To me a vacation is three things - beach, alcohol, and no obligations! Of all the places we've been, Koufonisia has been the best island/beach experience we've had. Within two hours of being on the island, we were trying to figure out how we could buy property on this slice of paradise. There is by no means a schedule while on vacation, but we were pretty consistent with our daily routine -
So our plan was to spend 1 night in Naxos, 5 nights in Koufonisia and 3 nights in Santorini (check out our Santorini post here!). We woke up early to catch our flight from Dublin to Athens on Ryanair - the flight was less than 4 hours. Once in Athens, we took a small, regional plane on Olympicair to Naxos. We stayed overnight in Naxos at this Airbnb, watched the sunset at Apollo's temple, ate dinner at Nostimon Hellas (get the lamb meatballs!), after dinner ice cream at the Waffle House, got the biggest breakfast pastries at (37.103324, 25.375208) - pretty sure it is a new bakery and Google Maps is not having it, and then took the ferry from Naxos to Koufonisia, which was only an hour. Upon arrival, our host Theodore was waiting to pick us up. We asked him to stop at the market on the way to the house and he was more than accommodating.
So Koufonisia is technically made up of three small islands - Pano, Kato and Keros, we stayed on Pano. On Kato, there is one small taverna, but pretty sure no one lives there. And Keros is a protected archaeological site. There are about 400 people that live on Pano. There's no shortage of beaches on the island, but the best are Pori and Italida. Other notable features are Gala Beach and The Eye of the Devil. You can walk a trail along the south/east side of the island that takes you from "town" to Pori beach, and back. We planned to take a boat down to Kato (many great beaches there, as well), but due to weather we stayed on Pano. Most days we just hung out at Pori beach, but one afternoon we were feeling adventurous and walked to all of the beaches and into town for drinks and food.
If you are going to stay on Koufonisia, we recommend staying closer to Pori beach. There are multiple, wonderful beaches, but Pori is phenomenal. We stayed at My Island Home in Aura. The host, Theodore, is wonderful - so helpful with suggestions and communication was so easy. He picked us up from the port, helped with rebooking our ferry, brought us water, just an overall excellent human being. The house itself is gorgeous with a front porch that cannot be beaten. They offer yoga everyday on the sundeck. You are a 7-minute walk from Pori beach. The only slight inconvenience is that you are about a 25-minute walk to town (there is a lone taxi on the island, happy to help you out with this). We didn't mind the walk, it's just 1 main road and the weather and views are beautiful. Most accommodations are just on the south side of the island, and Pori beach is on the northeast, but still very close because the island is small. That being said, you can't go wrong with wherever you decide to stay.
Pretty sure Koufonisia has the best cocktails in all the Cyclades. Every single cocktail at every single bar was so delicious. Cocktails were not cheap - €10, but they were well worth the price. We enjoyed cocktails at - Sorokos, Mylos, Scholio, Finikas, Kalamia, Astrolouloudo and Koyforio. For an island of 400 people there are plenty of bars and restaurants - we came no where close to checking them all out! We were here late September and some places were shutting down for the season :(
We had some fun times at dinner once we realised how cheap the food and wine was (€3 for a bottle, a whole bottle!) We enjoyed dinner at Armia Kai Pioto, To Steki Tis Maria, Souvlaki Sti Strouf, Mixalios Grill and Captain Nicholas. More than once we headed for after dinner Gyros at the takeaway place on the corner - Souvlaki Sti Strouf. We also had the best pistachio ice cream at Phystíki (doesn't open until late - it's a Greek thing).
We are returning to Koufonisia in 2020 - this time for a much longer stay!