Donousa is a small island in the heart of the Aegean Sea. It belongs to the “Small Cyclades” islands complex, along with Koufonisia (another magnificent island; you can find our travel guide here!), Iraklia and Schinousa.

In the past years, Donousa has gained a reputation, but it still is under the radar of massive tourism.

So, please hurry up and visit this magnificent place before crowds flood it!! 🙂

We visited the island intending to spend a couple of days, but we stayed there for two weeks!!!

The island might not fit everybody, but it has dedicated fans! I met people there from all over the world, who visit the place for the last twenty years and I felt an instant connection with them and with the place!

Now, let’s dive together into the beauty of Donousa Island!

In this post, you will find out:

  • How to Get to Donousa
  • Best things to do in Donousa
  • Best beaches
  • Where to eat
  • Where to stay
  • How to move around

Update: Due to Coronavirus, this summer might also be “special”. We wrote an article  (more information here!) to explain the current measures and situation, and we will update it as often as possible!

How to get there

There is a ferry that connects Piraeus directly to Donousa (~8-9 hours).

Alternatively, you can go to Naxos (you can find our complete travel guide about Naxos here) by ferry or airplane and spend there if you want 1-2 days!. Then you can get the legendary Skopelitis ferry that connects Naxos to Donousa, other small islands like Koufonisia, Iraklia and ends at Amorgos island. Skopelitis is quite a small boat, so the journey can get quite “bumpy” when it is windy!

The best platform for ferry tickets is the Ferryscanner. It is straightforward and user-friendly to check prices and book online tickets!

Best Things to do in Donousa

So, the first thing that we get asked when I mentioned that we spent two weeks in Donousa is “what did you do on such a small and remote island for such a long time?”.

Initially, we combined holidays with remote working, and that’s why we could spending two weeks there! The initial plan was to stay a couple of days and then explore more islands! But, we didn’t follow our schedule, and we followed our heart! Cheesy, but true!!

To answer the above question, the island is gorgeous and not crowded when we visited, and I think we “absorbed” the tranquillity and calmness of the place, which we totally needed after a very tough winter.

Donousa island what to do
Donousa ©secretgreece

Let’s see now what a visitor can do on Donousa island!

#Enjoy the stunning Beaches!

Donousa has a few but magnificent beaches! They are stunning!

And an extra plus is that you can go to most of them on foot! (We went to all the beaches on foot, but it was in May when it is not so hot!)

Stavros beach

This is the first beach that you see once you come to Donousa, next to the main harbor.

And when someone hears that a beach is next to a port, they may imagine that this beach might be dirty or having dark water etc.

But this is not the case, as the beach is stunning! It has fine sand and beautiful crystal water!

stavros beach
Stavros beach ©secretgreece

Kedros Beach

This is another fantastic beach just 10′ from the main village.

There is a path that leads to the beach the fantastic beach bar.

We spent many noons there, eating some of the excellent food that the local beach bars offers, drinking my coffee, and swimming in the beautiful waters!!!

Kedros beach from the opposite side
Kedros beach from the opposite side ©secretgreece

Livadi Beach

From Kedros starts the path that goes to Livadi beach! It is not a challenging hiking trail, but it lasts around ~one and half hours. It passes from beautiful points like the mill and the Vathi Limenari beach. The final destination is Livadi beach. Another amazing beach!

Livadi beach Donousa
Livadi beach ©secretgreece
Livadi beach Donousa
Livadi beach ©secretgreece

Tip: We walked from Kedros beach to Livadi and then we went up to Mersini village (which can be pretty tiring under the hot sun) where we got a taxi back to the main village/port. But you can cheat a little bit! You can get a taxi to Mersini. Go down to Livadi beach and then walk to Kedros. That way, you avoid ascending the hill from Livadi to Mersini!

Note that between June and August, there is a taxi boat that goes directly to the beach!!

Kalotaritissa beaches

There are 3 three beaches in Kalotaritissa village! You can reach them by car, by boat or on even foot!

The first beach that you will meet entering Kalotaritisa is Sapounochoma and has medium-sized pebbles.

The second is Mesa Ammos beach with fine pebbles. Both are nice for families!

The third one is Trypiti, which is slightly further away, and you will approach it by a short path. It is a sandy beach and nudist-friendly!

papas mountain donousa
View of Kalotaritissa from Papas Mountain ©secretgreece

This above photo is taken from the top of Papas Mountain, and you can notice all the three beaches in Kalotaritissa!

kalotaritisa village donousa
Kalotaritisa village ©secretgreece
#Hiking

Donousa, as you might have noticed already, has beautiful trails and the locals are pretty proud of them, and they try to maintain them every year!

1. Stavros – Kalotaritissa

It is a total trail of ~4km with clear signs and, especially towards the last part of the path, beautiful views of Kalotaritisa village.

donousa island best things to do
The trail to Kalotaritisa village ©secretgreece

It is a total trail of ~4km with clear signs and, especially towards the last part of the path, beautiful views of Kalotaritisa village.

We made a detour, which we totally enjoyed it! After around 2 km just before going down the slope to Kalotaritisa, there is a sign for the top of the mountain in Donousa Papas! It is a 40′ minute in the total detour, but the views on the top are stunning. The path might not seem so clear, but you won’t have any problem following it.

2. Messaria – Kedros

It is an easy path with a total length of 1,1km.

3. Mersini – Livadi

We have already mentioned that we did this hike, and it was quite tiring! From Livadi to Mersini is an ascend of 160 meters, which can be even more challenging during summer! Close to Mersini village, you will find the only spring on the island with water.  It is a pleasant surprise!

Mersini village donousa island
Mersini village ©secretgreece


4. Kedros – Kato Mylos

It is a ~2km path with clear signs and beautiful views to the Vathi Limenari bay, a place where it used to be a pirate bay! You can descend the trail to Vathi Limenari and have a quick swim after all the hiking!

Also, in the area, you will find ruins of a settlement dating from the Geometric period!

vathi limenari hiking donousa island
Vathi Limenari ©secretgreece

5. Stavros – Limni – Aspros Kavos

This is the only path that we didn’t hike, but we heard it is quite beautiful. It starts from Stavros and ends at Aspro Kavos, which is an impressive and wild cape.

#Take in guided tours by local

During our stay in Donousa, we met Avgi, who lives permanently on the island!

She makes incredible handmade crafts and herbal products (I got the soup with honey and erica, and it was fantastic!).

But lately, she organises workshops (especially the Driftwood craft workshop is very good) and guided tours! She is the one that gave us some lovely tips about this wonderful island!!

Find more about her on her Instagram page here!

Where to eat in Donousa

When we visited the island, not many restaurants were open, so our choices were limited!

Simadoura: This is the restaurant that we visited most of the time, as the view and the food is simply excellent! Chryssa, the owner and the chef, will make sure that you will have a great time there! And we did have a great time all the 5-6 times that we visited the place!

Kedros beach bar has fantastic food and nibbles. It changes quite often the menu, but whatever we ate there, were simply outstanding!

kedros beach bar lunch
Lunch at Kedros beach bar ©secretgreece

Taverna Mitsos is a must-visit when you visit Kalotaritisa. You won’t find fancy meals, but authentic and original Greek food. Try the keftedakia (=meatballs), which are just stunning!

Where to stay in Donousa

As I have mentioned before, Donousa is very small, and I think it makes sense to stay at the main village and port of the island Stavros.

Of course, you won’t find any big hotels or resorts there, but small studios and boutique hotels.

Note that if you are interested in visiting the island in July and August, you have to book some months ago, as it is a busy period!

Note that the island used to be a paradise for free campers in the past but is not allowed anymore in the last two years.

We will write a dedicated post about the best studios and hotels on the island. So, stay tuned!

How to get around Donousa

We stayed two weeks in Donousa, and we went everywhere on foot. So, I wouldn’t recommend you bring a car (there isn’t even a gas station on the island!)

Walking around, you will also notice many goats, some of them will pose for you if you ask them!!!!!!

Goat Donousa
Hello, beauty! ©secretgreece

Alternatively, you can take a taxi (there is only one taxi but very efficient!).

Also, there is a bus usually between June – August.

Finally, there is also a taxi boat that can take you around the beaches!

So, a big thank you to Chrysa, Giannis, Louka, Ilia, Fani, Avgi, Sιmone, Paola and Orlando!

If you have any question or want to share your experience, just leave us a comment below!