The fantastic island of Kythera
The island of goddess Aphrodite
Kythera is a fantastic island located opposite the Laconic Gulf, out on the open sea, south of the Peloponnese. According to Greek Mythology, Aphrodite; goddess of beauty and love was born at the sea of Kythera, when drops of the blood of Uranus touched the sea, after him being severely injured by Titan Kronos.
A mystic place of unparalleled beauty full of contrasts that enchants the visitor! Located at the crossroads of maritime routes to/from the eastern Mediterranean Sea, between Cape Maleas and cape Taenaron, opposite the legendary Laconian land. Kythira, the Venetians’ Cerigo, has been inhabited since the Neolithic era and it has always been a welcoming place for pirates, colonists, ascetics and persecuted.
A magnificent island with a unique relief, pristine landscapes and rough rocky canyons, abandoned citadels and byzantine churches, remote castles and picturesque villages, cascades and old watermills, deep coves, extended beaches and shipwrecks…
The island of Kythera has a very rich wild flora, with approximately 800 types of floral species, most of them are fine herbs (daily included in the local diet) and shrubs with therapeutic – pharmaceutical qualities. During spring, as the wild flowers are in full blossom, the island is transformed in a wonderful canvas of colors and smells, whilst in summer time and autumn, one can enjoy better the sparkling blue crystalline sea. Throughout the year Kythera is a splendid place to be.
The island of Kythera has many springs, most of which are in the central and northern parts of the island. Tap water is drinkable on the island.
The island of Kythera is famous for its delicious local products: tasteful wine, extra virgin olive oil, pure honey from thyme and other fine herbs, Tsipouro and Fatourada traditional alcoholic beverages, typical olive-oil rusks (“rusks of Kythera”), several types of jams, traditional pasta, unprocessed pure sea salt, great variety of fine herbs. Also one can find traditional ceramics and many locally made art-crafts and souvenirs with the indigenous flower of Sempreviva (a species of yellow Amaranth).
We strongly recommend you to buy local products as souvenirs and gifts to take back home!
Places to visit:
Avlemonas; a picturesque fishing village that was an important anchorage for larger ships during the Venetian period. It was there that in 1802, a ship that transported the Parthenon’s sculptures and other Athenian’s treasures on behalf of Lord Elgin, was shipwrecked and the rumor of a missing box still attracts treasure hunters today.
Diakofti; once a small and forgotten fishing village that it is actually the main port of Kythera, situated in an exotic landscape.
Mylopotamos; a lovely traditional village with a beautiful, picturesque and partly with dense vegetation gorge, with the ruins of old water mills and water that flows everywhere forming various small waterfalls throughout the gorge. Mylopotamos in Greek language means “Mill Stream”.
Kato Chora; a ruined city with its castle that use to be the capital of Kythera during the Venetian period. It is situated very close to Mylopotamos, high above the steep west coast.
Potamos; the largest village of the island and the economic center of the north, with several traditional houses, some beautiful neo-classical buildings, as well as the school and the impressive arched bridge from the British period. There are significant sites in its vicinity, such as the monastery of the island patron-saint Theodoros and the ruins of the medieval city of Paleochora.
Paleochora (also Agios Dimitrios); the wealthy island capital for a long time in the late Middle Ages, until 1537 when the pirates of Hayreddin Barbarossa climbed up through the impassable gorge of Kaki Lagada and the city was plundered and destroyed, whilst its inhabitants massacred and sold into slavery. Few lonely Byzantine churches are still standing among the ruins of the castle walls and houses.
Chora of Kythera; the capital of the island and so the administrative center. A place so beautiful and picturesque as if it came out of a picture book: A castle high above the south coast, the traditional settlement on the slope, the port of Kapsali at the double bay below, a little further to the south the offshore islet Chytra and Antikythera on the horizon.
Agia Pelagia; the main port until 1995, it is today the most touristic part of Kythera, mainly due to its proximity to several beautiful beaches, one of them at the exit of the Kaki Lagada gorge.
Karavas; a village composed by several hamlets, most of them half or completely abandoned. However, the central village of Karavas is very traditional and rustic.
The lighthouse of Moudari; a 25 m high lighthouse at Cap Spathi, the northernmost point of the island, built in 1857 during the British period. It is one of the largest of its kind in Greece. From there, the view is really breathtaking and gives the sensation as if one is standing at the end of the world...
Walking is surely the best way to explore this beautiful island. Experience Kythera in our Island walking and sightseeing holiday! Scenic hikes on trails with panoramic view, abandoned citadels, ruined water-mills, imposing gorges, extended smooth bays, rough steep rocky coasts, endless sparkling blue sea, old shipwrecks, historical and cultural places, traditional lively villages, deserted hamlets, picturesque towns, delicious local cuisine, friendly local people, and all these in a typical Mediterranean scenery in a very picturesque Greek Island. Be it guided, semi-guided, or self-guided, this is an unforgettable walking and sightseeing holiday for all!
If you love cycling; ask for our tailor-made biking vacations in Kythera.
How to reach Kythera:
- From Laconia (Peloponnese). By ferry from Neapolis (daily) or Gythion (once a week).
- From Piraeus, once a week. A long trip in the Myrtoan Sea; practically following the east coast of the Peloponnese.
- By airplane. The island has an airport with frequent flights from/to Athens.
We strongly recommend you to combine your holidays on the island of Kythera, with a tailor-made travel experience in the Peloponnese. Depending on the duration of your vacations, you can go on a tour in Mani Peninsula, visit the impressive Byzantine citadel of Mystras, stay and visit the island-like peninsula of Monemvasia with its fairy-tale citadel, extend your holidays at the east part of the Peloponnese, even explore the entire Peloponnese!