Koufonissi Island Guide

Koufonissi Island Overview

Saying anything about Koufonissi feels like giving away a secret you’ve promised not to share. I first visited in 2018 after seeing photos of the island online and not quite believing they could be real. Was this a tiny jewel hidden in the middle of the Cyclades? Or would the reality prove to be different? Spoiler alert: it is every bit as amazing as it looks.

Koufonissi Video Highlights

Koufonissi – or Ano Koufonissi to give it its full name – is a small island. So small, you could probably walk around it in a few hours. As such, it’s not the place you’ll spend a fortnight or even a week unless you really like chilling out on the beach and not much else. I spent three nights here and found it was a good amount of time to see all the beaches and visit its neighbouring island, Kato Koufonissi.

Only one ‘resort’ – Chora – spreads out from the ferry port onto the shallow hillside surrounding the main town beach. It’s quite picturesque in a simplistic sense, with just a smattering of white buildings dotting the horizon.

Koufonissi Accommodation and Dining

Google lists just over a dozen restaurants in Chora, which should be enough to offer a variety of choices over a 3 – 7-night stay without repetition. My favourite by far was Lavanda e Rosmarino, a superb Italian restaurant with a hillside view:

Lavanda e Rosmarino restaurant

I chose to stay at Dafnis Studios when I visited Koufonissi. Prices were reasonable, and its location on the hillside but close to the town beach proved excellent. It lacks a pool, but so do most hotels on the island and with such a superb beach nearby, you don’t need one.

Since my visit, quite a few new hotels and apartments seem to have sprung up, so there is no lack of choice available. It does hint at the fact the island is getting busier as its reputation spreads.

Koufonissi Beaches

The main reason to visit Koufonissi is its stunning beaches. The main beach close to the port has to be one of the best town beaches I’ve ever seen, with soft, golden sand and crystal-clear water:

Koufonissi town beach

You’ll find several other comparable stretches of sand as you head east around the island’s southern side: Finika, Fanos and Italida are all worth exploring.

Finika (foreground), Fanos and Italida (furthest away) are three more great beaches on Koufonissi

Perhaps the best beach, though, is the horseshoe-shaped bay of Pori Beach in the northeastern corner:

Pori Beach is one of the best beaches in Greece

Despite its apparent distance from Chora, the island’s diminutive size means it’s easily walkable in 40 minutes over mostly flat terrain. However, a regular bus service is available, should you prefer an easier life. You are on holiday, after all!

Koufonissi: Conclusions and Alternatives

If you can’t afford to visit the Caribbean or Seychelles – or you don’t want to travel that far – but you want golden sandy beaches with glistening turquoise waters, this is probably the Greek island for you. It’s best visited for a few days, perhaps with Naxos or even one of the other “little Cyclades” such as Amorgos or Iraklia.

We’re unaware of any comparable alternatives – Koufonissi is quite a unique island – so we recommend putting it on your itinerary. It seems to get busier every year, so we’d suggest seeing it sooner rather than later.

Koufonissi Blog Posts

Learn more about Koufonissi by reading our recent blog posts:

  • Day 8: Heading back to Naxos

    This post is part of a series called Mini Cyclades 2018 I continued the theme of waking early and decided to make the best use of my last few hours…

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  • Day 7: Kato Koufonissi

    This post is part of a series called Mini Cyclades 2018 A visit to Kato Koufonissi was today’s mission. Another early start and good breakfast at Sophia’s Cafe, then I…

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  • Day 6: Koufonissi Pori Beach

    This post is part of a series called Mini Cyclades 2018 I woke up early despite setting no alarm, feeling relaxed and ready for another great day. My initial plan…

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  • Day 5: Koufonissi

    This post is part of a series called Mini Cyclades 2018 Today was my last day on Naxos (until I return on Sunday, anyway!). My next stop is the small…

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