The Small Cyclades are a cluster of islands between Naxos and Amorgos. Administratively they belong to the South Aegean Region in the Naxos Regional Unit. It consists of 6 large islands such as Heraklia (Araklia), Schinoussa, Donoussa, Ano Koufonissi, Kato Koufonissi and Keros. Despite their small size, the islands have been inhabited since the prehistoric period, especially Keros, while they were an important commercial center of the Cyclades.
The new hiking map of the Small Cyclades by Anavasi Editons challenges you to hike these enchanting islands with their hidden beauty. The trails cross bushland with great views and end up at beautiful beaches and coastlines. At a scale of 1:25,000, all the attractions, historical sites, beaches, road network and settlements of the islands are accurately captured.
Heraklia is the largest island of the Small Cyclades with an area of 18 sq.km. On the island you will find two settlements, one is Agios Georgios (Kato Chorio) where the port of the island is located and Panagia (Pano Chorio), where you will find the homonymous church with beautiful frescoes. Despite its small area, the island has beautiful beaches, most of which are sandy. It is worth swimming in the clear blue waters of Voreini Spilia, Livadi, Turkopigados as well as in the cove of Merichas with its eerie rocks. The highest peak of the island is Papas (420 meters), which you can reach via a path that comes from Panagia. Behind the peak you will find the Cave of Saint John where you can approach it by a path from Panagia. Finally, visit Livadi Castle, a medieval fortress above Livadi. Access is via a path from the road that leads to Panagia.
With an area of only 8 square km, Schinoussa is one of the islands of the complex located between Heraklia and Kato Koufonisi. In the past it was called Echinousa or Panidia. The port of the island is Mersini, where you will find Piso Ammos beach, ideal for swimming. In the center of the island is Chora (Panagia) with its picturesque Cycladic houses and alleys blooming with bougainvillea. The church of Panagia Akathi stands out in the settlement, dedicated to the Entry of the Virgin.
Despite its small size, the island has many beaches that you can reach by walking. Popular ones are Tsigouri, Livadi, Bazaios, Liolou, Foudana, which you can reach by a path from the road leading to Almyros beach, and Fykio, which you can reach via a path from Messaria.
North of Schinousa you will find two small islands with beautiful beaches and a rich history. These are Koufonisia, a complex of two islands (Pano Koufonisi and Kato Koufonisi). Pano Koufonissi is the only inhabited one, consisting of three settlements, Chora, Harokopou and Pori. It is world famous for its golden sands and clear blue waters. Its area is quite small as it amounts to 5.7 sq.km, making it easy to get around on foot. You can start from Chora with the final destination being Pori beach with its turquoise waters. The route is coastal passing the most beautiful beaches of the island such as Fanos, Harokopou, Italida and Pisina.
The highest point of the island is Vardia (113 meters) where you can reach by road from the port or by footpath from Prophet Ilias.The island has a rich history as finds that have been found proving the existence and development of the Proto-Cycladic Civilization while even finds from Roman and Hellenistic times have come to light.
Kato Koufonisi is uninhabited but has beautiful sandy beaches such as Panagia, Detis and Nero. Transportation on the island is done on foot via a path that crosses the entire island with a coastal route in its eastern part.
Donoussa is the northernmost island of the Small Cyclades with an area of 16 square kilometers and is located east of Naxos. The highest point of the island is Vardia with 386 meters followed by Papas with 383 meters.The port of the island and at the same time the largest settlement is Stavros, followed by Messaria (Haravgi), Mersini and Kalotaritissa in the northern part. The island is famous for its beautiful beaches with crystal clear blue waters. You can visit them either by car or on foot. The closest beach from the port is Kedros, with sand and you can even reach it on foot. From there begins a path that leads to Vathi Limenari beach via Kato Mylos. A remarkable beach is the belly-shaped Limni, which you can reach from Stavros by a path that starts from the village ring road.
In the northern part of the island you will find Kalotaritissa with two sandy beaches, Mesa Ammos and Sapounochoma. Access to the village can be done either by road from Stavros or by a path that starts from the village and crosses the northwestern part of the island with some railings at the end of the path. You can continue by reaching the cape of the same name.