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Koufonisia Islands: The Hidden Greek Paradise

Koufonisia Greek islands
Koufonisia Islands, Greece. Credit: Carlo Pelagalli / Wikimedia Commons CC BY 3.0

As Greece’s islands see an dramatic increase in tourism during the summer season, many visitors want to avoid the most popular destinations such as Mykonos or Santorini and discover some of the country’s hidden treasures. The Koufonisia islands have been described as Greece’s “hidden paradise,” and they have recently become a favorite vacation spot 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 visitors feel like they’re at home when they are in the Koufonisia islands.

Traditional products of the island range from fresh fish and seafood to ibex (a type of goat) meat and a type of cheese called ksinomyzithra cheese, which you should be sure to sample while there.

Tourists can also make use of the small boats regularly connecting Chora with remote beaches and nearby islands. One can go scuba diving or snorkeling in 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.

There have been important archaeological findings made 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.

Fewer people 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 somehow manage 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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