos also boasts some of the best walking terrain in the Greek Islands. Trails can be hundreds of years old, and it’s not much of a surprise they’ve lasted so long when they run through landscapes like this. Terraced hilly farmland gives way to bountiful vineyards and fruit orchards, vales of oak trees carpeted with Cycladic wildflowers, picture postcard-perfect villages and of course some of the most stunning beaches you’re ever likely to see. A swimsuit is just as vital to pack as your reusable water bottle.
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You’ll pass whitewashed churches, former washhouses and pigeon houses (the birds have traditionally been bred here for their meat and droppings, used as fertiliser), cross old stone bridges and explore the remains of iron ore mines, in operation here until the 1960s. You may pause at a working vineyard to taste the latest vintages of white and rosé, take a tour of a 500-year-old monastery with the only monk still living there, join the celebrations of a local festival or religious feast day, or stop off for a picnic under the shade of a tree.
There is the White Tower, which legend says was built by the Cyclopses, children of Poseidon; a bustling port in Livadi, its waterfront lined with restaurants and tavernas that serve regional produce such as the xinomizithra soft cheese, and the pleasantly sleepy hillside hora (main village) that overlooks the harbour, to wander. And all around a beguiling air of rural tranquility. So what we’re saying, essentially, is that you’re going to love walking on Serifos.
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Walking holidays in Serifos tend to be centre-based, small group trips, sometimes with as few as eight people. Given that most routes are not signposted it’s a good idea to join a guided small group tour if you want to get the most of your time. The island has around 80km of trails all told, with most routes fairly easygoing. Elevations are far from extreme so if you walk even fairly regularly you should be more than up to the challenge.
Holidays are around five days in length although you can also find longer tours that encompass other islands in the Cyclades group such as Sifnos and Milos. Serifos is typically reached via ferry from the nearby island of Kythnos (about 90 minutes) or from Pireaus on the mainland (two to four hours depending on the ferry). The best time for Serifos walking holidays weather-wise is autumn, after the heat and the crowds of the peak summer months have disappeared but when the sea is warm. Tours usually operate from June to October. You’ll be accommodated in small hotels or guesthouses, either in the hora or Livadi, dining in tavernas and with minibus transfers to and from the trailheads each day, so that you never need worry about missing the sunset over the sea.
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