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Kythnos: the last hidden gem in the Aegean Sea

Cyclades ● Kythnos ● 29 August 2018
 
Kythnos is one of the last hidden gems in Greece. Although it is located in the island complex of the Cyclades, very close to Athens, only a few have explored this majestic island. It is really weird how this beautiful destination has remained so untouched, an unspoiled paradise away from mass tourism. It is a typically Cycladic island with white washed as well as neoclassical houses and traditional architecture. Furthermore, Kythnos has also majestic beaches, which are literally numerous.

This summer, I spent my vacation on this gorgeous island, and I was really impressed by its wild beauty. I highly recommend it for your next summer holidays in Greece, if you like the dry landscape of the Cyclades. Plus, it can easily be combined with your city-break in Athens as it is only a breath away from the Greek capital. Because Kythnos is a yet undiscovered island, an off-the-beaten-path destination in Greece, it also has low prices in the food, the accommodation and of course the ferry tickets as the route is truly short either from Piraeus or Lavrion port. Read here everything you need to know about Kythnos, all the best experiences I had, and get ready for an unexpectedly beautiful journey!

Things to do

Kythnos has very beautiful villages, which are definitely worth visiting. Thus, although you can visit it for a weekend from Athens, Kythnos is an interesting island, where you can spend many days or even weeks.

Chora

The Chora of Kythnos is situated at the top of a cliff and it was built there in order to be hidden from the pirates. It is a lovely village with white washed houses with bougainvilleas hanging from the windows, paved streets, cozy shops to buy local products, jewellery and clothes as well as traditional taverns and bars. It is calm, but the bars stay open until late and the youngsters of the island meet there. Chora is also full of small chapels that are built with the traditional architecture of the island.

Loutra

Loutra is the most touristic settlement of Kythnos. It is a seaside village, where you can eat breakfast, spend the night in one of the modern guesthouses and drink cocktail, listen to music and dance in a lovely bar by the sea. In Loutra, there are also thermal springs, one of the oldest in Greece. These springs are considered to be therapeutic, and one of their greatest assets is their low entrance ticket. Only 20 minutes there can cure many health issues, such as gynaecological or arthritic problems. Don't miss visiting the small cove of Agia Irini, 1 km away from Loutra, with the gorgeous small chapel at the edge of the cape. The beach of Loutra, at the entrance of the village, is also a lovely beach, one of the few organised beaches in Kythnos.
Loutra

Dryopida

Dryopida is a wonderful small settlement at the top of the cliff, which is definitely worth visiting. It has a different character to Loutra and Chora as it is built with the traditional architecture of Kythnos with many neoclassical houses with roof tiles. Dryopida is the perfect place to eat, have a walk in the cobblestone paths and drink cocktails at the central square.

Church of Panagia Kanala

The church of Panagia Kanala is located in a small coastal village on the southern side of the island. You can go there on your way to the southern exotic beaches of Kythnos, such as Gaidouromantra. This church is considered to be miraculous. The settlement is also very beautiful, hidden inside a forest of pine trees and with a gorgeous beach on the front. Near the main church, I adored a small white chapel with roof tiles at the edge of the cliff.

Merichas Port

The port of Merixa Kythnos is the busiest and most touristic place of the island. It is a typically Cycladic harbour with white houses but also modern buildings. There are a few hotels there as well as many fishing taverns to eat fresh fish by the sea. I also recommend that you eat breakfast there or drink cocktail on the coastline after your day on the beach.

Beaches

The most impressive thing with Kythnos is that it has more than 80 beaches all over the island. And some of them are really impressive, exotic paradises hidden in the Aegean Sea. Discover them and get ready to dive into emerald waters away from the crowds!

Kolona

Definitely the star of the island and one of the best beaches in Greece is Kolona, a narrow strip of golden sand, which connects the island with the small islet of Agios Loukas. It is a two-side beach, where you can go from one side to the other in less than one minute and enjoy swimming wherever you want. Emerald waters, soft sand and the white chapel of Saint Loukas at the top of the cliff create the ultimate summer picture of an exotic heaven on earth. The beach is not organised, but there is a gourmet restaurant at the edge of the bay, where you can eat or drink your cocktail. Moreover, there is a small cantina and some sunbeds and umbrellas 200 meters before reaching the beach. To go to Kolona, you have to drive through a dirt road (about 2km) from Apokrousi beach. If you don't like that, there is the alternative to take the small boat (every one hour) from Merichas.The day I spent in Kolona was the best day of my vacation thanks to the extreme beauty and the magic atmosphere of the place!

Kolona

Apokrousi, Episkopi and other organised beaches

Kythnos has remained untouched away from mass tourism. This authenticity you can find on the island means that it has only a few organised beaches. But the good news is that these beach bars are definitely worth the visit and are really cheap. Martinakia beach, the closest beach to Merixa Kythnos, is a small bay with crystal waters that has one of the best beach bars in the Cyclades. A boho-style restaurant (Hamsa) with gourmet Greek cuisine, cocktails and relaxing atmosphere that makes you feel like being in Mykonos but with much lower prices. I really loved it and spent hours there chilling out, relaxing and enjoying the super aura of this place.
Episkopi is a wonderful beach with tamarisk trees very close to the Chora, which has also a beautiful beach bar, where you can spend your whole day. The area around the beach is lovely with beautiful white houses seeming like having decorated the steep cliff.
Apokrousi, another organised beach, looks similar to Episkopi. You can make a stop there, and then go to the neighbouring Kolona. It is very promising, especially for those travelling in the high season, that these beaches, even the star Kolona, get not very crowded, and you can really enjoy calm moments.

The virgin beaches

On the other hand, Kythnos has literally numerous untouched beaches. The choices are countless. Gaidouromantra, Skylos, Naousa, Kanala, Kalo Livadi, Megali Ammos. Whenever you go, to Chora, to the port, to the church of Panagia Kanala or to Loutra, you can find a beach to swim and admire the endless blue. Just open the map and choose an exotic bay, to the most of them there is road network, but you have to drive through easy dirt road for some kilometres. Remember, however, to take an umbrella or hat and water with you, because the beaches are totally virgin. There are only a few houses, but you will definitely find your inner peace and be in contact with nature.Personally, I loved Gaidouromantra and the beach with the weird name (skylos=dog), which look like hidden gems in the middle of the Aegean Sea. I also went  to Naousa (aka Aosa), which is a family-friendly beach with an imposing white chapel at the top of a cliff nearby.
Agios Sostis

Food

In Kythnos, you can eat everything you eat on all Greek islands. Fresh fish, local dishes with seafood, such as grilled shrimps, octopus and oysters, as well as meat, famous recipes, such as mousaka and tzatziki, and of course souvlaki. In Chora, Merichas port, Dryopida and Loutra as well as on beaches, such as Kolona and Martinakia, you can find many gourmet restaurants and traditional Greek taverns with quality food at low prices. In Kythnos, you can also taste two delicious signature dishes that will travel you to a culinary paradise!

Sfouggato

The most popular meze on the island is a plate of sfouggata, which are small pieces of the local goat cheese trima fried with eggs and flour. It is the ultimate appetizer to start your lunch or dinner and can be combined with fish, seafood or meat.

Koukoulopita

Koukoulopita is a thin pie with the local goat cheese, onion and dill. You may find it simple, but it is a unique sample of the creative and delicious Greek cuisine on the islands.


How to get there and Greek Island Hopping

Kythnos is located in a very short distance to Athens. Specifically, you can go to the island either from Piraeus Port by boat in less than 3 hours or from Lavrion port in less than 2 hours. Thus, the ferry tickets, even if you want to take a car with you, are significantly cheap. Piraeus is accessible by train from Athens center easier than Lavrion, but from Lavrion the route is much shorter. Moreover, Kythnos, as above mentioned, is situated in the island complex of the Cyclades, which means that there are many neighboring beautiful islands to go in less than one hour if you want to do Greek Island Hopping. The closest and most convenient Cycladic islands near Kythnos are Kea and Serifos.

Kea

Kea (also known as Tzia) is the closest island to Athens (one hour from Lavrion port) and gets popular during the weekends of summer. However, it has kept its authentic character, and most of its beaches are secluded offering you the privacy you want. Organised beaches with touristic facilities are Gialiskari, Koundouros and Korissia with their golden sand and turquoise waters making swimming and sunbathing a wonderful experience. Kea has the typical mountainous wild landscape of Cyclades, but the architecture of its seaside villages is not typically Cycladic as they are built with neoclassical houses that are still well-preserved. Ioulida is the Chora of the island on the slopes of the hill, and it is a perfect spot to spend your weekend away from mass tourism. Korissia is the port of Kea and the main tourist resort. Other picturesque villages are Otzias, Vourkari, Pisses and Spathi. You can go to Kea on your way back to Athens in about 30 minutes.
Kea

Serifos

Serifos is an island with gorgeous beaches, such as Agios Sostis, Psilli Ammos, Kalo Ampeli and Ganema, and a typical Cycladic Chora on the top of a cliff, from where you can have a magnificent view of the Aegean Sea and the neighbouring islands. When reaching the island, you can't believe that it is so close to Athens (2 hours by boat). The central square is the best spot of the Chora. Don't miss the famous bar "Yacht Club" in the port. Serifos is located only half an hour by boat from Kythnos.
Serifos

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