Schinoussa

1. Welcome to Schinoussa  island

Schinnousa island, small Cyclades, Greece
Schinnousa island, small Cyclades, Greece

Schinoussa is one of the smallest Greek islands that belongs to the well known group of the Cyclades or it might be better to say, the small Cyclades as we call the islands of Schinoussa,  Koufonisia,  Iraklia  and  Donousa.  Schinoussa is a quiet heaven for those that are searching for a relaxing time to spend in a small paradise. The island is located towards the south of Naxos island, north east of Iraklia island and Koufonissia islands. The island is just 9 square kilometers. The port of Schinoussa is called Mersini, it is located in a small closed bay safe away from the summer north wind (meltemi). Many luxury yachts sail into Mersini as they throw their anchors into the crystal clear water and they know that they will not be shaken by winds. A small distance away from the port where the ferry boats stop, in a beautiful green garden like area, you will find studios and rooms to rent and a small tavern (See accommodation on Schinnousa). There are no buses or taxis on Schinoussa to connect the port to Chora (which is located just 1200 meters away) but the owners of most accommodation choices are happy to transfer their guests to and from the port. Schinoussa is famous for its many beautiful bays and beaches with the crystal clear water and their thin clean sand, all of the beaches are located at less than half an hour’s walk from the village. On the southern east side of the port Mersini and just a fifteen minute walk from Chora, you will find the area of Tsiggouri, that offers just one hotel and a beautiful beach called Livadi. On the eastern side of Schinoussa you will find the beautiful beaches of Liolou and Almirou and a little bit to the north, the beach of Psili Ammos, that is located just below Messaria, which is the third small settlement on Schinoussa. In Messaria, you should not miss seeing the church of the Evangelismos which celebrates its name day on the 25th March. On the church’s celebration day the villagers offer cod fish and wine to all of the guests. You should not miss celebrating the local festivals of the island with the locals that offer live music played by traditional Greek instruments and dancing.

In Schinoussa you cannot rent scooters, quads and buggies. You cannot rent a car.

Faros bicycles

Tel: +306977366853

Email: grispou_m@yahoo,gr

2. Activities on Schinoussa

Schinnousa island, Cyclades, Greece
Schinnousa island, Cyclades, Greece

Schinoussa is the ideal place for trekking due to the gentle landscape and short distances. The island is included in the Natura 2000 network, the pan European nature preserve. The various trekking routes (some of which are mentioned in detail in the section “Trekking and Sightseeing”) of the island reveal a wealth of sights and smells of the very interesting flora of the island. A walk among the vines and orchards of the island is an experience that enriches the senses as well.

The sea waters of Schinoussa offer themselves to those who love water sports and fishing. Most of the beaches have an exceptionally wealthy seabed and is a veritable paradise for the snorkeling spear fishermen. Schinoussa is also ideal for yachting and as well as windsurfing due to the north winds that blow at most beaches.

If you are into spear-fishing then you must visit the beaches of Kambos, Fikio, Gerolimnionas, and Sfinaiko, as well as the Avlaki tou Papa, where the wealth of the seabed lends itself not only to spear-fishing but also to undersea snorkeling exploration.

At the two continuous beaches of Almyros the northeasterly winds provide waves good for windsurfing.

The nearby islands of Argilos, Ofidousa, and Klidoura which have been declared areas of great natural beauty are ideal for those that enjoy diving.

Finally, you can also hire a captained boat for small escapes to beaches and nearby islands.

Travel to Schinoussa . . .

By sea
Skinnousa island, Cyclades GreeceSchinoussa is connected by ferry boat to the port of Piraeus. In the summer months connections are daily. The journey lasts about 7-9 hours but since the trip includes stops at Paros, Naxos and Iraklia, the duration lengthens. You can also get to the island with the local Cycladic line from Syros. There is a daily direct line from Naxos to Schinoussa (about 1 hour), from Amorgos and Koufonisia, Donousa and Ios. The routes to and from Naxos, Amorgos and the small Cyclades are done with the famed ferry boat -for those that travel these islands- “Skopelitis”.

3. Best beaches on Schinoussa

Despite the small size of the island of Schinoussa, it is strewn with beaches that are quite different from one another, large or small, crowded or secluded; all are wonderful with their Aegean blue sea and golden sands. In addition to the beaches there are many hidden coves with secluded beaches around the island that you can discover by yourself, if you like adventure.

beaches on Schinnousa, Cyclades Greece
beaches on Schinnousa, Cyclades Greece

Aligaria:  Is about 1,5 kilometer away from Chora and is considered to be one of the best beaches on Schinoussa, like most of the beaches of Schinoussa it has a sandy beach with trees and a great sea bed. It is picturesque, beautiful and has very clear waters but is hard to get to (about 15 minutes by foot along a dirt road).

Almyros: The beach of Almyros is after Fountana and at a distance of about 2km from Chora. It is quite large and it is separated in two by a rocky outcrop in the middle. It is a very good choice for families with small children because of the shallow waters. At Almyros you will also see windsurfers due to the north eastern winds. Sand and trees compose the picture of the landscape. There is a small beach bar with snacks.

Avlaki tou Papa: A small beach only 15 meters long at a distance of only 3km from Chora which is approached first by dirt road and then by trail. This is a good sea bed for snorkeling spear fishermen.

Ayios Vasilios: This is a privately owned peninsula where the approach is forbidden. It is perhaps the very best beach on the island. The owners have been accused of illicit trade in antiquities and there is a court case pending. It can be approached only by boat and it is really worth the effort.

Bazeou beach: This is the next beach after Lioliou, they are separated by a small rocky outcrop. The beach is a mixture of sand a pebbles, it is a little deep and the waters have a exciting colors. It has no trees but aromatic “Schina” (lentisc – eng.) grows right next to the water and betrays the origins of the islands name Schinoussa. There is a natural cave at this little beach.

Fidou: This is a sandy, secluded beach that can be approached only by sea and is an ideal spot for escape and seclusion.

Fikio: Jagged rocks, sand, trees and clear turquoise waters compose the picture of this minute beach which is only 30 meters long. The distance from Chora is 3km and it is ideal for snorkeling spear fishermen.

Fountana: This is a small sandy beach, especially for those that seek peace and quiet; there is a small castle of unknown historical identity.

Gagavi: This is a little cove with clear blue waters which is a continuation of the Aligaria beach with small caves which is also only approachable by foot (about 20 min).

Gerolimnionas: Also a minute beach of only 15 meters with a rocky beachfront and no trees but has turquoise waters and a great seabed which makes it ideal for snorkeling spear fishermen. This is one of the most beautiful beaches of the island but a little difficult to approach because you have to walk along a dirt road and then a narrow trail to get there. It is 3km from Chora and the route is very scenic.

Kambos beach: The third in-a-row cove following Aligaria and Gagavi and is about 40 meters long whose access is also by foot (about 25 minutes) it has a sandy beach surrounded by rocks with a good sea bed.

Lioliou beach: This is a beach with shallow waters ideal for families with small children. It is a small but wide beach surrounded by rocks and many trees which offer shade to bathers.

Schinnousa beaches, small Cyclades, Greece
Schinnousa beaches, small Cyclades, Greece

Livadi beach: This beach is only 850m from Chora and about a 10 minute walk. It is quite long (230m), with deep blue waters and a golden, sandy beach. The tall, dense trees offer incredible shade. At Livadi one will find rooms for rent and good food.

Mersini (Piso Amos): This is a picturesque little waterfront at the back end of the harbor with a length of about 60 meters. Well protected from the winds with a few trees, a beautiful beach with crystal clear, turquoise waters which is not too quiet since it is the harbor beach.

Psili Amos: Psili Amos is one of the most beautiful beaches of Schinoussa. Its wonderful fine sand covers the whole beach and even the surrounding hillocks; along with its crystalline waters these compose a magical picture. Its only minus is that it is exposed to the north winds.

Sifneiko: This is a deserted cove with no beach sand at a distance of 2,2 kilometers from Chora. It is an old pirate hideout and nowadays a favorite spot to drop anchor. At the start of the journey there is an asphalt road followed by a dirt road and then a trail which gets progressively tougher to the end. This is a good route for those that love a walk.

Tsigouri: Is the most popular beach of Schinoussa it is about half a kilometer south of the capital and can only be approached by foot. It has a large, golden sandy beach, clear waters and many trees that grow the length of the beachfront which offer their shade to the swimmers. It is well protected from the north winds due to its position. It is far away from the road and is ideal for families with children. Here you will find a restaurant and café. The view from Tsikouri facing Venetiko, Fidousa, Herakleia, and the peninsula of Ai Vasisli is fantastic!

4. Sightseeing on Schinoussa

Schinnousa sightseeing, Cyclades Greece
Schinnousa sightseeing, Cyclades Greece

Schinoussa is a tranquil little island with no wild clubbing scenes at crazy early morning hours. Instead, Schinoussa offers romantic evenings with a full moon, magic sunsets and contact with warm hospitable people with whom you can drink “rakomelo” and dance with at the many events they organize.

Most activity is cantered at Chora. Here you will find a few nice café and bars where you can enjoy the view with slow, lazy conversation. At some of these you can enjoy traditional Cycladic music. This is where you will find the most taverns of the island with Schinousian tastes and fresh fish always.

There are many festivals on the island where you can enjoy the Schinousian “glenti” and most take place to honor the Virgin Mary who is the islands protectress.

On the 25th of March they celebrate the Evangelism of the Virgin Mother at Mesaria with meals prepared by the women of Mesaria.

On the Saturday of the “Akathistos Hymnos” there is a festival in honor of the virgin of Akathis again with the offering of food and “glenti” (celebration / fun) with traditional musical organs.

Three more festivals take place at Mesaria on the dates of “Eyangelismo”, “Tin Kimisi” and at the “Esodia of Theotokou”. The most celebrated is the festival of “Kimiseos” (Tin Kimisi) in the second half of August which lasts two days. The locals cook and offer food in the church courtyard for all present, while traditional musicians play for dancing to follow. Visitors from Amorgos, Heraclea, and Koufonisia inundate the island.

One of the major festivals of the island is held at the tiny chapel of Faros on the 6th of December in honor of St. Nicholas. The locals offer cod fish with “Skordalia” (garlic dip) to visitors while the transportation of people is handled by boats from Mersini.

There are also many nice events held by the local “Schinousiotes” club from the 12th to the 14th of August with traditional dances by the clubs dance troupe dancing to music by the traditional musicians. During this event there is also a photograph display.

5. Villages and settlements on Schinoussa

Schinoussa consists of three settlements Hora (Chora), Mesaria, and Mersini.

villages on Schinnousa, Cyclades, Greece
villages on Schinnousa, Cyclades, Greece

Chora (Hora): Chora or Schinoussa is the largest of the settlements of the island and is found at a distance of some 1200m from the harbor. It is built on the highest peak of the island, yet cannot be seen from the sea. Because Schinoussa was oftentimes a target for pirate raids, the inhabitants built Chora on a spot where they could have a clear view of the sea so they may see all approaching ships and take measures to protect themselves.

Cobblestone courtyards filled with potted plants, basil, geraniums and whitewashed houses with blue window shutters and doors is the picture that comes to mind when you hear of talk about Schinoussa. Here you can allow yourself to succumb to the magic of the panoramic view of the surrounding islands, relax at the picturesque “kafenio” and wander about the narrow alleys admiring the peculiar to the Cyclades architecture of houses and the village.

Mesaria: To the north at a very short distance (2,7km) from Chora you will happen upon the picturesque settlement of Mesaria. The village is surrounded by vines and orchards. Schinoussa produces excellent quality fruit and wine. If you are there in August you can even take part in the picking.

Schinnousa settlements Cyclades Greece
Schinnousa settlements Cyclades Greece

Mersini: Mersini is the harbor of the island and on the route from Chora to Mesrini you will meet the “Pirate’s cave” which is to be found near the beach. There are a few houses there and two restaurants but most of the populace stay in Chora.

Why go to Schinoussa?

Two good reasons to go to Schinoussa are the unique beaches and the absolute escape from civilization.

Who is Schinoussa aimed at?

Schinoussa is perhaps the most tranquil island of Greece. No banks, fuel stations, or transportation it seems to be living to the rhythms of the 50’s. Whoever is looking for relaxed rhythms an excuse for internalizing, romantic walks in nature without being interrupted by the sound of cell phones and the clicks of cameras, whoever wants genuine human contact, fun without daiquiris, hit and glamour, here instead you will find “tsambaounes”, “rakomela” and people who don’t look at your pocket.

Tip: Best months to visit Schinoussa:

May, June, September, and October.

6. The history and mythology of Schinoussa

Schinnousa sightseeing, Cyclades Greece
Schinnousa sightseeing, Cyclades Greece

The “Schina” (lentisc – eng.) that proliferates on the island have given –in one version- the name Schinoussa to the island. On nautical maps of the 18th century the island had the name of S. Quinoze which is speculated to have been the name of a Venetian military governor. Older names of the island were Echinousa and Panidia.

A Neolithic marble idol and other Archaeological finds of the later Hellenistic period tell us that the island was inhabited from the prehistoric ages and later in antiquity and was even one of the locations of the proto-Cycladic Hellenic civilization whose first centre was Keros which is now uninhabited.

In recent excavations settlements and other Hellenistic and early Christian archaeological finds came to light. These finds positively lead to the safe assumption of the existence of an acropolis.

The first reference to the island is found in the works of the historian Plinio. Plentiful ceramic finds. Ruins of early Christian basilica and a medieval castle inform us that the island was not only inhabited during the Byzantine era but also had a marked commercial activity.

Just as many of the Cycladic islands Schinoussa suffered from continuous pirate raids but was also a springboard for pirate raids, a fact that forced the locals to emigrate at times. During the Turkish occupation the island was completely deserted and passed –as did Heraklia- to the ownership of the monastery of Chozoviotissa of Amorgos. After the liberation from the Turks around 1840, the monks sent some families from Amorgos to inhabit the island.

7. Rent a car on Schinoussa

In Schinoussa you cannot rent scooters, quads and buggies. You cannot rent a car, however you can rent bicycles.

Faros bicycles

Tel: +306977366853

Email: grispou_m@yahoo,gr

8. Useful information about Schinoussa island

Schinnousa map, Cyclades, Greece
Schinnousa map, Cyclades, Greece

Schinoussa is one of the smallest islands that belongs to the Cyclades or the small Cyclades as we call Schinoussa,  Koufonisia,  Iraklia and  Donousa. Schinoussa is a quiet heaven for those that are searching for a relaxing time to spend in a small paradise. Schinoussa is located towards the south of Naxos island, north east of Iraklia  island and Koufonissia islands. The island is just 9 square kilometers. The port of Schinoussa is called Mersini, it is located in a small closed bay safe away from the summer north wind (meltemi). Many luxury yachts sail into Mersini as they throw their anchors into the crystal clear water and they know that they will not be shaken by winds. A small distance away from the port where the ferry boats stop, in a beautiful green garden like area, you will find studios and rooms to rent and a small tavern (See accommodation on Schinoussa). There are no buses or taxis on Schinoussa to connect the port to Chora (which is located just 1200 meters away) but the owners of most accommodation choices are happy to transfer their guests to and from the port. Schinoussa is famous for it’s many beautiful bays and beaches with the crystal clear water and their thin clean sand, all of the beaches are located at less than half an hour’s walk from the village. On the southern east side of the port Mersini and just a fifteen minute walk from Chora, you will find the area of Tsiggouri, that offers just one hotel and a beautiful beach called Livadi. On the eastern side of Schinoussa you will find the beautiful beaches of Liolou and Almirou and a little bit to the north, the beach of Psili Ammos, that is located just below Messaria, which is the third small settlement on Schinoussa.

Schinnousa island sites, Cyclades, Greece
Schinnousa island sites, Cyclades, Greece

In Messaria, you should not miss seeing the church of the Evangelismos which celebrates its name day on the 25th March. On the church’s celebration day the villagers offer cod fish and wine to all of the guests. You should not miss celebrating the local festivals of the island with the locals that offer live music played by traditional Greek instruments and dancing.

In Schinoussa you cannot rent scooters, quads and buggies. You cannot rent a car.

Faros bicycles

Tel: +306977366853

Email: grispou_m@yahoo,gr

 

There are only a few hotels on Schinoussa as most accommodations there are rooms to let or apartments usually run by the owners.

Useful telephone numbers on Schinoussa:

Post office on Schinoussa: +30 22850 71160
Doctor’s surgery on Schinoussa: +30 22850 71385
The town hospital: +30 22850 23333
Police station on Koufonisia: +30 22850 71375
Police station (Filoti Naxos): +30 22850 31 224
Port of Naxos: +30 22850 22300

Schinoussa Municipality +30 22850 71170
Schinoussa Port police: +30 22850 71385
Schinoussa Police +30 22850 71170

Activities on Schinoussa

Schinnousa island, small Cyclades, Greece
Schinnousa island, small Cyclades, Greece

Schinoussa is the ideal place for trekking due to the gentle landscape and short distances. The island is included in the Natura 2000 network, the pan European nature preserve. The various trekking routes (some of which are mentioned in detail in the section “Trekking and Sightseeing”) of the island reveal a wealth of sights and smells of the very interesting flora of the island. A walk amongst the vines and orchards of the island is an experience that enriches the senses as well.

The seas of Schinoussa offer themselves to those who love water sports and fishing. Most of the beaches have an exceptionally wealthy seabed and is a veritable paradise for the snorkeling spear fishermen. Schinoussa is also ideal for yachting and as well as windsurfing due to the north winds that blow at most beaches.

If you are into spear-fishing then you must visit the beaches of Kambos, Fikio, Gerolimnionas, and Sfinaiko, as well as the Avlaki tou Papa, where the wealth of the seabed lends itself not only to spear-fishing but also to undersea snorkeling exploration.

At the two continuous beaches of Almyros the northeasterly winds provide waves good for windsurfing.

The nearby islands of Argilos, Ofidousa, and Klidoura which have been declared areas of great natural beauty are ideal for those that enjoy diving.

Finally, you can also hire a captained boat for small escapes to beaches and nearby islands.

Travel to Schinoussa . . .

By sea

Schinnousa island travel, Greece
Schinnousa island travel, Greece

Schinoussa is connected by ferry boat to the harbor of Piraeus. In the summer months connections are daily. The journey lasts about 7-9 hours but since the trip includes stops at Paros, Naxos and Iraklia, the duration lengthens. You can also get to the island with the local Cycladic line from Syros. There is a daily direct line from Naxos to Schinousa (about 1 hour), from Amorgos and KoufonisiaDonousa and Ios. The routes to and from Naxos, Amorgos and the small Cyclades are done with the famed ferry boat -for those that travel these islands- “Skopelitis”.

More information: 

Piraeus harbor master +30 210 4226000-4, +30 210 4593140, +30 210 4593150,
Schinoussa port police: +30 22720 55394
www.bluestarferries.com
www.anek.gr

If you would like to visit the beautiful island of Schinoussa, you may book your accommodation through our site and get a special discount. If you have fallen in love with Schinoussa and you wish to stay, then perhaps you should look at some of the real estate on Schinoussa. If you need any extra information, then please contact us here information@abettergreece.com or +30 69 34 620 501 / +30 22840 24 879