Kythnos, one of the Cycladic islands closest to Athens, is the land of simplicity, hospitality and sustainability. Well developed from the tourist point of view, thanks to its 90 beaches, the island has managed to keep intact the appearance of its picturesque and white villages and the millenary traditions. Let’s find out what to do and what to see in Kythnos, the earthly paradise of the Aegean Sea.
Kythnos Greece: travel guide
Located between Kea and Serifos, Kythnos is one of the Aegean islands closest to the port of Piraeus which is 3 hours away. Its name, which in Italian is translated into “Citno”, derives from the presence of the thermal springs located in the bay of Loutra.
The tourist offer of Kythnos is truly complete: in addition to the beaches, they can be done excursions to discover the characteristic villages, gods monuments cultural heritage and the remains of the ancient civilization of the island. You can continue by allowing yourself a day at the spa, exploring the famous caves, hiking on the trails. And still diving in the beautiful sea blue, experience kayaking adventures and fishing.
The story of Kythnos it starts from afar because the island began to be frequented at the end of the Mesolithic. It was an important and thriving outpost to stop Roman expansion into Greece. During the reign of the Macedonian king Philip V, the Romans in fact tried to occupy Kythnos but in vain because they were forced, after a long siege, to leave the island due to its mighty fortifications.
With the siege of Constantinople in 1204, which ended with the victory of the Crusaders, Kythnos it fell into the hands of the Venetians who took over the government. The occupants are said to have sent to Venice the icon of the Virgin of Nikopoi, which had been transported from Constantinople to Kythnos and is now venerated as the Victory-bringer Madonna Nicopeia, in the Church of San Marco.
How to get to Kythnos
The island is well connected to the mainland and the fastest and cheapest way to get to Kythnos is the ferryas there is no airport or heliport on its territory.
Merihas, the port of Kythnos, is connected to Piraeus and Lavrion by daily ferries. The trip lasts from one and a half to three hours depending on the speed of the ship and the weather. Kythnos also has a ferry connection with the ports of Andros, Ios, Kea, Kimolos, Milos, Naxos, Paros, Serifos, Sikinos, Sifnos, Syros, Folegandros.
Kythnos: attractions and places of interest
Kythnos is well developed from a tourist point of view along its coasts but if you are looking for the most authentic spirit of the island then the hinterland is for you. Far from the beaches, in fact, there is one nature wild and unspoiled, interrupted only by the few, small villages where time seems to have stopped. Bucolic landscapes and slow-paced villages are ideal for relaxing holidays in complete tranquility.
After this quick introduction, let’s take a closer look what to do and what to see in Kythnos, the attractions and places of interest not to be missed for any reason.
Countries – Kythnos
Kythnos has two main settlements, the village Chora, also called Messaria and Dryopida. The two villages are characterized by their winding and often stepped streets, too narrow for vehicular traffic. Both very picturesque, they have different architectural styles. Chora is arranged like an amphitheater around a hill and features the white houses with flat roofs, typical of the Cyclades.
Dryopida it rises in a protected valley and far from the sea and has the typical white houses but your roofs are sloping and covered with red tiles. At the north-eastern end of the island is the village of Loutraa sparsely inhabited town but famous for its thermal springs with healing properties, known since Roman times.
Churches and Monasteries – Kythnos
On the island of Kythnos, in addition to churches of the two main villages, there are about 130 between chapels and ancient monasteries. In Chora, important places of worship where ancient icons are venerated are the Holy Trinity, Agios Savvas, Agios Nikolaos. In the village of Dryopida, the church of Agios Minas is remarkable which preserves magnificent icons carved in wood.
There church of Our Lady of Kanala, located along the south-eastern coast of the island, is one of the most important places of worship in the Cyclades due to its reputation as a miraculous place. According to tradition, the icon of the Virgin Mary was found by fishermen in the narrow channel between Kythnos and Serifos. A great feast is celebrated in August with the procession and the representation of the discovery of the icon of the Virgin Mary.
Museums – Kythnos
The Chora Folklore Museum exhibits a collection of folkloric objects inside a traditional house in the town’s “Piatsa”. The Dryopida Folklore Museum it is housed in an old house located behind the church of Agios Apostolos and exhibits agricultural tools, traditional costumes and ancient household furnishings. On the walls there are engravings of Kythnos.
The Ecclesiastical and Byzantine Museum of Kythnos it is located in a space specially created in the church of Agios Georgios in Dryopida and houses various ecclesiastical finds from the Byzantine era and multiple icons dating back to different eras.
Archaeological sites – Kythnos
The oldest and most important site on the island is Vryokastroin the bay of Mandraki, where many finds have emerged that testify to the frequentation of the territory from the tenth century BC to the seventh century. classic, the sealed handles of commercial amphorae and the underwater remains of the ancient port.
The finds came to light in archaeological site “Maroula” of the thermal baths of Loutr tell us that the island was inhabited during the Mesolithic period (9,000 – 8,000 BC). Excavations have returned the ruins of archaeological circular houses, tombs and a human skeleton near which stone tools of flint, quartz and obsidian were found. This is the only open-air archaeological site traceable to the Mesolithic in all of Greece.
Baths and Caves – Kythnos
The Kythnos thermal baths they are located in the suggestive bay of Loutra, on the north-eastern side of the island, and are the only ones present in all the Cyclades. The first spring is of salt water and is located inside the hydrotherapy center which, at reasonable prices, allows visitors to immerse themselves in the marble tubs. The second spring is located 50 meters from the first, is free and has curative properties for rheumatic, arthritic and gynecological diseases.
In Kythnos there is one of the largest caves in Greece, the Katafiki cave to Dryopida. This natural cave, first explored around 1830, housed an iron mine until 1939 and has now become a ‘attraction tourist. Its name derives from the Greek word for refuge (katafigio), as it was used as a refuge to escape from pirates. Inside there are wonderful stalactites.
Excursions – Kythnos
THE trails of Kythnos allow you to know the true soul of the island, combining picturesque settlements, beaches, archaeological sites, Byzantine churches, caves and windmills. The island has a rich network of hiking trails, some of which are perfectly signposted. The routes vary in degree of difficulty due to the terrain. It is preferable to face them during the spring and autumn when the climate becomes milder.
Between excursions more well-known we point out: path 1 that from the Castle of Oria, with the ruins of the settlement destroyed in 1570, leads to the Mesolithic site of Maroula. Path 2 leads to Lefkes beach, passing through the village of Dryopida. Finally, path 6 which leads to the remains of the ancient capital of the island, Vryokastro, with a splendid view of the beach of Kolona.