If you come for search of solitude and peace, I suppose you don’t have any problems with what to do when you find such a place like Donoússa.
What I recommend you to do is to walk around the island on the old donkey paths and enjoy the stillness, the rugged beauty of the barren landscape, the sea-lashed rocks, the little coves along the coastline, which sometimes hide a beautiful sandy beach. One thing though that you must consider; normal physical strength are needed since Donoússa is a rather mountainous island. The highest level is at 383 meters, which is much for such a small island.
I mainly did two longer walks, the first from Stavrós to the village of Kalotarítisa in the North. This is a rather steep path and after about 45 minutes I reached the highest point of the track. This part of the road was very windy, and I was lucky not to loose my cap in the wind. At this level the wind was chilly, so it’s wise to bring some warm clothing to put on, if it’s a windy day. I stayed at the top-level of the path for a while, admiring the view to the north were I could see Kalotarítisa and a couple of beaches at a distance down by the sea level. Then I continued down the path towards Kalotarítisa, which I reached about 30 minutes later. Kalotarítisa is a small settlement with a few families, mostly fishermen I believe. It has one tavern that wasn’t opened when I visited late June, or perhaps it’s open for the locals during the evening?
The second walk I did was from Stavrós to the little settlement of Mersiní. I later continued down to the Livádi beach. This path is not quit as steep as the first one I did, but good shoes and much water is recommended! This one takes about 1 hour 45 minutes. The scenery on this path is absolute wonderful, varying with green-brown hills, small areas of cultivated fields, ravines with tiny streams often dry and sometimes at a distance the blue-green sea. Another nice thing is the strong scent from different herbs you will experience as you walk through the landscape.
Mersiní is a small village mostly inhabitant by farmers. Bring food and water with you cause you will not find any tavern here. But in a few years you maybe will! The authorities are now building a road for cars between Stavrós and Mersiní. It will of course make it easier for the inhabitants to get supplies, but at the same time there is a risk of more commercialized island. I hope that the development of the tourist trade is made with caution on such a virgin island as Donoússa.
[Note: I wrote the above in 1997. The road is now reality and has, sorry to say, destroyed much of the
old donkey tracks.]
Another path that you can walk is between Mersiní and Kalotarítisa or vice versa. I haven’t done it yet and if you are thinking of doing it, you must walk around the whole island in order to get back to your room in the evening. Be prepared for a 4 - 5 hours walk.
[Comment: Half the distance between the two settlements Mersiní and Kalotarítisa are now a dust road
which is a disappointment for lovers of trekking!]