Greek Guide

Kythnos Island Greece Guide Kythnos

Kythnos Island Greece Greek Holiday Destinations

Kythnos is one of the Greek Cyclades Islands located in the Aegean Sea 92 nautical miles south east of the mainland port of Piraeus. Some travel writers say it's the dullest and most barren of all the islands in the archipelago. It depends what you're looking for. You certainly don't come here for all night partying, swanky hotels and tourist beaches packed with foreign bodies. But if you want a taste of the "real Greece ", untouched by mass tourism and uncrowded even at the height of the season then you've come to the right place.

The island attracts few foreign visitors but it's popular with Athenian weekenders due to its lack of commercialisation and its proximity to the Greek capital. Daily ferry services connect the island with Piraeus (two and a half hours) and the neighbouring islands of Sifnos, Serifos, Kimolos and Milos. Flying Dolphins to and from the mainland take just an hour and a half.

Kythnos doesn't offer the frantic tourist activity of the more popular islands such as Mykonos, Santorini and Ios. But it does offer traditional Cycladic villages where the locals are warm and hospitable (not having been worn down by international tourism), some lovely beaches (some only accessible by boat) and the famous thermal springs which have been providing alternative therapy for a variety of ailments for centuries.

You'll arrive at the small port of Merihas on the west coast where the majority of the island's small selection of accommodation is centred. The best beaches are to the north of the port and the prettiest villages are inland Hora, the capital, and Dryopida to the east of Merihas.

Dryopida was the island's ancient capital in the Middle Ages and takes its name from the island's pre Hellenic inhabitants, the Dryopes whose king Kithnos is responsible for the island's current name. A Mesolithic site in the north dates back to 7500 6000 BC and is the oldest settlement to have been uncovered in the whole of the Cyclades.

In 2002 Greek archaeologists made one of their most exciting finds of recent years when they discovered the unplundered inner sanctum of an ancient temple at Vryokastro in the west of the island. More than 1,500 priceless objects were found including 220 gold and silver items, 70 terracotta figurines and broken pottery adorned with images believed to be the work of master painters of ancient times.

Set off on foot, on a moped or in a 4x4 and you'll discover a magical island of whitewashed houses, windmills, blue domed churches, ancient sites and a way of life which seems hardly to have changed for centuries. There's a stark beauty in the harsh mountainous terrain peppered with the figs, vines and goats which are important elements of the islanders' livelihood.

Just remember to bring a good book to read in the evening!