Koufonisia, the special jewellery of Cyclades!

Updated on 04/01/2024. When someone asked me about my favourite Greek island in past years, I answered Paros. But nowadays, I have rediscovered more islands, and one of them is Koufonisia!!!

I just loved this island; it was just what I was looking for holidays. It is a small island with fantastic beaches and stunning waters, really easy to navigate around without cars, etc. and looking at friendly faces.

In this post, you will find out:

  • When should you visit Koufonisia, and how many days do you need?
  • How to Get to Koufonisia?
  • What to do?
  • Best beaches
  • Where to eat?
  • Where to stay?

Let’s dive together into the beauty of this unique Greek Island!

When should you visit the Koufonisia islands, and how many days do you need?

Like most Greek islands, the busiest periods are July and August. As the island is small, I recommend avoiding these months as they can become very crowded. Personally, I find September—preferably—and June the best months to visit the island.

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

Now in terms of the duration of your holidays, it depends.

We stayed for one whole week because we had a profound need for holidays! On average, two to three days would be okay.

A little bit about Koufonisia

In the old days, Koufonisia was relatively isolated in the Cyclades and far away from the radar of tourism.

Nowadays, Koufonisi might have lost some of this innocence, but they have kept the simple and unpretentious beauty. “Koufonisia” is plural in Greek, and the reason for that is that we are talking about three islands.

Kato Koufonisi has only a few houses and a picturesque port where the excursion boats arrive, but no one leaves there permanently.

Pano Koufonisi (or Ano Koufonisi) is the main island where all the ferries from Athens arrive. It has only 370 permanent residents, and as I said at the beginning, it is really small.

The third island of Koufonisia is Keros, which has been uninhabited since 1968. It is an important archaeological site. In 2018, excavations recently revealed the remains of massive terraced walls and giant gleaming structures on a tiny islet that was once attached to Keros. 

How to get there?

There is only one way: by ferry. Depending on your needs and the price you want to pay, you can choose between a fast (around 5 hours) or a slow (approximately 8 hours) ferry.

We chose the slow ferry (Blue Star) and sat on the deck, trying to enjoy ourselves as much as possible.

This route has quite a few stops, so you can briefly visit some Greek islands, such as the famous Paros and Naxos, and some very small ones, like Schoinousa and Iraklia.

What to do in Koufonisia

The simple answer is to relax and enjoy. Really, there is not much that you can do at first sight, but let’s dive into that a little bit.

#visit the amazing beaches

Ammos Beach: This is the first beach you will encounter when arriving at the island next to the harbour. Because it is next to the port, you might think it is dirty and low-quality.

But this is not true. It might be one of the worst beaches on the island, but it is simply fantastic! If you don’t believe us, just take a look at the photos.

Ano Koufonissi has actually one main village, where you will spend most of your time. When you aren’t there, you will be lying on the stunning beaches.

There is a walking path next to sea level starting from the village, and you can visit three beautiful beaches 20′ on foot.

They are really close to each other, as you can see from the below photo.

Beaches in Koufonisia

First stop?

Foinikas Beach: This is a wonderful sandy beach with perfect waters (you will read this description on almost all the island’s beaches! Sorry about that!). It is ideal for kids, and the restaurant is a bonus with quite nice food, helpful staff and affordable prices.

Finikas beach Koufonisia islands

Second stop

Fanos Beach: The waters are stunning and clean, and it is safe for the kids. There is a hotel with a bar where you can find coffee and snacks. Also, a boat starts from the harbour, and it can drop you off a little around the corner if you don’t feel like walking.

Fanos beach Koufonisi island

And third stop

Italida: Another great beach. It has beautiful sand and even better crystal water. Especially the colours are amazing.

There is no restaurant or cafe there – which for me was even better, but this is just me. So, be organised when visiting and bring some water and snacks.

Be aware that this can be extremely crowded during the high season!


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A little bit far away, there is

Pori Beach: Most of the visitors claim that this is the best beach on the island. I am not 100% sure about that, but please share your opinion once you visit it.

This is a very pleasant 40′ walk from the village, or otherwise, you can take a boat taxi. As with every beach on the island, the waters are just amazing.
There are two restaurants there, but the prices are not so cheap. Note that it can be very windy (especially when there is a north wind), whereas the other beaches are more protected.

I found that snorkelling can be quite good as it has lots of fish to observe.


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Gala Beach: Before visiting this beach, I heard from many visitors that it is unique and a must-visit, but honestly, I shouldn’t have listened to them. I am not sure if this is even qualified as a beach.

#Relax at the Natural Pool

On your walking path from the main village to Pori beach, there is a lovely spot worth a dive and why not – a photo shoot.

Some rough rock forms on the coastline, creating a natural pool. It is pretty safe to dive into the pool. There is a small tunnel on the edge; many dive under the rocks and swim in the open sea. I didn’t do it as it felt for me quite risky.

#spend a day on Kato Koufonisi

Kato Koufonissi is not as polished as Ano and is a more natural place. Some boats start from Ano Koufonissi and can bring you to the only taverna on the island or Nero Beach. And then you can walk to reach other beaches, as the paths are quite straightforward.

Although the beaches are not as pretty as those in Ano Koufonissi, this island deserves a visit because of its rough beauty.

You might meet many free campers on this island (especially close to the taverna), and nudism is frequent.
Nero beach is a popular cove, but you can discover other little coves. The little taverna on the island is definitely worth a visit.

#drink at Sorokos bar!


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You won’t miss the bar, for sure. If you walk across the coast after Ammos beach on your way to the beaches of Fanos, Italida, etc., you will find this beautiful bar. You can enjoy the view all day as it serves breakfast and cocktails, and you can be as close to the sea as possible.

#Taste the local food!

You can enjoy delicious food on the island. Just make sure that the prices are reasonable. In some cases, especially during August, you can pay quite more than you should.

Captain Nikolas would be my first choice to eat fresh fish at a reasonable price while you are enjoying the sea view. It doesn’t sound bad, right?!

Karnagio is a small restaurant with decent food in a fantastic location. The whole set, with the tables next to the sea and the lights above, is just perfect.

Karnagio tavern Koufonisi

Mixalios Grill House is a must-go if you want some lovely traditional meat, especially lamb and goat.

#Taste Fistiki ice cream!
Fistiki ice cream Koufonissia

This is a small ice cream shop in the main alley of the island. Pick up any flavour, take your cup, and enjoy your walk. Pistachio flavour is a must! But please try as many as you can.

Where to stay in Koufonisia

Finding accommodation in Koufonissia can be quite challenging, especially during the high season, as there are not many hotels and rooms on the island compared to the visitors.

So, try to book a room as early as possible or visit the island off-peak.

Almost all the accommodation would be in the central and only village.

You can find the below three great hotels you can book in Koufonisia, but we have also created a dedicated post about the best hotels with photos, tips, and a detailed map.

1. Pangaia Seaside Hotel

This is a high-end suite with excellent design and decoration. It is spacious with magnificent balconies and views! The breakfast is delicious, and the staff is super friendly. In front of the hotel, there is the tavern Finikas where you can enjoy food and drinks and of course the lovely beach. More Information Here!

2.Teal Blue

Another excellent hotel close to the main village with a perfect location offers some marvellous views of the archipelagos. This is a modern and relatively new settlement with a tasty and beautiful design. The rooms are spotless, and I am sure that you will definitely enjoy your holidays there! More Information Here!

3.Oceanides Residence Koufonisia

This hotel has excellent facilities, it is spotless and luxurious and has at the same time minimalist feel. The outside patio area is great, with lovely views of the sunset and the ocean. It is located 5′ walk from the town centre, and the hosts can provide you with bicycles which you can use to cycle to all of the beaches in case you are interested. More Information Here!

How to move around Koufonisia

Koufonisi is an island where you won’t need a car at all. So alternatively, you can:

  • walk to all beaches without any issues! The paths are very clear on the same level as the sea and very
  • take the taxi boat from the main harbour or rent a bike!
  • take a local bus, which runs the route between the main port and Pori daily and has frequent routes.
  • You can rent a bike from the local stores. Prices vary depending on the period, but they range between 4 and 8 euros per day.


If you want to add your experience or ask us any questions, please feel free to leave your comment below!

3 thoughts on “Koufonisia, the special jewellery of Cyclades!”

  1. Conheco várias ilhas da Grécia e conheçi Koufonissi em 2019….. fiquei apaixonada.Vou lá voltar este ano em Setembro.Para mim a ilha mais bonita e típica das Ciclades…..e ainda bem que não tem aeroporto 🙂

  2. What a great article! We’re currently dreaming of going to Greece again – we’ve been there before and we love, love love it! Here’s to hoping for a better 2021 with loads of travel plans and new experiences!

    – Cecilie
    If you want even more tips for your trip to Greeces islands, you’re welcome to read our article on islands in Greece


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