Koufonissi is a tiny island in the complex of small islands called Small Cyclades, located South of Naxos along with the rest of the islands Kato Koufonissi, Schinoussa, Donoussa, Irakleia.
Koufonissi was named after the hollow (koufio) rocks and caves which are seen around the island and in the neighbouring islet of Glaronissi. Others say that it derives from the name Fakousa, the ancient name of the island.
It is inhabited by around 300 people mostly occupied with fishing and lately by tourism.
Koufonissi is a mostly barren island with lots of rocks, very few short trees and with little water. The beautiful sandy beaches and the relaxed atmosphere of the island are its main attractions.
Currently, Koufonissi has many hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, etc. to choose from.
what do I need to see in Koufonissi
Hora – Hora is the starting point for all the visitors of the island. It is a small fish village and the port of the island build along the lines of the traditional cycladic architecture. This is where most of hotels, rooms for rent, taverns, stores and other services are.
The main alley behind the seaside road attracts most of the action with the tiny shops and taverns. The church of Agios Georgios is also worth visiting. Walk around and you will also find 1-2 places serving excellent sweets and drinks. You can also swim at the beach of the port (Megali Ammos) since it is very nice and clean (only 1-2 small boats per day visit the port).
Hora has many hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, etc. to choose from.
Other Beaches – Most of the beaches are on the right side of the island (while you are looking towards it from the port). The main ones are Foinikas, Italidas and Pori and on the other side Parianos.
Xarakopou or Foinikas is one of the first places where beachgoers stop when they venture out of the village. It is a small sandy beach, 15′ walk from Hora. On the way to Foinikas you will find some tiny rocky and sandy beaches which are quieter. Take the path by the sea to go to the next couple of beaches similar to Foinikas only larger and in a more beautiful terrain, less busy overlooking the uninhabited island of Keros.
This area has many hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, etc. to choose from.
The largest one is Italidas and it usually attracts a lot of people. A 30í walk along the barren landscape from Italidas leads you to Pori, the beast beach of the island. On the way you will see a number of tiny rocky beaches forming pools and small natural bays ideal for nudists, lonely campers and seekers of quietness.
Pori is the longest and probably less crowded beach of the island, difficult to access but it compensates you with the magnificent turquoise waters and the beautiful scenery overlooking Amorgos and Naxos. Relax on the beach walk around the neighbouring bays and collect sea shells. Nudists and free campers prefer this beach, along with sailing enthusiasts due to its natural protected bay.
More information on Koufonissi from wikipedia, here.
hints & tips about Koufonissi
- Koufonissi is ideal for fishing, scuba-diving and quite vacations. Each year, though, it becomes more popular and crowded so visit it as soon as possible.
- If you plan your vacations for August reserve your room early since there are few rooms and the prices tend to go high if there are no rooms available. Also the boat schedules are not that frequent and if you do not find a room you risk the “sleeping bag on the beach alternative”.
- In the last few years nightlife has increased in Hora and there are more options available.
- If you are into nudism you will find tiny secluded beaches to swim naked.
- Unfortunately there is no shade in any of the beaches therefore you should bring your own umbrella. The same goes for water and food.
- A small boat takes you to all the beaches and back to the main port charging a small fare.
- The uninhabited neighbouring island of Kato Koufonisi is worth a visit but again there is no shade, except for the tavern, and you must make your own arrangements. The boat will take you to Nero beach and then to the tavern.
- Do not miss the local wild goat, mizithra (skimmed-milk cheese) and pasteli (sweet made of honey and sesame seeds).
- Taste fresh fish, lobster and other sea food at the fish taverns. They are all serving local sea food caught by the fishermen of the island.
- Try the excellent sweets at the coffee-bar at the entrance of the village.
- If you are into walking the island is small enough to walk around in one day.
- Actually you will not need a car but you will have to do regular 15′-30′ walks. If you happen to be on your way to the village/beach at the right time and the Foinikas bus has enough space, you may get a ride.
- Limited banking services exist on the island so plan ahead for your money.
- The names Georgoula and George are very common in the island due to the church of Agios Georgios.
- North of Pori there is a wonderful cave with beautiful colours, where wild pigeon are nestled.
- On the 24th of June the fishermen celebrate and they cook fish soup and serve it to the people who gather at the pier.
- The island of Keros is known from prehistoric times when it was inhabited and famous Cycladic statues where found in excavations there. The Acropolis of Keros is one of the best organised ancient acropolis’ along with those of Syros (Chalandriani), and Sifnos.
- There are daily cruises from Paros and Naxos to Koufonissia leaving early in the morning and returning late in the afternoon.
- Koufonissi has grown rapidly in the last few years and currently it has many hotels, apartments, rooms, studios, etc. to choose from.