By Antonia Komarkowski
Donousa is an emerald island located in the southeastern Cyclades of Greece, with only 150 residents. Although it’s small, this spectacular island was recently featured in the Forbes’ 2018 list as having one of the most beautiful beaches around the world.
As tiny as it may be, there are lots of things to see and do, and if you want to get away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life and in need of a peaceful and authentic Greek island getaway, Donousa is for you!
How to get to Donousa:
-From Piraeus Port (Athens): The ferry takes around 8 hours, and leaves 3 times per week during off season and 4 times a week during peak season by Blue Star ferries.
-From Naxos island: There is a boat called ‘Express Skopelites’ that goes to Donousa and other small islands 3 times per week, and takes around 4 hours. OR Blue Star ferries, which runs 3 times per week during off season and 4 times a week during peak season and takes around 1 hour and 30 minutes.
See and Do:
Stavros beach is the village’s main beach, as it is near the port, and is one of the best beaches you will find in Donousa. The water is crystal clear, the sand is beautiful and soft, the beach is clean and the colour of the sea is green, turquoise and blue. Stavros beach also has a beach volley court, a beach bar and a few tavernas.
This sandy, stunning beach was featured in Forbes’ 2018 list of “Top 8” most beautiful beaches around the world. It is usually protected from strong winds, and the view is gorgeous! Behind the beach, there is a family taverna and a little bar/cafe. It was at this beach, that the WW2 German ship Orion sunk, which visitors can see up close while snorkelling. Kedros beach is the only beach on Donousa where nudism and camping are also allowed.
Agios Stavros Church
Blue-domed Agios Stavros is a beautiful church worth visiting. It was built in 1902 to replace an older church that was destroyed by a heavy storm. The church is dedicated to the patron saint of the island and is the protector of the island.
In Greek, ‘Fokospilia’ literally means seal cave and it was named after the seals that used to find shelter here. The sea cave beneath the steep cliffs of the Cape of Moschona, is one of the most popular sights of Donoussa due to the colouring of the deep blue waters under the sun rays. It is located at the east side of the island which is only accessible by boat, and the cave is decorated with corals and stalactites. It is definitely worth the visit and dive into the turquoise waters
Donousa is also ideal for hiking and allows you to get acquainted with the island. You can walk almost anywhere, as it unveils its secrets, such as a robust natural spring spouting out of the rocks, an orchard in a valley, disused industrial mines, and abandoned traditional houses. Some of the old paths that connected different parts of the island have been revived again, thanks to the efforts of the local Cultural Club. There are 5 trails, which have been marked, sign posted and are easy to follow.
One of the best places to have lunch or dinner at, as it’s located on top of a hill in Mersini, above the Nudist beach of Livadi. Not only is the food amazing, but the location offers breathtaking views of the surrounding islands and the incredible daily sunset. A place that you have to visit at least once during your visit to Donousa, although once you have eaten here, it will be difficult resisting another meal here.
Vegera is an all day cafe located in an old stone house, in the heart of Stavros village. With Cycladic architecture, the cafe has a cosy atmosphere where visitors can enjoy a coffee, tea, fresh juices, baked pies, salads, sandwiches, traditional sweets and so much more. As the sun sets on the island, you can also enjoy a glass of selected wine or Raki, accompanied by Greek meze. Be sure to enter this cafe on an empty stomach.
This is a very cozy bar just in front of the beach in Stavros. It is a great place to enjoy a Frappe, go swimming at the beach, and then return for more drinks and food, as you soak up the Aegean sun and watch the sunset over the beach.
Donousa is a very small island. To get around, we recommended walking, catching buses or hiring a scooter, but not that there isn’t a gas station on the island.