Just south of Naxos in the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean Sea is a group of small islands known as the Small Cyclades ( and sometimes the Lesser Cyclades, although there nothing less about them!). One of the more popular ones is the island of Schinoussa, Greece.
With a population of only a few hundred people, Schinoussa is a quiet and tranquil island which is largely untouched by mass tourism. People that tend to visit it are looking for the road, or ferry, less travelled and repeat visitors tend to be long term visitors to Greece who have decided this is the place in the sun for them.
There are 3 villages on the island – Chora, Mersini and Maseria and numerous beautiful beaches and landscapes with limited amenities.
The name of the island is under contention but it is thought to have either been named after a visiting Venetian called Schinoza or the ancient name of Echinousa.
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When to visit Schinoussa
The best time to visit Schinoussa is May to September. High season, like all of Greece, is late June to early September.
Summer is wonderful with warm seas, blue skies every day and a regular array of boats and yachts visiting. It doesn’t get as busy as many of the other islands and retains a chilled, laid back vibe.
If you visit between October and April you may find most things closed.
Best beach and swimming weather: June to September
Where is Schinoussa?
Schinoussa is part of a chain of islands called the Small Cyclades which, unsurprisingly, are in the Cyclades Islands in the Aegean sea.
It is directly south of Naxos and north-east of Ios with Amorgos to its West.
There are also three uninhabited islands off Schinoussa, Ofidoussa, Argilos and Vrachonisida Ligari.
How to get to Schinoussa Island
There is no airport on any of the Small Cyclades islands so the only way you can get there is by sea.
There are ferries to Schinoussa regularly from Naxos via Iraklia and also on to Koufonisia. It is also possible to connect to Amorgos via Iraklia and Donousa vis Koufonisia. Book ahead on Ferryhopper or buy a ticket from the agents at the port in Naxos and Parikia in Paros.
Where to stay on Schinoussa
Most of the accommodation on Schionoussa is near the small port, although there are a few other places scattered around the island.
Hotel Illiovasilema is probably the most popular hotel on the island and is a traditional white-washed Cycladic hotel with great views. Archipelagos Boutique Hotel is quite new and upmarket, also with lovely views as is Theasis Luxury Suites.
For budget travellers Agnadema Restaurant rent comfortable, clean rooms whilst families enjoy staying at Anatoli Studios with its big pool and family rooms.
Where to eat in Schinoussa
Many of the best tavernas in Schinoussa are on the water around the harbour. It’s a great spot to sit and watch the boats coming and going and you can join the locals watching the world go by.
Taverna Mersini is renowned for its lobster spaghetti and very friendly service. A few doors up is Nikolas of Schinoussa which is also excellent and popular with groups.
Heading into the village Deli Restaurant and Cafe Bar is our pick along with Kira Pothiti for true homecooked meals and hospitality.
At Tsigouri Beach the Beach Bar is very good when it is open in tourist season, and Captain Cook on the hill has amazing views and fresh seafood.
At Livadi, there is really only one taverna but luckily it is an excellent one at Livadi Cafe & Restaurant.
Elsewhere on the island Stis Akathi at Liolious Beach is worth traveling to as is To Petrino in the hillside village of Memmaria – probably the most traditional and authentic taverna on the island. Don’t forget to order the meatballs!
Things to do on Schinoussa, Greece
Schinoussa is known as The Island of the Sun and boasts 18 beautiful beaches to explore. There are three small villages as well as numerous hiking paths and hidden coves and caves to explore.
The highlights of Schinoussa are:
- Beaches : Almyros, Psili Ammos, Lioliou, Pori, Livadi and Tsigouri are the best
- Snorkeling at the beaches is highly recommended, with crystal clear water and numerous sea caves and coves to explore
- sample the local delicacies especially their award-winning Fava beans
- Mastic Bushes – generally native to Chios island and some of the other Northern Aegean islands these fragrant bushes are tapped for their sap which is used in food and cosmetics and was a valuable trading commodity in bygone days.
- Hiking : there are a number of hiking trails across the island. Take plenty of water and shade protection as there is very little!
- participate in a cultural festival especially on August 15
- explore the ancient sites including a Byzantine Church and both Greek and Roman ruins.
TIP: If you only want to visit Schinoussa and the other islands of the Small Cyclades on a day trip then sailing on a luxury catamaran from Naxos or a full-day sailing from Paros is the way to go. We have done this with a big group of friends from Paros and it remains one of our all-time favourite days out for all of us!