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Koufonisia: the Caribbean in Greece

Koufonisia ● Small Cyclades ● 20 June 2018
 
Koufonissia - Reading time: 5 minutes

Koufonissi


The first time I went in Koufonisia it was 15 years ago, and I remember a tiny island with only few things to do. For my age, this island was boring. The second time was when I was 30. I had changed, and also the island had changed. From an undiscovered island near Naxos, Koufonisia have become a cosmopolitan destination, which however has kept its authentic and relaxing character. Is there anything more delightful for a traveler, who wants to get rest, forget everything but at the same time have something to do at nights?

Koufonisia is a top destination in the Cyclades on its own, and you can definitely spend your vacation only there, especially if you want to leave all your worries behind. But the coolest thing with Koufonissia is that they are located close to other Cycladic islands, so you can include them in your Greek Island Hopping. Just book online the super Greek Island Hopping ferry pass of Hostelbay, and visit all the amazing Cycladic islands paying only one ticket!

What you should know about Koufonisia

A few years ago, this small island near Naxos was a totally off-the-beaten-track choice for those travelers, who were seeking privacy and calmness away from mass tourism. Today, Koufonissia are considered to be the Mykonos of Small Cyclades. That doesn't mean, of course, that this complex of two islets has the atmosphere and the wild nightlife of Mykonos, but that it perfectly combines the beautiful beaches with a funny and vivid character. If you want a place to relax and forget everything, but at the same time, you don't want to be in a totally secluded island with only a few taverns and unorganised beaches, then visit Koufonisia. Because they literally combine both sides of vacation. The relaxation and the cosmopolitanism.

Koufonissia consist of two small islands of only 15 square meters in the island cluster of Cyclades. It has become very popular the last decade, when the lovers of Cycladic islands discovered this relaxing island with the amazing emerald waters. The blue sky, which stands always unclouded, and the golden sand create a stunning landscape, and the waters are literally azure, maybe the best waters you can find in Aegean Sea. At least, this is what I think.

Koufonisia is a complex of two tiny islands. Ano (=upper) Koufonisi has a small village (Chora) and gorgeous beaches, while Kato (=under) Koufonisi is uninhabited, and has one exotic beach and a tavern. You can stay in Ano Koufonisi and visit Kato Koufonisi in a day trip by boat; it is less than half an hour. In this excursion, you can admire the coastline of the island, which is impressive, with exotic waters and caves coming imposing from the sea. The beach in Kato Koufonisi is a wild beach with big waves surrounded by steep cliffs. It is called Nero (=water), is unorganised and one of the best spots for free campers.

The first thing I noticed when the boat reached the port of Koufonisia was the amazingly turquoise sea waters. In addition to that, a small settlement with typically Cycladic, white-washed houses, fishing and sailing boats gave me instantly the feeling of being in a paradise, where I could truly relax and forget the tiring winter.


The Chora of Ano Koufonisi is a lovely Cycladic village with some restaurants, elegant shops and galleries as well as a few bars. The best bar with rock and disco music from the 80's is Scholeio (=school), while in the middle of the main street, Koufochorio is a charming café-bar with cocktails and rakomelo (warmed raki with honey), where you can meet new people and become with them a company because all the youngsters of the island gather there at night. On the other side of the port, Sorokos bar is a very romantic bar by the sea with modern cocktails in an exotic scenery, while at the top of the hill, the bar in the windmill is the ultimate spot to spend unique moments with your other half enjoying the sunset and the perfect view. If you want to have fun, these bars play loud music after midnight, so after relaxation, there is always the possibility to drink and dance. In Koufonissia, you will meet mainly young people, couples, alternative families and group of happy friends.

The beaches

What will amaze you in Ano Koufonisi are its beaches, which are located within walking distance from the port and Chora because Koufonisi is a very small island, so you don't need a car. If you don't want to walk, you can rent a bike, take the bus (only 5 minutes to Pori, the remotest beach) or the boat.

For me, the beaches were exactly what I was looking for. Cozy bays with golden soft sand and the same azure waters I have noticed in the port. On the island, there were no taxis and car rentals, so I had to walk to the beaches or to take the traditional caique, which every hour went to the beaches playing loud Greek folk music in a funny atmosphere. The first day, I decided to walk, and within only 15 minutes from the port, I reached the first beach, Foinikas. Before that, I have admired a wonderful coastline with caves, impressive rocks and crystal clear waters creating a natural pool. The route to Foinikas didn't tire me at all! Foinikas is a gorgeous cove with some trees and a tavern. Near Foinikas, is located the beach of Fanos with a beach bar, where you can drink, eat and listen to the lounge music, which makes you really enjoy your holidays. Near Fanos, the unorganised beach of Italida. You can walk and decide where you want to sunbathe and swim, or you can spend your day on the three beaches, so close they are to each other. They look like each other, and they have one asset in common: the astonishing waters that make you feel being in an oasis.

On the road to the remotest (only 2 km from the port!) beach of the island, Pori, you will meet Pisines (=pools), some caves and rocks that remind of a pool thanks to their formations and the colour of the waters.

Pori

To Pori, I took the boat to go there, and I really enjoyed the route that lasts 15 minutes. Pori is the best beach of Koufonisi an impressively beautiful long sandy bay with calm azure waters, exactly like swimming in the Caribbean Sea. I have never been in Caribbean, so maybe Pori is even better! On the one side, the beach is perfect for sunbathing and swimming, and on the other northern side, the waves create a wild scenery with rocks and landscape like being in a desert. One beach bar and an elegant restaurant are perfectly combined with the natural setting, and you can literally spend there the whole day, admiring the beauty of Pori and forgetting everything else.

In Pori, the best asset is the beach restaurant Kalofeggo, a small, modern restaurant in Mexican style with delicious creative Greek cuisine in an elegant atmosphere, where I spent the best moments of my vacation.



Near Pori, I have discovered an astonishing small beach inside a cave, whose white waters due to the foams of the waves gave it the name Gala, which means milk. It is located only 5 minutes on foot from Pori, and you have to climb on the top of a hill to find it. From the top of the hill, the view of the Aegean Sea is just breathtaking. The route on the wild rocks with the magnificent view is just an experience, which can't be described by words.



How to get there

As I mentioned earlier, the Greek Island Hopping ferry pass of Hostelbay gives you the opportunity to include Koufonisia in your island-hopping plan. Koufonisia are located very close to Naxos, in the complex of Small Cyclades.Thus, you can visit Naxos and then Koufonisia. With this super cool ferry pass, you can visit all the nearby islands in addition to Naxos (Paros, Ios, Mykonos, Santorini, Amorgos) paying only for one ticket and one route (but you do all the routes that are needed in order to go from one island to another conveniently by ferry)!

Thus, you can take the boat or the ferry from Piraeus Port and start an amazing journey... By boat, you need to Koufonisia about 7 hours, while by ferry the duration is less (4,5 hours). Another option is to make first your stop in Naxos and spend some hours or days on this interesting and wonderful island. Then, you can take the legendary boat of Skopelitis, which starts from Naxos and connects all the islands of Small Cyclades. This boat makes these routes since decades, and it is a truly authentic and cult experience to be on its deck. After one hour, you will reach Koufonisia having seen a part of unspoiled Greece away from the crowds of tourists.

Greek Island Hopping in the Small Cyclades

Koufonisia is the most famous island of Small Cyclades, but this island complex inside the cluster of Cyclades is not only Koufonisia. It consists also from 3 other tiny islands that all have the same characteristics. Undiscovered landscape, relaxation away from mass tourism, exotic beaches, lovely settlements with authentic local people and fresh fish. You can go to these islands by Skopelitis. Thus, from Koufonisia, you can continue with your island hopping in the Cyclades making some routes off-the-beaten-path. These islands are located very close to each other, and thus you can also make day excursions to them from Koufonisia or Naxos. Be prepared to see a totally different world, the last part of the Cyclades that has remained untouched, having its special aura.

Irakleia

Irakleia is the less inhabited destination among the Small Cyclades. With only a few houses around the port, Irakleia impresses its visitors with its virgin landscape and its lonely beaches. Livadi is the best beach of the island, an imposing cove with the clearest waters you can find in the Aegean Sea. Moreover, Irakleia can offer you the perfect feeling of vacation away from the crowds in a destination that there are only you, your company, the sea and the sun. Now it is time to spend some precious moments with yourself and your company without worrying about anything else...
Irakleia

Donoussa

In Donoussa, you will find total privacy and relaxation. The most beautiful area of Donoussa is the southern side of the island, with long exotic sandy bays, such as Kedros and Livadi. The only settlement of the island is the port, an authentic small Chora with some taverns and café-bars to spend calm days and nights discussing with the locals and finding your inner peace. Free-camping, swimming, sunbathing and hiking are the best activities you can make in Donoussa. The ultimate destination to be in contact with nature...
Donoussa

Schinoussa

Schinoussa has the same style with the other Small Cyclades. Secluded long beaches with emerald waters and white sand, small villages, dry landscape and authentic local people. Away from the crowds, you can enjoy there the beauty of nature and feel that you own the island. Every day, you can eat fresh fish and cheap seafood because the locals are still fishermen. Schinoussa is the ultimate place to meet new people and make friends that have the same attitude of adventurous and alternative traveller with you. It is not a coincidence that some of the biggest media worldwide include Schinoussa in the new alternative must destinations in Europe...
Schinoussa

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