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The enchantress of small Cyclades

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Donousa: The enchantress of small Cyclades

Its golden beaches are often cited among the best beaches in the world! The water is crystal-clear even in the port of Donousa. You can swim in turquoise waters right where you get off the ship!

An island of the non-profit line, a destination of the beaten track at the easternmost tip of the Cyclades, between Amorgos and Naxos, Donousa will captivate you with its untouched natural beauty, its relaxed, friendly atmosphere, its exotic beaches and the close proximity of its sights. In just five hours you can walk through the entire island, enjoying the scents of thyme and the well-preserved Cycladic architecture.

Donousa is the place where you can wander around all day with nothing but your swimsuit, and have everything at your feet: tavernas, bars, beaches. All you need to do is surrender to its magic!

Routes & Attractions

Known for its beautiful sandy beach with crystal-clear waters, picturesque alleys and traditional Cycladic houses, Stavros is the capital of the island, its main settlementand also theharbour. Here you will find tavernas and bars by the sea.

From Stavros you can take the boat to go round the island and beaches. You can visit the enchanting Fokospilia, the shelter of monachus–monachus, themonk seal. The landscape is ideal for diving and exploring the seabed.

Visit the small mountain village of Mersini, above Livadibeach, where you will enjoy nature’s serenity, the untouched landscape with the orchards, the stone-built houses and the picturesque church of Agia Sofia. Quench your thirst from the spring in the church courtyard and marvel at the view of the Aegean, your eyes reaching as far as Amorgos. From Mersini starts a path that leads to the heavenly Livadi, ideal for a refreshing swim.

Just before sunset, walk up to the hill of the twin churches of Panagia and Agios Ioannis above Stavros, for a magical sunset, as the sun disappears behind Naxos.

Its short distances make Donousa an ideal island for hiking explorations, while mountain running races are heldin an effort to promote alternative tourism. Here you will find a network of marked paths, with routes where the smells of rosemary and pinksavory will enchant you. One of these paths starts at Stavros and ends at the bay of Kalotaritissa. There, in the small settlement of Kalotaritissa you will walk among small stone houses, find the church of Agios Georgios and swim in crystal-clear waters.

If you find yourself on the plateau of Messaria, you will admire the beautiful windmills of the island and the panoramic views of the Aegean. Don’t miss a walk in the picturesque village ofHaravgi with its traditional stone houses.

Beaches & Activities

The beaches of Donousa are extremely impressive, with the most famous one being that of Kedros, a golden sandy beach that spreads out in a bay with turquoise, crystal-clear, cold waters. Kedros used to be a paradise for nudists and free campers, who made the island a popular destination. Don’t forget to bring your mask to see the wreck of a German World War II destroyer lying on the seabed. The beach is not organized - none on beaches on the island are, but it has a beach bar, and it is accessible on foot from Stavros, by road to a certain point, or by boat from the harbour.

Below Mersini, is Livadi, a golden, sandy beach with soothing shadowthanks to the tamarisks and startling waters for long swims and dives. The beach is accessible by boat from Stavros or by a twenty-minute hike on a relatively difficult path from Mersini.

Rocks, caves, white sand and blue waters makeFykiobeachan ideal setting for those seeking serenity and isolation from the crowds. Difficult access to the beach through a 30-minute hike on a long track that starts from the village of Mersini means that you will blissfully stranded here.

The beach of Stavros, next to the port, is the most popular of all because of the very easy access, but also because of its turquoise waters. It is a beautiful sandy beach, loved by families with children, but also by travellers waiting for the boat. Next to the beach you will find cafes, bars and tavernas, as well as grocery stores and bakeries for your supplies.

In the bay of Kalotaritissa there are three calm, sandy beaches with crystal-clear turquoise waters (Sapounohoma, Mesa Ammos, Vlycho), ideal for relaxation.

To the west of the island, discover the SpiliatouTichou (Wall cave), with the impressive stalactites, where you will swim in crystal-clear waters.

Tastes of the island

Try local dishes such as patatato (braised goat meat in red sauce with potatoes), kavourma (pieces of pork fried in fat), giaprakia (cabbage rolls) and goat stuffed with rice.

Local pasta makes select dishes, such as pitaridia (xylopitescooked with milk), klosta (homemade pasta) and aranista (type of frumenty locally known as tarhanas).

In the bakeries and tavernas you will find the local fried pies with greens (stuffed with chard, fennel and onion) and cheese pies (fried dough with mizithra cheese, mint and fresh milk).

Traditional desserts include xerotigana, loukoumades(small donuts with honey), prickly pear jam, pasteli, and of course souvli (cream made of wheat flour).

Enjoy your appetizers, such as capers in vinegar and axialomyzithra (soft cheese from curdled yogurt), with baked sweet raki from dried figs or with local red wine.

Traditions & Events

On the 15thof August the whole island celebrates with traditional dancing and local treats, at the large festival of the island in Stavros, until the early dawn.

If you find yourself on the island in September, don’t miss the feast of the Holy Cross (13/09), where a traditional festival is held after the pilgrimage, and where patatato is served. A few days later, the feast of Agia Sophia (17/09) takes place in Mersini, in the shade of the huge plane tree, with music, dancing, wine and appetizers.

Easter in Donousa is sacred. You will have the chance to taste grilled bread from traditional wood-fired ovens and stuffed goat.

If you love running, find out about the mountain running races held on the island.

Don’t miss...

Take an excursion to the islets of Skoulonisi, Makares and Melantioi with their deserted beaches that are ideal for swimming and diving.

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