The cluster of Koufonissia includes the islands of Pano and Kato Koufonissi which belong to the Small Eastern Cyclades. They are separated by a 200m-wide channel. The hectic and noisy outside world cannot reach this small spot in the Aegean that has become a favourite destination for Greek and foreign visitors, offering them an ideal chance to enjoy beaches with golden sand and clear blue waters, small natural pools, sea caves, authentic island festivals and, of course, an abundance of fish and seafood.
One interpretation is that the name of Koufonissia originates from the Greek words koufos limin which means hollow port, due to the presence of a bay between the two islands and Glaronissi. A second interpretation is that the characterization of hollow originates from the numerous caves seen at the beaches, as the waves weather and make the islands hollow.
Pano Koufonissi (or just Koufonissi) which covers an area of just 3.5km2 and has approximately 300 permanent residents, is the smallest, but also the most densely populated island of the Cyclades. Kato Koufonissi covers an area of 4.3km2 and is practically uninhabited.
Koufonissia have been inhabited since the prehistoric period, and was a centre of the Early Cycladic civilisation, as evidenced by the archaeological finds in Epano Mili, the most important being a frying panshaped vessel with an engraved nine-point star, currently exhibited at the Museum of Naxos.
Koufonissi, which together with the surrounding islands has been included in the Natura 2000 network, has an almost flat surface where rare species of flora with numerous endemic plants grow. There are no asphalt roads, but all distances can be walked (3 hours is enough to walk to the other end of the island and back), which makes cars unnecessary and the island ideal for hiking. Alternatively, the same distances can be covered by bikes, available for rent on the island. Each route will discover enchanting beaches with aquamarine waters alternating with caves formed in the rocks, while sand dunes are abundant next to the seaside path. In Xylopati lies a great sea cave which provides shelter to rock pigeons. After Platia Pounta with its wonderful green waters, you will see the “pools” – small protected coves and openings on the rocks – where swimming becomes an unforgettable experience.
Excursion 1 : Chora – Loutro – Parianos – Limenari – Xylopatis – Pori – Platia Pounta (Italida) – Fanos – Finikas – Charakopou – Gialos
A route around the island, following the coastline. Loutro is a very picturesque place, with the allwhite chapel of Agios Nikolaos and the old windmill above the small shipyard, where you can watch shipbuilders work in traditional methods; in Parianos bay, enjoy the view of the fishing fleet of the island.
Excursion 2 : Chora – Profitis Ilias – Pano Meria
A route with a great view that follows the inland paths of the island, leading to the chapel of Profitis Ilias, and areas where locals engage in their daily farming and stockfarming activities.