Fishing boats off the sandy Kedros beach in Donousa

Donousa

Cyclades, Greece

Donousa is a magical island in the Cyclades, perfect for travelers who are after relaxing vacation in a breathtaking scenery. The island belongs to the Small Cyclades group and it has clear blue waters and impressive trails. On this Ferryhopper page, you can find useful information about holidays on the island, beaches, activities, local cuisine and ferry routes.

The untamed coast of Donousa as seen from the top of a hiking trail

The impressive coastline of Donousa caressed by the blue Aegean Sea

Vacation in Donousa

Holidays in Donousa are synonymous with peaceful moments by the sea. The small Greek island is famous for its marvelous nature, dreamy beaches and mouthwatering local dishes you can taste in restaurants and traditional Greek tavernas.

The capital and port of Donousa is called Stavros. In Stavros there are hotels and other accommodation options, restaurants serving local food, as well as bars to enjoy a drink with a view to the sea. You can also find restaurants in the small villages of Kalotaritissa and Mersini. You can get there by car and motorcycle, as well as by a local bus during the summer months. Ferryhopper suggests that you try the mouthwatering patatato, our favorite local stew made with meat and potatoes.

Tip: Donousa welcomes many travelers in July and August. We recommend that you book your accommodation as soon as possible, to make sure you find the island home of your dreams before it sells out.

How to get to Donousa

The best way to get to Donousa is from the port of Piraeus in Athens. As there is no airport on the island, you can catch the ferry from Athens throughout the year.

Good to know: Ferries to Donousa are more frequent during the summer months. If you’re planning to visit off-season, make sure you plan your trip well in advance.

White church with blue dome in Donousa, typical of Cycladic architecture

Church with blue dome in the village of Stavros in Donousa

What to do in Donousa

Travelers choose Donousa for the remote beaches, delicious food and tremendous natural landscape. There are several beaches perfect for relaxing holidays, where you can find tamarisk trees and crystal-clear waters. For a bit of history, you can visit the island’s churches and windmills and don’t forget to visit the impressive caves.

Beaches in Donousa

It is no secret that Donousa is all about the beach life! The beaches of the small island are among the most beautiful in Greece, due their turquoise waters and golden sand. Here are some of the top beaches in Donousa according to ferryhoppers:

  • Kedros: The beach of Kedros is close to Stavros, the island capital. There is no natural shade, but you can find a beach bar serving food and drinks. This is a nude-friendly beach.
  • Livadi: You can get to Livadi on foot via a 20-minute hiking trail or by fishing boat from the port and the village of Kedros. The beach is clothing-optional and you can find a few sought-after tamarisk trees offering natural shade.
  • Stavros: The beach of Stavros is by the port of Donousa. It’s a sandy beach with some tamarisk trees for shade.
  • Sapounochoma, Vlychos, Tripiti or Mesa Ammos: These beaches are in the village of Kalotaritissa on the northern part of the island. You can visit with your own vehicle or by local bus.

Tip: One of our favorite experiences in Donousa is to travel by fishing boat from Stavros to the beaches of Kedros and Livadi. Captain Ilias will travel you to the most remote parts of the island on board the fishing boat “Donousa Magissa”, meaning “Sorceress Donousa”. The fishing boat will also take you to the cave Fokospilia, where you can go snorkeling to explore the marine life!

Donousa Magissa: the summer boat of Donousa

The fishing boat “Donousa Magissa” in the beach of Kedros

Sightseeing in Donousa

Although the island is small, there are some places of interest that are typical of life on the island. In the area of Mesaria you can see the old windmills, which may be out of operation, but bear witness to the past. Donousa is also home to many small churches of traditional Cycladic architecture that adorn the island’s landscape. The Church of Timios Stavros in the capital and the chapel of Agia Sophia in the village of Mersini are two of the most impressive.

Nature lovers can also visit the caves of the island. There are 2 major caves in Donousa: Fokospilia and Tihos. Fokospilia used to be a natural shelter for the Monachus monachus seal and it is an exquisite cave with emerald waters. Tihos is a beautiful cave with stalactites and stalagmites, as well as crystal waters.

Nightlife in Donousa

The easy-going island of Donousa may not be as vibrant as other islands of the Cyclades, but there are ways to have fun. Many travelers spend their nights on the beach, as well as the village squares playing music. You can find small restaurants and there are also some all-day café bars, where you can enjoy cocktails under the starlit sky and listen to ambient music.

Food in Donousa

Donousa has an interesting gastronomical scene that focuses on local ingredients and simple recipes. You can taste local delicacies in traditional tavernas and small cafés. The Ferryhopper team suggests you try:

  • Patatato: meat and potatoes stew
  • Yiaprakia: cabbage rolls stuffed with minced meat
  • Pasteli: honey and sesame bar
  • Kavourmas: fried preserved pork
  • Firmani: filo-covered cheese with sesame and jam

Hiking in Donousa

Hiking lovers are in for a treat when visiting Donousa! Due to its small size, the island is great for walking and you can explore every nook and cranny on foot! There are 5 marked hiking trails on the island connecting several villages. 

The best and longest walking route in Donousa is from Stavros to Kalotaritissa and it takes around 1.5 hours. We recommend that you begin your hike just before sunset. The exquisite colors of the Greek sky just before nightfall, the vast blue sea and the view to the neighboring islands are unforgettable!

The traditional Greek sweet "pasteli" made with honey and sesame

The mouth-watering pasteli, perfect for those of you who have a sweet tooth

Useful information for Donousa

Stavros is the largest village of Donousa with around 100 permanent residents and several visitor facilities. There is a Piraeus Bank ATM, a grocery store, a post office, a medical center, a bakery, as well as bars and restaurants. If you’re looking for places to stay in Donousa, most accommodation options are in Stavros, while there are some rentals in Mesaria as well. The island is also considered as one of the most camping-friendly destinations in Greece.

To get around the island, you can catch the local bus and the shipping boat “Donousa Magissa” in the summer. Off-season you can only travel around the island by private vehicle and taxi. Despite the limited transportation options, Donousa is quite small and you can easily get from A to B.

Useful phone numbers for your stay in Donousa

Here are some useful phone numbers for your trip to Donousa:

  • Municipal Community of Donousa: +302285051600
  • Citizen Service Center: +302285029107
  • Multipurpose Regional Medical Center: +302285051506
  • “Donousa Magissa” fishing boat: +306942977981
  • Taxi service: +306971774696
  • Local bus service: +306932488529

Good to know: There is no gas station on the island of Donousa, so come prepared if you’re getting there with your vehicle.

Transportation in Donousa

Most visitors in Donousa get around by car, motorcycle or on foot. There is no public bus service on the island, but you can catch a local bus line during the summer months to visit some of the remote beaches and the major villages.

Ports in Donousa

The port of Donousa is in the village of Stavros. From the port of Stavros in Donousa you can catch the ferry to other islands in the Cyclades, as well as the port of Piraeus in Athens. The port is quite small and there are some visitor amenities such as cafés and a small parking lot for short-term parking. Port operations are controlled by the Port Authority of Naxos.

Island hopping from Donousa

Donousa is a great starting point for island hopping in the Small Cyclades island group, as well as to other islands in the Aegean Sea. You can find yourself in Amorgos, Naxos, Koufonisia and Schinoussa in less than 2 hours by ferry. From Donousa you can travel directly by ferry to the following islands:

  • Amorgos
  • Irakleia
  • Koufonisia
  • Schinoussa
  • Naxos
  • Paros
  • Syros
  • Astypalaia

On Ferryhopper’s Map of ferries you can see all available ferry routes from and to Donousa. Plan your island-hopping vacation in the Cyclades and book cheap ferry tickets with no extra fees

Donousa ferry: schedules and tickets

There are frequent sailings from Athens to Donousa via the port of Piraeus. The Piraeus - Donousa ferry route is available around 4 times per week during the summer and the journey duration is 7 hours.

The ferry crossings to the rest of the Small Cyclades and Naxos are available regularly every week. You can also catch the legendary ferry “Skopelitis Express”, which is in operation for more than 30 years and offers an inimitable travel experience!

Tip: The small islet group Makares are really close to the coast of Donousa. If the weather conditions are good, you can get there on board the “Donousa Magissa” boat that departs from the main port. The trip lasts 40 minutes on average and if you’re lucky enough, you may be able to spot dolphins racing you to the shore!

Going on a hike in Donousa by the blue sea

The virgin landscape of Donousa by the deep blue sea

Where to book ferry tickets online to Donousa

Can’t wait to swim in the crystal-clear waters of Donousa? Book cheap ferry tickets to Donousa online on Ferryhopper. Find all the information you need about ferry routes, vacation tips and ferry schedules, compare ferry companies and fares, and book tickets in just 4 clicks!


Donousa has direct ferry connections with 10 ports:

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