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Why Should I Visit Schinoussa?

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Schinoussa at a glance

This tiny natural paradise situated between Naxos and Irakleia is one of the most beautiful of the Small Cyclades. With an authentic Cycladic atmosphere, exotic seas in every shade of blue, warm hospitality and exceptional food, Schinoussa is an unbeatable destination and offers ideal conditions for relaxation and reflection.

Far removed from the world of package holidays, this tiny island appeals to genuine nature lovers and romantics, exemplifying the travel philosophy of slow tourism.

7 reasons to visit Schinoussa
  1. To enjoy romantic walks in tiny Schinoussa Town, also called Panagia, with its whitewashed houses, stone-paved alleys with bougainvillea, authentic Cycladic atmosphere, and wonderful views of the Aegean.
  2. To learn about the history of the island at the Folklore Museum. The collection includes traditional costumes and everyday objects that give a good idea of what daily life here would once have been like.
  3. To admire the stone windmills in Messaria, Tsingouri and Vargies, all excellent examples of vernacular architecture.
  4. To discover a unique aquatic paradise with areas of outstanding natural beauty that is part of the Natura 2000 ecological network.
  5. To visit the church of the Virgin Mary Akathi with its famous icon of Christ standing next to the Virgin.
  6. To stand outside the picturesque Church of the Annunciation in Messaria, which stands on a rock with amazing views of Ios, Santorini, Keros, Irakleia and Amorgos.
  7. To experience impromptu violin or lute performances while sipping rakomelo in the traditional cafes of Schinoussa Town.
The top 5 beaches

Tsingouri: The island’s most famous beach has a large expanse of pale golden sand, plenty of shade (from trees and umbrellas), and clear blue-green waters. It is ideal for families and has good amenities with a beach bar and tavernas. There are excellent views of Irakleia and the islet of Venetiko.

Livadi: A large beach with pale golden sand, tamarisk trees providing natural shade, and shallow waters protected from the wind. It is ideal for families and has tavernas and more touristy places. It is only 10 minutes from Schinoussa Town.

Psili Ammos: An exotic paradise of fine sand surrounded by dunes, with tamarisk trees for natural shade, and crystal-clear blue-green waters. The beach is located near Messaria and is easy to get to. There are no tourist amenities.

Almyros: A large beach with golden sand and turquoise waters. It is especially popular with windsurfers, as it is exposed to strong north-east gusts.

Lioliou: A large sandy beach with crystal-clear waters and trees for natural shade. Even though there is a taverna here, it is a location for lovers of tranquillity and seclusion.

Don’t leave Schinoussa without…
  • Exploring the legendary Maniatis Cave near the port of Mersini, named after a pirate from Mani who died falling into it while making off with the stolen icon of the Virgin Mary Akathi.
  • Taking a boat trip around the island and the surrounding islets to discover exotic beaches hidden in the shadows of the cliffs, and enchanting natural caves. The nearby islets of Aspronisi, Argilos and Ofidousa are good for diving and snorkelling.
  • Enjoying the hike through Harakas Gorge in the Halepes area of the island. The location is part of an impressive limestone formation between Schinoussa Town and the port of Mersini that is also a climbing park. There are magnificent views of the beaches of Tsingouri and Fidou.
  • Walking the island’s beautiful footpaths. It is worth taking the routes from Schinoussa Town to the beaches of Gerolimionas (crossing the highest part of the island at Vargies) or Psili Ammos (via Messaria and Kambos).
  • Relaxing with a refreshing cocktail at one of the atmospheric bars of Schinoussa Town, with their panoramic views of the surrounding islands.
Tasty experiences
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with meletinia (sweet cheese pies made with mizithra, honey, mastic, eggs and cinnamon) and xerotigana (strips of dough rolled or folded while being deep fried).
  • Be sure to try the award-winning local fava (split-pea mash) and string beans.
  • Taste the delicious cheeses produced on the island: ladotiri (“oil cheese”), sour xinomizithra and spicy kopanisti made from fresh goat’s milk.
  • See how many shots of the local rakomelo (a sweet honey and raki drink) you can handle.
  • If you have a taste for more unusual dishes, make sure you try snails with garlic and tomato sauce, one of the island’s real delicacies.
  • Stop at the famous fish tavernas in the port of Mersini for the catch of the day and excellent seafood mezes.

According to tradition, the island got its name either from the schinos (mastic tree), the bushy shrub that abounds throughout the island, or from the Venetian nobleman Schinoza. In 2012, Schinoussa was featured by Forbes Magazine as one of six places to visit in Greece.​

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