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An Exotic Paradis

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Discover Koufonissia

Koufonissia are situated in the Small Eastern Cyclades, between Naxos and Amorgos. They consist of two islands, Pano (Upper) Koufonissi and the uninhabited Kato (Lower) Koufonissi, which are separated by a narrow strait. According to legend, their name, which means “hollow island”, come from the countless coastal caves that once gave sailors and pirates the impression of a hollow interior.

Synonymous with alternative holidays and unspoiled nature, this exotic paradise is reminiscent of Polynesia or the Maldives. Its clear aquamarine waters, golden sands, and dazzling sea caves make it an idyllic setting for romantics and would-be castaways.

Koufonissia are the perfect place for a holiday, whether you prefer to spend it exploring, relaxing in quiet contemplation, or letting your cares drift away as you float in the sea. They also offer gastronomic pleasures and authentic human contact with some of the most hospitable people in the Aegean.

First discovered by tourists in the 1990s, since it has become one of the most popular destinations in the Aegean, as well as an ideal base for day trips to the other enchanting islands in the Small Cyclades.

2 memorable experiences on Koufonissia
  1. If you choose one of the itineraries to Koufonissia, don’t miss the opportunity to walk the coastal path from Koufonissi Town to Xylovatis, stopping for a dip at any of the beaches on the eastern coast of the island.
  2. Taking a boat trip to the small rocky islets around Koufonissi. Magnificent coves, unexplored beaches, and mysterious sea caves are all part of the natural splendour of the Small Cyclades.
Beaches of Koufonissia

With golden sands and waters of extraordinary transparency, the exotic beaches of Koufonissia are among the most famous in the Cyclades. Most of them can be reached on foot. It is worth discovering:

  • Finikas, a golden sandy beach with blue-green sea that appeals equally to families, couples, and young people. It is a good choice for a breezy day, as it is protected from the wind.
  • Platia Pounta, with the scenery of a tropical destination, better known to locals as Italida, and perhaps the most-frequented beach on the island. It has no tourist facilities, so make sure you have everything you need before you go. There is food available at nearby Finikas and Fanos.
  • Fanos, between Finikas and Italida, which takes its name from the bar there. Its blue-green waters are protected from winds coming from the north and west.
  • Pori, a tropical idyll with a long stretch of golden sand and clear turquoise sea. It is located near renowned attractions such as the caves of Xylovatis and the “Devil’s Eye”, and when strong winds blow it becomes a popular location for windsurfers. There are no umbrellas here, so you should bring your own.
  • Pisina, right after Platia Pounta, where the sea has eroded the rocks to create a natural swimming pool. Its transparent turquoise waters communicate with the sea through a small underwater passage, while the horizontal rocks are good for diving off.
  • The beach in the port of Pano Koufonissi. A sheltered paradise with limpid blue-green waters set against a background of attractive fishing boats and excursion vessels.
Postcards from Koufonissia: 7 things not to miss

Koufonissi Town
The capital of Koufonissia, which is on the upper island, stands out for its simple scenery, consisting of pretty cobbled streets, white houses with blue doors, whitewashed courtyards filled with bougainvillea, and the churches of Saint George (1870) and Saint Nicholas (1982). The island’s best-known landmark is the windmill at the entrance to the port.

Kato Koufonissi
This uninhabited island is a pristine idyll for hikers and those seeking quiet and seclusion on its exceptional beaches (Detis, Nero, Pezoulia and Laki). Other attractions include the church of the Virgin Mary and traces of an early Cycladic cemetery.

The Church of the Prophet Elijah
An open-air place of worship rather than a building, this one-of-a-kind chapel consists of some whitewashed dry-stone walls with splashes of blue, an icon of the Prophet Elijah, a lamp, and a stone altar. It stands on a hill amidst stunning surroundings with views of half of Pano Koufonissi and islands as far as Santorini. The sunset from here is breathtaking.

The “Devil’s Eye”
One of the best-known geological attractions of the island, created by the action of the sea on the rocks. Its name refers to a hollow formation that fills with water when sea rushes in from below, and then empties like a whirlpool, a sense intensified by the eerie sound of the water.

Among the island’s most impressive geological sights, this open cave surrounding a tiny beach communicates with the sea through a narrow passage. The resistance that the water meets when entering the cave makes it foam, giving it a unique milky appearance.

This uninhabited island south of Koufonissia was an important religious centre of the Cycladic civilisation and is one of the most significant archaeological sites of the Early Cycladic Era, where excavations have unearthed more than a hundred precious marble figurines. When the moon is full, the outline of the mountain ridge resembles a female figure reclining in the waters of the Aegean.

Surrounded by Pano Koufonissi, Kato Koufonissi and Keros, this tiny islet with enchanting caves and unspoilt beaches is inhabited solely by gulls, for whom it is an ideal place for rest and reproduction. It is also a favourite stop for anyone taking a boat trip around Koufonissia. 

Tastes of Koufonissia

Koufonissia are surrounded by abundant fishing grounds that supply the picturesque tavernas of the town, making this is a great place for fresh fish and excellent seafood such as lobster linguine, sea urchin salad, and grilled fish of the day. You should also sample the delicious slow-cooked food and regional specialities such as the spiral domatopita (tomato pie), tomato fritters, and Keros goat cooked in a clay pot. Start your day with the famous local doughnuts, a favourite treat in the cafes of Koufonissi Town.

Choose one of the ferry tickets to Koufonissia and taste the island’s traditional delicacies.


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