Koufonisia Island Travel Guide

Koufonisia Island Travel Guide

Koufonisia is a summer heaven on earth, even by Greek standards. In this travel guide, you’ll discover what to see, where to swim, what to eat, and how to get around.

You’ll discover the most turquoise water in all of Greece, soft sands and underwater caves, and a port that doubles as one of the top 5 fantastic beaches on the island.

There’s only one village on Koufonisia Island, and it won’t take you long to see why Koufonisia is Greece’s capital of the laid-back summer holiday!

The Koufonisia Islands

Koufonisia Island is actually a pair of islands – Ano Koufonisi, the inhabited one with hotels, restaurants, bars and most of the best beaches, and uninhabited Kato Koufonisi, an island with several spectacular beaches and a Robinson Crusoe tavern on site.

View towards the Koufonisi port
View towards the Koufonisi port

Koufonisia is pretty much a car-free island. There is only one road that connects the island’s 5 beaches with its main village – Chora, one public bus, one taxi, and plenty of bicycles and scooters to rent.

The Koufonisia islands manage to keep a natural, pristine and unspoiled feel, although the islands have become popular with Greek, Italian and French visitors in high season.

There are no large hotel chains here at present, just family-owned suites and rooms with traditional or modern decor. They range from basic to four-star.   

Map of Koufonisia Island

Koufonisia Map
Koufonisia Map

How to Get to Koufonisia by Air

One of the charms of Koufonisia is that you can’t get there by airplane. You have to take a ferry.

Taking a Koufonisi bound ferry in Santorini via Ios island
Taking a Koufonisi bound ferry in Santorini via Ios island

The closest airports are on Santorini or Naxos Islands, from where you can hop a ferry to Koufonisia.

How to Get to Koufonisia by Ferry

Daily departures from Piraeus port of Athens. You can choose between small/fast ferries that take around 4:30-5 hours (ferry tickets from €80, one way) or large, more comfortable but slower ferries that take around 8 hours (ferry tickets from €52, one way).  

Ferry arrival is always a busy time, even on tiny Koufonisi
Ferry arrival is always a busy time, even on tiny Koufonisi

One smart solution is to land on nearby Naxos Island and take one of the ferries to Koufonisia (between €8-35, 40 minutes to 2:30 hours).

Island Hopping

Koufonisia is part of Small (or Lesser) Cyclades, a tiny archipelago of six islands in the central Aegean Sea between the islands of Amorgos and Naxos.

Naxos Island, Greece

The neighboring islands of Schinoussa, Donoussa and Iraklia and are less than an hour away and perfect for island hopping as, although small, offer some of the most spectacular beaches and sites in Greece.

In addition, Naxos and Amorgos are the centers of Cycladic nature, culture and lifestyle, bound to keep anyone’s wanderlust satisfied.    

Getting Around Koufonisia

With only one settlement, getting around Koufonisi means going to one of its 5 main beaches, actually.

Beach boats are the best way of getting around Koufonisi
Beach boats are the best way of getting around Koufonisi

There is only one road on Koufonisi and it connects Chora with Pori, the most distant beach of the island (1.8 miles).

A waking path (2.4 miles) does the same, although before Pori you pass the other 3 beaches of the island – Finikas, Fanos, and Italida beaches.

The most popular way of moving around is by a small wooden tourist boat that circumnavigates the island’s beaches all day, starting in Chora and ending in Pori.

Hiring a Car, Quad/ATV, or Scooter

Scooters are popular rental vehicles, as you do not really need a car to go to the beach. Moto Koufonisi rents new scooters and delivers them to the port (daily rentals from €30).

Walking and Hiking

Ano Koufonisi is a small and flat island (highest point is 113 meters) offering easy hiking paths, most of them between one of its beaches or Chora.

Those who hike to Pori are rewarded with a scenic bar and restaurant
Those who hike to Pori are rewarded with a scenic bar and restaurant

The most popular hike is the Chora to Pori Beach coastal route (2.4 miles).

There is also a Chora to Proi Beach inland route of the same distance, a number of short trails, and a route to Profitis Ilias which will give you views of 8 islands, including Santorini (if you choose a clear day).

Public Bus System

Only one bus – a 17 seater – is available on the island and serves a route between Chora and Pori beach.

Best Time of Year to Visit Koufonisia

High Season (June – August)

Koufonisia has its fans who repeatedly return year after year for weeks-long holidays, mainly during July and August.

The island is also becoming popular with Athens’ hip crowd, so it can feel quite busy between mid-July and September.  

Shoulder Season (April – May, September – October)

Koufonisia really comes alive only in early June, when the majority of outlets open for the season and many visitors start arriving.

Late June and early September are the best times to combine the warm sea an few crowds.

Low Season (November – March)

Koufonisia is a place with around 400 local citizens that gets rather quiet during the low season months. However, it offers a proper immersion into contemporary Cycladic life for those seeking reclusive island in the winter.

MonthAvg. Temp. (°C)Avg. Temp. (°F)Min. Temp. (°C)Min. Temp. (°F)Max. Temp. (°C)Max. Temp. (°F)Rainy Days

How long to stay in Koufonisia?

If you are coming to Koufonisia to unwind and relax during a beach holiday, spend at least 7 days here. With 5 beaches, one trip (either to one of the uninhabited Koufonisia Islands or to a Smaller Cyclades or Cyclades Island), dozens of tavernas and restaurants, you will have different experiences every day and get your batteries really recharged.

Koufonisia Island, Greece
Koufonisia Island, Greece

If on an island hopping tour, spend at least 2 nights in Koufonisia.

Koufonisia Top Tourist Attractions

The beaches of Koufonisia island are its main attractions, but Koufonisisa Chora is a must-see, as are the windmills and the Devil’s Eye.

Megali Ammos Beach (Chora)

The main beach of Chora is right next to the port. Crystal clear waters, soft golden sand, shallow gradual entry and proximity to the village make it one of the most family-friendly beaches of Koufonisia . Limited natural shade in the corners of the beach.

Megali Ammos beach with the eastern part of Chora to the right
Megali Ammos Beach (with the eastern part of Chora to the right)

Finikas Beach (0.6 miles from Chora)

The first in line of the 3 south facing beaches, Finikas is the first stop of the tourist beach boat. Soft sands and laid-back beach bar/restaurant make this beach everyone’s favorite. Limited natural shade in the corners of the beach.

My favorite snack at Finikas beach bar - fried shrimp with chips
My favorite snack at Finikas Beach Bar – fried shrimp with chips

Fanos Beach (0.9 miles from Chora)

Next beach is Fanos, another of Koufonisia ’s pristine sandy coves offering the ultimate natural beach experience. Fanos tavern is right above the beach for snacks, lunch and sunbeds with parasols.

Express Skopelitis en route to Donoussa passing Fanos Beach Bar
Express Skopelitis en route to Donoussa passing Fanos Beach Bar

Italida Beach (1.1 miles from Chora)

Italida or Platia Pounda is one of the best beaches in the whole archipelago. Wide sandy beach with some natural shade around the fringes, it offers easy entry into the sea and spectacular turquoise waters.

Mostly nudists but all are welcome. 

Pori Beach (2.4 miles from Chora)

If you’re on the island for a few days, you might want to try Pori Beach.

Pori is an east-facing moon-shaped sandy cove that is perfect for swimming and water sports, mainly windsurfing. If you’re not windsurfing, definitely choose a calm day for a swim at Pori.

Pori Beach, Koufonisia Island, Greece
Pori Beach, Koufonisia Island, Greece

The back side is famous for serious cliff jumps.

Pori Back Beach, Koufonisia Island, Greece
Pori Back Beach, Koufonisia Island, Greece

Two restaurants on-site with expensive offerings, but bring your own supplies and an umbrella. Nudity is permitted, in fact, about half the people on the beach will be nude.    

Pori's Wana Restaurant, Koufonisia Island
Pori’s Wana Restaurant, Koufonisia Island

Gala Beach

Next to Pori, Gala Beach is no more than a crack in cliffs that makes a small opening for the sea to create a pebbly beach.

This tiny beach is called Gala (milk in Greek) after the color of the water when the sea gets choppy. Nudity permitted.     

Major Historical Sites and Museums

Koufonisia is a destination known for its sandy beaches and pristine nature, so don’t expect landmarks or archaeological sites but it’s Chora is well worth exploring

Koufonisi Chora

While walking around Chora’s narrow alleys, admire the typical Cycladic architecture and cobblestone streets with overhanging bougainvillea flowers.

Chora, Koufonisia Island
Chora, Koufonisia Island

Make sure to visit the Church of Agios Georgios in Chora, dedicated to the patron saint of the island and the small Folk museum, that opened in 2011, just beside it.

Koufonisia Chora at night
Koufonisia Chora at night

Walking its alleys, having a drink or a snack in the street side, picking up the right ice-cream flavor or just taking holiday photos is everything you’ll ever need during the holiday on this Small Cyclades island.

Koufonisia Windmills

The windmills of the island are on the edge of Chora and Loutra and worth a visit since one has been turned into a shop and so you can see inside.  

Windmills of Koufonisia Island, Greece
Windmills of Koufonisia Island, Greece

Pisina (Piscina) and the Devil’s Eye cave

Strong seas have turned the east-side cliffs of Koufonisi into beautiful rock formations, and now they are the most popular natural attractions of the island.

Pisina, Koufonisia Island, Greece
Pisina, Koufonisia Island, Greece

Pisina is a natural seawater pool, large enough for two or three people.

After Pisina, in the direction towards Pori Beach, lies a stunning sight of the sea caves, among which the main one is called the devil’s eye.

Kato Koufonisi

The nearby island of Kato Koufonisi is uninhabited, but only 20 minutes by small boat from the port of Ano Koufonisi. Perfect for a day trip.

Approaching Kato Koufonisi
Approaching Kato Koufonisi

Expect truly wild beaches with gorgeously clear waters (all of them nudist-friendly), a chapel dedicated to the Virgin Mary, a ruin of an ancient temple, and a traditional taverna with the tastiest mousaka I have ever had.

Venetsanos Tavern in Kato Koufonisi
Venetsanos Tavern in Kato Koufonisi

The stunning beaches of Kato Koufonisi – Nero, Hawaii, Laki, and others are truly pristine, so bring everything you need along, especially water and snacks.

Laki Beach, Kato Koufinisi, Greece
Laki Beach, Kato Koufinisi, Greece

Koufonisia Island Sunsets

A different kind of sunset from islands like Santorini and Folegandros, but tranquil and unique!

Koufonisia Sunset, Greece
Koufonisia Sunset, Greece

Koufonisia  Cuisine: What to Eat in Koufonisia

🍽️ Patatato – a meet potato stew, originating from the nearby Amorgos

🍽️ Pasteli – Typical Cycladic honey and sesame bar

🍽️ Fresh fish – Koufonisia has the highest number of fishermen per capita of all the Greek islands, so expect a big variety of fish and seafood.

🍽️ Souvlaki – The most charming place to have gyros or souvlaki in the whole of Greece must be at Souvlaki Sti Strofi, a small grill joint just after the church.

Emergency and Useful Numbers

Any Emergency: 112

Police: 100

Fire Department: 199

Ambulance: 166

Tourist Police: 171

Koufonisia Medical Center: +30 2285071370.

Police Station: +30 2285071375

Pharmacy: +30 2285074454, +30 6947929292

Port Authority +30 22850 22300