Small Cyclades; Precious Little Gems Scattered Across a Glittering Aegean

Small CycladesFollow us on a quick trip to “Small Cyclades” and enjoy enticing spots by the sea, crystal-clear waters, gorgeous sand beaches, picturesque whitewashed houses and the most beautiful sunsets you will ever experience!


DonoussaAccording to Greek mythology, Donousa is the island in which Dionysos decided to transfer Ariadne so that Theseus could not locate her. Donoussa is located on the northeastern part of Small Cyclades, about 14 nautical miles north of Amorgos and 15 east of Naxos. The island hosts plenty of small white houses, well-hidden in picturesque trails that are decorated with beautiful bougainvilleas. Its hills are covered in lentisks and cedar trees, while its tiny ports are flooded with abundant thin sand. Around 163 permanent residents are hosted in its five small, picturesque villages; Stavros, Kaloritissa, Troulos, Mesaria (Charavgi) and Mersini. During the Roman Times, Donoussa was said to be a place for exile, later on it became the hidden place for pirates, while the island was inhabited during the Turkish occupation. Donoussa became world famous at the beginning of World War I (1914) when German cruiser “Goeben” sailed into Donoussa’s harbor, pursued by the English fleet. At Kedros’ bottom, one can discern the shipwreck of a German ship that was sunk by the allies during World War II.


KoufonissiaIt is a small, heavenly group of two islands with around 366 residents, situated on the west side of Amorgos and the southeast side of Naxos. Pano Koufonissi has its port built on the southwest coast of the island and is a vivid example of Cycladic architecture, while Kato Koufonissi hosts just a small number of rural houses, mainly inhabited during the summer months, and Venetsanos’ famous tavern. With its golden beaches and rocks that are willingly corroded by the salty and crystal-clear Greek waters, Koufonissia is a magic destination for your summer holidays. On Pano Koufonissi’s North Cape, you can discover several sea caves, while Saint George’s, Saint Nicholas’ and Panagia’s churches are  definitely worth a visit. Don’t forget to refresh yourselves with a cool and tasty drink at Mylos, a traditional windmill that has been renovated into a bar.

SchinoussaSchinoussa, with its numerous peninsulas and bays, smooth hillsides, low hills and small valleys, is located south of Naxos, between Koufonissia and Heraklia, hosting around 206 permanent residents. The island’s port is called Mersini and is one of the best secret dens for vessels travelling to the Aegean Sea. 1200m from Schinoussa’s port, visitors will have the opportunity to visit Chora or Panagia and enjoy panoramic views, while Messaria is another good option for summer fun and relaxation. A visit to Annunciation of Virgin Mary’s church in Messaria and Panagia Akathis’s church in Chora will give your holiday a powerful touch, while at the Folklore Museum you can admire tools and utensils, as well as traditional costumes from ancient times. The island also has three mills and two caves, Maniatis’ cave and Fishermen’s cave, ready to be explored.

HerakliaHerakliaThe western island of the Small Cyclades complex is called Heraklia and is situated 18nmi off the Chora of Naxos, 6nmi east of Ios and 19nmi from Katapola of Amorgos. Although it is a mountainous island, Heraklia has rich vegetation consisting of Indian figs, cedar trees and springs. Agios Giorgios or Port, Panagia or Pano Mera and Agios Athanasios are the main settlements of its around 151 inhabitants. In the area of Kambos Aghiou Athanasiou and Aghios Mamas you can explore two small settlements from the Protocycladic period, while in the area of Kastro in Livadi you can visit the ruins of a fortified village from the Hellenistic period, which used to host a temple of Zeus and a sanctuary of goddess Tyche. In Saint John’s cave visitors can admire a rich decoration of stalactites, stalagmites and columns of natural shade, while in the nearby Cyclop’s cave see where the mythological Cyclops used to live.

KerosKerosThis rocky island, 1,5 nautical miles southeast of Koufonissi, is nowadays uninhabited although it once used to be an important center of the Cycladic civilization during the Prehistoric Era. The island’s contour is extremely impressive, as it resembles a woman lying on her back. The famous “Flautist” and “Harpist” statuettes, as well several marble and ceramic items, now on display at the National Archaeological Museum of Athens, were discovered on the island. Several findings of the “Thesaurus of Keros,” consisting mainly of marble statuettes, marble and ceramic vessels, as well as stone utensils, are on display at the Museum of Cycladic Art in Athens.


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