The hectic and noisy outside world cannot reach this small spot in the Aegean that has become a favourite destination for Greek and foreign visitors, offering them an ideal chance to enjoy beaches with golden sand and clear blue waters, small natural pools, sea caves, authentic island festivals and, of course, an abundance of fish and seafood.
Pano Koufonissi (or just Koufonissi) which covers an area of just 3.5km2 and has approximately 300 permanent residents, is the smallest, but also the most densely populated island of the Cyclades. Kato Koufonissi covers an area of 4.31crn2 and is practically uninhabited. Koufonissia have been inhabited since the prehistoric period, and was a centre of the Early Cycladic civilisation, as evidenced by the archaeological finds in Epano Mili, the most important being a frying pan-shaped vessel with an engraved nine-point star, currently exhibited at the Museum of Naxos.
In Pano Koufonissi, next to the port, is the only settlement of the island, Chora. It is a typical fishing village featuring charming alleys, whitewashed houses, and the characteristic white windmill left of the quay. The center of the settlement is dominated by the church of the patron saint, Agios Georgios. In Chora, there are numerous lodging options, restaurants and taverns serving local seafood.
If you happen to be in Koufonission a night with a full moon, you will see something unique: the neighbouring island of Keros looks like the figure of a woman lying on the waters of the Aegean! The uninhabited small rocky island at the east of Koufonisiais one of the area’s top attractions.
Keros used to be an important centre of the Cycladic civilization. Indeed, many prominent findings came to light on the island, among which more than a hundred Cycladic figurines (three of which are exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Athens).
Sail to the Kato Koufonissi, a place of intact beauty, with sandy beaches ideal for relaxation and isolation. The only buildings you will see here are the chapel of Panagia, built on the quay on the site of ancient ruins, and the few fishermens' houses.
Hiking and cycling serve as means of transportation at Pano Koufonisi. Sailing, windsurfing, fishing and diving are also very popular activities here. Sea caves at Pano Koufonisi, accessible only by boat, are situated at the island’s east, on your way from Chorato Pori and beyond. The most photogenic ones are Gala, Pisina and Matitou Diavolou (Eye of the Devil), resembling small swimming pools with waters of amazing colors. Koufonissi, which together with the surrounding islands has been included in the Natura 2000 network, has an almost flat surface where rare species of flora with numerous endemic plants grow. There are no asphalt roads, but all distances can be walked (3 hours is enough to walk to the other end of the island and back), which makes cars unnecessary and the island ideal for hiking. Alternatively, the same distances can be covered by bikes, available for rent on the island. Each route will discover enchanting beaches with aquamarine waters alternating with caves formed in the rocks, while sand dunes are abundant next to the seaside path. In Xylopatilies a great sea cave which provides shelter to rock pigeons. After Plata Pounta with its wonderful green waters, you will see the "pools" - small protected coves and openings on the rocks where swimming becomes an unforgettable experience.
Feasts, Products and Specialties
The people of Koufonissia are famous for their high spirits. Just a small excuse is needed to set up a huge feast. On 23 April, on the celebration of Agios Georgios, the hosting celebrator walks around the island holding the icon of the saint, while all the boats of the island accompany him on his tour, sailing along the coastline, and at night the feast culminates. The last Saturday of June is the celebration of fishermen, where delicious seafood titbits and wine are served, on 20 July, the celebration of Profitis Ilias, the respective hosts treat people and dance to the sounds of violin and lyre. On 15 August, all residents sail to Kato Koufonissi for the celebration of the Virgin. The service is followed by a feast with fish, lamb and goat. After the end of the feast, the boats race back to the island, and treats follow accompanied by violins.
Sample Greece (Mykonos) Itinerary:Mykonos