Get a taste of the island’s wonderful diversity by discovering its coves and beaches -some of the most beautiful of the Aegean, as well as its villages fragrant with the subtle scents of the Cyclades, still untouched by mass tourism.
First impressions: The rather randomly built harbor of Merichas may not make the best impression. Nevertheless it would be unfair to get the wrong idea about Kythnos. Its landscape is a pure Mediterranean one and fortunately a little of it has been altered by mass tourism industry.
However, quite a few speed boat owners have discovered every beach on the island, even the most deserted ones, given that they are only a few miles away from the coast of Attica.
History at a glance: Human presence on the island dates back to the Mesolithic Era (7500-6500 BC). The first name of Kythnos- Dryopida, derives from the pre-Hellenic tribe, the Dryopes who migrated here from the Greek mainland. Its current name originated from their king, Kythnos. In the 8th BC century, the Ionians came. During the Middle Ages, Kythnos constantly changed hands. Venetians, Franks, pirates and Turks, all fought for sovereignty. The island became a part of the newly established Greek state together with the rest of the Cyclades islands, in 1827.
Exploring the villages
Dryopida: Syllakas or Dryopida, retains the features of an authentic Cycladic settlement. Rambling around its neighborhoods “Galatas” and “Pera Rouga” is fascinating. The whitewashed island houses are teeming with life, and numerous churches with open doors wait for the faithful ones. Look for the small Byzantine Museum housed in the Church of Ai Giorgi (St. George) as well as the Folk Art Museum
Chora: The island’s capital was built (17th century) in a prominent position on the hillside. The main alleway called “Piazza” by the locals, lined with a few small shops, runs through the town. Many tavernas are found along the way or on the roof-terraces of the old houses offering panoramic views.
Near Merichas’ port: In Merichas’ port the small clean beach seems like been trapped by an abundance of buildings and yachts. On the road towards Chora the fine sandy beaches of Martinakia, Episkopi and Apokrousi are particularly worth visiting. The best beach in Kythnos is Kolona with its twin stretches of sand and peculiar landscape.
Loutra Bay: As it is only 4 kilometers far from Chora and protected from the north winds, is well known also as a sheltered anchorage and a busy mooring point. The nearest beach is Schinari, shaded by tamarisk trees. Further north you will find the more deserted beaches of Potamia, Sarandou and Agios Sostis.
Panagia Kanala: It is the main resort on the island (8 km from Dryopida) with several hotels, rooms for rent and two beautiful beaches – “Antonides” and “Megali Ammos”, rather besieged by intense, unregulated construction.
For peace and quiet: The wonderful bay of Agios Stefanos lies in the shade of tamarisk trees. There are rooms to rent here. For ultimate isolation look for the Naousa and Ai Yiannis. To the west we must mention the very nice sandy beach of Panagia Flambouriani while at the southernmost tip of the island you will find the bay of Agios Dimitrios hosting a seashore and a taverna.
Loutra hot springs: The underground thermal spring waters, rich in salts, iodine, iron and sulfur, and their curative properties have been recorded here since antiquity. There are well organized spa facilities and accommodation in Loutra village (TEL +30 22810 31217).
Forgotten castles: Starting from Loutra you can take the rough trail up to the Castle of Oria, which was the medieval capital of the island. It is probably easier to get to Vryokastro, -the main city during ancient times-, by hiking the steep path a short way up from the beach Apokrousi.
Copyright photo: Theo Athanasiadis / Views Of Greece
Copyright text: Germaine Alexakis/ Views Of Greece
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