In past years when someone asked me about my favourite Greek island, the answer would be definitely Paros island. But not anymore, as I think I have a new favourite…and this is Koufonisia!!!
I just loved this island and it was just what I was looking for holidays. A small island, with fantastic beaches and stunning waters, really easy to navigate around without cars etc and looking at friendly faces!
On this post you will find out:
- When you should 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?
Update: Due to Coronavirus, this summer might be also “special”. We wrote an article (more information here!) where we explain the current measures and situation, and we will update it as often as possible!
Let’s dive together on the beauty of this special Greek Island!
When you should visit Koufonisia islands and how many days do you need?
Like most of the Greek islands, the busiest period is July and August. As the island is small, I would recommend avoiding these months as it can become very crowded. Personally, I find September -preferably – and June the best months to visit the island!
Now in terms of the duration of your holidays, the simple days it depends. In theory, in two days you could go around to the most beautiful beaches. We stayed for one whole week as we had a profound need for holidays, but that ware just us! On average 3 days, I think it would be ok!
A little bit about Koufonisia
In the old days, Koufonisia were quite isolated in Cyclades and far away from the radar of tourism.
Nowadays, they have might 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 ferry from Athens arrive and it has only 370 permanent residents. As I said at the beginning it is really small!
The third island of the Koufonisia is Keros which has been uninhabited since 1968 and it is an important archaeological site. Recently, in 2018, excavations 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! You can choose between a fast (around 5 hours) or slow ferry (around 8 hours) depending on your needs and the price that you want to pay.
We chose the slow ferry (Blue Star) as we wanted to sit on the deck (due to coronavirus issue) and we tried to spend the time as better as we could!
This route has quite a few stops, so you can take a brief look on some Greek islands like the famous Paros, Naxos, but also some very small ones like Schoinousa and Iraklia.
What to do in Koufonisia
The simple answer is just to relax and enjoy! Really there are not much that you can do at the first sight, but let’s dive in that a little bit!
#visit the amazing beaches
Ammos beach: This is the first beach that you will meet arriving at the island next to the harbour. And you might think that because it is next to the port it might be dirty and not high quality.
But this is not true!! It might be one of the worst beaches in the island but it is simply fantastic! 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 won’t be there, you will be lying on the stunning beaches!
Starting from the village there is a walking path next to the sea level and you can visit 3 beautiful beaches on 20′ on foot.
They are really close to its other, as you can see from the below photo!
Foinikas beach: This is a sandy and wonderful beach with perfect waters (you will read this description on almost all the beaches of the island! Sorry about that!). It is perfect for kids and the restaurant is an extra bonus with quite nice food, helpful staff and affordable prices!
Fanos beach: The waters are just stunning and clean and it safe for the kids. There is a hotel with a bar where you can find coffee and snacks. Also, there is a boat that starts from the harbour and it can drop you off a little around the corner if you don’t feel like walking.
And third stop
Italida: Another great beach. It has beautiful sand and even better waters. Especially the colours are amazing.
There is no restaurant or cafe there – which for me it was even better but this is just me! So, be organised when deciding to visit an bring some water and some snack.
Be aware that this can be extremely crowded during high season!
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% 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 2 restaurants there but the prices are not so cheap. Note that it can be very windy (especially when there is 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.
Gala beach: Before visiting this beach I heard from many visitors that this is unique and a must-visit but honestly, I shouldn’t have listened to them. For me, 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 that it is worth a dive and why not – a photo shooting! There are some rough rock forms on the coastline that creates a natural pool. It is quite safe to dive into the pool. There is a small tunnel on the edge and 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 it is definitely a more natural place. There are boats that start from Ano Koufonissi and can bring you to the only taverna of the island or Nero beach. An then you can walk to reach other beaches, as the paths are quite easy. The beaches are not as pretty as the ones in Ano Koufonissi but overall I believe this island deserves a visit as it has a rough beauty. You might meet many free campers on this island (especially close to the taverna) and nudism is frequent.
Nero beach is the popular cove but you can discover other little coves. The little taverna on the island is definitely worth a visit.
#drink at Sorokos bar!
You won’t miss the bar for sure. On the way to the beaches Fanos, Italida etc if you walk across the coast after Ammos beach you will find this beautiful bar. You can enjoy the view all day as it serves from breakfast to coctails 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, because in some cases and especially during August you can pay quite more than you should!
Captain Nikolas would my first choice to eat fresh fish in reasonable price while you are enjoying the sea view! It doesn’t sound bad, right?!
Karnagio is a small restaurant with nice and decent food in an amazing place. The whole set with the tables next to the sea and the lights above are just perfect!
Mixalios Grill House is a must go if you want some nice traditional meat, especially lamb and goat!
#Taste Fistiki ice cream!
This is a small ice cream shop in the main alley of the island. Just 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 not so 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 on the main and only village.
You can find the below 3 great hotels that you can book in Koufonisia, but we have also created a dedicated post here about the best hotels with photos, tips and a detailed map!
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 super nice. 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!
Another wonderful hotel close to the main village with a perfect location as it offers some marvellous views to the archipelagos!! This is a modern and quite new settlement with a tasty and beautiful design. The rooms are very clean and I am sure that you will definitely enjoy your holidays there! More Information Here!
This hotel has nice facilities, very clean and a luxurious and at the same time minimalist feel. The outside patio area is great, with nice 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 in. More Information Here!
How to move around Koufonisia
Koufonisi is an island that 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 also a local bus, which runs the route between the main port and Pori daily with frequent routes.
- Rent a bike for the local stores. Prices can be varied depending on the period. The prices are varied between 4 and 8 euros per day.
If you want to add your experience or ask us any question, please free to leave your comment below!!