Small Cyclades holidays in 4 lesser known islands - Map

John KarkalatosUPDATED June 20, 2024

Get to know in this article four small islands between Amorgos and Naxos that are not really well known, Koufonisia, Donoussa, Schinoussa and Irakleia.

Small Cyclades map

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How to get there

Because they are in the eastern Cyclades on a barren line, there are no daily itineraries from Piraeus with the exception of Koufonisia. You can easily go from Naxos and Amorgos with Skopelitis, the iconic ferry based in Katapola that connects the islands of the Small Cyclades with each other every day. I went on a one-day trip from Katapola to Koufonisia and stayed there for 6 hours, more than enough time for swimming and eating, without including the time of the cruise.

On the upper deck you have a 360 degree view of the sea, but it's a small ferry for the Aegean and during a storm bounces badly, so I don't recommend it for those who get seasick. I travelled in bad weather and the bouncing was incredibly intense and violent, to the point where I had to hold myself so as not to slip from my seat. On the lower deck the bouncing was a little milder. You can ask about the beauforts before the ferry departs.

You don't have to have your own vehicle, not even a motorbike. They are very small islands and transportation to the beaches is by boat. It is also a nice opportunity to hike or cycle

Let's go now to see the islands one by one.

1. Koufonisia


The best - known island which in recent years has developed into a popular destination, which is due to the landscape with low hills and golden sandy beaches that make up an exception in the rocky landscape of the Cyclades.

The day goes by at a leisurely pace with swimming and eating at the beach shops. The beaches are easy to access and shallow suitable for children. Plus there are no umbrella seats. Chora is small but picturesque.

You can go to the beaches by boat or by trails. I went to Pori which is the most distant beach by bus, although the boat also goes there.

The must is the trip to Kato Koufonisi for swimming, in a landscape without any human presence. There the boat takes you for dinner at the Venetsanos tavern in an old but special building.

The mountainous island to the south is the uninhabited Keros on which if you look closely the ridge forms a face, others say it forms a pregnant woman.

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2. Donousa


The locals call her Witch Donousa and once you meet her you will know why.

The village of the island, Stavros, hugs a sandy beach and this sight is like a little paradise. All you have to do is spend endless hours on the golden sand beaches and eat after swimming.

Kedros beach was included in the list of the american magazine Forbes with the 8 best beaches in the world for 2018.

You can go to Kedros on foot or by boat Donoussa Magissa, just like the other beaches. It also stops at Fokospilia, a cave with blue waters in which you may dive in.

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3. Schinoussa


A deserted island with lacy shores and many wonderful sandy beaches, more than you would expect for such a small island. The best sandy beach is Lioliou.

The access to the beaches is easy either through trails or by boat that starts from the port and goes around the island.

An iconic spot is kafeneio Hara where all visitors stop for a photo and why not for a greek coffee.

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4. Irakleia


A deserted island too with a mountainous landscape. You will come across a small village with a wonderful sandy beach and a satisfactory number of taverns. The access to the rest of the beaches is by boat.

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