Overview of Koufonisia
Koufonisia are considered as a tiny paradise in the Aegean. Indeed, their Caribbean-like beaches and authentic laid-back feeling fit the above description. Located between Naxos and Amorgos, Koufonisia are part of the Little Cyclades complex, which also includes Iraklia, Schinousa and Donousa. Koufonisia consist of two islands: Pano (Upper) and Kato (Lower) Koufonisi. Pano Koufonisi is inhabited and also the most touristic developed of the entire complex (that’s why often when we say Koufonisi, we actually refer to this one).
On the other hand, the uninhabited Kato Koufonisi is more of a serene hideaway that everyone visits for its pristine beaches. Also belonging to Koufonisia, the deserted neighboring island of Keros is a protected archaeological site worth seeing. Famous for their gorgeous beaches (some of the best in the Greek islands), impressive sea caves, as well as abundant fresh fish, Koufonisia nowadays attract all types of tourists, from yacht owners to free campers. The past few years this destination has become very trendy (and crowded too, during peak season, so book rooms on time). However, mass tourism hasn’t been able to change the islands’ relaxed, friendly face. Either the fact that you can still walk or cycle the whole area (aka Pano Koufonisi), as there are no asphalt streets (car or motorcycle are simply not necessary, while boat trips are a must).
Pano Koufonisi is also the tiniest and most densely populated island in the Cyclades, with a surprising ratio of young people (and fishing boats, as well). It feels like a small community, always full of life and eager to satisfy all visitors. Its only settlement, the capital and port of Chora, is a typical Greek island fishing village that welcomes you with its trademark windmill, whitewashed houses, alleys and churches. Make your escape at Koufonisia; they’re indeed one of the most enchanting, stress free places to be.
Photo gallery of Koufonisia
Pori: The “star” beach on Pano Koufonisi is absolutely stunning and one of the best in the Greek islands. It has white sand, aquamarine waters, plus two beach bars. You can easily reach it by boat or foot (30 minutes from Chora, crossing a lovely landscape). It’s also ideal for windsurfing.
Platia Pounda or Italida: One of the island’s prettiest and best known beaches, with fine sand and crystalline waters. A part of it is frequented by nudists.
Finikas (or Charokopou): It takes a 15-20 min walk from Chora to reach this beach of golden sand and aquamarine waters. Nearby you can find a tavern and rooms to let.
Kato Koufonisi: Features a handful of isolated and tranquil beaches (Detis, Nero, etc) where you can arrive by caique (remember three key-words here: coarse sand, zero facilities, naturism).
Fanos: Another lovely sandy beach with blue-green waters and a popular beach bar. Also, young people’s favorite.
Megali Ammos: The settlement’s beach located at the port of Pano Koufonisi is popular and very beautiful, with clean blue waters and all the basic amenities.
Captain Nikolas Taverna: Pano Koufonisi, Greek cuisine and sea food.
Neo Remezzo: Pano Koufonisi, Greek cuisine.
Finikas Tavern: Pano Koufonisi-Finikas, Greek cuisine.
Souvlaki Sti Strofi: Pano Koufonisi, Souvlaki.
Michailos Tavern: Pano Koufonisi, Greek cuisine.
Visit Keros: The uninhabited small rocky island at the east of Koufonisia is one of the area’s top attractions. Keros used to be an important centre of the Cycladic civilization. Indeed, many prominent findings came to light on the island, among which more than a hundred Cycladic figurines (three of which are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Athens). When you visit, keep in mind that you’ll need to bring supplies.
Visit nearby islands: The neighboring Naxos and Amorgos are less than an hour away by boat.
Boat trip around the island: Explore Koufonisia the satellite islets of Glaronisi, Tsouloufi and Megali Plaka, among others, with beaches of immense beauty.
Explore the rest of the Little Kyklades: Donousa, Iraklia and Schinousa.
Activities for all: As mentioned above, hiking and cycling serve as means of transportation at Pano Koufonisi. Sailing, windsurfing, fishing and diving are also very popular activities here.
Sea caves at Pano Koufonisi: Accessible only by boat, they are situated at the island’s east, on your way from Chora to Pori and beyond. The most photogenic ones are Gala, Pisina and Mati tou Diavolou (eng Eye of the Devil), resembling small swimming pools with waters of amazing colors.
Pano Koufonisi feasts: The most popular ones are held in Easter, as well as on April 23rd to honor Agios Georgios, the island’s patron saint (with the traditional custom of “panigiras”). There are more on June 24th (the famed Fisherman’s Feast), July 20th (Prophet Elijah) and August 15th (at the church of Panagia, Kato Koufonisi). Food, music and dance are of course on the agenda, as in all Greek islands feasts.
Local & delicious: Fresh fish and sea food is the island’s trademark. You can also try wild goat meat from Keros (it’s cooked with rice), xerotigana (fried thin crusts), xinomyzithra (type of cheese) and pasteli (sweet with sesame and honey, served on lemon leaves). Also, have some rakomelo (raki alcohol drink with honey and cinnamon).
Map of Koufonisia
Reviews of Koufonisia