Warm smiles on the weathered by the sun and the sea-salt faces of the locals. Open hearted hospitality. Fresh fish and seafood. Visits to the archaeological sites. Boat rides and walks to explore the islands' natural scenery. Swimming in crystal clear waters. This is the magic of holidays in Koufonisia. A life of relaxation, without pretence and convention. A life down to the basics.
Places to visit-sights to see
The central and back part of the port, the fishermen's shelter, the mills and the picturesque churches of Saint George, Saint Nicholas and Prophet Elias are worth visiting. There are no asphalt paved roads in the island, so visitors do not need to use cars or motorcycles. Distances can be covered by foot, by boat, or by bicycle. Chartering a small boat-caique- to reach Lower Koufonisi is not expensive, and there is always some hospitable inhabitant willing to offer transport to some of the more remote beaches.
But the ultimate experience is the nights with the view of Keros under a full moon. The shape of the island, especially under the moonlight, resembles the female figure of a Cycladic statuette lying on its back. According to the locals, the first full moon (around June 21) rises in the sky from inside this figure's womb.
St. George's Feast
As Saint George (Aghios Georgios) is the patron saint of Koufonisia a great feast takes place in his honor, April 23, the saint's name day. Following morning church service, an islander, dedicated to the Saint, with the Saint's Icon in his hands, heads a procession that goes around the island. They pass from streets covered with rose-leaves, while fishermen with their boats escort them all the way, sailing close to the coast. The procession ends up at the center of the village, and 'glendi' (feast) begins. Especially prepared dishes, mainly roast beef in red sauce with potatoes, 'patsas' (a soup from intestines) and plenty of wine are offered to all. Eating, drinking, singing and dancing continue throughout the day and well into the evening, when the festivities are transferred to the island's taverns.
Virgin Mary's Feast ,August 15
The small church of Panayia (Virgin Mary), at Lower Koufonisi's port is at the center of festivities, every year, August 15. After the church service, the worshipers get back on the small boats, which race each other to reach Koufonisi first. Tables are set out in the open and food and wine are offered to all.