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Why Should I Visit Kythnos?

Kythnos at a glance

Just two hours from Athens, Kythnos is one of the best kept secrets in the Cyclades. Despite its dry, barren hills, it is a picturesque island whose crenelated coastline conceals dozens of enchanting coves and wonderful beaches.

It is a special place, where the difficult lives of the inhabitants in the past are reflected in countless examples of folk culture, including the 359 tiny whitewashed churches scattered around the island’s interior. Renowned as a spa destination because of its thermal springs, it was once known as “Thermia”.

Unpretentious and authentic, this one-of-a-kind Cycladic island with an artistic personality and unique gastronomic culture is an ideal location for lovers of authenticity looking for something different from their holiday. You can visit it by choosing a ferry ticket to Kythnos.

7 reasons to visit Kythnos
  1. To wander around the attractive mountain village of Dryopida, with its narrow winding streets, beautiful old fig trees and neoclassical buildings with tiled roofs. Stop in the main square for coffee and visit some of the pretty churches in the neighbourhoods of Galatas and Pera Rouga.
  2. To visit the historic monastery of the Virgin Mary of Nikous. Legend has it that a miraculous icon of the Madonna was brought here after the Fall of Constantinople and then spirited away to Venice, where it is now held in Saint Mark’s Basilica.
  3. To relax in the famous thermal springs of Loutra, the first spa in the modern Greek state, which opened in 1857. The now abandoned hotel and the marble baths of King Otto and Queen Amalia are protected cultural monuments.
  4. To visit the Monastery of the Virgin Mary of Kanala, built in 1869. It is the oldest monastery on Kythnos and is dedicated to the island’s protectress. Admire its superb architecture and enjoy its beautiful sea view.
  5. To go to the cultural festival, Kythnia, which is held every summer on the island. It showcases a wide variety of dance, music, and theatre from Greece and abroad, and also hosts beach parties.
  6. To take in the majestic view of the Aegean from the legendary Castle of Oria, the capital of Kythnos during the period of Venetian rule. It is an evocative location, with some centuries-old murals and the churches of the Holy Trinity and Divine Mercy, two of the hundred or so that once stood here.
  7. To explore Katafiki Cave, with its fantastic rock formations and spectacular stalactites. This unique geological monument was once a mine and during the Second World War was used as a shelter. Longer ago, the islanders would gather in the main chamber at Easter to celebrate the Resurrection.
The top 5 beaches

Kolona: The island’s most impressive and oft-photographed beach is a strip of sand that joins Kythnos to the islet of Agios Loukas, bisecting the crystal-clear emerald waters and creating two beaches. Access is by car along a dirt road, or by sea. It is well worth visiting if you choose the ferry for Kythnos.

Apokrousi: One of the island’s largest beaches, stretching around a beautiful bay. It is sandy, with plenty of tamarisk trees for shade and a taverna for food.

Holy Saviour: A beautiful sheltered beach with sand and shingle in the northern part of Kythnos. It is named after the nearby church and access is via a reasonably good dirt road.

Agios Dimitrios: The island’s southernmost beach with shingle, tamarisk trees, and beautiful sand lilies. The village of the same name is nearby.

Gaidouromantra: An extremely beautiful beach with a long stretch of pale golden sand and crystal-clear turquoise waters in south-east Kythnos. It is ideal for lovers of quiet and seclusion, as it rarely attracts large numbers of people, access being relatively difficult (via a dirt road and steps).

Don’t leave Kythnos without…
  • Taking a walk around the labyrinthine cobbled streets of Kythnos Town (Mesaria), to discover an enchanting Aegean settlement that dates back to the 17th century, with vaulted passageways, whitewashed houses, churches, and windmills.
  • Seeing the Church of Saint Savvas in Kythnos Town. The lintel over the entrance is carved with the date of its construction (1613) and the coat of arms of the island’s Venetian overlords, the Gozzadini family.
  • Visiting the Folklore Museum in Dryopida. Housed in a traditional dwelling, its collection contains local costumes, agricultural tools, textiles, etchings, and items of everyday use.
  • Going for a boat trip around the island to discover the hidden treasures of its crenelated coastline. There are some breathtakingly beautiful spots here, with pristine beaches and turquoise seas reminiscent of an exotic paradise.
  • Exploring the neighbouring island of Agios Loukas, with its church, ancient ruins, and wonderful caves.
  • Discovering the 359 churches on Kythnos, an indication of the inhabitants’ deep religious faith, but also the difficulty of island life in the past.
Tasty experiences
  • Taste the savoro (fish marinated in a sour sauce and fried).
  • Sample the local sausage and syglino (cured pork).
  • If you choose one of the ferry tickets to Kythnos, don’t miss the opportunity to enjoy sfoungato (cheese croquettes), kolopi (spinach pie with cheese and rice), strapatsada (omelette with courgette and syglino), and pitaro (cheese pie).
  • Order some of the local red wine to accompany your meal.
  • Satisfy your sweet tooth with traditional amygdalota (almond confectionery), pasteli (a kind of sesame seed bar) and excellent thyme honey.
  • Try double-baked barley rolls with spicy kopanisti cheese, tomato, and oregano.

The Kythnos wind and solar park has been harnessing the island’s abundance of sunshine and strong winds since 1982. It can boast a series of firsts: originally Europe’s first wind park, it was later extended with the addition of the first photovoltaic power station in Greece and then the world’s first hybrid power station. Today, the island’s wind turbines and solar modules make Kythnos self-sufficient in terms of energy.​

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