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Koufonisi Island

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Koufonisi Island

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Koufonisi Island Excursion from Heraklion. The island of Koufonisi is a Wildlife Refuge. Due to its incredible natural beauty and important ecosystem, it has been included in the European initiative NATURA 2000. The excursion operates every Tuesday & Friday, with pick-ups: East of Heraklion (starting Malia, Stalis through Hersonissos, Gouves, Heraklion) and West Heraklion (Amoudara, Lygaria, Agia Pelagia). Our excursion includes: Pick-up service at or near your hotel & return, guided tours, the boat ticket, Lunch, & entrance. Available Tour Languages are: English.


Tour info

1 day
Tour Type:
Sea Excursion
Group size:
~50 pax

Accompanied service

Guides Transport Insurance Lunch


Morning Pick up: We will start collecting participants from pick-up points in the morning. Depending on the place of your hotel/apartment the bus drive will differ.

Bus Drive: 1.5 hours

1st stop: Ierapetra: The most southern and warmest town of Europe and departure place for the boat to Koufonisi island. Embarkation on boat and across the Libyan Sea to the uninhabited island.

Departure from Ierapetra (10:00)

Sailing (10:00-12:00): Listening to pleasant music, we travel all the way to the South, on the borders of Europe and Africa, in the embrace of the Libyan Sea, with flying companions the herring gulls and -if we are lucky- dolphins.

2nd stop: Cruise around the island of Koufonisi (12:00-15:45): As the ship approaches the island, we will have the chance to see the lovely beaches, the caves, and magical bays the seawater formed in its soft rock formations. Our ship will moor at wind-sheltered beaches. Swim Stop. Lunch on Board.

Departure to return to Ierapetra (15:45)

Arrival at the port of Ierapetra (18:15)

End of the tour – Return to resorts: Embarkation in the buses and drive back to the hotels where we gathered participants in the morning. Depending on traffic and on the pick-up places of each one, the time of journey back to the hotel will differ.

Bus Drive: 1.5 hours

Special offer


Koufonisi Island Excursion from Heraklion - (BOAT TICKET & LUNCH INCLUDED!)

Spend an unforgettable day sailing the Libyan Sea and visit an uninhabited Greek islet, Koufonisi. Explore its golden sand and swim in the crystal clear waters. On the island, ancient ruins cover its surface and can be dated from the Minoan civilisation and the post-Byzantine era. Koufonissi is the ancient island of Lefki (means “White”), because of its white rocks and sand.

Pick-up's from:
Sissi, Malia, Stalis, Hersonissos (port), Koutouloufari, Piskopiano, Anissaras, Analipsis, Gouves, Gournes, Kokkini Hani, Amnissos, Karteros, Heraklion (port), Amoudara (Gazi, Heraklion), Lygaria, Agia Pelagia. [Check the pick-up table list below to find out which is the most convenient pick-up point & time, near your hotel]

Operating Days:
Every Tuesday, Friday

English: All days

Tour includes:
✔ Air-conditioned transportation with pick-up and drop-off services from your hotel or a nearby location
✔ Professional Driver
✔ The assistance of a tour escort throughout the tour
✔ Boat Tickets (cruise to the island)
✔ Lunch / Buffet on Board
✔ Local taxes are included in the tour package to avoid any additional charges
✔ Liability insurance coverage by ALLIANZ to ensure your safety and security during the tour

Extra Fees (not included in the price)
Extras payable on the spot:  Snacks / Coffee, Umbrellas / Sunbeds (optional)

Tour highlights:
• Enjoy a morning bus drive to South Crete
• Visit the picturesque island of Koufonissi
• Swim in the emerald green waters

Essentials to have with you:
• Hat / Sunglasses / Sunscreen
• Swimsuit / Beach towel
• Comfortable shoes
• Water
• Passport

Southeast Crete

9-10 hours approximately - 180-240 km. (depending on where you get on)

Koufonisi Island Excursion from Heraklion. Koufonisi or Lefki is situated in the Libyan Sea, in the southeastern part of Crete, south of the prefecture of Lasithi, at a distance of 3,5 nautical miles south-southeast of Cape Goudoura, and 10 nautical miles southeast of Makrys Gialos. It is the biggest in a cluster of islets and skerries (Koufonisi, Makroulo, Stroggylo, Trachila, and Marmara), and has a distinct history and natural beauty. The island is about 6 kilometers long, 5.5 kilometers wide, and has an area of 4,26 square kilometers.

The self-service bar (buying anything from the bar is not included in the price) of the ship shall remain open throughout the cruise, offering light meals, with salads, wine, soft drinks, coffee, ice creams, etc.

As the ship approaches the island, you will have the chance to see the lovely beaches, the caves, and magical bays the seawater formed in its soft rock formations.

Koufonisi has 36 stunning beaches, with fine white sand, and emerald waters. Some of them, such as Asproulos, Hiliaderfia, Faros and Anemertia next to the Roman theater, could easily be among the best in Europe. Many years ago, a British yacht anchored in Hiliaderfia for a week, with Prince Charles and Princess Diana onboard.

The ship shall moor on a wind-protected beach, and you will disembark by boat.

The island’s vegetation is low and bushy, almost Steppic, with rare -for Crete and Greece- species. If you feel like hiking, bear in mind that not all areas are accessible, and you need to wear snickers, a hat and sunscreen.

Koufonisi is a habitat for tens of migratory birds. Among the reproductive species, there are the common Gull, various waterfowl, and predators. Other animals include the Aegean lizard, which usually lays under the sun on white rocks.

The island’s name "Koufonisi" (trans.: Hollow Island) derives from the caves and caverns formed by the seawater and the rain on its soft rock formations. While you are there, you will have the chance to see the white rocks, against the backdrop of the Libyan Sea’s endless blue, enjoy the tranquillity of nature, and swim in the crystal clear waters. The landscape will dazzle you, changing from steep rocky shorelines, to caves with white and yellow rocks, and unearthly dunes.

The island is uninhabited today but still filled with remnants of past human activity that starts from the Early Minoan times until the post-Byzantine era. The locals like to call Koufonisi as Delos of Crete, due to the significant archaeological monuments found there, including a stone theater, which is the southernmost ancient theater in Europe, with a capacity of 1,000 people, and a settlement, which was looted and destroyed in antiquity, where an impressive villa, with 8 still preserved rooms, and another house with 16 rooms were unearthed. However, the most important monument is the Roman public bath complex, which was used from the 1st until the 4th century AD and bore evidence of lavish decoration. The archaeological monuments are currently not visitable.

In antiquity, Koufonisi was an important hub for sponge fishing and porphyry -known as gastropod- processing, where ancient Greeks and Byzantines were extracting the wildly popular purple color from. The island had strategic importance due to its position and was claimed by the inhabitants of Itanos and Ierapetra, only to be conquered by Itanos.

In the southern part of the island, there is a temple unpreserved for thousands of years until 1920, which is when it was completely destroyed, to give its place to a brand new lighthouse. Large pieces from the devotional statue and many smaller ones from the temple were used in the creation of the lighthouse. In the early Byzantine times, the island was used by monks, who engraved figures of saints and inscriptions in Latin on the walls of caves found on the west coast. Finally, the scenic chapel of Agios Nikolaos, patron of seamen, is located on the north of the island.

Today, the island is a haven for fishermen, away from the strong winds and rough seas of the Libyan Sea. In recent years, the wealth of its history and environment were discovered and studied. This knowledge and the natural beauty of the island are a gift to visitors who must respect and protect it.

Thus, the following are prohibited:

- Any kind of pollution
- The collection of rocks, fossils, shells, ancient finds and plants
- Catching animals
- Starting a fire
- Any activity that will threaten the ecosystem and the archaeological sites

Explore this incredible, untouched paradise...

Age Definition:
Adults: Over 12 years old  (Full fare)
Children: 4-12 years old  (50% discount)
Infants: 0-3 years old  (Free of charge)

Booking Guiding Lines:
Your Tour Language: Please check in the description which tour languages are available per day, and make sure your desired language is available on your chosen date
Your Pick-up Point: Please check the list with all available pick-up points (and hours) from your area, in the table below

This excursion includes in its price: Your transfer r/t from your hotel, Boat tickets, Lunch and island entrance. The Adult Fare is applied to passengers of any age above 12 years old. The Child Fare applies to children between 4 and 12 years old (50% discount + extra's if chosen) and the Infant Fare to any child under 4 years old (Free of Charge // No seat reserved).

Just to help you see which pick-up suits you best, here's a table of hotel accommodations and their nearest pick-ups:

Koufonisi Island Excursion from Heraklion Pick Up Table

Pick up place Pick up time
Sissi 08:50
Nikos hotel - Filipidis S/M 08:50
Malia church 08:45
Malia Bay - Malia Park - Sirens 08:50
Drossia - Kernos Beach - Ikaros Village 08:50
Alexander Beach - Ariadni 08:45
Cactus - Aktia 08:40
Mochos Cross 08:35
Stalis bus stop - Blue Sea 08:35
Nana B/S - Mediterraneo 08:30
Belvedere - Eri bus stop 08:30
Silva Beach - Pela Maria 08:25
National Bank - Chalkiadakis S/M 08:25
Koutouloufari (Esperides Resort) 08:25
Piscopiano well (pigadi) 08:25
Mathioudakis - Creta Maris 08:20
Hersonissos Village 08:20
Knossos Royal - Royal Mare - Annabelle 08:15
Cretan Village - Laguna - Chrissi Amoudia 08:10
Serita - Zorbas – Anissa - Bella - Lytos 08:05
Analipsi Beach  Road 08:00
Analipsi Bus stop 08:00
Amirantes B/S 07:55
Gouves Beach  Road 07:50
Gouves Cross-Lavris 07:45
Gournes Church 07:40
Rinela - Hatzis 07:35
Knossos Beach - Arina 07:30
Karteros - Amnissos 07:25
Astoria Hotel - Galaxy Hotel 07:15
Heraklion port - 18 Agglon Sq. (Koules fortress roundabout) 07:05
Giofyros (Meliriton) 06:55
Amoudara 06:50
Agia Pelagia - Lygaria: Pick-ups are available from any accommodation in Agia Pelagia and Lygaria via shuttle service. A minimum of 2 adult participants is required. 06:40

LET US HELP! Please don't hesitate to contact us, in order to help you out choose the best pick-up that suits you best!

1. Customers who for any reason fail to participate in our excursions are obliged to inform us at least 24 hours in advance. Otherwise, no refund will be given. Cancelling at least 24 hours prior to departure, 100% full refund!
2. reserves the right to alter or cancel any tour, due to adverse weather conditions or, insufficient passenger number or, force majeure.

► We do return money in case of bad weather (when the excursion is cancelled by the organizer tour operator).
► IMPORTANT: You need to be at least 10 minutes prior to your pick-up time at your pick-up point.


For further information or bookings please call at telephone No. (+30) 2810341560


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This excursion is eligible for the Summer 2024 Special Offer Discount!VisitCrete's Excursions Special Offers 2024

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