Cyclades Islands were, are and will always be the top holiday destination for more reasons than can be said! Enjoy a fascinating sailing experience around Small Cyclades (Mikres Cyclades) numerous intriguing islands near Naxos and Amorgos. Don’t let the name fool you, although only four are inhabited, Donousa, Koufonisia, Schinousa and Iraklia their natural beauties will amaze you.
Donousa is perfect for relaxation and if you love walking and can bear the sun, it only takes about 5-7 hours to explore the island on foot. Following its only main road from the port ‘Stavros’ you come across small villages such as Timios Stavros where you can see the church the island’s land mark. Visit Mersini with the only water spring on the island. Haravgi is a picturesque settlement with the whitewashed houses and blue-green doors and windows and at the end of the road Kalotaritissa with many small beaches. Don’t miss Toihos Cave on the north and Fokospilia the ‘seals cave’.
Where to swim: Stavros beach is ideal for families and children, a sandy beach with crystal clear waters. Then it’s Kedros beach popular for young people and nudists where you can swim around a sunken German warship. Livadi also preferred by young visitors as well as Vathi Limenari, Fikios, and Kalotaritissa where there are actually three beaches with fine pebbles and astonishing turquoise water.
Schinousa is a charming, pristine and unspoiled island with arid landscape that time has forgotten. Visit the bays south to the port for a relaxing day of swimming.
Where to swim: Schinousa has many great beaches, each with its distinct beauty making it difficult to choose. Most are accessible by boat or on foot. Psili Ammos on the north, Tsigouri a more cosmopolitan sandy beach with trees, protected from the north winds, where you can also spend the night. Then there’s the whimsical Livadi and the popular long beach Lioliou. The crystal clear waters and the diversity of the seabed are ideal for swimming, snorkeling, diving and fishing. For those who love walking, all beaches are not far from Chora. It’s just a 30-40 minute walk to get to the most distant beach all with fine sand and trees offering a cool shade under the hot sun. If you are there In August enjoy the ‘Donkey race’ and attend traditional dances and feasts.
Iraklia is the biggest yet the most quiet and picturesque island of the Small Cyclades, with just two small villages and few whitewashed houses, but still worth visiting. While there, visit the Venetian castle at Agios Georgios, and the cave of Agios Ioannis, the largest in Cyclades! It’s the most fascinating trail to follow from the entrance to a series of caves full of stalactites and stalagmites. The cave is about a two-hour walk from the port.
Where to swim: Agios Georgios is a sandy beach near the port, with trees along offering sun protection. Livadi is the largest beach with fine sand and tamarisk trees. Tourkopigado is another secluded pebbled beach with turquoise waters. On the southern region the small beaches of Karvounolakos and Alimia with pebbles and crystal deep blue waters, are reached only by boat adding to the charm of the landscape. There a German seaplane that sank during World War II can be seen from the surface.
Koufonissia is gaining popularity every year. It couldn’t be otherwise due to its golden beaches, picturesque Port and stunning ‘Chora’. It’s an ideal place to relax, sunbathe on the sandy beaches, swim in the turquoise waters and forget all. Visit Pori at the northeast coast of Koufonissi island. It is a secluded bay, well protected from north winds ‘meltemia’ and the beach of ‘golden’ sand, one of the most beautiful in Cyclades. ‘Chora’ has been referred to as the ‘Small Mykonos’ the main street is lined with whitewashed houses, restaurants cafes, bars and a few galleries nothing like it can be seen in the other Small Cyclades,. Thus, leaving even the most demanding visitor fully satisfied.
Where to swim: Here you find the best beaches, with rocky bays and sandy gulfs and crystal-clear waters. If you love walking, it is a 2km walk along, the sandy coast road east of the port to a chain of beaches. Discover the fabulous rock-pool ‘Piscina’, and at the end of the path you arrive at the sandy beach Pori. Following the trail from the port, you reach Loutro, the most picturesque anchorage, with a small boatyard, windmill and whitewashed church. For the adventurous traveler venture out to Kato Koufonisi, an even smaller island with just one tavern and lots of isolated beaches. Opposite Koufonissi you can also sail to Keros, a sacred island known for its flat faced ancient statues, and the only inhabitants there are goats!
What to eat in Mikres Cyclades: All islands have a variety of taverns and restaurants to satisfy all taste buds. After a day of swimming and exploring enjoy local and delicious traditional dishes at a tavern on a beach with sea view to capture the sunset or the starlit sky. Enjoy fresh grilled fish, octopus, best beef burgers, fresh seafood and ‘meze’ with Greek ‘choriatiki’ salad, ‘patatato’ roast lamb with potatoes, a local delicacy, don’t forget to taste the excellent ‘fava’ beans. Accompany your meal with a glass of local Cycladic wine, ‘raki’ or ‘ouzo’. All are ‘homecooked’ with passion, ‘meraki’ leaving you craving for more, and most important at reasonable prices. You shouldn’t forget to buy some thyme honey to take back home.
Small Cyclades are by far the best Cyclades you may never have heard of! Enjoy their wild beauty and impressive sites. Admire the striking colors of blue, green and all shades of pink and orange at the end of the day. These are the Cyclades you will remember and a trip you will wish to never end.