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Greek Islands Guide


Quick Facts: The Lesser Cyclades
Transportation Ferry, hydrofoil
Main Attractions Beaches, fishing, splendid isolation
Food Fresh seafood
Accommodations Limited

The Lesser Cyclades Characteristics

This group of tiny islands, only some of which are inhabited, lie south of Naxos. Included in The Lesser Cyclades are these islands:

  • Herakeleia
  • Schoinousa
  • Kouphonisia
  • Keros
  • AntiKeros
  • Aghios Ioannis
  • Dryma
  • Makaries
  • Daskaleio
  • Donousa

Island Features

Greek islands lesser cycladesGreek islands lesser cycladesThese island are as yet unspoiled, have great fishing and wonderful beaches. Kouphonisia is the most visited, which I'd only worry about in late July and August. If you want to totally relax and lay around with very few, or no, clothes on this is the place to go. There aren't a lot of amenities however so go prepared, tent, sleeping bag and other necessities. I might see you there!

The lesser Cyclades is a great place to let it all hang out and meet desirable members of the opposite sex in a camping and very casual environment. It is not for spoiled types.

Greek islands lesser cycladesToday, Shinoussa, Kouphonisia, Herakeleia, and Donousa are inhabited. In ancient times all the islands were inhabited, as evidenced by the many graves discovered. These islands primarily lie between the islands of Naxos and Amorgos. The four inhabited islands have small populations of fisherfolk. The island ports have rooms for rent and tavernas. Nothing fancy, but inexpensive. High season is more expensive.


Think more in terms of sparkling seas and lovely beaches instead of towns with you think of the Lesser Cyclades.

Drinking and Dining

There are a limited number of tavernas on the populated islands.


Most of these islands have been inhabited since prehistoric times. On Herakleia you can see traces of a settlement and a ruined medieval fortress. Ano and Kato Kouphonisia have remains of Hellenistic and Roman installations. Very significant finds on Keros are among the most splendid of the entire Cyclades and include two marble figurines now housed in the National Archaeological Museum in Athens. The figurines are of a harpist and a flutist. On Donousa prehistoric fortifications have been found.



"Koufonissi? Try high season and compare prices to Mykonos... Low season is better, since this 400-inhabitant island goes to up 2000 people in July and August. Best things about it? Very few foreign tourists (got sick of hearing Italian all over Cyclades) and fantastic beaches. Worst thing about it? No ATM or Bank - so you'd better get all your money from Naxos, plus food is expensive. The most beautiful beach on the island is Pori. The island is very small, so you'd better not take a car, there's no use to it. Other than that, the island has lots of fresh fish and lobsters (no, really fresh!!!), so try anything like that (such as the expensive but fantastic astako-makaronada, lobster spaghetti).

"The food is a bit expensive if you're a student, but fine for all the people that go yachting there.... Night life is pretty poor–there's one bar and I heard there's a club as well, but didn't bother to look for it.

Greek islands lesser cycladesGreek islands lesser cyclades"Also, daily there is a kaiki (small fishing boat) from Ano Koufonissi to Kato Koufinissi, which is not inhabited. In Kato Koufonissi there is a taverna with good food. If you want to go to Keros (the third island which is actually bigger than the other two) you have to rent a kaiki ride, about €30 We were on a limited budget so we didn't visit Keros (on which, by the way, there are lots of ancient ruins).

"Speaking of deserted beaches.... I guess that's the place! Well, that's mostly it! We had a very good time in Koufonissia, but from what I hear, I would never suggest to someone to go on high season, I cannot imagine how a place with 400 locals goes to 2,000 in July and August!"


Greek islands lesser cyclades

Greek islands lesser cyclades

The Complete Details

Helpful Information
Transportation Facts
  • From Amorgos on Tuesdays and Thursdays a ferry boat visits each of the inhabited islands
  • A hydrofoil departs from Rafina on Fridays via Andros.
  • On Tuesday and Friday from Syros a hydrofoil calls at Tinos, Mykonos, Paros, Naxos, Ios, Santorini, each of the inhabited islands and lastly Amorgos. It returns by the same route.
  • From Piraeus on Thursdays a ferry boat departs to each of the inhabited islands via Paros and Naxos.
  • Boats also leave from these islands daily for the lesser Cyclades.


Ikaria - Armenistis
New Maisonettes

Price: €209,000
 -  125 m2
Bedrooms: 3  Baths: 2


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