Schinoussa belongs to that group of 5 islets just south of Naxos known as the Small Cyclades, which like a Russian doll, are a little group inside the larger group of the Cyclades. Year-round home to only 250 people, Schinoussa is a favorite getaway for those who are not interested in loud, noisy, drunken crowds and packed beaches backed up to bars blasting music all day long and so far into the night that when the music stops the first light of morning is coming up.
This 8.5 square kilometer island lies between Irakleia and Koufonisia. There are 3 small settlements on Schinoussa, Hora (the capital), Mersaria, and Mersini (the port). The island gets its name, it is believed, from a member of the then ruling Venetian nobility, one Schinoza.
The locals farm fish, raise goats, and maintain rentals for vacationers. Mersini, the port, was once a hideout for pirates which plagued the Aegean for centuries during the Middle Ages. It is an exceptionally sheltered anchorage.
People have been living there for thousands of years, and there are ruins both Greek and Roman, and the remnants of a Byzantine church. Schinoussa belonged, from the 11th century, to the Hozoviotissa Monastery on nearby Amorgos. The island has a small church, and a windmill, which sits on the island’s highest point, 135m above sea level.
Surprisingly, this small place has 15 small beaches, all of which are reachable by foot. There are some nice little restaurants, and decent accommodations. The islanders have a reputation for friendliness and hospitality. More and more people are discovering this small gem south of Naxos, but its size insures that it will always be a quiet place of refuge for those seeking a peaceful holiday.