Donoussa – Magnificent Treasure in the Heart of the Aegean

Donoussa is situated in the heart of the Aegean Sea and is one of the Smaller Cyclades islands along with Iraklia, Koufonisia, and Schinoussa. It is one of the smallest Greek islands, but you can expect great natural experiences here!

Where is Donoussa island?

Donoussa on Cyclades Map

The Villages of Donoussa

Donousa and Island-hopping

Things to See in Donousa

Donoussa Beach Guide

Donousa – What to Do?

Donoussa – Where to Stay?

Transportation around Donoussa

Donoussa – How to get there?

Ferries to Donoussa

Is Donoussa Worth Visiting?

Weather and climate in Donoussa

Donoussa History

Donoussa is an unspoiled paradise, still untouched by masses of tourists. Here you can swim in the crystal-clear waters and relax on quiet and non-organized beaches all day. Since Donoussa is such a tiny island you can reach all beaches on foot or on a boat trip. You will find great hidden spots to relax in tranquillity.

Where is Donoussa island?

Donoussa is located about 25 km north of Amorgos, 7 km from the Makaries Islands and 15 km east of Naxos. The area of Donoussa is barely 14 km², composed of mountains, hills, cliffs, and shrubs. It has a diameter of 5 km, the highest point being 363 meters above sea level and with only 163 inhabitants.

Donoussa on Cyclades Map

Map of Cyclades Archipelagos
Click to enlarge the map

Donoussa is the north-eastern most of the Smaller Cyclades, a bit apart from the rest of them. It is a small heaven for you who enjoy nature in a peaceful environment, along with swimming and sunbathing. Its small ports and the smell of the cedar-trees create the unique beauty of the island.

The villages of Donoussa

Stavros or Chora in Donoussa island, Lesser Cyclades Greece
Stavros or Chora in Donoussa island

Donoussa has a small port at Stavros, its main settlement, with ferry routes to Naxos and Amorgos. White houses are forming five small and picturesque villages in Donoussa. Stavros, port and capital of Donoussa, is in the southern part of the island protected from the northern winds (Meltemi winds during the summer months). The rest of the villages are Kalotaritissa, Troulos, Mesaria (Charavgi) and Mersini.

Donoussa and island hopping

Being one of the Small Cyclades situated between Naxos and Amorgos Donousa is a great island choice for island hopping. Spend some days relaxing here in between visits to more lively and festive islands like Naxos.

Things to see in Donoussa Greece

Fokospilia – the Cave of Seals

Mediterranean Monk Seal, Donoussa, Smaller Cyclades Greece
Mediterranean Monk Seal, Donoussa, Smaller Cyclades Greece

A cave of extraordinary beauty at the seaside at Cape Moschonas on the eastern coast of the island. It is one of the last resorts with Monk seals in the Mediterranean Sea. It can be accessed only by boat.

The old Donousa mines

You will find the old mines at the foot of Papa mountain, on Donousa mainland. In the 1920’s the inhabitants of Donousa were mining copper, indigo, calamine and atsacha (white stone used in making glass).

Cave of the Wall

At Cape Xylobatis, on the northwest side of Donousa, you will find the Cave of the Wall with stalactites.

Donoussa Beach Guide

View of Kalotaritissa beach in Donoussa island, Small Cyclades Greece
Kalotaritissa beach

In Donoussa you will discover that most beaches are non-organized and remote. Only the beach close to the port and Stavros (Chora) has some tourist facilities. You can reach all the other beaches on foot or use the shuttle bus from your hotel. They have a few beach schedules every day. At some beaches they accept free camping.

Find a list of the best Donoussa beaches below.

Livadi beach, Donousa island, Lesser Cyclades Greece
Livadi beach
  • Port beach – Sandy, harbour, partly organized, located 500 metres from Chora
  • Kendros beach – Sandy, secluded, nudism friendly, non-organized, free camping, located 3 km from Chora
  • Kalotaritissa beach – Pebbled, non-organized, located 10 km north of Chora
  • Livadi beach – Sandy, secluded, nudism friendly, non-organized, located 5 km east of Chora
  • Fikio beach – Pebbled, secluded, nudism friendly, non-organized, located 6 km east of Chora
Kedros beach, Donousa, one of the Smaller Cyclades Greece
Kedros beach in Donousa

Donoussa Greece – What to do?

Hiking

From Stavros to Kedros or from Kedros to Messaria are ones of the most interesting walks. From Stavros to Kalotaritissa you can, instead of taking the asphalt road, take the path which the locals used to take to get from one village to the other.

Diving and snorkelling

Diving in Greece

The Bay of Kalotaritissa with Skoulonisi has amazing turquoise waters and it is protected from both the north and south winds. Fokospilia is further south: A sumptuous feast of colours under the water that becomes even more vivid with the refraction of the sun. One can also go inside the cave by boat, swim in its waters and climb on its cliffs. You can make a stop in Fikio, the small pier below Mirsini, or you could anchor for a while in Livadi, the nearby beach. If you are looking for a more secluded beach, keep on sailing until the next seashore, Vathi Limenari, which is only accessible from the sea.

Fishing 

Starfish photographed underwater in Donoussa island, Cyclades Greece
Starfish photographed underwater in Donoussa island

Donoussa island is filled with great fishing spots. Especially the reefs around Skoulonisi are heaven for hobby fishing.

Donoussa – Where to stay?

Dakos - a Greek appetizer with dried bread, tomatoes, feta or mizithra cheese with capers and oregano. Taken in Donoussa, Lesser Cyclades, Greece
Dakos – a Greek appetizer with dried bread, tomatoes, feta or mizithra cheese with capers and oregano.

Chora (or Stavros), the main village and port has a lively, yet relaxing atmosphere. Here you will find most of the hotels as well as rooms for rent along with taverns, bars, restaurants, and shops. Going on hiking trips from Chora you will discover the tiny traditional villages, gorgeous beaches, and the wild natural landscapes.

Transportation around Donoussa

In Donoussa you will rarely see people use motorized vehicles, and you will not find car rentals here. There are, however, options for moving around this stunning island.

Public buses

There is a public bus carrying out routes from Chora to Kalotaritissa. The distances in Donoussa are generally short, so you might enjoy getting around on foot. Transfer from the port to your accommodation can preferably be done by one of the few taxis or the hotel shuttle bus. If you wish to book a taxi you can do so dialling +30 697 1774 696

Donoussa boat trips

Islet of Prasini, Makares Archipelago, near Donoussa island, Smaller Cyclades Greece
Islet of Ag. Nikolaos in the Makares Archipelago, near Donoussa island

As a different mean of transportation to one of the remote beaches you can enjoy a nice tour on a small, local boat. You can also go on a daytrip to one of the tiny islets belonging to the Makares Archipelago.

Donoussa – How to get there?

Donoussa has no airport. Naxos Airport is the nearest to Donoussa island and it receives domestic flights from Athens daily. The flight duration is 40 min.

Ferries to Donoussa

Arriving from Athens in Naxos you can take the ferry to Donoussa as well as the rest of the Small Cyclades islands. The ferry Express Skopelitis runs its route from Naxos to Amorgos six days per week (not Sundays), stopping at each of the Smaller Cyclades, Donoussa, Koufonisia, Iraklia, and Schinoussa. There is also a ferry route operating from Piraeus to Donoussa 3 times per week.

Is Donoussa worth visiting?

Sunset in Donoussa, Lesser Cyclades Greece

If you love untouched, heavenly beautiful beaches with crystal-clear waters, then Donoussa is worth your visit! They are mainly non-organized and secluded. Kedros beach is one of the best secluded beaches in Donoussa, it is a popular free camping beach as well. You will soon enough feel completely seduced by the tranquillity of Donoussa.

Weather and climate in Donoussa

Just like in the rest of the Cyclades islands the weather in Donoussa is characterized by hot and dry summers while the winter season is rather mild. During summer it can become quite windy, as Donoussa is affected by the Meltemia, the northern winds. Most of the rainfall happen during autumn and winter. June, July, and August are the hottest months with temperatures rising to 40°C at noon. During the afternoon, a light breeze will make you more comfortable. January and February are the coldest months, but temperatures seldom drop below 0°C and it rarely snows.

Donoussa history

The first traces of habitation of Donoussa are found at the two settlements around Achtia of Agrilia and Myti tou Trachilas (Early Cycladic period – meaning 3rd millennium B.C.) Donoussa arrives at its peak during the Geometric period (10th-7th century B.C), as it can be seen from the fortified settlement and the cemetery that were found in Vathi Limenari, at the south-east part of Donoussa.

Donoussa used to be an agricultural island cultivating tobacco and onions. In the 1920’s they were mining copper, indigo, calamine and atsacha. Today tourism has become the main source of income along with farming (the locals are breeding goats on the neighbouring island of Skoulonisi) and fishing.