Fine sand tickles your toes…the soothing sound of waves casts its spell as you stare entranced into crisp turquoise waters, and there, somewhere there in the distant horizon, the skies swoop down to kiss the earth while a light breeze cools your skin as you soak up the sun. Sounds like paradise? Sounds like the Koufonisia!
Part of the gorgeous Cyclades islands, the flat-topped Koufonisia (Pano Koufonisi, Kato Koufonisi, and Keros) are located southeast of Naxos in the Aegean Sea. Characteristic of the area’s island charms, the Koufonisian environment includes flawless waters, mysterious sea caves, idyllic beaches, serene natural formations, and abundant sunlight. The climate here remains mild during the winter, and cool in the summer with its naturally breezy atmosphere.
On shore in Pano Koufonisi, the smallest, but most populated island of the Koufonisia, visit the charming waterside harbor and village of Hora, full of traditional Cycladic style white houses with bright blue accents, winding narrow paths, and a selection of dining and entertainment options. With the natural setting of the Koufonisia, it comes as no surprise that fishing is very popular among permanent residents here. Pano Koufonisi is also home to the largest fleet of fishing boats in Greece (in proportion to its population), according to koufonisia.gr, so fresh seafood is readily available to taste. In addition, this small island beckons you to take a break from the daily use of vehicle transportation. You simply don’t need a car to get around here! Pano Koufonisi is so small its best to walk or take a bike to your destination…which makes for a unique journey with plenty of pleasant things to see along the way. Among key spots to visit on Pano Koufonisi are the Devil’s Eye cave, the Xilobatis sea caves, Pori beach, and Profitis Ilias.
The largely uninhabited island of Kato Koufonisi is home to the church of Panagia, as well as a small fishing boat port. The uninhabited island of Keros, a protected archeological site, is mainly known for the discovery of a number of modern-looking marble figurines belonging to the Cycladic civilization. The Koufonisia in fact were, according to archeological discoveries, inhabited since the prehistoric times. Part of the Cycladic civilization, the Koufonisia were over time conquered by various groups including the Venetians and Ottomans, until they joined the post War of Independence Greek State in 1830.
When it comes to beaches, these tiny secluded islands are host to a number of super irresistible spots. In Pano Koufonisi there is Megali Ammos, Fanos, Gala, and Pori, among others. And if you’re visiting only a few, I suggest you see Gala, a small and charming pebbled beach that is actually formed from the narrow opening of a cave hole in a larger rock formation. It’s very neat and exclusive if you have the pleasure of visiting with no one else around. The crescent moon shaped Pori beach is another one to experience up close, and the caves by Pori are definitely a must-see! And if you’re looking to explore the shores of Kato Koufonisi, take a boat ride to Nero beach.
Touched by that strong Greek sunlight (yes, the “Greek Sun” IS different), the cream-colored sandy beaches of the Koufonisia perfectly complement the vivid turquoise hues of the water to create a truly uplifting ambiance. So go explore for yourself the area’s cave-filled rocky formations dipped in cooling salty Mediterranean waters…snapshots that will make your friends wish they were there with you. For a relaxing and unique getaway, add the Koufonisia to your destinations list.