Connoisseurs of small, off-the-beaten-track Greek islands will love Fourni! A visit here will take you back to the feel of the smaller Greek islands as they were back in the 1980s. Fourni is the largest of a mini-archipelago comprising around a dozen islands - some very small indeed - scattered between Samos and Ikaria. Only two are inhabited.
A combination of a remote location and the shelter/hiding places provided by the many bays and coves to be found within the archipelago meant that the islands were the lair of pirates in past centuries. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the seas around Fourni can be treacherous, and more shipwrecks (58 to date, dating from 4BC) have been found here than anywhere else in the Med - a treasure trove for marine archaeologists.
Fourni is craggy and hilly and measures 31 sq kms. The main settlement is halfway down the west coast and also called Fourni (aka Korseon). It's an attractive little port hemmed in by off-shore islands, enabling very lovely sunsets, with an authentic traditional village atmosphere - sleepier during the day than at night - and a working harbour and boatyard.
Surprisingly for such a small island, Fourni boasts the largest fishing fleet in the Aegean - it is the mainstay of the island economy - so the half dozen tavernas along the front are the places to come for fresh fish and seafood, which is plentiful and well priced (island lobster is especially good value). A pretty paved main street, shaded by mulberry trees, is lined with characteristic village shops and leads up to a square with a couple of cafes and the church. To one side of the harbour is a nice little tamarisk-shaded sand-shingle beach, and a 15 minute walk over the headland north or south brings you to others, such as Kambi which has a pair of tavernas.
There are many fine beaches hidden in the bays around the island, mostly sheltered, unorganised with few (if any) facilities, and lapped by the clearest of seas. In season there is a minibus and a water taxi service to a selection, and there is also a taxi. We loved Petrokopio 3 kms to the south of Fourni Korseon (a 10 minute drive or a 50 minute walk). With a backdrop of a marble quarry dating from ancient times - large blocks of rejected marble, some partly worked columns, are scattered around - the beach is of gleaming white pebbles (sandy once in the sea) lapped by translucent turquoise waters, and the swimming is quite magical.
It is worth hiring a car locally for a few days to explore a little. The one main road runs for 18 kms., from Chrysomilia in the north to Agios Ioannis in the south, and enables access to other pristine beaches and a handful of small villages. You will enjoy wonderful views and meet more goats than cars!
Walking opportunities are good and there is a detailed walking map available (published by Terrain). From nearly all points you have fabulous vistas of the rugged but fertile landscape, nearby islands and the sea, encountering blue domed chapels en route. Walk down to a beach and the chances are you will have it largely to yourself - but do go prepared as there are no facilities on most.
Day trips can be had to the island of Thimena opposite and Ikaria but there are no organised tours; Fourni is an island where you are left to your own devices. Its appeal is to those wanting a quiet holiday away from the crowds and to discover the charms of this very traditional, friendly little island in your own time.
On Fourni you really have no option other than total relaxation - it's a complete escape, a Greek island holiday as it used to be!