A church for every day of the year
For the Swiss painter Christian Brechneff, Sifnos is such a place. The Greek House, A Painter’s Love Affair with the Island of Sifnos, is Brechneff’s lyrical memoir about the Cycladic island that has been his muse since the 1970s. Sifnos has become more cosmopolitan since then, but it remains one of the most unspoiled and intriguing of all the Greek islands.
One of its defining features are the blue-domed chapels, perched on clifftops, tucked into valleys, or dangling on rocky promontories. The locals seem to have picked the most challenging locations to prove their devotion to the gods.
The monastery of Agios Simeon, hovering above the port of Kamares, is the best place to watch the sunset. You can even spend the night with the monks at Panagia tou Vounou.
With 365 churches on Sifnos, there seems to be a saint’s day festival (or panigiri) every night. The whole village shows up to sing, dance, and consume bottomless carafes of wine and cauldrons of lamb stew. Go light a candle and join in the celebrations. Everyone is welcome.