|Islands of Koufonissia|
|The small untouched paradise of islands, consisting of Pano Koufonissi -- population 300 -- and Kato Koufonissi -- where the only two houses offer hospitality in the summer only -- are collectively known as Koufonissia, separated by a narrow, 200-metre isthmus. Surrounded by a cluster of small uninhabited islands, Koufonissia belong to the group of Cyclades, and they are located between their larger sister islands of Amorgos and Naxos. They also include the tiny, uninhabited island of Keros, which is a protected archaeological site, where a large number of ancient Cycladic art has been excavated in the last decades.
These secluded, virgin islands are set in crystal-clear waters, storing unique diving sites of historical and ecological importance. Sea-lashed rocks interrupted by little quiet sandy coves with caves along the coastline, are some of the charms that make them virtually unspoiled and very attractive to aficionados of snorkeling, diving, swimming and sea exploration.
Excavations in both islands have revealed that they have been inhabited since prehistoric times, as witnessed by the remains of early Cycladic civilization communities, as well as the ruins of buildings dating back to both the Hellenistic and Roman eras. The picturesque harbour of Messaria on Schinoussa is surrounded by ruins of medieval fortifications, while the nearby underwater area is rich in living and historical treasures. Furthermore, caves and ship-wreck sites reveal an astonishing range of colourful and varied marine life.
The few inhabitants are mostly involved in fishing, making the islands famous for their plentiful fresh catch throughout the year. Pano Koufonissi is the most popular destination within the so-called Small Cyclades, and an increasingly favorite destination among visitors who seek quiet and relaxation during the summer.
Built on the southwest coast of Koufonissi, Chora, with its tiny picturesque harbour, is the only village on the islands. The main road east of Chora, extending no more than a few kilometers, is where most of the accommodations can be found. Koufonissi boasts a good number of rooms for rent, some small hotels, mini markets, bars and several tavernas serving succulent dishes of fresh fish, lobsters, local wild goat, cheese and the local “pasteli” desert.
There are numerous religious feasts celebrated on the island, always followed by free food, boat races and dance. A new funfair is held on June 24, when the island’s skippers cook the “fisherman’s soup” and serve it to the people attending the celebrations at the peer.