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An unprejudiced approach on Serifos

Receiving contradictory reviews on the exact same thing is always suspicious. Especially if they originate from people whom you generally value for their opinion.
In Serifos’ case, half of our friends were raging in favor of the island’s beaches, town and overall atmosphere, whereas the rest were basically accusing it of being a golden mediocrity.
Some had to be exaggerating.

So, while you've been busy reading the above lines, we quickly dressed up like a president of a supreme court (wigs and all) and will hereby begin this hearing right away with...


The advocacy
The buzz regarding the town aesthetics is valid. As far as everyone keeps his horse from going wild.
Rumors about the “nicest town of the Cyclades” can either originate from people who love ouzo too much or someone that has stayed under the sun longer than he should. There is no need for all of them to visit Folegandros; just one is enough in order to let the rest know they seriously need to broaden their sample before coming down to such pompous statements.

Some of the beaches were excellent. Vagia for instance, if you bypass the eyesore of the unfinished buildings right behind it. Ganema too, just don’t attempt to drive your way down to the beach as you will break the damn thing you’re driving. And Agios Sostis with the twin beach where you can choose a side according to the wind blowing direction.

Megalo Livadi is a village in the western part that has a spooky atmosphere of times long gone behind. It hosts the headquarters of the old mines that had been in operation in the island from the 1880s until the 1960s. Actually a part of the mining infrastructure is still standing. An interesting scenario referred to an underground passage in the area of the old mines that supposedly lead to a nice mystic beach. We didn’t try this, as walking in pitch black abandoned mine trails was never high in our fetish list.

A group of formerly used apartments of mine-workers was where we settled, that were beautifully restored and refurbished, managing to keep the originality while providing modern amenities. Food wise, "Takis" restaurant in town served excellent fresh fish and cooking, but was also accustomed with cheques that would be expected from a restaurant in Mykonos town... "Kali's ouzeri" was a tempting alternative in the port. In Sykamia and Koutalas the situation was significantly improved in terms of value for money.

For a drink, the most popular point in town hall square, named "Stou Stratou", proved to be solid with some Cretan guys in the service fully adding to the experience with their kindness and smiles all day (and night) long.


The opposition
One word: Sandblasting. Every-fucking-where.

In most islands of the Cyclades complex, the masterplan is obvious:
When northern winds begin to rage (and they will, mid-July to late August), you shelter in the southern beaches. Problem solved, vacations saved.
In this place, northern winds translate into southern beaches being even more severely hit by downslope winds (spiliádes in the fishermen lingo). As a result, there’s no place left where you can possibly enjoy swimming. If it starts blowing, you are totally screwed. All you get is a perfectly exfoliated skin from the sandblast and a couple of alcohol-and-honey shots "on the house" from the taverns at the town-hall square, as they feel sorry for visitors that have to wear a Gore-Tex jacket during a mid-summer night in Greece.

While most of the beaches stood clearly above the average, none that we were aware of could be remotely characterized as exquisite. Also, what was definitely a drag was the feeling that little (if any) corners on the island felt secluded. As a destination it is unquestionably a notch up in terms of authenticity compared to the A-listers that grow more and more soulless as years go by (Mykonos, Santorini, Paros, Skiathos, etc). But even when you entered a rough dirt road, it never led to places that delivered this feeling of isolation. This is clearly not the case in most of the smaller islands of the Aegean, where you can easily find a spot where no other hippie couple will be present on this very day (given it's not August).

Needless to say that those who have the luxury of exploring the shoreline’s numerous hidden beaches via an inflatable boat, might share a completely different point of view.


The gavel struck
So which of our friends proved to be right about this place?
Honestly, we believe that the answer is strongly correlated to the travel origins of the visitor.

Someone who comes from the commercial side of the island spectrum (usually travelers that are skeptical on going the full mile towards the "barren line" islands), can seriously like Serifos.
On the other hand, those that have already seen -and loved- the purest side, will possible be partially reminded of the reasons they once left commercial paradises for. 

Pick your side, know in advance what flavor your lips are going to have on the return ferry.

That being said, we rest our case.
Dong.-
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