Monday 14th September 2020
I woke early, having enjoyed the best night’s sleep of my trip by far: the beds in the Abati Hotel are amazing!! By 8 a.m., I was dressed and had made the 10-minute walk downhill into Livadi in search of somewhere for breakfast.
Unlike Milos and Sifnos, I couldn’t seem to find anywhere in Livadi that offered a perfect set-menu breakfast, so I was reduced to locating anywhere that would sell me coffee and some kind of sustenance. This turned out to be a reasonably modern-looking coffee shop called Gran’s, located right on the corner of the main road that leads towards the ferry port.
I sat at a table outside, waiting to be served, but after being ignored for an excessive amount of time, I realised that they didn’t offer table service. Feeling daft for not realizing this sooner, I popped inside to buy a large latte and pain au chocolat. Returning to my table, I sat and watched the somewhat limited early morning activity of the few locals and tourists. It seems like a quiet island, and I haven’t yet decided how I feel about it.
No Ferry Tickets (Yet)
Suitably caffeinated, the next task on my list was securing my ferry ticket for tomorrow’s move to Syros. This turned out to be a failure as I could only find one ticket office, and they didn’t open until 9am. Not wanting to hang around wasting time, I decided to return later in the day and move on to my next goal: obtaining transportation.
I wasn’t sure how easy it would be to get what I wanted in terms of a vehicle. As I’m leaving Serifos tomorrow, it could have made sense to hire a car for today, but that would leave me with no way of getting around tomorrow and nowhere to keep my luggage after I checked out of the hotel at midday. Alternatively, I could hire the car tomorrow, but that would have left me without transportation today. Yes, I could have paid for two days, but as I wouldn’t get full use out of it tomorrow, that seemed excessive. I really wanted to hire a car for 24 hours, starting later today and ending before my ferry tomorrow. The question is, would anywhere let me do that? Enter Pegasus rental…
A few rental shops are dotted around the harbour, but again most seemed to be closed as it was still quite early in the morning, so I started thinking it would be another fruitless mission like the ferry ticket. However, I stumbled on Pegasus tucked right at the end of the harbour, closest to the ferry port.
Seeing a man inside, I asked if they had any cars available. His English didn’t seem substantial, but I managed to convey that, ideally, I wanted a vehicle for 1 day, but starting later today until tomorrow afternoon. When I asked for the cost, he said €13, which sounded way too good to be accurate, but he repeated it several times, and I decided I’d found the bargain of the century!
It got even better after filling out the paperwork: when I tried to leave, he gave me the keys and said to take the car now! Bonus!! The vehicle itself was a slightly used Opel Corsa, but it seemed to run fine, and I was soon heading up the hill back to my hotel (boy, it felt good not to be walking up that hill!).
I hadn’t expected to have a car this early in the day, so I quickly revised my sightseeing plans and decided to split the island into north and south, visiting the southern half today and saving the northern side for tomorrow.
Bag packed, I first headed back into Livadi and around the one-way system to get to the only petrol station on the island: an EKO garage on the main road into Livadi from Chora.
Car refuelled, I drove past my hotel and continued south to my first stop: Ampeli Beach. Well, it would have been had I not seen it from a distance and realised it was tiny and pretty hard to get to by car. So, I skipped that and continued west to Vagia Beach instead.
Vagia Beach, by contrast, is pretty huge:
I suspect it might get quite busy under normal circumstances, but due to a combination of the Coronavirus pandemic and it being quite late in the season, the beach was practically deserted.
Behind the beach, there are some quite nice-looking apartments that would probably make a good base if you’re looking for a quiet holiday:
The beach itself is primarily coarse sand/shingle, and I could see some rocks in the water close to the shore, so while I wouldn’t say it’s a patch on Kamares Beach on Sifnos, it would be a nice, quiet place to lay out for a few hours to soak up some Greek sun.
Not for me, though: photos taken, I jumped back in the car for the short drive to my next stop at Ganema. This seemed like a good improvement on Vagia, with softer sand and clearer waters:
I did have some difficulty parking the car, though, which may serve as a warning to other visitors – Google Maps shows what appears to be a well-established road down to the beach from the north-east. However, upon turning off the main road, I was greeted by an incredibly rocky track that was basically impassable by car. You could probably manage it on a quad bike or a 4×4 with suitable tires. After just a few metres, I gave up and barely managed to turn the car around to get back on the main road.
Realising that my experience explained why cars were parked along the main road at the south end of Ganema Beach, I backtracked and joined them, having learned a valuable lesson!
As I mentioned, the beach itself is definitely an improvement over Vagia and could well be the nicest one on the island: the water is very clear, and there is plenty of space on the wide, open sand.
In contrast to Vagia, a few people were here enjoying the beach, but again, it was far from crowded.
I considered stopping at Ganema for lunch, but the single taverna at the northern end of the beach had some questionable reviews online, so I skipped it and drove west until I reached the next decent-sized beach/village.
This was Megalo Livadi, where I enjoyed a fresh meal at a tavern called Kýklōpas.
The menu is a bit limited and quite fish-heavy, which didn’t suit me, so I opted for a Greek salad, bread and tzatziki, plus a Mythos! It was tasty food, the salad especially was very fresh and delicious.
Until then, I hadn’t decided whether to visit Chora today or save it for tomorrow. Looking at the map, though, it was clear that from Megalo Livadi, there is nowhere to go but back to the main road and inland towards the island’s centre. This would naturally take me towards Chora anyway, so I decided to see it today and, if necessary, skip it tomorrow.
The drive to Chora took about 20 minutes through some pretty if rather barren, hilly terrain. It’s worth approaching Chora from this direction, as you see it from above and behind. I stopped on the side of the road and managed to get some good photos from a rooftop:
Continuing into the village, I parked up near the centre, walked around the town, and up to the church atop the summit.
You also get some fabulous views across the island from the top of Chora, especially down towards Livadi:
Back to Livadakia Beach
It was only 3 p.m. when I returned to my hotel. I wanted to leave myself with plenty of the island still to see tomorrow as my ferry wasn’t until 5:45pm, so I got changed into my beach gear and walked back to the same spot on Livadakia beach that I’d visited yesterday evening.
It was a pleasant few hours, again very peaceful with few people around, so it was nice to lay out, listen to music and read my Kindle. Not quite as lovely as Kamares beach on Sifnos, if I’m being honest – partly because there were no sun loungers, so I had to make do with my towel on the sand – but still, there are far worse places to spend time than on a Greek beach!
My plan for dinner involved taking the car back up to Chora, as the views are supposed to be impressive. Well, unfortunately, the sun sets behind some hills to the west of Chora, so that was a little disappointing:
The view down to Livadi was still great, of course, but then I had seen it earlier in the day, so perhaps it didn’t have the same impact on me the second time around:
After walking the streets of Chora for a little while, I tried to find a restaurant for dinner, but there weren’t that many around. I ended up in a small square, which I assumed to be the social centre of the village. It wasn’t bustling, perhaps because it was still reasonably early for some people to eat. I ended up sitting down outside a Cocktail bar called Barbarossa:
To pass some time, I ordered a glass of wine before food. The wine was delicious, but unfortunately, the pizza I had later was quite disappointing: it seemed like a pre-made base with some okay-ish tomato sauce and a bit of cheese. Nothing compared to the fantastic food I’d been spoiled with on Sifnos. Oh well.
With nothing really left to do in Chora, I was back at my hotel by 9pm where I made the best of the comfortable bed by reading my book for a while and then settling down for another great night’s sleep.