How to Get There
You can reach Schoinoussa by ferry boat in the following ways:
With the Blue Star Ferries that depart from the port of Piraeus. The frequency of service depends on the season, but it is not available every day (usually three times weekly). Travel time: 7 - 7 ½ hours Approximate ticket price: 36€ per passenger and 75€ per car Stops: Piraeus - Syros - Paros - Naxos - Iraklia - Schoinoussa - Koufonisi - Donoussa - Amorgos (Katapola)
With the legendary Skopelitis, which for years now has provided year-round daily connections between the islands of the Small Cyclades and Amorgos (Katapola/Aegiali) and Naxos. There is room for 11-12 cars in the small garage of the ship, but be sure to make reservations well in advance, and get to the port on time, because in the summer spaces are measured down to the centimeter!
Travel times and prices: Schoinoussa - Iraklia 10 minutes, price 4.80€/person with the Express Skopelitis or 5 minutes and 4€/person on the ferry from Piraeus; Schoinoussa - Koufonisi 35 minutes, 4.80€/person with the Express Skopelitis or 30 minutes and 3€/person on the ferry from Piraeus; Schoinoussa - Donoussa 1 hour and 45 minutes, 8€/person with the Express Skopelitis; Schoinoussa - Katapola 4 hours and 25 minutes, 8.50€/person; Schoinoussa - Aegiali 3 hours and 25 minutes, 8.50€/person; Schoinoussa - Naxos 1 hour and 40 minutes, 7.40€/person with the Express Skopelitis or 1 hour and 6.50€/person on the ferry from Piraeus. Approximate average price per car: 22.50€. Stops: Naxos - Iraklia - Schoinoussa - Koufonisi - Donoussa - Amorgos (Aegiali) - Amorgos (Katapola)
Find more information about schedules and reservations at www.digitickets.gr.
The island has a Heliport.
Considering its size, Schoinoussa has a fairly dense road network, with the great majority passable dirt roads. Essentially the only paved road on the island is the one that connects the port in Mersini with Chora (1,100 meters). Almost all the roads on the island lead to the “peripheral” road in Chora, and there is practically no distance from there (to any other point) that is greater than 3.5 kilometers.
From Vespers hours until late at night, vehicles are not allowed to drive in Chora. (They can be left in the community parking lots at each end) of the village.) Traffic moves along the small peripheral road.
Given the short distances on the island, you can walk all the way around it within 3 or 4 days. You can reach almost all the beaches (except those in the peninsula of Agios Vasileios, which is a private area) by passable dirt roads or short trails. What struck us on the island is the difficulty of access to certain parts because of tightly fenced-in properties (as at the beach of Papa t’Avlaki and the hill of Profitis Ilias).
There are no buses or taxis, but you can rent a motorbike or bicycle. There is a gas station on the road from Chora to Messaria.
Other Means of Transportation
Starting from the port of Mersini, there are daily trips around the island, and farther, with the tourist boat Aiolia. The basic tour, which costs 12 euros per person, circles the island, with two stops to swim in the bay of Gerolimnionas and at the islet of Fidousa. This very beautiful route gives you a chance to see the whole island, with its wonderful beaches (more than twenty) and its meandering coastline. A second excursion (offered 1 or 2 times a week) includes a visit to Keros, with a swim at the gorgeous Mouriama Beach, and a trip from there to Panagia in Kato Koufonisi (cost 35 euros/person). There are also trips to Iraklia and Pano Koufonisi. We believe it is worth taking some or all of these trips, if you can!
Make your reservations a day in advance at the Keros Travel Agency in Chora.
Of all the Small Cyclades islands, Schoinoussa and Koufonisia are the ones with the most beaches. We recorded nearly 24 spread out over every part of the island's coastline, and almost all are accessible either by dirt road or a short path. So by considering the wind direction, you can always find a nice beach for a swim where it won’t be too windy. Most noteworthy are the gorgeous beaches at Fykio and Psili Ammos, the idyllic Gerolimnionas, Pori in the Bay of Bazeos, and above all the Votsalakia (meaning little pebbles--the only non-sandy beaches on the island) at the southeast end of the island at Kavos Michali (Cape Michael).
The landscape in Schoinoussa is fairly flat. Located in the northern part of the island, west of Messaria, the tallest hill on the island features a ruined windmill at an altitude of 140 meters.
The island has a peculiarity: the entire peninsula of Agios Vasileios is private property, and third party access by land is not allowed. So you cannot enjoy the beautiful sandy beaches located there (Alygaria, Moli, Agios Vasileios, Santorinaiko).
There is a gas station on the road from Chora to Messaria.
There are no buses or taxis on the island.
There are no pharmacies on the island.
There is a Piraeus Bank ATM in Chora.
There is no free or organized camping.
The picturesque natural harbor of Schoinoussa in Mersini is considered the safest nautical refuge in this part of the Cyclades. Because it is difficult to moor large vessels in this harbor, construction of a new port has begun in the bay of Livadi, where archaeological findings have been excavated.
The island has a number of accommodations, but especially in August, be sure to make your reservations well in advance (at least from June).
Useful Phone Numbers
Community of Schoinoussa 22850-71170
Schoinoussa Citizens’ Service Center 22850-74250
Regional Health Clinic (Chora) 22850-71385
Port Authority 22850-29229