Serifos sailing holidays

The island Serifos - Seriphos - Σέριφος, north-west of Sifnos, is a bare and rocky island, its hills slashed by gorges; its highest point is Mount Tourlos with 483 m.

The island's main sources of income are its modest agriculture and its open-cast iron mines, which have been worked since ancient times. The ore used to be shipped from Magalo Livadi and Koutalas on the west & south coasts, where there is now room to anchor (magnetic anomalies were reported due to the remaining ore, but we ourselves have never experienced any inconsistencies?).

In the island's capital Serifos or Chora, above the natural harbour of Livadi, are the ruins of a Venetian castle, with spectacular views.

The brilliant Chora of Serifos can be reached by a pleasant walk path between fig trees and hibiscus from the quays of Livadi port.

Serifos island ports & anchorages

Clockwise ↻

View down from Chora: the “new marina” is an enclosed extension between the existing pier and Livadi village. Sifnos island in the distance.

Livadi / Chora

The wide bay of Livadi - Λιβάδι suggests a lot of room for anchoring, however it is more prudent to use the marina due to the frequent violent katabatic winds from the north. Moreover, you can expect an extra 1 Bft on top of the prevailing northerly wind.

In Meltemi conditions you will need to be on the inside of the “marina”; laid moorings at most berths; marina is nearly finished and provides a safe stopover on route to the beautiful islands of Sifnos and Milos.

Before setting sail towards these southern Cyclades, first follow the lovely hiking route up to the top of the Chora of Serifos – one of the crown jewels of the Cyclades.
See recurring toponyms: Chora

Koutala

Koutala - Κουτάλα bay on the south coast offers four anchoring options in the following coves, from east to west:

  • Vagia – also known as Chalara – is very useful in south winds and provides unexpected allround shelter; good holding when through the weeds; strong gusts likely; underappreciated yet rather enchanting surroundings Lat Long
  • Ganema: anchor in the middle of the beach in 4 – 6 m; sand, good holding; dangerous and sudden gusts from the NE in the prevailing winds Lat Long
  • Koutalas is mostly fouled by anchor chains, but you can anchor in sand on the east side of the beach; potentionally very violent gusts from the north Lat Long
  • Maliadiko is a narrow cove further west; weed and sand; less frequented Lat Long
  • There are ore mines west of Koutalas & on Cape Chalara; the region isn't very captivating except perhaps for Vagia; avoid the local tavernas, be sure to dine at Τα Πεζούλια - “Ta Pezoulia”, NNE of Ganema beach, a 10 min. walk.
    From there you can visit the scant remains of Gria Castle - “Old Woman's Castle”, mainly just walls → good wine or imagination is required.  

Vagia / Chalara cove behind Cape Chalara looking south-east, and Sifnos just visible on the horizon.
A superyacht anchored in Koutala bay on the left (west) and a sailing yacht in Ganema bay on the right (east).
Sailing yachts at anchor in Megalo Livadi, looking east, with to the right the discarded ore loading platform.

Megalo Livadi

Megalo Livadi - Μεγάλο Λιβάδι, on the west coast of Serifos, is a deep bay with a steep rising seafloor: anchor close to the shore Lat Long
Reportedly, a chain + sunken buoy fouls the seabed from near the small pier on the north in a south-easterly direction; likewise, a sunken aircraft near the pier.
Very secure holding in sand, commodious in Meltemi conditions. The place doesn't ooze charm, even if you consider its industrial heritage (see photo above).

On the north shore is an essential monument that reminds us that here in 1916 one of the first strikes ever in Greeks history resulted in the deaths of four miners: fundamental human rights were fought for and should not be taken for granted.
Fittingly, the “1916 Restaurant” on the beach is the place to eat.
A 45 min. walk eastwards will bring you to the landmark of Aspros Pirgos, the “white tower”, constructed of large white marble blocks (4th c. BCE, partly restored in 2014).

Sikamia

Sikamia - Συκαμιά bay on the north of Serifos offers several attactive anchorages, the fairest being the north-east Skala cove Lat Long

There is a dangerous reef running ±500 m from Cape Sykania superb snorkeling along this reef but also in Skala itself.
Despite lacking somewhat in room to swing at anchor, Skala is suitable in N – WSW winds.

The dinghy entering Skala cove, with Cape Sykamia and a section of the reef in the foreground.

The anchorage off Sikamia beach is seen as the default, yet is more exposed to the northerlies; the whole area – known as Psarometochi – is subject to violent south gusts in southerlies (rare).
Weed patches make for poor holding, and we found it suspicious in sand as well → use maximum scope and take a line ashore.  

To the south is the pretty village of Panayia, with the Church of Panayia - Ναός Παναγίας “Virgin Mary”, dated from ~950 and the oldest on the island.

Sykamia beach in the south of Psarometochi / Sikamia bay.
Platis Gialos or Platy Gialos as seen from the north.
Cape Agkoufi (note the reef) in front with the pier directly behind.
The southern beach of Psili Ammos bay, with the magnificent Chora above. The small headland on the right.

Platis Gialos

Platis Gialos - Πλατύς Γιαλός is a surprisingly secluded anchorage on the north of Serifos Lat Long only open to E – SE winds, although strong south gusts are possible in southerlies.
Excellent shelter in northerlies.
Platis Gialos is a toponym for “wide seashore”, derived from Platis Aigialos.

Anchor in 3 – 6 m in sand, avoiding the weedy patches; the pier in the north has rocks along both sides, it is however possible to take a line to its extremity; mind the rocky ledges near the beach; turquoise waters & total bliss; taverna in summer.

Visit the fortified Monastery of the Taxiarches   – a marvellous 40 min. hike south – which is dedicated to the Archangels Michael and Gabriel and built in 1572 with a fine library.

Psili Ammos

The bay of Psili Ammos - Ψιλή Άμμος Lat Long is often overlooked, but is a glorious anchorage with a splendid vista of the Chora overhead. See photo above.

The bay is parted in two by a small headland → aim for the southern beach where there is less weed and better holding in sand. There is a reef extending from the south cape.   Open to NNE – ESE winds, but any northerly wind will bring in an uncomfortable swell.

The toponym Psili Ammos means “fine sand”, see Greek chart terms, and veritably describes the best beach on the island; dine at the “Stefanakos Tavern”.

Yacht charters

The Athens' Alimos Marina, and the island of Paros are the most convenient yacht charter bases for sailing holidays and visit Serifos and the other western Cycladic islands.

History of Serifos

Originally settled by Ionian Greeks, the island shared the fortunes of the other Cyclades. In Greek mythology it was the island where Danaë and the young Perseus were washed ashore.