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Time slows down in Donoussa

29 May 2013 / 22:05:35  GRReporter
7844 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Donoussa is the northernmost and the most remote among the Cycladic islands. It is located north of Amorgos, close to the eastern part of Naxos.

With an area of 13.75 square kilometres, it is the second largest among the so-called small Cycladic islands. But while the others are well protected by the mountain ranges on the two large islands of Naxos and Amorgos, Donoussa is exposed to strong winds. When the north wind blows from the side of Ikaria, the sea runs high and often, even large ferries cannot reach the harbour. However, the winds clear the horizon and open the view from Patmos to Santorini.

A typical Cycladic landscape

The harbour of Donoussa is like a hug that provides quiet and calm waters for weary passengers. From late spring to September, in addition to the usual boats and vessels of local fishermen, come the sailing yachts, inflatable boats and catamarans of tourists who spend their summer vacations there.

The houses stand in tiers around the harbour and are painted in white, which is typical for the Cycladic islands. The blue colour of the shutters, the bright purple of wild bougainvillea and the scarlet geranium add to the harmony of the landscape.


Summer in Greece means sea, sun and enjoying the beach. In Donoussa, there are four beaches where you can enjoy the sun and dive into the emerald waters of the Aegean Sea. The most beautiful beaches are Livadi and Kedros where there is a restaurant.

On the seabed and not very deeply, you can see the remains of a German warship that was bombed and sunk by Allied troops during World War II. In early summer, there are few visitors on the beaches, some of whom are nudists. Donoussa is a small paradise for tourists who want to relax in a peaceful atmosphere and to fully enjoy the sun and the sea.

Donoussa bears nostalgia of the past

Anyway, life on the island runs at its own pace. The 110 residents are engaged in traditional fishing, farming, agriculture and tourism in July and August. The kitchen of the café called "Mermaid," which is located at the harbour, is like a kitchen of an old house. The wedding photos of the owners and the photos of their ancestors add to the nostalgic atmosphere. In the next room, they run a small grocery where you can buy almost anything. For breakfast, you can order fried eggs, a little cheese and tomato. The service is somewhat slow for people from the city but the taste of the food as well as the breathtaking views of the blue sea will surely make you forget about it and think about how to actually live without constantly watching the clock.

Accommodation, food and entertainment

There are no hotels on Donoussa. Visitors can rent small studios that are equipped with a small kitchenette. In the restaurants, you can try local dishes such as kavarma, kid with potatoes, kid stuffed with rice and dry cottage cheese. Do not forget to try traditional sweets like xerotigana (fried dough with honey, sesame seeds and chopped nuts) and pastelli (honey, sesame seeds and spices), which the hosts serve on aromatic lemon tree leaves. The constant aperitif is rakomelo (brandy brewed with honey). There is only one bar for the fans of nightlife, which is located near the harbour and it also offers great views of the sea in the late hours.

One of the most interesting places is the sea "cave wall", which is located in the north-western part of the island. Nature lovers can find many interesting plants and birds to watch.

The island

Despite the economic crisis, the residents of Donoussa claim that in recent years, the island has reported economic growth, which is mainly due to the increased tourist flow. At present, Donoussa can take around 1,200 visitors at once. Local people do not want a large tourist influx, because both they and the traditional visitors who have been visiting Donoussa for years prefer it because of its authenticity, the peace and tranquillity that are breathtaking in the morning against the endless blue horizon.

Donoussa’s Mayor Dimitris Prasinos told GRReporter that at least 20 young people from the island have recently returned and settled there permanently. "The main criterion was occupation. They have taken up professions like bakers, catering and technical professions." Their return has already affected the demographics of the island: five new residents were born from the beginning of the year and it is expected that they will fill the desks at the school, where only six children are studying today.
How to go to Donoussa

If you own a yacht or inflatable boat, you should simply follow the weather forecast and sail to the island, which is located at a distance of 110 nautical miles from Athens. If you prefer the comfort of the big ferry then you can choose one of the three, or four days a week during the summer tourist season, when it sails to Donoussa.

Tags: TraveloguesDonoussaSmall Cycladic islandsSeaBeachesVacation
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