The small Cyclades consist of 6 small and a dozen tiny islands in between Naxos and Amorgos. Four of them are inhabited; Pano Koufonisia (Koufonissia), Donoussa, Iraklia and Schinoussa. Two other two bigger islands are uninhabited; Keros and Kato Koufonissia
The tiny island has an area of 10 km˛. It is the smallest of the islands but with the most people living there; the figure is 300! That's a lot compared to the other islands in the group. The islands is rather flat. The highest elevation is a bout 100 meters. Most of the population live in the port town Hora. There are a few rooms to rent and some pretty decent fish restaurants. Next to the village is a camp site. It is rather basic (and it seems to be closed most of the times) but it does the job. Theone thing to do on the island is walking around it. The whole trip takes about 4 hours. On the way you will see a number of fine beaches. With a bit of luck you will have on to yourself. Koufonissia is an astonishing place with some of the nicest people. Very highly recommended!
Only about 100 people live
here. Shinoussa is anything but touristy. If you are looking
for solitude give it a go. There are three villages on the
island. There is the buzzing harbour village Merisisi, Hora
(the old "capital"") and Messaria. All three are connected by
a road. There are a couple of restaurants and a few rooms to
The most southerly of the islands is Iraklia. It has an area of 19 km˛ and around 100 residents. In recent years the island suddenly became very popular with tourists. It is hard to explain this boom but as a matter of fact; Iraklia is the busiest of the islands. It is so busy that they even started building new houses. Especially the port town Agios Georgios is packed during high season. By now there are a few restaurants and guesthouses which for the size of the island is remarkable. If you like it more quiet you actually have to go to Panagia in the mountains. It is the main settlement. For an island this size the mountains are actually quite high. With 414 meters Mt. Papas is the highest elevation not only on Iraklia but the whole island group.
Donoussa is even further off the beaten track than the rest of the island group which already tells you something. It is east of Naxos rather than southerly. The island has an area of 14 km˛ and with around 150 people living there. The prot town of Stavros is the main village. You will meet very few tourists here. There are only a hand full of rooms to rent. A few people sleep on the beach in Kendos which is actually quite cool. There – I know this comes as a surprise – is absolutely nothing to do on the island. You can go for a walk and hang around on the beach. Hiking around the island takes approximately 6 hours. On the way you will pass all four villages on the island. Since Donoussa is pretty hilly (up to 390 meters) it actually is a nice walk. In a way Donoussa is pretty cool and charming but you really don't want to go there on your own. It is as boring as beautiful Greek islands get. Being there with a romantic date is an entirely different story.
Talking about boring; Kato Koufonissia is uninhabited. Sometimes a few shepherds spend the night there but that's it. Taking this into consideration it might surprise you that there are two restaurants on the islands. This may sound a little insane but of course there is a reason. During high season there a daytrips from Pano Koufonisia bringing bathers to the islands. Quite frankly; I find this astonishing since Pano Koufonisia more or less is one long beach but I am sure they know what they are doing.
Keros by all means is deserted. No boat is going there, no one is living there. In order to get there you basically need your won boat. Rumour has that there is a little excavation on the island.
Small Cyclades Getting there
From June to September
there is a small ferry every day. It doesn't always stop on
Donoussa and if the weather is rough you might get stuck on
any of the islands. Twice a week a large ferry will call at
the ports of the inhabited islands, more often you will see
one of the rather expensive Flying Dolphins. Before going to
the islands check with a travel agency how often these boats
go. There are no ATMs or anything on the islands so you could
get properly stuck.