Koufonisia – Exotic Caves and Stunning Beaches in the Aegean

As you might have noticed, some islands always look stunning in pictures. Koufonisia are some of these islands. They are probably the closest you get to paradise on Earth with exotic, stunning beaches, and a rare charm.

Why Visit Koufonisia?

Koufonisia Beach Guide

Chora – Koufonisia Capital

Where is Koufonisia?

Map of Cyclades

A Hideout for Pirates

Natural Beauty and Traditions

What to see in Koufonisia?

Complex of “Small East Cyclades”

What to do in Koufonisia?

Celebration of the Fisherman

How to get there?

Koufonisia – Weather and climate

Beach at Pano Koufonisi with Keros in the horizon - Photo by S. Lambadaridis
Beach at Pano Koufonisi with Keros in the horizon – Photo by S. Lambadaridis

In this post you will find information for your holidays in Koufonisia. Discover the great beaches in our Koufonisia Beach Guide, find the top hotels and activities, as well as how to get there.

Why visit Koufonisia?

You will discover that the scenery in Koufonisia is beyond words! Turquoise water, beaches with sand like sugar, a tranquil atmosphere, and the Cycladic white-washed houses amidst the Cycladic archipelago. Here in these beautiful, tiny islands you can unwind and relax, knowing that you have found paradise on Earth!

Koufonisia Beach Guide

Beaches of Koufonisi island with tropical turquoise , emerald clear waters and rocky seascape, Cyclades, Greece
Beaches of Koufonisi island with tropical emerald waters

Koufonisia boasts some of the most astonishing blue waters and best beaches you have ever seen. The most beautiful beaches in Ano Koufonissi are Foinikas, Italida, Loutro, and Pori and in Kato Koufonissi it is Nero, Panagia, and Detis. The best way to explore the stunning coastline of the two small islands is by hiring a boat. Discover sea caves and isolated coves and enjoy swimming and diving directly from the boat, it is a unique experience.

Non-organized beaches

Aerial view Pori beach in Pano Koufonisi, Smaller Cyclades, Greece
Pori beach in Pano Koufonisi
  • Pori beach – Soft sandy, secluded, nudism friendly, located 3,5 km northeast of Chora.
  • Fanos beach – Long and sandy, secluded, located 1,5 km east of Chora.
  • Finikas beach – Long and sandy, secluded, 1 km east Chora.
  • Nero beach – Pebbled, secluded, nudism friendly, located in Kato Koufonissi island, accessibly by boat. Excursion boats are leaving from Ano Koufonissi for Nero beach.
  • Platia Pounda beach – Sandy, secluded, nudism friendly, located 1,5 km northeast of Chora. Gorgeous sandy beach with rocky parts.
  • Megali Ammos beach – Sandy, family friendly, harbour beach, located 200 metres from Chora.
  • Gala beach – Small, pebbled, secluded beach, located 4 km northeast of Chora. It is like an open cave connected to the sea through a narrow opening in the rocks.
  • Caves before Pori beach – Rocky coastline with a pebbled beach, located 3 km northeast of Chora. Visitors usually dive from the rocks.

Chora – the capital of Koufonissia

After a day soaking the sun in one of the stunning beaches, head for Chora, the capital of Koufonisia, in Pano Koufonisi. The village is rather small but is has a unique charm. Stroll along the narrow alleys and enjoy the scenic views, dining in one of the traditional taverns and immersing yourself in local way of living.

Where is Koufonisia Greece?

View from Chora towards the port and beach, Koufonisia islands, Cyclades Greece
View from Chora towards the port and beach

Koufonisia in Greece is a small cluster of islands consisting of two main islands, Kato (Lower) and Pano (Upper) Koufonisi and some smaller islets. Together with nearby Keros, they all belong to the complex of “Small East Cyclades”. They sit in the heart of the Aegean Sea, between Naxos and Amorgos.
Geographically, you will find them on the southeast side of Naxos, west of Amorgos. They are also quite different from each other. While Pano Koufonissi is where the center of the islands’ activity is, meaning Koufonisia hotels, restaurants, bars and sights, Kato Koufonisi is uninhabited and can only be reached by boat from Pano Koufonissi. Keros too, is uninhabited and protected as an archaeological site from which many ancient Cycladic art pieces have been excavated, among which are the figure of Big Mother (1.40 m. tall), and the famous statuettes “the Piper” and “the Harpist”, now exhibited at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Map of Cyclades

Map of Eastern Aegean Sea, Greece
Click to enlarge map

A hideout for pirates

Their name ‘Koufonisia‘ comes from the many caves the waves have shaped along the coastlines, which, when seen by pirates, gave them the impression that the islands (in Greek “nissia”) were hollow (in Greek “koufio”) – therefore Koufionisia and later Koufonisia.

Aerial view of the Ksylobatis caves on Pano Koufonisi, Cyclades, Greece
The Ksylobatis caves on Pano Koufonisi

Pano Koufonisi is the smallest and most densely populated island belonging to the Cyclades islands. It has an extent of 3,5 km² and a population of 366. The main occupation of the locals is fishing, so Koufonisi is a true fishing village where the visitors can enjoy fresh fish and seafood.

Natural beauty and traditions

Old windmill on Koufonisi - Photo by S. Lambadaridis
Old windmill in Pano Koufonisi – Photo by S. Lambadaridis

The white windmill on the east side of the port welcomes the visitors when they arrive at the island. Chora is built on the southwest coast of Koufonisi and is a characteristic example of Cycladic architecture. The amazing beaches – of which the majority are sandy – are part of the magic picture of the island. Tourism has developed in Koufonisi the last ten years, so the natural beauty and the traditional color of the islands have remained untouched. The natural beauty along with the warm hospitality of the residents and the reasonable prices of accommodation ought to m

During your stay on Koufonisia there are several places of interest that you should visit, such as the central and the back port, the piscatorial shelter, the carnagio, the windmills and the churches of Agios Georgios, Agios Nikolaos and Profitis Ilias. The fishermen in their small boats (kayakes) is a characteristic picture of the island. The church of Virgin Mary is one of the most important sights on Koufonisi, whereas in Keros apart from the archaeological findings, one can enjoy the magic sunrise.

Koufonisia – What to see?

Paradise beach with emerald waters on the Island of Kato Koufonisi, Smaller Cyclades, Greece
Paradise beach with emerald waters in Kato Koufonisi

Koufonisia island is a perfect combination of amazing beaches, gorgeous cliffs and cave, and a cozy village. There isn’t much to see in the sense of sightseeing. There is though a few tiny islands nearby, great for a day trip.

  • Kato Koufonisi – is a tiny paradise, uninhabited and unspoiled. It is located just a few miles from Pano Koufonisi, and you can go on a boat trip for the day, enjoying its amazing beaches.
  • Ancient Site – this small archaeological site was found in Kato Koufonisi. On top of it a small church, dedicated to Virgin Mary, has been built.
  • Keros Island – is in a short distance to Koufonisia. It is a small uninhabited island where important excavations have been made. Access prohibited.
  • Glaronissi Islet – is uninhabited with a lot of beautiful caves and crystal-clear turquoise water. You can go there by boat from Pano Koufonisi.
Mystery figurines from Keros, Smaller Cyclades, Greece
Ancient figurines from excavations on Keros

Complex of “Small East Cyclades”

Other smaller islets of the Smal East Cyclades complex is Avelonisia, Agios Andreas, Agrilia, Aspronisi (or Ligari), Venetiko, Bulgari, Glaronisi, Klidoura, Lazarus, the Makares islets, the Melantia islets, Moschonas, Ofidoussa, the Plakes islets, Plaki, Prasoura, Scandia, Skylonisi and Tsouloufi. All of these islets are uninhabited.

Koufonisia – What to do?


Along the coast of Koufonisia, from Pariano to Pori, there are small, magic bays with sandy beaches which alternate with caves in the rocky shore created by the sea and time. Generally, the beaches on the east side of the island are better and the vegetation there is denser.
A path can lead you to the most beautiful beaches such as Harokopou (Phoinikas), Platia Pounda, which is the most popular, Phanos and Pori, both less crowded but beautiful. Pori, which is told to be the best beach of all, is 4 km from Chora. The beachside road may seem a long walk in the summer heat, and in any case the second path, crossing the interior of the island, is very beautiful. On the footpath you will see white lilies, a rare species that is met only in Cyclades.

Island-hopping among The Smaller Cyclades

Windsurfing in Greece

Naxos Tours


With some of the most incredible beaches and water in the Mediterranean, a week of island hopping swims around the Smaller Cyclades is a must. As you navigate between five islands (Schinoussa, Koufonisia (2), Keros, Naxos) the adventure of swimming between them under a full safety escort allows you to appreciate the isolation and beauty of each island seeing them like no other tourist or local.


windsurfing in Greece

The Koufonisia Islands lend themselves to water sports such as surfboarding. Pori is preferred among surfers for training as well as the beach of Platia Pounda.

Celebration of the Fisherman

Each year on the last Saturday in June locals and visitors get together in the habor of Pano Koufonisi in order to celebrate the ‘feast of the fisherman’ with fresh, delicious seafood and wine offered to everyone present. At this beautiful festival the local musicians build an exciting atmosphere combined with the sublime spectacle of dancing groups both from Koufonisia but also from other islands participating. Finally, through common effort they stir up people and involve everyone in dancing and celebrating.
The “Fisherman’s Feast” at Koufonisia started many years ago as a result of the abundance of fish in the area and the enthusiasm of the locals with the coming of spring and the first visitors. So “…dance, dance, do not grieve the shoes, they will rest the hours you sleep…” like the old island song so nicely encourages us.
Don’t miss it!

Café “Scholió”

The bar "Old School", Koufonisi village

The old house was built in 1852. From 1890 to 1930 it functioned as a primary school. In 1996 it became one of the most popular café-bars in Koufonisia. In an ambient environment with rock music you can enjoy delicious crepes, and cocktails while playing board games or chatting with the friendly owners. You’ll find it on the cobbled main street of Chora. It has wireless internet. Each year from May until late September it is hosting a photo exhibition.
Open 18:00 to 3:30 all year round

Koufonisia – How to get there?

Airports near Koufonisia

Koufonisia has no airport, the nearest one is Naxos National Airport “Apollon”. It receives domestic flights from Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The flight duration is about 30 minutes. The airport of “Apollon” is near Agios Prokopios, approx. 3 km from Naxos Town and main port.

Ferries to Koufonisia

There is a ferry connection between Koufonisia and Piraeus port, the main port of Athens 3 times per week. The trip duration is 5-8 hours, depending on the vessel type. You can also reach Koufonisia from the other Cyclades islands, like Naxos, Amorgos, Syros, and Paros. From Naxos and Amorgos, you can embark the local ferry, Express Skopelitis, which has a daily route between Koufonisia and the other islands in the Smaller Cyclades complex.

Koufonisia – Weather and climate

Aerial view of beautiful volcanic cave of Gala with deep blue - turquoise clear sea, Koufonissi island, small Cyclades, Greece
Aerial view of beautiful volcanic cave of Gala

Koufonisia are blessed with a sunny and dry climate. With mild winters and hot, dry summers when the winds are blowing from the south the climate becomes rather humid. Overall, the weather is pleasant with limited rainfall during the winter months.

Average Air & Sea Temperature in Koufonisia in °C