Located between Naxos and Amorgos in the Small Cyclades, the Koufonissia islands entice every traveller in a different way.
Living in Koufonissia
The group of Koufonissia consists of two islands, the inhabited Ano Koufonissi (or simply Koufonissi) and Kato Koufonissi. The first one is home to the main town or Chora as it is called, has about 370 residents and that's where all the commercial and touristic life of the island takes place. First-class accommodation, tavernas serving mostly seafood and beautiful shops without neon signs can be found here. The island offers as well some nightlife choices, however those are definitely low-key compared to the other Cycladic islands. Kato Koufonissi may be bigger but as it is largely uninhabited and that explains why visitors tend to consider it as an ideal deserted-island summer vacation scenario. Tourists flock here on rented and crowded boats in order to enjoy its limited yet magnificent shores where sun, sand and sea are the absolute protagonists.
Koufonissia have for a long time been overshadowed by the other famous Cycladic islands, however that allowed them to preserve their pristine natural beauty, in high demand now by the younger visitors looking for carefree vacation as well as wealthy boat owners who prefer to take their distances from the glitterati. Both come here seeking tranquility, crystal green waters and abundant fresh fish, as fisheries are not only the base of the local cuisine but also the locals' way of life. Suffice to say that inhabitants of Koufonissia own the largest fishing fleet in Greece, in proportion to the population.
In Koufonissia there are no paved roads and transportation is carried out by tour buses, boats (for aquatic tours), motorbikes, bicycles or your own two feet. The last two options are probably the best in order to get to know the fascinating beauty of the island. Find your way to the top of the hill above Chora and enjoy the view to the bay and the characteristic whitewashed houses, typical of Cycladic architecture, and discover every possible sea nook and cranny of the islands...
Sightseeing & Attractions
Everything you experience in Koufonissia can be considered as a naturalistic and anthropological attraction. Fishermen unloading their catch, the beautiful whitewashed alleys in town, the mills and the small picturesque churches offer unique views. But that's not all.
Nature gave the Koufonissia a great and spectacular geological gift: their caves, from which stems the etymology of islands' name: "Koufonissia" means "hollow islands". The result is attributed to a corrosive geological phenomenon due to the sea water on and in the rocks. Most of the sea caves are located in Ano Koufonisi, close to Pori beach.
Gala is another geological phenomenon: approaching to Pori, by boat or on foot, on the left edge of the bay, you will see a rock beneath which the sea has formed a small seawater natural pool. At the other end of the bay you find another scenic location, the "Devil's eye", a rocky cave swept by gushing seawater creating a dazzling effect.
Exotic beaches, with sand or covered in pebbles, all with crystal clear turquoise waters make up the aquatic scenery of Koufonissia. "Walk by the coast path and choose the beach you like" you'll hear the locals saying, if you ask which one to visit. Megali Ammos is the main beach of the village, with shallow waters, suitable for families, and with various taverns in a short distance from it.
In the northeast you find the popular Foinikas, a campers' favourite, while walking along the coastline you get to Fanos, a low profile beach, with a handful of sunbeds and a cafe-restaurant. The cosmopolitan Platia Pounta or Italida (=Italian woman) may be unorganized but who cares, the golden sand is more than enough. The part of the beach called Mikri Italida is a place where swimwear is completely optional. The coastal path in Ano Koufonissi ends at the magnificent, quiet beach of Pori -where the famous caves are - at the northeastern edge of the island, a great spot for surfers.
To visit Kato Koufonissi it will take you 10' by boat and tickets are quite affordable. The most famous beach is sandy Nero, with palm trees and many nudists, while Lakki, Detis and Pezoulia make up the rest of the beach choices here.
Make sure to buy a boat ticket to Keros, a point of reference of the ancient Cycladic civilization (spanning the period from approximately 3200–2000 BCE ). The island has no permanent residents, but its archaeological interest makes it a must visit destination. Boat owners have the unique luxury of being able to spend the night in Keros and enjoy a magnificent sunrise.
Getting There: Koufonissia connect daily to the ports of Piraeus and Rafina. You can also get there by boat from the surrounding islands (Paros, Naxos, Mykonos, Santorini) by local ferries.