Small Cyclades: Donousa Island


Donousa is the northernmost island of the Small Eastern Cyclades group and lies east of Naxos and north of Amorgos. Its area is 13 square kilometers. The terrain is rocky, while the shore forms numerous coves with small, sand beaches.

Donousa has a population of 160; its inhabitants make their living from fishing, livestock keeping, and, recently, tourism. There are five settlements on the island:

Stavros, called Kampos locally, us the largest and also the island’s port. Set around a sheltered harbor on Donoussa’s southwesternend, it’s a charming settlement featuring the traditional architecture of the Cyclades.

Timios Stavros is located on the island’s eastern side and takes its name from the church, which is also its main landmark. The other settlements – MersiniHaravgi, and Kalotaritissa – are picturesque and perfect destinations for leisurely strolling tours.

Donoussa has been known by this name since the Geometric era, a fact confirmed by the identification of Geometric-era ruins at several sites on the island.  According to the mythology, the island is where Dionyssos hid Ariadne so Theseus would not be able to find her.  During the Roman occupancy, the island of Donousa was a place for exile.

Some of the most important sites that one could visit on the island are the following:

  • Toihos Cave on the northwest.
  • Fokospilia, a cave on Cape Moschonas where seals shelter.
  • Ruins of Geometric-era settlements.
  • The church of Timios Stavros.
  • The Panayia church.
  • The church of Ayios Ioannis.

Donousa is well known for the wonderful beachesthat are expanded around the island, like:

  • Vathi Limenari
  • Kedros Bay, where the ruins of a German warship sunk by the Allied Forces in the second world war, can be seen on the seabed.
  • Livadi Bay
  • Fikios
  • Kalotairitissa

During summer time, there are plenty events that could give the offer to the guests to get to know the character of the island beyond the touristic profile.

The observation of the feast of the Assumption of the Virgin on August 15 at Stavros includes a folk festival with live traditional music, dances, and patatato (a local dish).

“Treasure Hunt,” a game rooted in folk tales about pirates using Donoussa for anchorage. The Innkeepers’ Festival in July 27 featuring exhibits of photography and folk art.

The “Innkeepers’ Festival” in July 27 featuring exhibits of photography and folk art.

The feast of Ayia Sofia on September 19 at the Church of Ayia Sofia at Mersini.

Also the Folklore feast of the Cross (Stavros) on September 14 with traditional music, dance, and local foods, is worth to be mentioned.

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