Small (or Lesser) Cyclades, peaceful holidays in 4 magical islands + Map

John KarkalatosAugust 20, 2021

Get to know in this guide the smallest and the less known cycladic islands: Donousa, Koufonisia, Schinoussa and Irakleia.

Koufonisia at Small Cyclades


The different side of the Cyclades

We think of the Cyclades as cosmopolitan islands, every summer they are in the center of interest: celebrities spend their holidays in Mykonos, on the 15th of August the spotlight is on Tinos for the Assumption of Mary, Santorini appears on the websites as one of the best islands in the world, Instagram is flooded with images from the Cyclades.

But not all Cyclades are like that. At the eastern end of the complex 4 small islands form the Small Cyclades and remind us that the surprises in the greek archipelagos never stop. So connect with raw nature and see landscapes that have changed little from human presence.

In the Small Cyclades the means of transport is unnecessary as the islands are very small and the boats transfer the tourists to the most remote beaches. For rent you will find only bicycles and motorbikes, depending on the island of course.

What are the Small Cyclades islands


The most cosmopolitan island of all as in recent years it has become a popular destination, which is not accidental since the low hills with golden beaches are an exception to the rocky landscape of the Cyclades.

The day in Koufonisia passes with plenty of swimming, excursion to Kato Koufonisi and continues in Chora with food and drink.

Read more on the travel guide about Koufonisia.

Donousa at Small Cyclades

Livadi beach at Donousa


The locals call it Donousa the Witch and as soon as you go there you'll understand why.

Once you see the village of the island, Stavros, which embraces the incredible beach, you'll realize that you have discovered an earthly paradise. All you have to do is spend endless hours on the beach, relax and visit the other beaches by boat.

Read more on the travel guide about Donousa.




A deserted island with indented shores and of course many wonderful sandy beaches, more than you would expect for such a small island. The access is easy either by trails or by boat that starts from the port and goes around the island. Spend the rest of your time at the taverns and the bars of the island.




A deserted island too (more deserted than Schinoussa). You'll find a small settlement with a wonderful sandy beach and a sufficient number of taverns. The access to the rest of the beaches is by boat.

Why visit the Small Cyclades

If you want to have peaceful and carefree holidays, without caring what time of day it is, or if you'll meet crowds of tourists, then the Small Cyclades is for you!

You'll have the opportunity to focus on the very simple concepts of our existence: friendship, rest, connect with nature, hiking and food. Choose the island that suits you and have happy summer holidays!

If you have young children

The best islands in this case are Koufonisia and Donousa since Choras are near shallow sandy beaches. If you find accommodation near the beach then even better.

Travelling with Skopelitis to the Small Cyclades

Almost everyone who visits the Small Cyclades uses Skopelitis Express, the legendary ship that connects Naxos with Amorgos and the Small Cyclades since 1956.

It incredibly facilitates if you want to combine islands or if you want to go on a day trip to an island that reaches the port. From the upper deck you can admire the whole trip. However, since it's a small boat for the Aegean, in case of a storm it bounces around hardly, so if you get seasick you should do something.