During our stay on Naxos, we had planned to do some island hopping. Unbeknownst to us, because we were there so late in the season (1st week of October), most of the inter-island day trips had finished. Not being one to easily let a dream die, I decided to ask around at most of the many day tour places in the town. I found that my best options were on offer at the Naxos Tours office at Chora Naxos Protodikion square, Naxos 843 00, Greece.
The tour office had a deal on the last sailing tour of the season with Actionseaze which would take us out for the day on the Penelope around to the south of Naxos, visiting Koufonisi and having lunch on the boat. Swimming off the boat along the way was also part of the day’s activities. I had never been swimming off the back of a sailboat, and I decided that being in the Greek islands was the perfect place to experience this for the first time. So I booked my day trip to Koufonisi!
We set off from Naxos harbour in the morning, however the weather was not favourable for sailing, so we just had to make way under engine power instead. I was a bit disappointed about that, but is was still a beautiful day spent on the Agean Sea, with a magnificent view of the islands. Turning south we made our way past the rich houses of Naxos and onwards, watching beautiful white sand beaches that glittered in the sunlight, as we slipped by.
First stop was at a Rina cave on Naxos island that opened off a small inlet at the south of Naxos. We pulled into the cove where the beautiful aqua-marine water was calm and inviting.
The Penelope has snorkelling gear and even a few pool noodles and such, for guests to use when they go swimming (I brought my own snorkelling gear along with me – being a bit germ phobic). I jumped off the boat into the crystal clear water – it was really cold!! But still, I swam around for a bit, looking at a few fish through my goggles. Inside the cave was very cold, and a little bit spooky, so I paddled back out into the sunshine and just floated around for a while enjoying the moment.
Everyone got back into the Penelope and we set off for Ano Koufonisi. As we putted into the harbour I was looking forward to seeing this little island.
My cousin and I set off for a walk through the streets in the Chora. It was like a ghost town. All the cafes and restaurants had closed up with the end of the season. Chairs and tables were stacked on top of each other in stone courtyards outside interesting looking restaurants. Apart from one elderly Greek lady, we were the only people in the street. It was a very beautiful place, and I would love to go back and experience it when more people are actually there!!
Anyway, we continued along and walked up past the windmills and accommodation villas beside the coast.
Completing our circuit we ended up back at Ammos Beach, where we found the seemingly only open café on the island and had a drink whilst waiting for the return of the Penelope.
It was a beautiful island and looked like a magic place to spend a few relaxing days. Koufonisi is on my list of islands to re-visit for my next trip to Greece.
The journey home
Once back on the Penelope we putted out alongside Kato Koufonisi and stopped for lunch. I had previously asked at the tour office when we were booking the tour if they could provide a gluten free meal for me, but to be honest I wasn’t expecting too much. Lunch was the biggest bowl of pasta you have ever seen, and a shared salad. So I told the people that I couldn’t eat the pasta, and they just gave me extra salad, which was nice of them. They also gave us a homemade type of retsina to try – which was interesting.
After lunch, there were more swimming opportunities, but I opted to stay on the boat this time, just relaxing in the sun as we were gently rocked by the waves. Turing around to make for home, the weather became overcast and grey. The final stop off was at a beach on Naxos, where only the brave went swimming again while the rest of us talked.
We returned to Naxos harbour at the end of a lovely day, having gained some new experiences.
I would recommend this tour, but I think it would have been nicer a few weeks earlier. Probably the second-last week in September at the latest, so we could have seen Koufonisi alive, and perhaps the water would also have been a few degrees warmer!