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Schinoussa or the genuine beauty of the Cycladic islands

10 June 2013 / 21:06:46  GRReporter
5171 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

The island of Schinoussa is the second most popular tourist destination among the small Cycladic islands. It is located about four nautical miles away from Koufonisi and southwest of Naxos.

The port of Mersini is famous as one of the safest harbours for small vessels in the Aegean Sea. Upon arrival, visitors see only a few buildings that leave them with a totally wrong impression of the island. They are not houses of local islanders but restaurants that attract customers who have their own sailing yachts, motor boats or catamarans.

After slightly more than a mile up a winding road, Schinoussa’s main village - Chora (or Panagia) appears. It was built on a hill inland to be invisible from the harbour due to the fact that the island was a frequent victim of pirate raids in the past. By contrast, however, it offers a magnificent view. In the north, there is another village called Messaria.

Schinoussa’s great advantage is its large number of beaches. The most beautiful among them is Psili Amos followed by Tsigouri, Livadi and the vast Lioliou beach where the sea is quite shallow. The beaches Almiro, Foundana, Fikio, Aligaria and Gerolimnionas where the sand is white are located near Chora. The road network is not developed and most of the beaches are accessible only by dirt roads, but the distances are not great.

Chora is a beautiful village built in the traditional Cycladic style. It is surrounded by low hills, dotted with fields and beaches with blue waters.

Compared to Donoussa and Koufonisia, the island of Schinoussa is like a cornucopia. Agriculture and stock farming are well developed on the island. Fava beans are among the most typical crops that the locals pick in late May. Stockbreeders raise sheep and goats whose milk is used for the famous spicy hard cheese kefalotiri and mizithra curd. The locals also produce fruits and vegetables and engage in fishing and tourism. Fishermen from Koufonisi also bring their fresh catch to Schinoussa.

Another strong side of the island is the cuisine in restaurants. The majority of them are family restaurants that offer delicious, almost homemade dishes prepared entirely from local produce. Although the island is small, you can try fine cuisine too. Evdokia offers in Deli restaurant traditional recipes that have been updated in the new Greek cuisine manner.

She is from the island but when she and her husband Dimitris decided to open the restaurant a little more than 10 years ago the locals looked at them with distrust. Today, they are receiving rich people, calling them from their boats to order dinner while they are still sailing and enjoying the sun and sea. There is no nightlife on the island but two cafeterias are open until late at night.

The luxury yachts of big ship owners, who want to supply themselves with food before leaving again, dock at the port. One of them, Athanasios Martinos, has built a villa on the island of Schinoussa as well as a centre for the children of the island near it.

When looking at the island of Schinoussa, it is like looking at a postcard printed several decades ago. Low hills interweave with "schinos" (mastic) lush bushes, from which the name of the island originates, against the background of small fields and golden beaches with deep blue waters.

The island of Schinoussa is very close to the last stop on our journey to the small Cycladic islands which enthusiasts can reach even by swimming. Do not miss our travel notes about the enchanting island of Iraklia.

Tags: TravelogueSchinoussaSmall Cycladic IslandsTraditionCuisineTourism
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