The beaches of Schinoussa are secluded, golden and crystal clear. Tsigouri is the most popular beach on the island and can be reached easily on foot (around a half kilometer south of Hora). Here there are eight trees that offer shade and a tavern.
The best way to explore the island is on foot. Most roads are dirt or smaller paths. You do not need a car or even a motorbike.
The tiniest island in the Small Cyclades may not have a lot of Instagrammable beaches, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in magic. Staring into the indigiblue horizon of Schoinoussa’s shores elicits an indescribable feeling of freedom and serenity. The island also produces a lot of dairy products that you can try at local tavernas and cafe bars including xinomizithra, ladotiri and rakomelo (raki and honey).
As for the islands’ most popular attraction, don’t miss out on a visit to the Cave of Maniatis. The legend says that a pirate from Mani district in Peloponnese came to the island, robbed the Church of Panagia Akathi and then fell into this cave. It is a beautiful spot for walking, admiring the view and spending some time alone.
The rest of the island’s beaches are equally impressive. While some of them are sheltered by cliffs, others offer more privacy and relaxation thanks to their remote locations. For example, the beach of Tsigkouri is a favorite among locals as it offers great food and drinks, but you have to hike downhill from the village to get there.
There are some family-run tavernas in the villages of Schinoussa that serve delicious seafood, cheese and other traditional dishes. Some of the best include Taverna Mersini and Nikolas of Schinoussa. They both have a reputation for their lobster pasta and impeccable service. Taverna Kira Pothiti is also a must with its lovely view and homecooked dishes.
If you want to avoid the crowds and enjoy the beach at your own pace, stay at the cute little hotel in Lioliou. This pretty sandy beach is virtually a continuation of the neighbouring beach of Bazeou and is filled with lentisk shrubs that offer shade. If you want to party at night, head to ‘Vrachos’ a laidback bar that plays music until late and has a loyal local following. It’s worth visiting for the refreshing fragosyko juice made from freshly squeezed prickly pear.
The peaceful island of Schinoussa shows a different side in the evenings when the shops turn their lights on and the kafeneia fill with people. Enjoy the warm Cycladic night in ‘Kafenio tis Haras’, one of the most famous bars on the island with its white walls and turquoise shutters or visit ‘Vrahos’ where you can dance until dawn. Younger people who are looking for a bit more action may need to travel to the nearby islands like Naxos or Paros for some more excitement.
The main settlement on the island, which is also called Hora, offers decent taverns and some nice restaurants where you can try out local dishes and drinks. Typical foods of the island include fava beans, local goat, string beans and fresh fish. During your stay on the island you should also visit the famous Tsigkouri beach, which becomes a laidback beach bar in the evening.
Schinoussa is the southernmost member of the Small Cyclades and sits just south of Naxos and a stone’s throw from Iraklia, Donousa and Koufonisia. The island is small, with just three settlements, and has no airport. The island is a paradise for nature lovers and hikers, but it can also be visited by those who are interested in history and culture, as it has numerous churches and archeological sites to discover.
The island is a very popular destination during the summer, and it is recommended to book accommodation in advance. During this time, it is possible to find cheap hotel deals in the most popular hotels in Schinoussa. You can also choose to stay in family-run studios or apartments, which are often cheaper than hotel rooms and offer a more authentic experience of the Greek island life. There are a few options for budget travellers as well, such as Agnadema Restaurant which rents out clean and comfortable rooms for less than 30 euros per night. Agnadema also has a big pool, which makes it perfect for families with children. There are also plenty of family-friendly beaches to visit on the island. The most famous ones are Psili Ammos and Tsigkouri.
Schinoussa’s cuisine is mainly focused on fish and lamb. The local delicacy is fava which is made with yellow split peas, onions and olive oil. The most popular taverns in Schinoussa are Kyra Pothiti in Hora (delicious and honest), Deli, the only vegetarian restaurant on the island, and Gigino (for its grilled meat dishes). The grilled octopus in Gigino is also worth trying, especially when it’s fresh from the sea! The other taverns on the island are at the port, Messaria village, Tsigkouri beach and Livadi. The restaurants on the island also organize celebrations with traditional music and dancing.
The beach bar on Tsigkouri beach is nice for a refreshing drink or meal when it’s open in tourist season. You can also go to Captain Cook on the hill for great views and fresh seafood. Also a visit to the taverna To Petrino in the village of Memmaria is a must. It has a very nice yard with only ten tables and the food is delicious.
Schinoussa is an island that shows another face in the evening when the shops in the little town of Hora turn their lights on and the streets fill with people and music. If you want to party late, you can go to ‘Vrahos’, Schinoussa’s small club.
In the port of Schinoussa (or Mersini as it is also known) there are a few cafes and restaurants to enjoy a meal or drink while gazing at the view. There are also a few shops selling fresh seafood, herbs and spices, wine and local produce (tomatoes, cucumbers, green beans etc.).
It goes without saying that a trip to this island is all about eating! The food on the Small Cyclades is renowned for its purity. The meat is tender and the fish fresh, but the most famous local product is fava. This yellow split pea is used in a dip that you can find in every restaurant and even in mini markets!
For a more authentic experience, try out one of the many traditional tavernas in the village. Kira Pothiti is a great example of an honest taverna that wholeheartedly offers delicious homecooked meals to its visitors. Deli is another favourite that serves scrumptious dishes and has a verandah overlooking the sea.
There are plenty of other tavernas and restaurants to choose from around the island. The ones at the port, Messaria village, Tsigouri beach and Livadi are all well worth a visit!
A trip to the island can be complemented by visiting the museum of folklore. The exhibits are very informative and show the daily life of people living in Schinoussa during the past.
Holidays in this idyllic little island are all about authenticity and simplicity (stilettos are a big no-no). It’s an opportunity to relax under the full moon and magic sunsets, enjoy magical nights out under the stars and contact warm and hospitable locals that will welcome you with open arms. The only thing that you need is a good appetite and a love for the outdoors!