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Why Should I Visit Donousa?

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Donoussa at a glance

According to tradition, the name of the island, which means “vibrating”, comes from the jolts caused by the rough waves of the Aegean! It may only take five hours to walk round, but there is plenty to discover here, both for romantic couples and groups of friends, in what is a surprisingly exotic location with countless small coves and beaches with crystal-clear waters in every shade of blue.

If you are looking for a paradise of pristine natural beauty, amidst fragrant cedar trees and Mediterranean herbs, then don’t think twice before booking a ferry ticket to Donoussa and discover a tiny speck of land between Amorgos and Naxos that is sure to become your favourite destination.

Here, beneath the hot sun on one of the least-visited Greek islands at the eastern edge of the Cyclades, relaxation and acceptance of the leisurely pace of the natural world are a way of life.

5 reasons to visit Donoussa
  1. To explore the alleys of Stavros, the capital of the island, with its beautiful Cycladic architecture, which overlooks the harbour. Admire the tiny white houses with their blue and green shutters, flower-filled courtyards, and wonderful views of the Aegean from their balconies.
  2. To be enchanted by the majestic beauty of the Fokospilia sea cave, a unique marine habitat of the Mediterranean monk seal. The rocky landscape and stunning blue sea also make it an ideal location for diving and exploration. You can get here from Stavros on the “Maouna”, a community-owned boat that makes round-the-island trips.
  3. To discover the enchanting mountain village of Mersini, an oasis of orchards with apricot and peach trees, vegetable gardens, running water and stone houses, built on a green hillside. Make a stop at the picturesque church of St. Sophia and cool off with some natural spring water in the shade of the giant plane tree, as you let your gaze travel across the sea as far as the island of Amorgos.
  4. To enjoy the sunset from the hill of the twin churches of the Virgin Mary and St. John, a pair of simple 19th-century buildings joined by a small bell tower. The view as the sun sinks behind the island of Naxos is enchanting.
  5. To experience a tiny hiking paradise along paths and trails fragrant with the aroma of summer savory and rosemary. Follow the beautiful path from Stavros to Kalotaritissa Bay, crossing Mount Papas by way of vineyards, olive groves and old mines. At the end of the trail you will see the tiny village of Kalotaritissa with its low stone houses, whitewashed church of St. George, and beautiful beaches.
The top 5 beaches

Kedros: The island’s most spectacular beach is situated in a magnificent bay with cedar trees, pale golden sand and turquoise waters, and is favoured by groups of free campers. Fans of underwater exploration will discover the wreck of a German World War II destroyer on the seabed. Access is via a path from Stavros.

Livadi: One of the island’s most beautiful beaches is long and sandy, with natural shade provided by tamarisk trees, and waters in every shade of blue. It has no amenities, with the exception of some winter boathouses at one end. It is a 20-minute hike along a path from Mersini. Alternatively, you can come here by boat from Stavros.

Fykio: This wonderful sandy beach in a rocky setting with emerald waters is a paradise for lovers of seclusion and contemplation. To enjoy its tranquillity, you’ll first have to hike for half an hour along a trail.

Stavros: The island’s most popular beach is situated next to the port of Donoussa and is distinguished by its pale golden sand and clear turquoise waters. It is ideal for families with children, thanks to the shallow sea, the natural shade provided by the tamarisk trees, and the good amenities, with shops where supplies can be bought.

Kalotaritissa: The enchanting bay near the village of Kalotaritissa has three beaches (Sapounohoma, Mesa Ammos and Vlycho) with golden sand and a calm atmosphere for anyone seeking seclusion. The crystal-clear blue-green waters are ideal for diving enthusiasts, while the location offers a panoramic view of the island.

Don’t leave Donoussa without…
  • Exploring the exotic paradises of the rocky islets of Skoulonisi, Makares and Melantioi that surround Donoussa. You will discover untouched beaches and fantastic seas for diving and snorkelling.
  • Making a stop on the plain of Messaria to admire the island’s beautiful windmills and the panoramic view of the Aegean.
  • Swimming in the clear blue waters of the Cave of the Wall, and passing through the curved chamber with its impressive rocks and stalactites hanging from the roof.
  • Taking a walk around the picturesque village of Haravgi with its traditional stone houses.
Tasty Experiences
  • Book a ferry ticket to Donoussa and taste the famous patatato (braised goat meat with potatoes), local goat stuffed with rice, yiaprakia (cabbage-leaf dolmades) and kavourmas (pieces of pork fried in fat).
  • Try the excellent local pasta: klosta (homemade spaghetti), aranista (fermented wheat, known elsewhere in Greece as trachanas), and pitaridia (noodles cooked with milk).
  • Sample aromatic fried hortopites (pies filled with chard, fennel and onion) and tiropitaria (fried pastry parcels of mizithra cheese, mint and fresh milk).
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with souvli (a favourite traditional pudding on the island, made with wheat flour), xerotigana (fried strips of sweet pastry with honey), crispy doughnuts with honey, prickly pear jam, and pasteli (a kind of sesame seed bar).
  • Drink the intensely aromatic sweet raki (made from dried figs), accompanied by mezes such as pickled capers and axialomizithra (a soft cheese made from yogurt curds).
  • If you are lucky enough to find it, enjoy the local red wine (sweet or semi-sweet).

Kedros Beach in Donoussa appeared on a Forbes Magazine list of the 8 best beaches in the world for 2018, alongside exotic paradises such as the Phi Phi Islands of Thailand and Cayes Beach in Belize, in the Caribbean.​

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