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An Enchanting Cluster of Small Islands & Islets

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Discover Oinousses

Oinousses is an enchanting cluster of nine small islands and islets in the Eastern Aegean between Chios and Turkey. The only one that is inhabited is Oinoussa, also known as Aignoussa, which has a naval tradition dating back to the mid-19th century and is home to some of the most important shipping families in Greece.

Oinousses is a place of serenity and grandeur that combines stunning natural landscapes with a rich history and warm hospitality. Visitors can enjoy idyllic beaches with emerald waters, peaceful and unspoiled surroundings, and a host of alternative activities, while every summer it is transformed into a cosmopolitan resort when the local shipping clans return to their family homes.

3 memorable experiences on Oinousses
  1. A day trip to historic Chios. The two islands are just 19 nautical miles apart (about one hour by boat).
  2. Seeing the sun set from the beautiful Chapel of the Prophet Elijah at the western end of the island.
  3. If you choose one of the itineraries to Oinousses, don’t miss the opportunity to explore its unpopulated islands and their scenic landscapes by tourist boat or canoe.
Beaches of Oinousses

The island’s irregular coastline offers beachgoers a variety of options. Some of the beaches are small and sandy, while others have pebbles, nestling among the rocks of tiny coves, with cool crystalline waters. Those on the northern coast, with views of Turkey, are more pristine but also less sheltered, while those in the south have a tranquil splendour and are surrounded by greenery. Don’t miss:

  • Bilali, a lovely sandy beach with a few pebbles and an azure sea, north-west of Oinoussa Town. On the shore there is only a gazebo and a few trees for natural shade. The shallowness of the water makes it suitable for families with young children.
  • The idyllic Saint John’s Cove, overlooked by a green hill. At one end there is a concrete platform for diving into the emerald sea. The beach owes its name to the pretty white chapel at the other end.
  • Apiganos, perhaps the most gorgeous of Oinousses’ beaches, south-west of the port. It is long and sandy, with crystal-clear waters and a small marina for boats.
  • Fourkerou, curving around a picturesque bay with a bright blue sea. It is sheltered, so attracts lovers of peace and relaxation. There are straw umbrellas here.
  • Hatzalis, a quiet paradise with calm turquoise waters and sand, surrounded by a few trees. There is a concrete jetty for small excursion boats and sailing craft.
Postcards from Oinousses: 6 things not to miss

Oinoussa Town
Built on a hill around the harbour, the island’s only settlement is ideal for wandering around, with its narrow stone-paved streets, rows of green trees, and refined atmosphere. The striking captain’s mansions and simple stone houses with tiled roofs are particularly impressive to look at.

Saint Nicholas’s Cathedral
The island’s largest place of worship is dedicated to the patron saint of sailors and is worth visiting for its elaborate religious paintings.

The Mermaid of Oinousses
This iconic bronze statue of a mermaid wearing a crown and holding a sailing boat in her left hand dominates a rock a rock at the entrance to the harbour. The sculpture of the mythical sea creature and eternal companion of sailors is by Maria Papakonstantinou.

Oinousses Maritime Museum
This fascinating museum explores the long naval tradition on the island and the growth of commercial shipping there. Collections have been donated by local shipowning families and include elaborate model ships, paintings, and nautical instruments. Among them are sailboats made by French prisoners of the Napoleonic Wars, steamships of the early 20th century as well as modern Liberty ships.

The Monastery of the Annunciation
Built in 1962 on the west side of the island, this monastery is a jewel of Byzantine architecture with exquisite frescoes by great hagiographers such as Fotis Kontoglou. The weaving workshop produces unique handmade textiles.

Naftosini Square
This iconic square is notable for the Monument of the Unknown Sailor, which mentions the names of the Oinoussian sailors who went missing at sea.

Tastes of Oinousses

The island’s favourite delicacy is octopus, renowned not only for its taste but also for its tenderness.

Other well-known local dishes include hortopites (pies filled with seasonal wild greens), bourekia (wild greens and cheese wrapped in filo pastry), hirisia (handmade pasta), hondros (dried fermented wheat), tambourokeftedes (fritters made with pumpkin and wild greens), stuffed calamari, rice pilaf with limpets, mastelo (a soft white cheese) either grilled or fried saganaki-style, and keremezi (cheese with yoghurt).

In addition, if you choose one of the ferry tickets to Oinousses, don’t forget to try the local honey and the red wine produced at the island’s vineyards.

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