Schinoussa, also known as "the Island of the Sun" belongs to the beautiful cluster of small islands in the Aegean Sea. It is part of the municipality of Naxos and the Lesser Cyclades and is bordered by Naxos, Heraklia, Koufonisia, and Keros. This island has been included in the Natura 2000 network because it hosts numerous endemic plants of the Cyclades and serves as an important destination for many migratory birds.
History of Schinoussa
From ancient times, the island has been inhabited, and according to tradition, its name comes from the shrub plant "Schino," which thrives abundantly throughout the island. However, there is also a different version that suggests the island got its name from the Venetian ruler Schinoza. The island has many archaeological findings that indicate its participation in the creation of the Proto-Cycladic Greek civilization, with the neighboring island of Kea at its center.
During the Byzantine period, Schinoussa had a thriving commercial activity, as evidenced by the rich ceramic findings and the number of destroyed Byzantine churches. At various points in history, the island was abandoned by its inhabitants due to frequent pirate raids. From the mid-19th century, the island began to be resettled, mainly by families originating from Amorgos.
Beaches in Schinoussa
Schinoussa is home to some of the most stunning beaches in the entire Aegean, with crystal-clear waters and golden or white sandy shores.
Here are some of the most beautiful beaches on Schinoussa:
- Alygaria: Located near Chora, this beach boasts a sandy shoreline and beautiful seabed. Unfortunately, there is no natural shade on this beach.
- Lioliou: This beach impresses with its beautiful sandy shore, shallow turquoise waters, and tamarisk trees that provide natural shade. Additionally, there is a restaurant and rooms available for rent, making it a suitable choice for families.
- Tsigouri: This is the most popular beach on the island, just a short 5-minute drive from Chora. It's a large beach with sandy shores and plenty of trees offering shade. Tsigouri features a beach bar, rooms for rent, and a taverna with a stunning view of Herakleia and Ios.
- Livadi: Located just 1 kilometer from Chora, Livadi offers blond sandy beaches and large tamarisk trees, making it ideal for families. There is also a taverna in the area.
These beaches showcase the beauty of Schinoussa with its natural charm and the exceptional seaside experience they offer.
Food in Schinoussa
- Fava is the most popular dish in Schinoussa. Additionally, sour cheese, pounded food, and soft cheese are essential to try, as well as fresh fish, prickly pears, and exceptional grapes.
- An excellent place for dining is the restaurant of Kyra Pothisi in the town, where you can taste fava tart, grilled tuna fillet, and bruschetta with sardines.
- Furthermore, Akathi's fish taverna is located on Lioliou Beach, where you can savor linguini with shrimp, eggplant with myzithra cheese and tomato sauce, along with many other exceptional flavors that reflect the sea.
- If you want to enjoy the sunset and the sea, you can have a cocktail at the beach bar in Tsigouri. A lovely evening outing for drinks can be found at the Vrachos bar, just outside of town, with a view of Livadi Beach.
Sights in Schinoussa
- Folklore Museum: A visit to this museum is almost essential, as here you can discover the island's rural past, old portable icons, traditional costumes, an exceptional wood-burning oven in the courtyard, and dozens of ancient agricultural tools, the purposes of which are almost forgotten today. All of these are vividly represented with detailed explanatory signs.
- Church of the Entrance of the Theotokos: This church serves as the centerpiece of tourism in Schinoussa, with its distinctive double and large blue dome. It is dedicated to the Entrance of the Theotokos and the Akathist Hymn. Inside the church, you'll find the icon of Panagia of Akathi, a rare depiction from the Akathist Hymn.
- Church of the Annunciation: This church is located near the entrance of the Mesaria settlement. It features an ornate bell tower constructed by a master from Santorini. It is believed to have been built in 1887 on the site of an older church. Inside the church, you'll find the icon of the Annunciation of the Theotokos adorning the space along with the beautiful, colorful iconostasis and ancient icons.
- Prophet Elias Fortress: The fortress is situated at the summit of Prophet Elias hill, at an altitude of 120 meters. Archaeological research has revealed that the fortress occupies an area of approximately 90 x 17 meters, with large boulders on the two sides and a core made of small stones and soil. Two towers, one on the northeast and one on the south side of the acropolis, have been identified, along with many walls of buildings in its interior. Additionally, the ruins of a single-nave basilica were found, which is covered by later constructions, while an older wall adjoining the sanctuary survives.
Accommodation in Schinoussa
- Most accommodations, such as hotels, rental rooms, studios, and apartments, are located in the central village of the island, Chora.
- However, there are also available rooms in the port, Mersini, in Almyros, and in the settlement of Mesaria. At the beaches of Tsigouri, Livadi, and Liolou, you can find studios and suites (which are more expensive), and some of these accommodations offer free transportation to the beaches via a daily mini-bus service.
How to travel to / from Schinoussa?
Ferry Schedules and Tickets to Schinoussa:
- Piraeus - Schinoussa Ferry Routes: The route from Piraeus to Schinoussa is operated at least 2-3 times a week throughout the year with intermediate stops. The journey takes approximately 7 hours and 30 minutes. The routes are operated by the ferry company Blue Star Ferries.
- Naxos - Schinoussa Ferry Routes: During the summer season, there are at least 2 ferry routes between Naxos and Schinoussa. The duration of the ferry journey from Naxos to Schinoussa ranges from 1.5 to 2 hours, with the cost of a ferry ticket ranging from 6.5 to 7 euros.
- Koufonisia - Schinoussa Ferry Routes: During the peak summer season, there are at least 2 daily ferry connections between Koufonisia and Schinoussa. The duration of the ferry trip by boat from Koufonisia to Schinoussa is approximately 30-35 minutes, and the cost of a ferry ticket ranges from 2.5 to 4 euros.
- Amorgos - Schinoussa Ferry Routes: Various routes operate from Amorgos to Schinoussa frequently during the summer. Specifically, there are at least 2 daily ferry connections by boat between Amorgos and Schinoussa. The duration of the ferry journey varies from 1.5 to 3 hours, and the cost of a ticket is 8 euros.
- Irakleia - Schinoussa Ferry Routes: During the summer, 1-2 ferries depart from Irakleia to Schinoussa daily. The duration of the journey from Irakleia to Schinoussa ranges from 5 to 10 minutes, and the cost of the ticket is between 3.5 and 4.5 euros.
How to Book Ferry Tickets to Schinoussa:
After selecting the appropriate ferry route, you can easily and quickly book your ferry ticket to Schinoussa through the booktickets website. Complete your reservation and secure your spot on the ferry in advance.