On the islands of Koufonisia, the pleasures are pure and earthly, as touristic growth has not yet had a negative impact on its natural beauty; swim in the turquoise sea waters, sunbathe on the sandy beach, watch a beautiful sunset, eat fresh fish for lunch, and listen to traditional music at Panaghia’s festival (The celebration of the Virgin Mary on August 15th). The Koufonisia islands, located within the Eastern Cyclades, are the colour of the sea and the sky, smell of thyme and the Aegean, and offer an authentic flavour of Greece.
Once upon a time, Koufonisia was the definition of hippie life and campers were the main visitors. The exotic beaches, however, with their clear, blue waters and their feeling of leisure and isolation from modern civilization, have since attracted numerous other devotees.
What to see:
• The inhabited Pano Koufonisi doesn’t have streets (for the use of cars). It is worth walking around the whole island, along the coast, right by the emerald waters.
• Take a walk through the white-washed alleys of the settlement.
• Have fun at the fisherman’s festival on June 24th, where they serve kakavia (Greek fish soup made of assorted fish).
• Visit the almost deserted Kato Koufonisi by sea.
• The neighbouring Keros is of great interest, with excavations that have exposed some of the most important discoveries about the Cycladic civilization.
Where to swim:
At the hidden beach Pisina, at the wonderful shores of Charokopos (Phinikas), at the wide Punda, at the less crowded Fanos, and at Porios with its sea cave. Enjoy the waters of Nero at Kato Koufonisi.
What to eat and where to dine:
Fresh fish, lobster spaghetti, wild goat, stews, xinomitzithra (sour white cheese), and tomato meatballs. Drink rakomelo (a cocktail of raki and honey)
• At the “Neo Remetzo” you will enjoy fresh fish straight from captain Giorgis’ fishing boat, as well as the famous lobster spaghetti, with an incredible view of Keros and the fishing boats at the island’s harbour.
• “Michalios”, the only steak tavern on the island, offers local meats and wild goat from Keros, roasted or grilled, accompanied by salad made from hom- grown vegetables.
• For some ouzo try “Karnagio”, an ouzeri right by the sea and an old karnagio (boat yard) that resembles a theatrical stage.
• At Kato Koufonisi, Venetsanos’ tavern (22850-74074) is legendary, due to its marvelous Keros goat, the special kakavia soup and the traditional dishes baked in the stove.
Where to stay:
• At the “Aiolos” hotel, you will find traditional island hospitality, with modern ammenities.
• The elegant 4 star hotel “Koufonisia” is a breath away from the crystal clear waters of the beaches. Wonderful gardens with rare, tropical plants and rocky waterfalls, surround the 50 amphitheatrically built rooms.