Welcome to Kythnos! Not sure how I can describe in a few hundred words an authentic Greek island, its beauties, its tastes and smells but also all the other senses it engages you with- from the moment the boat door opens and you inhale an aroma mixture of thyme, fennel, sage with salt and sea air- but I will try to convey all the love I have for this place, through the following.
By Julia Vagiani
The island is only accessible by two ferry routes. One from Piraeus which takes about three hours, and another from Lavrion port which is less than two hours. You can also visit Kythnos direct from other nearby islands in the Cyclades. The closest airport is Athens, which is only 30 minutes from Lavrion port. Of course, you can rent a yacht or a speed boat, even a helicopter if your budget allows since there is a helidrome on the island.
Kythnos has come under the spotlight over the last few years, thanks to the advantages of proximity, natural quiet beaches, relaxing landscape, and picturesque villages.
Where to Stay
The accommodation proposals are still growing due to the popularity of the island and it strives to provide availability in the high season months but also over time for all budgets. Prices and offerings range from traditional houses, hotels, suites, and villas, or private studios and apartment rooms- there really is a wide range to choose from.
What to Do
Activities are developing and visitors are able to go kayaking, do yoga on the beach or in private, go island hopping with speed boats or sail around the island with a yacht, enjoy some hiking, scuba, snorkelling, or take pottery classes.
Where to Swim
Kythnos has approximately 100 beaches formed like a surrounding lace that creates shores, coves, bays and hidden tiny beaches that can be explored- from organised with beach bars to literally tranquil “deserted feel like” points, that can’t be seen from above. Others are accessible by car, some by boat or by foot, from white irregular pebbles, crispy sand with tamarisk trees to cast a shadow or totally bare for those who can’t get enough of the Greek sun!
Just the view of the rocky surrounding, the sun peeking through, the whiter whites, the browns and greys, glowing metallic blue, crystal clear transparent turquoise blue waters, one can find at least one beach to call his favourite. The most famous beach on the island, Kolona, which took its name from the shape of the wide sand beach that divides the sea in two and connects the island with the island of Agios Loukas, is crowded with boats that visit from spring to autumn; it remains as a highlight attraction.
Apokrousi beach is one of the longest beaches with armirikia (tamarisk) trees that offer shade, a couple of beach bars one on the side and another in the middle of the beach, and two tavernas to serve your appetite if you decide to stay all the way till the mesmerizing sunset. The road allows access for all types of cars and motorcycles and that makes it very attractive, especially for the last swim before you catch the return ferry!
Where to Eat
Bars & cafes are in every town the island has from your arrival at the port, going to Chora café bar or brunch, or arriving at Loutra, try having a café on the beach or a delicious waffle with ice cream.
Eating on the island is an exploration in itself. From having breakfast at traditional kafenio (coffee shop) eating pies (cheese pie with fresh eggs, local cheese and fennel) and kolopi (horta/green vegetable pie), buy handmade pasteli (sesame and honey-sweet) and amigdalota (soft, rose-scented almond cookies) to delicious desserts, fresh fish, Mediterranean seafood, traditional taverns with handmade products of their own production and breeding, to the most modern restaurants with gastronomic and gourmet suggestions, Kythnos covers all tastes!
Not to be missed, the delicious taste of local lemon juice pork, the remarkably unforgettable red sauce goat, ambelofasoula (green long been salad) which you could sense the chlorophyll tingling your mouth, (saliagous) snails cooked in onion red sauce, a plate of the famous sfougato a kind of small cheese ball croquette made with local cream cheese – and of course the caparosalata (caper salad mash) a mouthful of gourmet in its most simple form!
What to See
Visit Panagia (Holy Mother) Kanala church, which is the patron saint of Kythnos to worship, light a candle in her icon which is considered miraculous and admire the temple and the location. Other churches and chapels can be visited, especially if your visit falls on a celebration of a saint and the local panigiri (festivity) it’s worth going and mixing with the locals, to enjoy the traditional music, dances, food and wine offered.
Katafiki cave is believed to be one of the biggest caves in Greece and was first encountered in the 1830s. It has unique and interesting stalagmites and rock formations. Till 1939, it was used as an iron mine and locals used it to keep food cool, but also as a place of gathering and celebrations. Located in Driopida, it’s worth visiting if you find it open to the public.
In Chora, you will find the Folklore Museum, in a traditional house with an extensive collection of the traditional setting of how households, clothes, furniture and significant folk-art objects. The exhibits provide an idea of life in the past and have historical significance.
Buy your gifts to take back home to your friends from handmade wood art objects, to sublime cosmetics or buy a jar of local thyme honey and other gifts, but most important take back the calm and rest you have captured, tell your friends about Kythnos, show off your amazing tan and those pictures you took!
For more information and details about the island head to Your Kythnos
Images by Julia Vagiani ©