A stunning new hotel has opened its doors on the island of Sifnos. Featuring a rustic chic design, NOS Hotel & Villas is set amongst rugged natural beauty – making it the ideal intimate hideaway.
Located on Faros and within walking distance to some of Sifnos’ best beaches, NOS offers 18 suites, set across four stone buildings- all with breathtaking views of the Aegean Sea and the 17th-century Monastery of Panagia Chrysopigi; an emblematic landmark of the island. Featuring bright and airy spaces, the suites effortlessly flow onto private courtyards, terraces and balconies allowing for seamless indoor/outdoor living.
Designed by Athens-based K-Studio, the property is inspired by nearby authentic villages. This is mainly highlighted by the natural materials used throughout the space- including stone, marble, and lime mortar. With smooth finishes and earthy décor throughout- the suites feature ceramic basins and woven stools that have been made by local craftsmen, as well as original artwork created specifically for the hotel by local artists.
The property also offers an on-site restaurant with a delightful menu created by award-winning Executive Chef Athinagoras Kostakos. The eatery is set on a dreamy terrace, while dishes are made with ingredients sourced from local producers, offering guests Mediterranean flavours with a modern twist. There is also an impressive wine cellar filled with handpicked varieties from the hotel’s sommeliers, who have carefully chosen reds and whites from all over Greece and other parts of the world.
Only 200 m from Faros Beach, 300 m from Fassolou Beach, and less than 1 km from Chrysopigi beach – it’s the perfect spot for those who love the sun and sand. NOS Hotel & Suites also features free private parking, a seasonal outdoor swimming pool, a fitness centre, an open-air spa, as well as a bar, and a garden; plus a 24-hour front desk, 24-hour room service, a shuttle service, and free WiFi throughout the property.
If you are searching for a relaxing and peaceful Greek island getaway with family or friends, this stunning new holiday villa in Sifnos- for up to 14 guests- is the ideal place to stay.
Located in the mainland village of Exampela, “Dali” boasts panoramic views of the Aegean Sea and the rough plains of Sifnos, an island in the Cyclades that boasts breathtaking landscapes, lively traditions, and rich culinary heritage.
Featuring inviting, airy spaces where minimalism and natural materials create a soft, calm ambiance- it is designed to host those who enjoy lounging, outdoor dining, and relaxing by the private pool- in between exploring the island.
Consisting of three separate units and an independent guest house, the villa is surrounded by olive trees and local herbs and flora. Its immaculate design and interior decoration with built-in beds, traditionally styled showers and light beige hues let the light and the Aegean airflow unobstructed throughout all its interior spaces.
The main house is split into 3 different units – a two-storey floor and the other two ground level. The ground floor of the main unit hosts a large living room with a fireplace and built-in sofas and a fully-equipped kitchen with a dining area. A master, king-sized en-suite bedroom with sea and pool views is also found on this floor. The lower floor can sleep 4-6 people in two double en-suite bedrooms, each with a sofa-bed for 1 adult, that can be also accessed from outside.
The second unit is perfect for a couple that needs privacy and seclusion as it boasts a king-size en-suite bedroom and an exterior, pergola-shaded sitting area. The same goes for the guesthouse that also features a kitchenette and a small living room. Four more guests can sleep in the second unit of the house that offers two double en-suite bedrooms with a shared entrance and separate outdoor pergola-shaded areas.
In front of the villa, the infinity pool is surrounded by several cushioned sunbeds while there is plenty of space for lounging in the pergola-shaded area with its large sofa, coffee tables and poufs. The veranda of the villa also hosts an outdoor fire pit and a barbeque with a dining area for 16 people.
Those who want to stay fit will love the outdoor gym that is found in a separate pergola-shaded area and there is also a boule court and plenty of entertainment for the entire family.
The Cyclades made up of around 30 inhabited islands, are not only characterised by dazzling coastlines, rugged landscapes (except for Andros, known for its abundance of water and greenery), a rich ancient history, whitewashed box-like buildings with cobalt blue shutters and but also by the simple, succulent, generally healthy and pure cuisine of the island group.
Occupations by pirates, the Franks, Venetians, Ottomans and Maltese left their mark on these islands on many levels, including their culinary philosophies.
Since 2000 when the face of tourism began to change the islands, their cuisine changed too, with more international styles, techniques and ingredients bringing more creativity, finesse and sophistication to their valuable PDO products like bresaola-style louza, honey, Santorini tomatoes and fava, a variety of cheeses and capers.
Winemaking too has become a common attribute of this island group, with Santorini (and its 17 wineries) remaining the star. Here we offer you a guide to help you know what not to miss when you’re travelling around the Cyclades.
The Cycladic islands are more meat (especially pork) oriented than fish, although the beloved kakavia fish soup is made in different renditions. Kakavia, traditionally the “fisherman’s soup” is made by combining various kinds of fish or parts of fish, with tomatoes and in some renditions with celery as well as plenty of olive oil and lemon or avgolemono (egg-lemon) sauce.
In Syros fish dishes are more unique – atherina fish is cooked with onion, tomato and egg, and locals also have a real taste for shark meat.
The Cyclades are known for their delicious cheeses: goat an cow’s milk gruyere (graviera) and mild myzithra from Naxos, sharp xinomyzithra from Paros and flavoursome San Michali from Syros, trovolia from Mykonos (also made in a version with sugar and dry figs) which is the star of the island’s beloved kopanisti, also loved in Astypalea and Chios.
These and other cheese become the inspiration for pies – both sweet and savoury – made in different styles in each of the islands; small and fried, large and mixed with herbs, drizzled in honey and sesame and other dishes.
Thin, long green beans known as ambelofasoula are easily found in the Cyclades, and they’re often eaten boiled as a salad with lemon and oil or even alongside skordalia garlic sauce in some islands.
Black-eyed beans are also commonly served around these islands, served with Feta, tomato and cucumber as a salad, or sautéed with greens. Chickpeas are especially popular in Paros and Sifnos, where they are traditionally slow-cooked overnight in a revithada soup made in a clay pot.
In Sifnos revithokeftdes (chickpea patties), like falafel crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside, are also a popular treat.
Santorini is known for its creamy, rich yellow fava, made with split peas and usually served with a topping of raw or caramelised onions, capers and lemon juice.
Capers (which are actually flower buds that when left to blossom create beautiful purple and white flowers) grow wild on rocky walls and enclaves around the Cyclades, and in-the-know locals rush to gather them at the end of June to pickle them in saltwater and then vinegar for the year.
Santorini is famous for its flavour-packed tomatoes, grown by hydration rather than watering, and these make for not only excellent salads and sauces but the island’s well-known tomato fritters (domatokeftedes). In Andros, most green grocers sell the massive courgette-like vegetable called lyraki, which is eaten boiled with oil and lemon.
Pork products especially are characteristic of Cycladic cuisine mainly rooting back to the annual pig slaughtering tradition that began in pre-refrigerator days, when the animals were killed and every part of them was made use of in a fresh but mainly preserved form – sausages and cured louza ham. Other popular meats are lamb and in some islands, game.
Created by Alexandra Heard and Heleena Trahanas, ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a stunning Australian lifestyle brand, which is the result of Heleena and Alexandra’s love for “the staggering beauty of summer on the Mediterranean.”
The classic label features garments, accessories and entertaining pieces inspired by their travels to Europe and beyond- where they visit frequently to source the finest of fabrics, materials and production methods.
IN+SIGHTS GREECE recently spoke with both creators about their successful brand, their latest collection, as well as their love for the Greek islands.
Tell us about your lifestyle brand. When was it launched and what was the concept behind it?
ALEX AND TRAHANAS was launched in 2017- aiming to bring the Mediterranean to Australian waters. It is curious about how we undertake life’s every day and special ceremonies, and is driven to create pieces that elevate these moments through quality timeless design. Our passion for travel and culture inspired us to create a platform in 2017, which allowed us to share collectable pieces and experiences.
What inspires your creations and how would you describe your designs?
The Mediterranean inspires the brand throughout. We really wanted to bring a taste of the Mediterranean to Australia and create our own little Europe through the curated world of ALEX AND TRAHANAS which includes; linen garments -designed and made in Australia, ceramics from the south of Italy to elevate life’s delicious ceremonies of effortless long rolling lunches, along with collaborations with artists and designers we admire. ALEX AND TRAHANAS is a way of life, a way of being, which echoes life lived in the Mediterranean.
What do you love most about what you do?
We love that work and play are intrinsically connected, it’s a way of life, we love what we do.
What are a few of your favourite pieces from your latest fashion collections?
We love it all! We’re excited about some new pieces we’ve added to our tablescape, such as our Roman Banquet candle, 100% beeswax, handmade in Bondi. This is a collaboration with one of Australia’s most talented creatives, Tony Assness. We’re also excited to continue our jewellery collaboration with Louise Olsen- together we’ve designed some new earrings inspired by Chifferi pasta. We’ll also be whisking through summer wearing our new Ischia dress and Fruittivendelo unisex shirt and shorts.
Some of your beautiful creations are inspired by Greece. Tell us more about those?
We’re definitely drawn to the calming palette of blue and white, which is so prevalent in Greece, it brings back memories of all the beautiful seaside spots.
Where are your pieces made?
Our ceramics are handmade by artisans in Puglia, in the south of Italy. They are all hand painted, making each one of a kind. We also work locally with artists such as Louise Olsen whom we collaborate with to make jewellery, and also Tony Assness who makes our 100% beeswax candles in Bondi, Sydney.
Heleena, tell us about your family connection to Greece?
My grandparents migrated from Greece. My family are from the Peloponnese, from Tripoli, Selianitika and Akrata.
How often do you travel to Europe and what are some of your favourite summer destinations in Greece?
We travelled twice a year to Europe to source new treasures, we are always seeking out to find pieces to build the Mediterranean lifestyle in Australia. We love Milos and Hydra, the more untouched islands.
Over the last few years you’ve visited Sifnos and Hydra, where would you recommend to eat, drink & swim?
Swim: Poulati, Vathi, Platos Yialos.
Eat: For lunch we recommend Cheronissos Fish Tavern and Manolis in Vathi. For dinner head to Taverna Chrisopigi in Perivoli and To Xryso in Artemonas.
Swim: You can find little beaches all along the small island of Hydra, boats are frequent or you can walk. Mandraki, Spilia, Castello, Vlychos Beach.
What are a few key pieces from your collections that you always pack with you when visiting the Mediterranean?
Our white aloe-vera infused Italian linen Summer Shirt Dress, the navy Aperitivo Dress, the striped Giorgia dress from our collaboration with Masseria Moroseta, as well as our aloe-vera infused Italian Linen Shirt and Summer tailored shorts (the perfect set). We always work to an effortless, throw-on, beach-to-apertivo uniform on our European summer travels.
You also love entertaining. What are a few of your favourite dishes/desserts you enjoy making for family and friends?
We do! We actually live for it. Each time we entertain we select a cuisine or particular region, and explore recipes which originate from there. For the most case, everything we make is for the first time a part from a few cuisine-specific classics such as prawn saganaki and Spanakopita (for Greek menus) and fresh pasta (for Italian menus). Dreaming up the menu is our favourite part – there is always lots of back and forth sharing of recipes, images and ideas. We think a lot about the balance of dishes to make up a truly delicious occasion and about the mouth-watering flavour and texture combinations. Recently we enjoyed making a grilled squid, cavolo nero, chili, garlic and parsley dish from our good friend David Lovett, as well as an almond granita which was so elegant and refreshing after a sprawling dinner party feast.
What are some of your tips for simple and elegant table styling when entertaining?
Table styling should be fun and relaxed, never stuffy. Think about textures, linen, abundance, statements and lighting. When the table is set in a gorgeous mix of colours, heights, shapes and textures it really sets the tone for the occasion. Enjoy the ceremony of styling the pieces you’ve collected over time. For us, it’s Apulian hand-painted ceramics, Italian wine tumblers and colourful water glasses by Bitossi and a linen table cloth, sometimes layered with a table runner from Puglia.
Where would you like to explore next for work and play?
When the weather grows cold there’s nothing more soothing than a hot, creamy and aromatic soup with innumerable health benefits. Revithada, or chickpea soup, is made in different renditions around Greece and is most famous in its slow-cooked version from Sifnos island.
If we’re talking health, however, the healthiest version by far is the recipe we are sharing with you here, which includes onions, lemon and rosemary. We’ve added a little turmeric to make it even healthier!
The Nutritional Lowdown
Chickpeas are packed with magnesium, which helps soothe aches and pains, rebalances the nervous system and promotes better sleep. The soup is made using chicken stock, which is rich in collagen, minerals and amino acids; onion, which is an antibacterial ingredient full of antioxidants; lemon juice, which is high in Vitamin C, promotes hydration and boosts digestive health; black pepper, which also aids digestion, alleviates respiratory ailments and if combined with turmeric, prevents cancer; turmeric, which is a super-potent anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidant brain food; and rosemary, which is also a rich source of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds that are believed to strengthen the immune system and improve blood circulation.
Half a pack of dried chickpeas, soaked for 6 hours minimum and pre-boiled until tender, or two cans, rinsed
1 large onion, finely chopped
5 litres of organic chicken stock
Juice of 2 lemons
Two to three Tbsp rosemary, fresh or dried
Hefty pinch of organic black pepper
Hefty pinch of mineral-rich salt
1 Tsp organic turmeric
½ cup of extra virgin Greek olive oil
Sauté the onion in some olive oil until transparent.
Add the boiled chickpeas and stir.
Add the rosemary, black pepper, turmeric and salt and stir well to cover chickpeas with seasoning and onion mixture.
Add chicken stock and olive oil, stir.
Bring to a boil, then lower to medium heat and leave to simmer for around 45 minutes.
Remove 2-3 ladles-full of soup and blend, then return to the soup and stir in. This adds a wonderful creaminess.
Philhellene photographer Mark Wilman, creator of a successful six-year project and book ‘Discovering The Beauty of the Cyclades’ describes his first trip with Sifnos.
Mark’s project has been presented by the British Embassy in Greece, the Greek Embassies in Rome and Tel Aviv and the Aquarium of Milan. His evocative photography and writing transport you to the heart of the Cycladic culture, landscapes and colours. And if you want to experience it for yourself, he is available to offer photographic tours. Here he writes about his first encounter with Sifnos island. This personal story about Sifnos is the next part of a narrative series created by him especially for IN+SIGHTS GREECE.
Discovering the Beauty of Sifnos I escaped the day I arrived that first time in Sifnos having already paid for a room with a view in scenic Kamares. The intention had been to dive, setting up the inflatable boat there in the port, but without hoisting equipment it couldn’t be achieved. There were no sections close enough to water level to follow the usual procedure where I’d walk with the engine into the sea and attach it to the stern. This meant those extraordinary rocky inlets and bays on the island’s western side, the ones seen from ferries, were now inaccessible.
Elsewhere, the roads always ended at breathtaking sandy beaches, each entailing excessive swimming to reach areas of depth where marine life would be sufficiently evolved. The tiny, deeply-set, ancient port of Hersonissos in the north was the only exception, and I swam outwards in the direction of the open sea for a couple of hours until it became clear that my return would be difficult and exhausting if the current picked up. So I left defeated, not returning for twelve years.
We returned in June when I was photographing for my project. Much of the emphasis had, in the early stages, been placed on Roxana, the female figure in my photos, with a quite remarkable result. The centrepiece of the work, Lost Lady Of Sikinos, Neiko, had seen us anticipate by two years one of the most significant findings in modern Greek archeological history at the exact location, following the precise theme: the tomb of a noblewoman buried hermetically beneath the interior of the monumental church of Episkopi in a remote part of Sikinos in the 2nd century A.D. Orientation was now focused entirely on researching landscapes and sea views without transportation, just on foot, to capture as much detail as possible. We trekked over 300km around Sifnos; through valleys, up hills and over mountains. The ancient mining area at Achladas Bay, where Agios Sostis church stands on the island’s north-eastern side was fascinating, its wide-step antiquated path an experience in itself.