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Koufonisia Islands: The Hidden Greek Paradise

Koufonisia. Credit: Zde/Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-4.0

The islands of Koufonisia have often been described as the hidden paradise of Greece and they remain a top destination for both Greek and foreign tourists.

Koufonisia is a group of islands belonging to the East Cyclades archipelago, consisting of Pano Koufonisi (Upper Koufonisi) and Kato Koufonisi (Lower Koufonisi).

These idyllic isles are known for their calm beaches with golden sand and turquoise waters, their many natural pools and magnificent sea caves.

Naturally, there are many excellent dining choices featuring the islands’ abundant fresh fish and seafood.

Experience Greek island life on Koufonisia

The Chora (the center or main village of an island) of Koufonisi is a typical Cycladic village with picturesque streets, pristine white houses and a white windmill. Located in the village center is a church dedicated to St. George, the patron saint of Koufonisia.

The islands also offer excellent opportunities for hiking and discovering all the natural delights they have to offer since they are quite small and all distances can be covered on foot within two or three hours.

The locals are famous for their good cheer as well as their hospitality, and all visitors feel like home when they are in the Koufonisia islands.

The traditional products of the island include of course fresh fish and seafood, but there is also ibex (a type of goat) meat and ksinomyzithra cheese to sample while you are there.

Tourists can also make use of the small boats regularly connecting the Chora with remote beaches and nearby islands and enjoy scuba diving or snorkeling into the sparkling aquamarine waters surrounding the island chain.

Keros was a major ancient site

The nearby island of Keros is well deserving of a mention since the small, uninhabited island was once one of the major centers of the Cycladic civilization.

Important archaeological findings have been discovered in an early Cycladic cemetery there, including 100 marble figurines, some of which are now exhibited at the Archaeological Museum of Athens.

Gála Beach is a largely unknown beach on Ano Koufonissi.

Many people know the three islands known as Koufonissia (Ano Koufonissi, Kato Koufonissi and Keros) for their spectacular beaches and their untouched natural character, as they are for the most part off the radar screen for mass tourism.

Even fewer are those who have ever heard of Gála Beach, a true miracle of nature, which offers a rare spectacle due to its unique geomorphology.

Gála Beach is comprised of a massive white-washed rock which the waters of the Aegean have sculpted into intriguing shapes throughout the centuries.

This natural rocky sculpture has created a tiny beach inside the very rock, creating a natural ”swimming pool” of sorts, which takes on some of the most spectacular colors, depending on the weather and the sunlight.

The waves which crash onto the outer side of the cliff manage somehow to come under it as well, and they flow through it to the other side, forming a pool full of sea water enclosed by the rocky ”walls” of the island’s terrain.

Due to the white sand of the area and the color of the rock, the water that comes into this natural pool sometimes takes on a shimmering, pearly tone which is also similar to the color of milk.

This is why the beach is called Gála, since ”gála” (γάλα) in Greek means ”milk.”
One can find Gala Beach by foot, near the beach of Pori, and if he or she is lucky enough to find it without other visitors, then the experience is guaranteed to be unique, and completely unforgettable!

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