Koufonissia is situated between Naxos and Amorgos. The word "Koufonissia" is plural, covering the two islands called Epano Koufonissi (Epano is often shortened to Pano or Ano), i.e. "upper" Koufonissi ; and Kato Koufonissi, i.e. "lower" Koufonissi. Kato Koufonissi is the larger, or at least longer, of the two.
The Captain has been asked to mention that there are no designated naturist beaches on Ano Koufonissi, although there are on Kato Koufonissi, which is served by boat four times per day. I am told that the Ano Koufonissi beaches are fronted by private residences. The Captain encourages all naturists to be sensible and to avoid causing offence: see FAQ's (the link is in the left margin) for more details. However if it proves to be the case that naturism is no longer welcome, or even tolerated, naturists (who tend to be thinking people who enjoy the good things in life) can always spend their Euros, pounds, dollars and kroner on another island.
About 1 mile from Koufonissi village is Charakopou camping site and 4 beaches (Charakopou, Fanos, Platia Punta and Pori). Past reports suggested that within the next mile they increased from 20% to 50% nudist; however a report of a visit in June 2000 remarked on no nudists on the first three beaches and 20-50% on Platia Punta (and locals seemed relaxed most of the time). Platia Punta was also the best beach when the Meltemi blows.
The camping site has been closed since 2008 at least. In 2009 free campers were squatting in it but in 2011 all entrances had been walled up. Free camping isn't usually seen on the island and I understand the police move any campers. 2012: I camped under a pine (?) tree just inland from where the many coves are. No-one ever walks through there at all.
The Captain understands that whilst the signs for beaches at Charakopou and Fanos include pictograms indicating no nudism, those at Platia Punta and Pori do not. This, together with the fact that in 2001, unlike the previous year, there was no police activity (according to my contributor), is surely an indication that nudism is now tolerated on these beaches. Platia Punta was Clothing Optional - there were more textiles than nudists - but it was being used regularly by a number of nudists (May 2003). It was clearly the main nudist beach.
I wrote the paragraph above. The signs haven't been there for years, nor has there been any police activity.
The Captain visited in June 2004 and was unable to find any "no nudism" pictograms (apart from anything else I was fascinated to see what one looked like).
Platia Punta / Italida
Lovely sandy beach, south facing and therefore affording a bit of shelter from the Meltemi if it is blowing. Wonderful swimming in clear water reminiscent of Laggeri on Paros. A de facto CO beach, busy even in June, with the percentage of naturists varying from 50% in the morning to about 25% mid-afternoon, and back to 50% towards late afternoon. A report from September 2004 confirms this impression.
The number of textiles may be influenced by the arrival of the beach caique from the Chora, and by the fact that other textile beaches (Finikas, Charakopous and Thanos) were more exposed.
The Captain visited in June 2004 and confirmed the impression. Nudists were in a minority at certain times of the day but nobody seemed to care, there was total tolerance of everyone's preferred attire (or lack of it) and the swimming here was just glorious.
A report from August 2005 says the beach at Platia Pounta was excellent, with 50% naturists before noon. As the beach got more crowded, this rate plunged to no more than 4 or 5 people out of about 100 (mostly Greek students and straight couples). Nobody seemed to bother with the presence of naturists though.
I have visited Koufonissi in early September most years since 1999 (and I am writing this in 2011). The proportion of nudists on Italida (as most people call it) has declined over the years and sometimes you will not see any. Usually though there are a handful at the eastern end of Italida (furthest from the village). There is a small sandy cove as you reach Italida from the village (or from where the boat stops) which is sometimes used by nudists and sometimes not. Beyond Italida there is also a small pebble beach (on the right of the photo above). In September 2011 this was quite crowded with mainly nudists although in some years I haven't seen any nudists here. Walking along from Italida to Pori you will see various very small pebbly beaches and places where people sunbathe on rocks, including a place where there is a rock pool. Nudism is often seen in some of these places.
2012: In early July all of the beaches were busy with textiles with just one or two nudists on one beach. As mentioned above, the cove to the right in the photo above was 100% nude with about 6 to 10 people. This writer went nude in all of the other coves.
2013: In early July the beach was very busy, especially on windy days, when the sea at Italida is quite calm. It's now more crowded than Fanos Beach. At the end of the Italida, just before the coves, there were some nude people, about 10 people. At the rest of the beach most of the women went topless, something that seems to be unusual at Finikas and Fanos.
2016: In late June this beach is almost all naturist, although a few people here and there are clothed, some topless. The beach is very beautiful and the sandy ocean bottom is fantastic! A lot of people, but still plenty of space.
In the third week of September the beach was mainly nudist.
A new hotel and other buildings behind this beach apparently now limit the opportunities to be nude here. Up to date reports of the situation would be welcome. The reports below should be read in that context.
It's a lovely coastal walk to this beach from Platia Punta, with various coves on the way, a few being used by naturists. But the beach itself was disappointing. It's spectacular enough; a thin strand stretching around the bay, but when the Captain was there we saw only about 4 naturists, two of whom were wild campers.
This low figure may have been something to do with the arrival of a large speedboat-full of textiles just before we got there. But we weren't encouraged, turned around and headed back to Platia Punta. Swimming looked lovely, though, with clear and shallow water, and some shelter from the Meltemi.
Other reports of this beach are much more favourable, including one from September 2004 suggesting that the beach was on occasion 100% nude.
Going from the village to the camping site, there are some beaches on the roadside, but all textile. The beach at Finikas Tavern (maybe it used to be a tavern in the past, now it's a self-service with not-worth-mentioning food) was textile. The camping beach was the place where my contributors stayed. Until 10.00 in the morning, it was really enjoyable and calm. Few people, optionally clothed, and the best sea colours my contributor had ever seen in Greece.
Going further on the coast path, there are some nice little coves and smooth stones where you can lie nude, but you have to be there before 11.00 in the morning to "book" your place… You must leave the path to Pori beach to reach a beautiful pebbles cove, where we found 90% nude people. The wind blows quite hard on all these beaches, never as hard as on Pori beach: a "Windsurfers' Paradise". On the way to Pori, just before the last bend, there's a natural pool with clear, deep, and fresh water, where we did nude diving with no comments by the clothed people (lots of young Greeks) except on our diving style… At the end of the day, let's say that Koufonissi beaches (above all the sea colours…) are among the best ever seen in Greece.
A report from June 2000 suggested Pori was only 30% nudist, rising sometimes to 50% except on the days when the boats ran from the town, when it could be as little as 20% nudist. However the coves on the coast between Thanos and Pori were virtually all nudist. But another report from Aug/September 2001 described Pori as "heaven" - 50% nudist.
My earlier contributor's report dates from September 1996. The best beach, 75% nudist, is at Pori, a mile and a half further: as you come up from the village beach pass a telephone kiosk on your right then the bakers on your left then turn right and follow the road past the Koufonissi Hotel (written in Greek) and zig-zag across the island to Pori. 35mins walk compared to 60 mins walk round the coast, both times measured from the baker's. No buses. A boat goes once a day to Italika (the headland between Thanos and Platia Punta) and Pori. No taverna except at Finikas/Charakopou. No shade except in the tavernas. Pori was 70% nude in May 2000 but this was variable throughout the day because it is on the route round the island and walkers stop for a break, sometimes a long break because it only takes 2 or 3 hours to walk round the island. As can be seen from the picture, the argument against naturists using the beach because it upsets local people living nearby is spurious - the nearest building was at the top of the hill, and it was a pig farm!
In September 2005, nudism was practised widely, but according to one regular visitor, slightly less than recent years. Nonetheless the proportion was about 70/30 in favour of the nudists. A taverna now operates at the north edge of the beach and my contributor thinks that it has added to the beauty of the beach. Most nudists were using the taverna to buy refreshments or have something to eat with beer or ouzo. My reporter thinks Pori remains one of the best beaches in Cyclades and is suitable for nudism except the busy days of August.
Barefooters who visited in August 2005 arrived before noon, there were very few people and they had no second thoughts about stripping. Soon the beach became crowded and there were only about 3 or 4 people naked. Here too, nobody seemed to care, as we were swimming and playing with our frisby in the water, naked.
A Barefoot reporter who visited in September 2005 saw no nudity within 150m of the taverna, but still thought it was a good place to go nude.
Barefoot reporters visited in June 2007 (using the boat from Chora - €4 return). They thought it a lovely sandy, gently shelving beach with clear water. The area to the left of the beach (i.e. the side towards Chora) was wholly naturist and mainly couples of different nationalities. Nearly all Scandinavians and Italians, plus a few Germans on the island. A very nice atmosphere. The only minus was regular passing textiles - mainly people walking to/from Chora. There is a place behind the beach at the textile end selling food and drinks.
Nudism is still practised at the Chora end of the beach (in 2011) - the end away from the taverna and the boat stop.
Early July 2013: Because you can reach Pori by bus now, it's really crowded. Only one naked couple at the Chora end of the beach, the rest textiles, no topless women at all. Two tavernas on the beach, one at the middle of the beach. On windy days, especially at Meltemi, it's dangerous for kids.
Late June 2016: The Chora end of the beach, the end away from the taverna and the bus stop, is nudist. The textile guests lie close by but no-one makes a fuss, and there's no need to feel bothered. The sand has a lot of pebbles and stones, but still a nice beach, although maybe not quite as beautiful as Platia Punta.
In the third week of September 2016 the southern half of the beach was predominantly nudist.
On Kato Koufonissi, Nero beach is a long beach of grey sand with pebbles of a huge variety of colours along the shoreline. It is surrounded by cliffs and there were a few wild campers. As you have to go by boat from Ano Koufonissi to get there, there is plenty of space, little shade and some people (30%-ish) were nude. Early reports suggested this was not as nice a beach as those on Ano Koufonissi. But more recent contributors disagreed. A report from early 2004 spoke of enjoying the almost deserted beaches there in the nude; however there are no services and if you camp and want to take a shower you have to go to the taverna.
A Barefoot reporter who visited in August 2005 had the impression that most people on Nero beach were naturists perhaps 80%. At the left side of the beach, as you come out of the boat, 100% were naked. Many were Greek campers, "hippy style", who had camped under the shade of the few trees there. Very relaxed, very cool and friendly; it seemed like Athenians that wanted to completely break free from civilisation. They were very deeply and uniformly tanned, like they had been worshipping the sun naked for a long time (and they had, given all the cooking utensils and "infrastructure" they had spread all around their tents). Anyone who wore a swimming costume might feel like an intruder! My contributor definitely recommends this beach to naturists, compared to those at Ano Koufonissi, although indeed, the beaches on Ano Koufonissi are more spectacular.
A Barefooter who visited in September 2005 thought Nero a great beach - unspoilt, backed by nice cliffs, big enough to give everyone lots of space, a few trees at the end for a bit of shade.
The beach boats visit every couple of hours from Koufonissi (in 2007 it was 4 Euros). They stop at the taverna at the north end of the island first, then usually go on to Nero. It's about a 40-minute walk from the taverna to Nero, and you pass a few smaller beaches on the way - you could probably go nude on these as well, but it's worth pressing ahead to get to Nero.
In June 2007, Barefoot reporters found this a lovely wild setting with cliffs behind, nowhere selling anything, so take your own food, water and sunshade. Naturist area (which was 80% naturist) is to the left of where the boat drops you. There were some free campers, who were "visited" by the Port Police from Kato Koufonissia when our reporters were there. The police showed no interest in the naturists.
On the third day my intrepid reporters took the boat to Kato Koufonissia, the Meltemi was really strong and the boat only went to the first jetty (by the taverna). They found a lovely sheltered (if stony) cove (which we had all to ourselves) and then went to the taverna (which is charming) before getting the boat back.
In 2011 the boat was €5 return. The number of people naked on the beach and where they go depends on who goes on a particular day, so it's a bit awkward knowing where to go when a big group of people arrive on the first boat. There is always a small group of free campers who are naked, camping in and around the group of trees behind the middle of the beach.
On a visit to Nero Beach in the third week of September2016 the beach was fairly quiet. A few people were nude and others on the beach were not bothered. There were a few hippies camping there were nude. The boat is still 5 Euros return.
Walker's guide: from the taverna, there's a clear path past the campsite on the left and a holiday home on the right, up a small hill. Over the hill the path is not as wide, but it's still easy to follow down to the first beaches on the left. (15min). Follow the path some 25m inland behind the beach, and it starts going uphill. There are more small beaches to the left, but you go through a makeshift gate in the wire fence and follow goat-tracks uphill. At the top there's a fairly flat goat pasture. Moving further away from the coast, bear right a bit and cross the field a bit further uphill, looking for a small ruined building. (30 min.) From here you can see Nero below. Follow the line of the wall downhill - a bit steep here - some steps in places - across a dry riverbed - and you get to a great beach.