“The Cyclades is one corner of the map where the word “seduction” applies with more appositeness than anywhere else on earth” Lawrence Durrell
Everyone who has ever rented a car, a scooter or a motorbike has, at least once, experienced the hassles involved in this process; waiting time, signing paperwork, choosing the right insurance, finding the right size for an helmet, showing and copying driving license and so forth.
The introduction to one of the most remote of all the Cyclades islands has been totally different; just after disembarking from the ferry and after a couple of inquiries about renting a scooter we were told that the bus driver (there is only one) has some cars and scooters for rent.
He shows up shortly thereafter and after giving him a 50 Euro note (for three days) he says “You see this row of scooters, just choose one, the keys are in the ignition and when you have to return just leave it there keys in…and you are done”….end of the story.
Welcome to Sikinos, one of the most greek and unspoilt of all the Greek islands, with only 240 inhabitants, no big hotels, no fancy restaurants no rowdy discos, is a perfect escape from neighbouring islands such as Ios and Santorini which seems an entire world away.
Until the late ‘80s Sikinos was the only greek island where passengers from the ferries were taken ashore in launches in the port of Alopronia. The beautiful clifftop Hora consists of two settlements, Kastro e Horio whereas the former is a tangle of alleyways with handsome eighteenth-century white washed mansions and the latter is mainly residential. Kastro is the kind of place where you came for an afternoon ouzo and you’ll end up staying for weeks watching sunsets over Folegandros and chatting with the friendly residents.
The monastery of Zoodhohou Piyis on the hill above Kastro was built in 1690 as a nunnery and was used as an hideaway from attacking pirates during the last centuries. Today the whole complex is managed by a lone, young and cute nun which greet the very few tourists that venture that far offering them refreshing drinks and candies.
Although the island lacks the scenic beaches of Ios and Mykonos it has a couple of beaches and coves worth mentioning: the beach at the port of Alopronia is as good as any in Greece, with crystal clear and shallow waters ideally suited for children, the other is Agios Georgios with a pebble beach and some rocky coves lapped with turquoise waters and a more than decent taverna nearby.
The other spot which you should not miss while in Sikinos is Manalis Winery where wine is produced with traditional self-sustained method and while the food is average, the view at sunset, with a glass of white in hand, is nothing less than memorable.