Free audio walking tour of Sykia!

This free audio walking tour will take us on an easy and pleasant walk around the seaside village of Sykia, where we will have the chance to listen to descriptions and stories of its most interesting buildings and landmarks.

We know very little about Sykia before the 18th century. The oldest remaining heritage building seems to be the Ottoman-era tower house of local ruler Kiamil Beis, dating back to the early 1700s. The current name of the village “Sykia” is linked to the history of this tower house, as according to local folklore there was a fresh-water fountain at its foot, shaded by a large ancient fig tree, which brought water through a clay aqueduct from the mountains. Fig tree in Greek is “Sykia”! It seems that the fig tree was cut down in the mid-1840s when wealthy raisin merchants, mostly descending from the nearby mountain villages of Trikala, Karya and Gellini started building homes on the coast. 

In fact the raisin trade seems to have been the foundation of modern Sykia and the village’s fortunes very much followed the fortunes of the trade. During the trade’s hay day raisins attracted, created and sustained a merchant class which built not just storehouses, but also beautiful mansions along the coast. They came from as far away as Volos and even Paris and created a society which was much more bourgeois than peasant, to such an extent that it was said of Sykia that it was “a village without peasants”! Unfortunately, by the 1960s most of these wealthy mansions were destroyed or in ruin, following a lasting downturn in the trading of Greek raisins. The only ones remaining today are the Zouzoulas mansion and the nearby Sgouros mansion.

Sykia remained however in the spotlight during the 1950s and 1960s as the shipowning family Typaldos leased part of the Pefkias seaside pine forest to create a Club-Med-type resort, with bungalows under the trees. The company’s cruise ships brought tourists from Western Europe who spent carefree holidays in the bungalows and flooded the small village of Sykia with their cosmopolitanism. It was an amazing time for the locals, who profited both intellectually and financially from the presence of some 5000 people every summer for many years. Inhabitants who lived through this period speak with glee of the night club “Argentina” on the seafront of Sykia, which attracted and entertained a whole generation of Sykiots and their foreign guests, with music, dance and even beauty pageants every summer for almost two decades!

Today Sykia is a quiet resort which mostly attracts Athenian families, who have their summer houses here. The extensive beach, the seafront tavernas and the seaside pine forest are the village’s main attractions.

Scan the QR code below to access this free audio walking tour and begin your exploration of Sykia!

qr code for walking guide of Sykia