Hiking vacation in the West Cyclades, Greece

“A ten day, small group walking vacation taking in glorious western islands such as Milos, Sifnos and Serifos. Cyclades at their most secluded. ”

Highlights

Serifos | Sifnos | Ancient site of Agios Andreas | Milos

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2018: 7 Apr, 14 Apr, 21 Apr, 28 Apr, 5 May, 12 May, 19 May, 26 May, 2 Jun
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Responsible tourism

Responsible tourism: Hiking vacation in the West Cyclades, Greece

Environment

We are dedicated to encouraging low-impact tourism and activity vacations, such as walking, and minimising our negative impact on the environment and people.

This walking trail vacation in the island of Sifnos, Serifos & Milos, has an eco focus. We will inform our guests showing them presentations on the unique flora and endemic and common species they will encounter while walking or swimming around the islands of the West Cyclades. We give guidelines on where to look for them, how to approach them in order not to scare them and disrupt their life, how to observe their behaviours or even capture a unique picture showing to the rest of the world their magic. Guests leave aware of the environmental dangers they face and how to minimise them.

We encourage our guests to behave in an environmentally responsible manner. We walk on designated paths and make sure no litter is left behind. We often arrange clean ups of paths and beaches during the week. We report on paths that are falling out of use and help to clear them.

We encourage our guests and the owners of the accommodations we use to be aware of the threats to the environment (i.e. water waste, plastic bags and bottles) and suggest ways in which they can minimise their negative footprint. We explain our guests the need for water conservation in the Greek islands and advise them on how to minimise their water waste. We encourage our guests to bring refillable water bottles and/or recycle them in designated areas. All our business waste is recycled. All communication is done electronically where possible, saving on paper.

We organise our walking vacations in Greece only for small groups of up to 8 people, outside the high season months of July-August. We thus try as much as we can to reduce negative impacts to the environment and its people and to benefit the local community.

Community

We have the greatest respect for the local people and their customs and are anxious to share our knowledge of Cycladic island lifestyle with our guests. In order to limit the social impact of tourism all are guests are introduced to the local customs, religion, politics and history during our walks. We take our clients to local festivals, artists' workshops, and other locals celebrations trying to get them to experience the local way of life. We encourage our guests to mix and interact with the local people which are particularly friendly and hospitable.

Through our walking trail vacations in Greece we support small businesses by supporting locally owned shops, guesthouses, mini-markets, bakeries and taverns. As our vacations take place in spring, early summer and autumn, we bring customers and income to establishments which would otherwise only have visitors in high summer. Guests are advised to visit the local market and purchase locally-produced and home-made products such olive oil, wine, honey, capers and herbs, sun dried fruits and tomatoes, and other goods. Sifnos is known for its ceramic pottery and we organise at least one visit in the week to an artist's workshop.

We buy food for our picnics from the local markets and prefer items locally grown according to the season, thus supporting the local agricultural community. Evening meals are taken in typical Greek restaurants serving local dishes.

Our guests stay at local, family owned guesthouses, staffed by locals with their food being sourced locally. These accommodations have been restored by local workers and retained their unique local character whilst providing all necessary comforts. The guesthouses recently installed solar panels which provide hot water for all rooms all year round.

Sifnos, Serifos & Milos has a unique network of traditional walking paths and Annie, Daphne or Andreas, who will be your guides know them very well. They are passionate about promoting the West Cyclades as a walking vacation destination, about the survival and conservation of the paths and local wildlife and sustainable tourism in general.

In general, with all walking vacations in Greece, we’re trying through our activities to encourage travelers to approach places they visits with greater understanding and respect.

4 Reviews of Hiking vacation in the West Cyclades, Greece

4.5 out of 5 stars
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Reviewed on 02 May 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Reaching some amazing views by walking and then having a delicious dinner at a small Taverna serving local specialities.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Get some walking practice in before you come and bring walking poles if you need them for uneven paths.

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


The various restaurants, hotels etc had some out-of-season income from our stay. Flying always has environmental impact but once we arrived we took buses if we could and walked to visit the islands.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


This was a lovely vacation and our guide Annie was very well organised and friendly whilst being flexible and relaxed which made the trip very enjoyable.

Reviewed on 24 Apr 2017 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Beautiful views. Very relaxed. Times were respected.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Don't pack as if you were trekking but as if you were going to walk in the park

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, just a little.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent

Read the operator's response here:

Dear Keri,

Thank you for your comments and kind words. We are delighted that overall you enjoyed our walking vacation. We really enjoyed your company and we look forward to welcoming you back to the Cyclades islands.

If you have any feedback on how we can improve, please do write to us directly we’d really like to know how we can improve the way we operate. We realise it is a continuous process.

As you joined a small group during the out of season months it was really beneficial for the local community. Both accommodations you stayed are owned by local families who live permanently at the islands. As you experienced they only had a few other guests. All the taverns that were selected by our guide are also run by local families and are open throughout the year and not seasonally as is the case with most. Our guide introduced you to the local culture, easter celebrations and food. You were introduced to locals and you were invited to locals' easter feast and house.

Regarding the environmental impact of our business we do all we can to reduce our impacts throughout the year. We do try to introduce our guests to the local biodiversity and uniqueness of the Aegean ecosystems and we believe our guides offer interesting information. We do try to walk in designated paths, collect garbage, arrange clean ups on our own or in collaboration with other local firms several times. Finally we’d like to think that we create awareness of the main environmental issues. We do report on sightings of mammals and birds and members of our team take part in NGO events and seminars every year. Creating awareness is a step but it is not enough of course.

These are just a few thoughts for further discussion. We look forward to hearing from you and work on ensuring our trips are as responsible as possible.

We hope to welcome you back to the Cyclades soon.

Reviewed on 24 Jun 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


For me it was the opportunity to walk and see amazing landscapes, villages, remote beaches, meet unique local characters, eat delicious food, get to know the Greek culture. I wouldn't be able to experience all that on my own!

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


There are many options for hikes all over the island. Get some good footwear to protect your ankles, a hat, a swimsuit and enjoy!

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes we stayed at a family run guesthouse, ate at local taverns, tried local products, used public transport and walked to get to places. We cleaned up a beach after having a picnic. Our guide in general provided useful information about the local flora and fauna, the culture, economy and environmental issues

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Excellent

Reviewed on 20 Apr 2014 by

1. What was the most memorable or exciting part of your vacation?


Hiking all over the hillsides of Sifnos on ancient trails was a terrific way to see the beauty of the countryside, enjoy the wildflowers and get a strong sense of the island’s history.
The hiking was great exercise. However, I think the most memorable part will be the good company we had in Annie Antonatou, our guide and host. We learned so much from her during casual conversations about moden day Greece and traditional Greek culture as well. Because of her friendly companionship we felt relaxed and comfortable everywhere we went.

2. What tips would you give other travelers booking this vacation?


Moderate fitness level is recommended for the level of hiking. Wear good hiking boots. Bring a raincoat in springtime.
Accommodation is good but basic, so bring your own hair dryer if desired, as well as toiletries .

3. Did you feel that your vacation benefited local people, reduced environmental impacts or supported conservation?


Yes, most definitely.

4. Finally, how would you rate your vacation overall?


Very interesting and enjoyable. We're very pleased with the experience.

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