Legend has it that Serifos is where Perseus brought the head of the slain gorgon Medusa, but Nostos Serifos is more liable to deliver a pure endorphin rush than turn you to stone. Here, warm meltemi breezes rustle great tendrils of Cycladian shrubs in the whitewashed hotel courtyard, stirring up heavenly scents of lavender and thyme, and tantalising glimpses of the Aegean’s sapphire shimmer are the stuff of which Greek myths are made. Snake your way down to the charming shores of nearby Livadakia Beach, where cascading tamarisk trees provide sultry, siesta-friendly shade and balmy shallow waters invite dipped toes.
15, of which two are suites with balcony spa tubs.
11am. Check-in is at 3pm. Both are flexible when availability allows. Otherwise, guests arriving early can store luggage until their room is ready and late departures can make free use of the shower in the gym.
Double rooms from £63.76 (€74), including tax at 13.5 per cent. Please note the hotel charges an additional government tax of €0.50 per room per night on check-in.
Rates include a breakfast of local dishes served with coffee and fruit juice at the communal breakfast bar, or out on the patio.
Unfortunately, due to the layout of Nostos Serifos, it isn’t suitable for wheelchair users or those with reduced mobility.
The hotel is closed during low season, from 1 October to 30 April inclusive.
At the hotel
Free WiFi and gym. In rooms: beach towels, tote bag, TV, small fridge, and bathroom products from Born Majesty’s organic Olive Era range.
Our favourite rooms
Rooms follow a cool, clean Cycladic aesthetic with white walls and warm woods, and most have balconies or terraces with full or partial sea views. But it's the Maxi suite’s balcony that rules this particular roost, thanks to an alfresco spa tub and uninterrupted Aegean vistas that would charm the serpents right off Medusa‘s head.
No pool but hey, with over 70 beaches on the island (two of them within a 10-minute walk of the hotel) who needs one?
The hotel partners with massage therapists who provide on-site treatments on request.
Whaddya mean you’ve never read the story of Perseus and Medusa?
If there’s a better location in which to remedy this frankly appalling oversight, we’ve yet to discover it. Avoid lugging brick-sized scholarly tomes through airport security and travel light instead – with a download of the Mythos audiobook, Stephen Fry’s light-hearted retelling of hundreds of classic Greek myths.
The gym comes fully equipped with a Nohrd water rower, Technogym bench and treadmill, and training mats and weights.
Very good doggos are welcome to stay in all room types. Beds and bowls are provided and there’s a one-off fee of €20. One dog is permitted a room, but no cats allowed (sorry Simba). See more pet-friendly hotels in Serifos.
Baby chairs, cots and kettles for boiling water are available on request, but there are no other facilities to speak of for little Smiths.
A slew of eco-friendly initiatives has accompanied Nostos Serifos’s upgrade from humble bed and breakfast to minimalist-chic boutique bolthole. These include thermal insulation and solar panels (both rare on this relatively undeveloped island), as well as a carbon-capture scheme in collaboration with bleeding-edge Swiss tech company Climeworks. Materials used in the renovation, such as white plaster and chestnut wood, ensure the hotel’s look and feel is in-keeping with the local Cycladic architecture and landscape. LED lighting, motion sensors, air-source heating (and cooling) systems, low-waste policies and a ban on single-use plastics round out the hotel’s busy roster of green credentials.
Singing out its siren song from the southern shores of Cyclades smasher Serifos, Nostos overlooks the horseshoe-shaped port of Livadi and the cerulean seas of the Aegean beyond.
The nearest airports to Serifos are on Mykonos, around 60 kilometres to the south, and in Athens, 150 kilometres north. Remote much? Fear not: regular ferries connect both to the island.
Nearby Livadi is connected to Chora, the island’s capital, by semi-regular bus services. But if you want to set your own timetable, the port town also has a few car-rental options, far and away your best bet for reaching the island’s more remote village tavernas, whitewashed Cycladic churches and beaches. There’s public street parking a short walk from the hotel.
Most visitors to Serifos arrive via ferry from Athens’ Piraeus Harbour. The journey takes a little over two hours, so be prepared to roll out your sea legs and splice the mainbrace.
Worth getting out of bed for
As photogenic in places as its Cyclades sibling Santorini, secluded Serifos remains largely the preserve of in-the-know Athenian weekenders and curious island-hoppers from nearby Milos and Paros. For now, at least. Such off-grid isolation practically begs you to do…nothing. And that’s certainly an option here, with somewhere north of 70 distinct beaches wrapped around 80 kilometres of rugged coastline, all within your grasp. The soft golden sands of Livadakia and Avlomonas beaches are among the nearest to the hotel, as well as being some of the best-equipped for day-long lounging. There are bars and tavernas here to help keep your ouzito cocktail topped up; a handful even offer sunloungers and parasols for rent – more of a rarity on this unpolished Cycladean gem of an island than you might imagine. Seek out seclusion, surf and relative solitude slightly further afield along the wide, sweeping curve of Ganema Beach, or head north to Sikamia, where the general absence of fellow beach bods might just make you believe you’ve just stepped into your very own private picture postcard.
Serifos’s wild, gorse-carpeted landscapes are manna for photographers, all sugarcube houses, cerulean-blue chapel domes, balconies festooned with pink and purple bougainvillaea, and sleepy village plazas dotted with traditional tavernas. You’ll find all this and more in the island’s hillside-clinging capital of Chora. While away an hour or two watching the world go slowly by from an ouzeria on Pano Piazza, the almost ethereal beauty of which is liable to bring a tear to a glass eye. From there, it’s just a short but sweaty uphill shamble to confess your sins at the Church of Agios Konstantinos, the highest and arguably most beautiful spot in town, with views that stretch all the way to the neighbouring islands of Sifnos and Kythnos on a clear day. Don’t forget to don your darkest glasses against the dazzling glare of Chora’s tumbledown whitewashed houses below.
Nostos Serifos’s location in the busy port town of Livadi puts you within strolling distance of the island’s entertainment and nightlife hub. But let’s not get carried away: we're talking Captain Corelli’s Kefalonia rather than, say, Faliraki or Malia, with a laidback yacht club and several low-key bars and tavernas, many open all day long. Get your Greek on at Kalis, where the seafood tastes so fresh you’ll swear it jumped straight from the Aegean onto the grill not 10 minutes ago. Expect Cyclades-inspired flavours in everything from the homemade sourdough and tzatziki to sweet sea bass ceviche and moreish mussels saganaki with Greek feta and herbs. Bag a table on the terrace overlooking Livadi waterfront for the win.
Over at Robinson – named after the eponymous hero of Daniel Defoe’s shipwreck adventure – casual dining is the order of the day. Tuck into tasty Greek classics and salads downstairs or hit up the rooftop bar where you can pair authentic Italian pizza with some of the best cocktails and harbour views in town. As the sun (and that second margarita) goes down, you might find yourself wishing you could be cast away here for good.
Yacht Club Serifos is something of a Livadi institution. And it’s easy to see why. A pretty pale blue exterior complete with elevated sun terrace overlooks the harbour. Meanwhile inside it’s all funky bar stools, checkerboard floors and curated playlists that alter to suit the mood as the day progresses. Arrive for a late breakfast of omelette with feta, ham and tomato paired with strong Greek coffee and stick around to watch elderly locals who’ve been coming here for decades battle it out for the day’s backgammon crown. In the evening, this laidback hangout transforms into a buzzing bouzoukia, drawing cool crowds with live music and more expertly crafted cocktails than you can shake, well, a cocktail shaker at. There’s been a taverna in this location for nearly a century – so don’t be surprised if the Yacht Club is still here knocking out its knockout blood orange and cinnamon cocktails in another 100 years.
Hit up Serifos capital Chora for drinks with a view and a half. To Balconi is perfectly placed for quenching the thirst of those brave and perspiring souls who’ve walked up the hill to get here. As the name suggests, this chilled bar by the local Folklore Museum has a balcony. And, oh, what a balcony it is. Step out with your large glass of ice-cold local moschofilero wine to pair its floral and citrus notes with showstopping panoramas that take in Chora town, the neighbouring island of Sifnos, and everything else in between.
Every hotel featured is visited personally by members of our team, given the Smith seal of approval, and then anonymously reviewed. As soon as our reviewers have returned from this boutique barefoot bolthole on the Cyclades island of Serifos and unpacked their customs-bothering stash of liquid souvenirs – velvety local olive oils, organic wines and, yep, a bottle of Greek ouzo – a full account of their off-grid island break will be with you. In the meantime, to whet your wanderlust, here's a quick peek inside Nostos Serifos in the Aegean port of Livadi…
Serifos is the kind of island that wears its rich history with pride. Little surprise then that Nostos Serifos owners Bianca and Harrys have paid homage to their hotel’s own past in its recent renovation. For Nostos was once owned and run by none other than Harrys’ Grandpa Giorgos, a near-mythological character of yore known locally as ‘the ancient one’ and cherished for his legendary hospitality. That comforting sense of hearth and home has been retained in Nostos 2.0, where guests pad barefoot through the lounge to mingle over morning coffee and pastries at the communal breakfast bar. Meanwhile, the natty 21st-century makeover by in-vogue Greek architectural studio C-O Lab employs natural materials including stone, travertine and blonde woods designed to evoke the Serifian landscape. Heck, even the lights in the lobby reference the stylised symmetries of ancient Cycladic sculpture. Gorgeous Giorgos would no doubt warmly approve.