Updated on 04/01/2024. In past years, when someone asked me about my favourite Greek island, the answer would be Paros island. But nowadays there are more islands that I have rediscovered and one of them 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.
In 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 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!
Let’s dive together into the beauty of this unique Greek Island!
When you should visit the 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.
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 as we had a profound need for holidays! On average 2-3 days, I think it would be ok.
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, 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 a slow ferry (approximately 8 hours) depending on your needs and the price 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 much as possible.
This route has quite a few stops, so you can briefly look at some Greek islands like the famous Paros, Naxos, and some very small ones like Schoinousa and Iraklia.
What to do in Koufonisia
The simple answer is just 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 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 on 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 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.
Foinikas Beach: This is a sandy and wonderful 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.
Fanos Beach: The waters are just 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.
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 deciding to visit and bring some water and some 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 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 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, 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. 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.
The beaches are not as pretty as those 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 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. On the way to the beaches Fanos, Italida etc., you will find this beautiful bar if you walk across the coast after Ammos beach. You can enjoy the view all day as it serves from breakfast to 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 because 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 nice and decent food in a fantastic 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 lovely 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 are 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 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.
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!
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!
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 also a local bus, which runs the route between the main port and Pori daily with frequent routes.
- Rent a bike from 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!