|Posted by Alexandra S on February 26, 2018 at 7:25 AM|
Each journey I take, each memory I add to my mind and heart... and every scent that stays with me, is a piece of inspiration I enjoy conveying to curious and like-minded adventurers ready to embark on their own journey.
In my mind's eye...nothing is more "contagious" than good energy, genuine excitement and a real story... and it is for this reason that all posts in the "Inspire Me, Inspire You" segment of the website derive entirely from personal experiences and are aimed at doing just that... inspiring ;-)
One of these truly memorable experiences are linked to a place I should probably be keeping to myself... but then again that would be too selfish...
So, here it is:
Next to the bigger islands of Paros and Naxos is a smaller cluster of islands: Koufonissia, Schinoussa, Donousa and Iraklia. This small island complex is known as the Small Cyclades.
Koufonissia, lying east of Naxos and west of Amorgos, is a set of two islets separated by a narrow strait of sea about 200m wide. Among those two, Kato Koufonissi is the uninhabited one and Ano Koufonissi is inhabited by about 200 locals. From there, one can also see the island of Keros at a distance.
They were named Koufonisia [meaning Hollow islands] because of the existing huge caves which gave the impression to pirates who viewed them from a distance that the islands were hollow! At a short distance you will see the deserted Keros island. It has been designated as an archaeological site under protection, as major Cycladic Art finds have been unearthed there many a time.
fonissi is accessible by either the high speed boats - catamarans, as they are called - or the bigger conventional ferries; the former take about 5 hours to reach the island from the port of Pireas in Athens, whereas the latter takes about 7 hours (and is slightly less costly). Additionally, travelling on the larger boats gives you the chance to walk around on the deck and get a real feel of the sea breeze (whereas the catamarans do not offer the same freedom of movement on board). The schedules can be found in www.openseas.gr and one can also book online, as well.
If you ask me, the real magic begins the moment the ship reachest the island and prepares to dock. A picture speaks a thousand words... don't you think...?
My first time in the Small Cyclades was far too long ago for me to even remember... but what I do remember was a place that was out of this world, in the most beautiful and serene way.
Only a couple of years ago, two of my best friends and I felt the need to get away for 4 days and we decided on Koufonissi. Unfortunately, our plan was slightly altered when Evi was called to stay back for professional reasons. Sad as we were, Sophie and I embarked on that ship and made our way to that small yet heavenly island.
"Anemomylos House and Rooms" (www.koufonisia-rooms.com) where we reserved our studio, was only metres away from the sea and only about a 15-minute walk from Chora. "Chora" is the greek term we give to all the main towns of the islands.The Anemomylos property housed 5 different apartments of varying sizes that were allocated according to the number of guests it needed to accommodate. It was clean, furnished, linen was provided and there was a well-equiped kitchenette for those who were planning on staying for a longer period.
Evi had booked a beautiful small apartment at "Anemomylos House and Rooms" (www.koufonisia-rooms.com) only metres away from the sea and only about a 15-minute walk from Chora. "Chora" is the greek term we give to all the main towns of the islands.The Anemomylos property housed 5 different apartments of varying sizes that were allocated according to the number of guests it needed to accommodate. It was clean, furnished, linen was provided and there was a well-equiped kitchenette for those who were planning on staying for a longer period.
The following days were all about spending time wandering around the island, from beach to beach and simply enjoying the ultimately relaxing vibe.
The best part of being on this island is that no car is required and one can simply walk from beach to beach. On average, it takes about one hour to walk from the east to the west side of the island... but when you stop and take a dip to cool off or go photo-crazy, it can take much longer... but these are opportunities you just can't miss.
(Photo: Fanos Beach)
The island's population is about 250 inhabitants. The coastline extends to about 14,4km and the most popular beaches are Foinikas, Fanos, Megali Ammos, Nero and Pori which is the one farthest away from Chora.
(Bikini: Panos Emporio www.panos.com)
(Photo location: The Devi's Eye)
Truth be told, some beaches were way too crowded to find some space or even peace... so we would simply move on to the next bay only several metres away...
Travel Tip: Island-hopping during the period mid-July to mid-August ought best be avoided if there is a possibility to travel either before or after the high season.
However, in our case, the morning wake-up calls worked best. Luckily, neither myself nor Anne-Sofie would sleep long hours into the day... so we would set off not long after we would wake up.
Early mornings was the perfect time to locate a tree with some relatively good shade that could cover both of us. Not long after we had found it... the artistic tools would come into full view. :-) Sofie would write, I would draw. The surroundings could not have been more perfect!
(Photo location: Pori Beach)
Beautiful and large as Pori Beach was... the winds can really be a challenge for anyone aiming to pin their carry-on umbrella in the sand. I would simply recommend finding some shelter and shade under a tree.
When it comes nightlife and dining, the island may not have the huge variety of tavernas, restaurants and bars that its neigbours have, but it has a decent number of choices for its size. I vividly recall this one hotspot, "Sti Strofi" (in greek this means around the corner) where the queue would always be a mile long. It was a simple souvlaki take-away place and according to Tripadvisor, it rocks!
(Photo source: TRIPADVISOR)
We may have not tried the famous souvlaki or gyros because the queue was way too long for two starving girls to handle... By the time we reached Chora, after a full day of walking and swimming in the sun, waiting in line just didn't seem that appealing no matter how mouth-watering the take-away menu looked as we strolled by the mile-long queue of sun-burnt customers.
There were tavernas waiting, and that is where we were going... :-)
One thing is for sure, that small island had the world's most delightful and colorful chora (main town) and I could hardly resist clicking away at my camera and capturing the beauty...
So, this was a taste of the ever inspiring island of Koufonissi which I would be more than happy to return to. An island that I would strongly recommend to those who desire an escape from the loud world and who feel comfortable in the serenity and special silence that the Small Cyclades have to offer...