Is Kythera the best Island for Seniors?

posted in: Greek Islands | 2

The best Greek island for over 50’s, especially if one of them has mobility problems is a Greek island that has the following characteristics, or at least most of them:

  • A Greek island rather easy to get around, it is relatively flat and there are taxis and rental car options available
  • There are sandy beaches that have no beach clubs or bars with loud music or families with millions of kids screaming their happiness around
  • There are easy to find nice restaurants/taverns and a comfortable hotel with great customer service and amenities
  • Ideally, there is a little town or village near the hotel to wander around
  • Preferably you would like to fly to your destination instead of taking the ferries
  • There is a hospital or a proper health centre in the area – just in case…

In this post, you will find all you need to know about the Greek island of Kythera, ideally suitable for seniors and golden-agers alike. Kythera is an unpretentious Greek island, perfect for relaxing and rejuvenating, that fully encompasses the idea of wanting to get away from normal everyday obligations.

A little bit of info about Greece and the Greek Islands

Greece is a very mountainous country, with about 80% of its land consisting of large mountains or hills.

Greek islands follow the same rule, they are mountainous and have steep uphills and many steps, especially the Cyclades (where Santorini and Mykonos belong). The Greek islands also tend to locate their Chora, the main town of an island, on the top of a hill(for protection from the pirates in the older times).

It is a pity but still, many summer destinations around Greece, and especially the smaller islands, are not yet disabled-friendly and there is a general lack of supporting infrastructure for people who use wheelchairs. However, I am hopeful that this is slowly changing around the country.

Note: On the lookout for a quiet Greek island, we also need to take into account the time of the travelling. Some areas can be very peaceful in June or September but very busy in July and August.

Best Greek Island for Mature People: Is Kythera the one?

If taking it easy is what you’re after, and you also belong to the wonderful senior but still very- young-at-heart age group, this is your island! Kythera supplies an ideal setting, with its velvety sands, sky-blue waters, and flip-flop-friendly weather.

Kythera Island has many sandy or small pebbles beaches to choose from. It is a sophisticated island full of artistic touches. It is remote and quiet, ideal for total relaxation. It is untouched by the toll of time and modernity.

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It has tons of history and landmarks to visit and see or you can stay at one place and leave all the tiredness of the world behind you.

It was a Venetian stronghold for many years and was also known as a pirate base!

With the exception of August, where it will be a bit busier – like everywhere else in Greece – the rest of the year, Kythera is a peaceful magical place to have the most wonderful resting holidays.

Uniquely on Kythera, you can find the Semperviva flower, a dainty yellow flower. The yellow colour has affected the island’s architecture so very often you will see houses painted yellow especially in the Kythera Chora.

People on Kythera are friendly, hospitable and eager to help, especially the senior citizens that visit their island. Greece has a long tradition of respect, appreciation and consideration of the elderly and generally the senior people.

A final reason why Kythera is a perfect island is that according to Greek Mythology, Kythera is the birthplace of Aphrodite, the goddess of love and romance!

If not seeing up close the island where the most beautiful woman ever, was born is not a good enough reason, then let me guide you to the other beauties of this amazing Greek island!

How to get to Kythera?

Where is Kythera located? Kythera or Kythira is a gorgeous hidden- gem-of-an-island located on the southern side of the Peloponnese.

Kythera is rather a loner of an island as it is not close to any of the better-known islands either in the Cyclades, the Argosaronic islands or the Ionian ones. Geographically it belongs to the Ionian cluster of Greek Islands but administratively it is under the authority of Piraeus prefecture.

I first visited Kythera when I was quite young, late 20’s and I was feeling that it was a bit too quiet for me so I stayed only for 3 days there. Now that I am middle-aged, I really appreciate the lack of high volume nightlife and the laid back atmosphere.

The best and fastest way to get to Kythera is by flying from Athens International Airport, which has daily flights (Sky Express or Olympic Air). Alternative ways of reaching Kythera include:

  • take the ferry from Piraeus (Athens main port)
  • rent a car or take a professional drive from Athens to the end of the Peloponnese, to Gytheio or Neapoli towns and take the ferry from there to Kythera

Where to stay in Kythera?

Kythera has few large hotels or accommodation in general, at least compared to the other islands which are more touristically developed.

This has served well to preserve the island’s authentic local culture and its unique architecture that combines a brilliant blend of Venetian, Cretan and Aegean style.

Some suggestions for your stay in Kythera:

Diakofti Beach: Diakofti is the lovely main port area of Kythera where you will find this tiny village with stunning green and emerald crystal clear waters in fine white sand.

Along the beach there are traditional houses, taverns with fresh fish and a Russian ship wreckage!

Kapsali Bay is a Blue Flag beach on the south part of Kythera, comprised of twin wonderful bays that form the shape of the Greek letter Omega (ω). This might be a busier place but worth checking out or even staying there if you are visiting Kythera in May, June, early July and September when the island is quieter.

Avlemonas Bay is probably the most beautiful seaside village of Kythera, if not of Greece and a very romantic place.

In the most appealing natural environment of Avlemonas, you can have the freshest fish possible while very close lies the soft sandy beach of Palaiopolis.

Agia Pelagia village is built amphitheatrically on a low hill overlooking Peloponnese on the other side. It has a long sandy beach and is probably the most touristically advanced area in Kythera. Along its waters, you will find an organised beach with sunbeds and umbrellas, and many cafes, restaurants and hotels. It is about 26 km far from Kythera Chora.

Accommodation: I suggest some hotels below that I really like myself and I would love to stay there. I usually visit the hotels before I suggest one but as this is not always easy to do (and totally impossible with COVID), I check them for good reviews and reasonable prices.

I tend to like modern, minimal styles or really authentic places that offer the most of the island eg great views or large breakfasts with local products!

  • Skinammos studios, suites, new superb accommodation with shipwreck view and garden, 2 min walk to the sea
  • Kythira Golden Resort, a very pretty hotel by the beach (my favourite)
  • Anemoni, amazing sea view, quiet, 200 m far from the beach
  • Hotel Notara, 10 m from the sea, with rich breakfast and fantastic staff
  • Kythea Resort, with stunning sunrise views, comfortable, great customer service

Hiking in Kythera

The geography oKythera is mountainous but it has quite a few fertile valleys, waterfalls and green canyons. There are two main low mounts crossing the island, with the east peak reaching 474 m of Digenis Mt. and the western peak – and the highest of the island- at 506 m of Mermigkaris Mt.

The lack of mass tourism on the island, combined with a wonderful variety of nature and architecture makes it an excellent destination for hiking holidays. In spite of the rocky terrain, most of the island is covered with rich vegetation and many olive trees. The trails pass by small olive and pine groves, picturesque villages, remote and peaceful beaches that you can dive in.

Two of the Kythera trails have been certified as Green Flag Trails, becoming the first-ever trails in Europe to receive the certification.

Kythera trails network is about 32 km with new paths cleared out constantly and being added every year. The project is run by the Kytherian Foundation for Culture and Development, and Paths of Greece. There are 8 signposted trails, most of them easy and short hikes with the Livadi-Kapsali trail being the longest at 8.2 km. (Source: Paths of Greece)

Hiking Information Sources:

  • The Kythera Hiking Trails website offers a good description of the trails here
  • There is a booklet available, ‘Kythira on foot’, with 32 walks all around the island. The booklet is available in English but also in Italian, French, Greek and Dutch. The price is € 12,50. It is on sale at the bookshop Βιβλιοχαρτοπολειο in Potamos area

What else can I see on Kythera?

  • The picturesque Kythera main town, with the imposing Venetian Castle from the 12th c, a must-visit place. Visit the Archaeological Museum in the main square of Kythera town, Entrance fee €4
  • The Antikythira small island with only 50 permanent inhabitants, a very virgin place totally unspoilt from tourism. Great place for hiking too.
  • Visit the Medieval Castle-town of Paleochora from the 12th c, the Venetian castle at Kato hora Mylopotamou. All Castles have free entrance to the public, open 8.00-20.00
  • Take the boat to the dazzling islet of Hytra with the golden cave. You can swim or just admire it from the safety of your boat
  • Visit the Magical Kythera Watermills in Neraida Ravine, an evergreen place with mesmerising waterfalls falling from 20 m high
  • Feed the local stray cats in one of the 25 feeding stations all over Kythera island. More info on Adopt a Cat website here
  • Attend one of the many festivals like the Wine Festival at Mitata village, and the religious festivals in honour of Panagia Myrtidiotissa Monastery (September 24th)
  • Visit Saint John off the Cliff whitewashed church in Kapsali
  • Stroll on the Stone bridge of Katouni, an impressive bridge, of 13 arches and 12 domes, 110m long and 15m tall.
  • Drive to Cape Spathi, the northernmost point of Kythera to admire a large lighthouse built in 1857
  • Take an olive oil tasting tour or traditional Greek dance lessons
  • Try the local delicacies at Filio tavern in Kalamos village, with grilled feta cheese and local greens in garlic Website or Skandeia Restaurant in Palaiopolis, fresh fish & aubergines with local flour Website
Kythera Archaeological Museum © Tornos

List of Kythera Beaches

Lykodimou Beach

I have listed the best beaches for your convenience in case you would like to visit every day a different one:

  • Agios Nikolaos – Pebbled, secluded, not organised
  • Agia Pelagia  – Sandy, organised, busy
  • Avlemonas  – Pebbled, small
  • Chalkos  – Pebbled, secluded, not organised
  • Diakofti beach – Sandy
  • Kaladi beach – Pebbled, nudism friendly, not organised
  • Kapsali beach – Sandy
  • Lagkada beach – Sandy, secluded, nudism friendly, not organised
  • Lykodimou beach – Pebbled, secluded, not organised
  • Platia Ammos beach – Pebbled, secluded, nudism friendly, not organised

How to get around Kythera

Local Buses: Between May and September the municipality operates frequent routes with buses that run from the airport and port to the island’s main villages. See here the Kythera Local Bus schedule

Taxis: There are a few taxis that you will find useful for your transportation on the island of Kythira. Discuss in advance with them, how much they will charge you

Find below some telephones of local taxi drivers: +30 6945 227480, +30 6944 314125, +30 6944 746246, +30 6977 865162, +30 6944 931354

Rent a Car: probably the best option to go around Kythera and discover all the hidden gems of the island at your own pace.

You will find quite a few car rental agencies on the island of Kythera, and mostly in Chora and the larger villages (Agia Pelagia, Kapsali). Do pre-book your car in advance and ask them to bring it over to you either at the airport or at the port.

Useful Info and Emergency Phones on Kythera

Banks and ATM’s:
On the island there are 6 ATM’S of Greek Banks:

  •  Piraeus Bank at Agias Pelagias-Kapsaliou road & Chora (2)
  • National bank of Greece at Avlemonas Bay, in Livadi area & Chora (3)
  • Alpha Bank in Chora (1)

In any case, bring some cash with you for any emergency.

Emergency Numbers in Greece: Police: 100, Fire Department: 199, Ambulance: 166

Hospital/ Health Centres in Kythera:
Potamos Hospital/Health Centre Tel.: +30 27360 33222 & 33213
Kythera Main Town Health Centre Tel.: +30 27360 31243
Kato Livadi Rural Health Centre Tel.: +30 27360 31536
Karvounades Rural Health Centre Tel.: +30 27360 38015

Potamos Pharmacy Tel.: +30 27360 34220
Karvounades Pharmacy Tel.: +30 27360 3805

Solo Female Travel to Kythera

© Unsplash

Women who travel alone are perfectly safe in Kythera, or any other Greek island or large city.

Travelling around the country is quite easy as Greek people are very friendly and eager to help and reply to any questions from visitors.

Having said that, common sense should always be exercised and sketchy places should be avoided. 

What to wear on Kythera

Laid-back clothing for a laid-back island!

I absolutely love the clothing below, they are of excellent quality items, that I would definitely buy them myself if I could afford to buy all the item I suggest!

Amazon note: I would check the current prices from time to time on Amazon as they sometimes put discount options

  • Barefoot Dreams Ultra Light Caftan (this is really nice dress for everywhere!), check it out on the Amazon site here
  • Stunningly pretty cotton butterflies print pants, check it out on the Newchic site here
  • Super cute white and giraffe print cotton t-shirt for your Kythera strolls, check it out on the Newchic site here
  • Trina Turk beautiful swimsuit (catch a wave!), check it out on the Amazon site here
  • And a light blue – Greece’s Blue – amazing bikini, on the Ulla Popken site here
  • Merrell Sandals, the best in endurance and quality, check it out on the Amazon site here

Which Greek Islands have an airport?

There are flights going to 29 Greek island destinations and below you can find a list of those islands.

In the vast majority, there will be no direct flight from your country to those islands. You will have to get a flight from Athens International Airport.


Travel Resources

  • All the archaeological sites in Greece that have entrance fees can be found on the official Greek Ministry’s website here. Before you purchase your tickets, especially if you are an EU citizen, check if you have free or reduced entrance. You should also check to see if you happen to visit on one of the free entrance dates. If you are going to Acropolis during the peak season (May-September) prepurchase your tickets as the queues are insane. Finally, from November to March entrance fees to all Archaeological Sites are 50% off everywhere in Greece for everyone.
  • I use because I can get the best deals, has info on hotels and Airbnb’s alike, with breakfast or not, free cancellations, and great prices!
  • Hiking Maps. You can purchase paper maps of Anavasi or Terrain from their sites which have much cheaper prices than Amazon. Alternatively, you can always buy a paper map on the island, when you get there.
  • Purchase the great hiking book Eastern & Northern Cyclades by Dieter Graf. You might be able to find it on a larger island but this is not always for sure.
  • Ferries: Book your ferry transfer with FerryHopper, and get the best price in the market with no hidden fees
  • World Nomads Insurance: I feel insecure traveling to another country without having even the most basic of insurances. Insurance will protect you against illness, injury, theft, and cancellations
  • iVisa: For any questions, you may have about your documents, passport if you need a visa, a new photo, or any visa-related matter, iVisa is your man (or woman!)
  • Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
  • Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100

More Inspiring Reading on Greece and Greek Islands


2 Responses

  1. Fred

    Very useful article! Someday when I am no longer able to walk as much (hopefully not until many many years from now!) there will still be some Greek islands that are possible to visit without too much difficulty.

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