Tiny and remote, Schinoussa sits just south of Naxos, in the heart of the Aegean Sea. Along with Koufonisia, Iraklia, and Donoussa it is one of the Smaller Cyclades. With its unspoiled natural beauty, it has become an alternative travel destination for relaxing holidays far from the masses of tourists. With wild landscapes, secluded beaches, and traditional villages, Schinoussa is a haven of tranquillity.
In Schinoussa you will find just a dozen hotels, a few good restaurants, and limited facilities. Still, the island attracts travellers seeking a relaxed atmosphere with unspoiled beaches and a wild natural landscape easy to explore on foot.
Where is Schinoussa Greece?
Schoinoussa is one of the Mikres (Smaller) Cyclades, located south of Naxos, between Koufonissia and Iraklia. It has a total area of 8,5 km² in a polymeric shape with numerous bays and peninsulas.
Map of Cyclades
The terrain has smooth slopes, low hills, and small valleys. The tallest point of Schoinoussa is called Milos on the hill of Vardies with 133 m. The soil consists of slates, limestone, and sandstone, it is rather fertile and therefore cultivated from one end to the other. Mersini, the port of Schinoussa, is known to be one of the best shelters for small vessels in the Aegean Sea.
Villages in Schinoussa
The other two villages in Schinoussa are Chora (Panagia) – to be found 1200 m from the port, built on a small hill in the times of pirate invasions with a spectacular panoramic view, and the village Messaria. The 206 residents in Schinoussa are occupied with agriculture, fishing, and tourism. Only a few meters from Schinoussa you will find the islet of Ofidoussa (or Fidou) and on its south side, Argilos, and to the southeast, Aspronisi.
How to reach Schinoussa?
Flights near Schinoussa
Schinoussa island has no airport. The nearest one is Naxos National Airport “Apollon”. It receives domestic flights from Athens International Airport “Eleftherios Venizelos”. The flight from Athens to Naxos lasts approx. half an hour. Naxos airport is not receiving flights from abroad. It is located about 3 km from Naxos Town and port, from where you can embark the ferry to Schinoussa and reach it within 2 hours.
Ferries to Schinoussa
Schinoussa has a regular ferry connection from Piraeus port in Athens, as the route is carried out 3 times per week. The trip lasts about 8 hours. Another way to reach Schinoussa from Naxos or Amorgos is by a local ferry named “Skopelitis Express”. It is departing for the Smaller Cyclades islands almost daily (Naxos, Iraklia, Koufonisia, Donoussa, Amorgos)
Schinoussa – What to see?
Church of Panagia Akathi
Panagia Akathi in Chora is the most important church in Schinoussa. It is considered as the protector of the island. In the typical Cycladic architecture with blue dome and whitewashed walls it stands in the centre of Chora.
Folklore Museum of Schinoussa
The Folklore Museum of Schinoussa is to be found in Chora, where you will have the opportunity to admire traditional costumes, tools, and utensils of ancient times.
The Three Mills
The first mill is situated in the middle of the island, in Vardies. The second is in Messaria and the third in Tsigouri.
There are two caves in Schinoussa, the Cave of Maniatis and the Fishermen’s Cave. Both are situated near the port.
Schinoussa Things to do
As for things to do in Schinoussa, the best are swimming, snorkeling and diving. And thanks to the unique geology of the island nature exploration and hiking are popular activities as well.
It is in Chora (Panagia), the main village and capital of the island, where most hotels, taverns, shops, and other facilities are located. The smaller villages have managed to preserve their traditional style through the years. With whitewashed houses, narrow alleys, and small chapels they are of truly extraordinary beauty. You will find hotels, studios, and villas spread out on all Schinoussa, most situated around Chora and Mersini port, but also in the southern and central part of the island.
Island hopping from Schinoussa
Being one of the Smaller Cyclades, located just south of Naxos, Schinoussa Greece is a perfect base for island hopping to the nearby islands of Koufonisia, Donoussa, Iraklia, and Naxos. Schinoussa is a perfect stop for relaxing in a natural paradise.
Schinoussa Beach Guide
The beaches in Schinoussa are secluded and unspoiled with cobalt blue waters. Most of them are easy to access on foot from Chora, while others are reached by boat. Despite its small size Schinoussa is surrounded by various kinds of beaches.
- Psili Ammos beach – Sandy, secluded, located 2 km northeast of Chora. Immaculate, undiscovered beach with emerald water reaching the top of the nearby hills.
- Lioliou beach – Sandy, secluded, located 4 km south of Chora. Small but wide beach with shallow waters, big trees with plenty of shade surrounded by rocks.
- Almyros beach – Sandy, secluded, located 2 km south of Chora. Two beaches, side by side, with clear shallow waters. Ideal for families. The northeastern wind brings a small wave, making this beach ideal for surfers as well.
- Tsigouri beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 2 km southwest of Chora. It is the most cosmopolitan beach of the island. Golden sand, trees, clear waters and with a view to the peninsula of Ai Vasilis, Fidousa and Iraklia.
- Livadi beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 2 km south of Chora. It is the longest sandy beach on the island. Tall trees with real shade make this beach special.
- Mersini beach – Pebbled, harbour, located 2 km west of Chora. This picturesque beach at the port of Mersini has a few trees and is well protected from the winds.
- Fikio beach – Pebbled, secluded, located 4 km north of Chora. A small beach with wild rocks. In the open there are reefs that give a beautiful green colour to the waters and make it ideal for underwater fishing.
- Agios Vasilios – Is said to have the best beaches on the island, but access is not allowed, since the peninsula is private.
- Alygaria, Gagavi and Kambos – 3 small sandy bays in a row. Picturesque and beautiful, ideal for small groups of people.
- Bazeou – A small beach with a mixture of pebbles and sand only for a few. Not too shallow waters with incredible colours.
- Fontana – Small and quiet.
- Sifnaiko – A leeward bay on the southwest side of the island. The favourite destination for yachts.
- Gerolimnionas – White sand with waters in all shades of blue and green. It is a beach difficult to reach, but one of the best on the island.
Weather and climate in Schinoussa
In Schinoussa you will find the typical Mediterranean weather like the rest of the Cyclades islands. During the summer, the sun is shining 15 hours every day. Temperatures can be hot, rising to 40°C at midday. In the afternoons, the temperatures become more comfortable helped by the soft breeze from the sea. In autumn, the weather is still great with lower temperatures and a few light showers. During the short winter season, winds are blowing strong, but snow is a rare sight. If you travel to Schinoussa during spring, you will find the island covered in green and flowers where temperatures vary between 20-30°C.