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The magic of Koufonisia ~ Cycladic Retreat reflections 🧿

A paradise found amid the crystal-clear waters and sun-kissed beaches of Koufonisia...

From the moment you arrive at Koufonisia's tiny port, this enchanting island has you under its spell. The colour of the water takes your breath away, the golden sand is soft under your feet, and any travel stress simply melts away. I felt my shoulders physically drop as soon as I set foot on Koufonisia, and writing this blog post and reflecting on such a wonderful time here brings me a deep sense of calm and gratitude.

This magical little island has a profound effect - time seems to slow down but pass by far too quickly simultaneously, its visitors glow with the air of travelers who have discovered a hidden gem, and easy-going, friendly locals offer the kindest and warmest welcome. The spirit of philotimo (φιλότιμο) is very much alive on Koufonisia - a Greek concept that has no direct translation to English, but evokes a spirit of kindness, loyalty and pride in ones actions - a spirit particularly alight in our hosts at Villa St Astra.

Here, overlooking the turquoise Aegean, beneath the endless azure skies with the breeze whistling through olive branches and wafting the scent of rosemary through the air, serenity envelopes you like a warm embrace, and retreating from the chaos of the everyday to connect through yoga and meditation is a effortlessly simple act.

Villa St Astra is tranquil and peaceful spot, just a short walk from Chora, the islands charming village, and beautiful beaches. Views from the villa offer a panorama of the neighbouring islands of Kato Koufonisi, Amorgos, Naxos, Santorini and intriguing Keros - an uninhabited island reserved only for archaeological research, that was a site of the Cycladic civilization around 2500 BC. Villa St Astra offer space to relax and unwind amongst the subtle and quiet luxury of the private pool, gardens, spa and dedicated yoga space. Vasilis, Achellias, Fofi and Lila welcomed us so kindly to this beautiful space that we were so lucky to call home for 6 days.

Morning yoga on Villa St Astra terrace, overlooking Keros
our morning yoga spot

Retreat days began with a hatha yoga, pranayama and guided meditation meditation, in a shaded corner of the villa grounds, always with those inspiring Cycladic views.

Each practice was curated to reflect the raw and elemental beauty of the island, with each day aligning us with one of the five elements, from grounding earthy energy, to flowy water, transformative fire, subtly powerful air and awe-inspiring ether, each of which are so alive and apparent on this extraordinary island.

Outdoor brunch of traditional Greek food
delicious brunch!

After our morning practice, our fantastic hosts Achilleas and Fofi prepared us the most delicious brunch of local and even some home-grown ingredients from the villa's vegetable patch. If you haven't ever had a Greek salad for breakfast, I can recommend it!

The days were then ours to explore. For such a small island (around 6km² in total), there is so much to discover!

The island's beaches can be reached on foot or on the small ferry that runs between each cove, and the coastal path offers some hidden secrets - we discovered natural pools, coves, and even natural salt pools for a luxurious salt scrub!

The waters of Pori bay on the east of the island are breathtaking, and journey a little further north shows the island's wild, uninhabited side, with the northerly wind blowing away any cobwebs!

Kato Koufonisi, the neighbouring island, is a short boat ride away, and offers an even more wild Cycladic experience - there is just a handful of homes on the island, one taverna, beautiful beaches and plenty of goats!

Chora offers charming boutiques, cafes and restaurants that we sampled each evening.

Lila, a friend, massage therapist and energy healer from Athens, proposed a variety of treatments and massages, offering an even deeper level of relaxation.

outdoor yoga space for yin yoga
evening yin yoga practice

Each evening we reconnected for a yin yoga and yoga nidra practice, this time in the beautiful yoga circle in the villa grounds, and revisited the elemental theme of each day as the sun began to set over neighbouring Naxos and the breeze blew through the olive trees. It sounds like bliss, and it really was!

Evening meals were enjoyed after a walk down the island's one road to Chora, passing sheep, goats, turkeys and chickens in the fields en route, sampling delicious local food and trying to save enough room for ice cream! There's plenty of delicious veggie options - the juiciest tomatoes I've ever eaten - as well as fresh fish, seafood and meat.

"The experience was made perfect by the villa , the people, the food .. but most importantly by the care, attention to detail, and knowledge that Hannah provided in the yoga sessions and in our experience of the island.

If you can join Hannah on one of her unique retreats don’t hesitate to go!


~ Vanessa H

Koufonisia truly took my breath away and surpassed any expectations I had of this beautiful part of the Cyclades. The retreat was a fulfilling, enriching and restorative experience that I was so grateful to share with such a wonderful group - my Koufonisia guinea pigs! This island, villa, and the friends I made in Koufonisia now hold a special place in my heart, and I can't wait to return next year.

So, if these sun-kissed shores are calling you - to explore this hidden-gem of an island, or simply to recharge your batteries under the Aegean sun and reconnect with your yoga practice and the wonders of the natural world around you, you can leave your email here

email here to be the first to get all the info about our 2025 Cycladic Retreat :

If you're looking for a closer to home retreat experience, the final spots our our Autumnal Retreat in the New Forest are available? You can find all the info here.

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