Updated January 8th, 2022 by TraveltheGreekWay
Kythira island is located between Peloponnese and Crete island in Greece where the Aegean, the Ionian, and the Cretan seas meet. Kythira belongs to the Ionian island group, far from any known islands either in the Cyclades, the Argosaronic islands, or the Ionian ones.
Kythira or Kythera is an ideal Greek island for people who seek quality and peaceful vacations. It is a mountainous island with canyons, some of them with plenty of water, green and even with waterfalls in the Mylopotamos area.
Kythira Island has 90 km of splendid beaches to choose from, sandy, rocky, pebbled, busy, family-oriented, remote, and nudist, there is one for every taste!
Kythira has also tons of history, chapels, castles, ancient sites, and landmarks to explore and you can combine a relaxing quality vacation with cultural sightseeing.
In this post, you will find the best things to do in Kythira island for a memorable vacation in Greece.
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In a hurry? Check out this Kythira Quick reference
- Where to stay in Kythira: Kapetan Manwlis, a stunning apartment located next to the medieval Castle-town of Paleochora
- Heading to Kythira from Athens? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees
- Need travel insurance for Greece? Visit World Nomads Travel Insurance Page
How to get to Kythira Island
The fastest way to get to Kythira is by flying from Athens International Airport, which has daily flights (Sky Express or Olympic Air, check for cheap flights on Skyscanner).
By car: You can rent a car and drive from Athens to the south of the Peloponnese, reach Gytheio or Neapoli towns and take the ferry from Gytheio or Neapoli to Kythira. This is my favorite way to travel to Greece as in this way I get to see all the in-between sites such as Ancient Corinth or the Sanctuary in Epidaurus.
Where best to stay in Kythira?
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 styles.
Some suggestions for your stay in Kythera:
Diakofti is a tiny village with stunning green and emerald crystal clear waters in fine white sand, a beautiful place to be.
Along the beach, there are traditional houses, taverns with fresh fish, and a Russian ship wreckage!
Excellent Hotels in Diakofti:
- Kythira Golden Resort. An exceptional hotel with fine room decoration, beautiful sea views from the rooms, amazing breakfast, extra kind and helpful staff by the Diakofti beach. Check out availability and prices on Booking. com
- Athena Kythera. Looking over the sandy beach of Diakofti, Athena Kythera is spotlessly clean, with super-hospitable owners, a place to relax and feel at home. Check out availability and prices on Booking. com
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).
Kapsali can get busy in the full season but it is worth checking out or even staying there if you are visiting Kythera in May, June, early July, and September when the island is quieter. Check out this great accommodation:
- Serras Rooms: A beautiful hotel set in a quiet area with amazing sea views over to Kapsali bay, great swimming pool, clean rooms, garden and friendly staff. Check it out for prices and availability on Booking. com
Don’t miss visiting Saint John off the Cliff whitewashed church in Kapsali.
Avlemonas Bay is probably the most beautiful seaside village of Kythera and a very romantic place to visit.
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.
- Avlemonas Beachfront Holiday House: A very tastefully decorated House, right on the Avlemonas beach. Check it out for prices and availability on Booking. com
Agia Pelagia village is built amphitheatrically on a low hill overlooking Peloponnese. It has a long sandy beach and is probably the most touristically advanced area in Kythira.
Along its waters, you will find an organized beach with sunbeds and umbrellas, and many cafes, restaurants, and hotels. It is about 26 km far from Kythira Chora.
Fantastic hotel in Agia Pelagia:
- Romantica Hotel Apartments. You are going to love the fantastic combination of modern and island character in all of these exceptionally decorated rooms. I personally love the breakfast room hotel, bright and artistic. Check it out for prices and availability on Booking. com
List of Kythira Beaches
I have listed below some more beautiful beaches of Kythira to explore around the island:
- Agios Nikolaos : Pebbled, secluded, not organized
- Chalkos: Pebbled, secluded
- Firi Ammos (near Kalamos) – red sand, organized, 1 canteen, difficulty in parking
- Kaladi: Pebbled, nudism friendly, not organised
- Limnionas: Sandy, secluded, no organized with trees
- Lykodimou beach: Pebbled, secluded, not organised
- Melidoni: sandy, organized, secluded
- Platia Ammos: Pebbled, secluded, nudism friendly, not organised
Explore Kythira Chora
Built on top of a mountain, the picturesque Kythera main town or Chora has a panoramic view of the whole island. Most of the buildings are quite old, having kept the traditional local architecture with the most picturesque part of it to be around the imposing Venetian Castle on top from the 13th c.
Wander through the remnants of the past on the Venetian Castle and see the old prisons, the Venetian fountain, the gun powder chambers, the Byzantine churches with frescoes, and the many canons all around the castle.
At Kythira Chora main square you will also find an interesting Archaeological Museum with findings from the excavations on the island.
Private Tour on Kythira
Check out this comprehensive panoramic and private tour on the island of Kythira on the Viator.
Hiking in Kythira
There are two main low mountains 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 Kythira 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.
If you like spectacular landscapes drive to the northeast in Kakia Lagkad beach and lake for a unique hike and swim.
My favorite months to hike in Greece is October (warm but not too much) and April (everything has blossomed).
Visit Antikythera Island
Kythera island has been overshadowed by the neighboring famous island of Antikythera where the Antikythera Mechanism was discovered.
On May 17, 1901, Greek sponge divers bumped into an ancient shipwreck close to Antikythera island and inside the ship discovered the world’s first computer.
The Antikythera Mechanism is estimated to have been constructed between 100 and 205 BC and its pieces can be visited in the Athens National Archaeological Museum.
The Antikythera is a small island with only 50 permanent inhabitants, a very virgin place totally unspoiled from tourism. It is a great place for hiking too.
What else can I see on Kythera?
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 mesmerizing 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
Go to Mitata, the greenest and most beautiful village in Kythera. Stay at the Windmill Resort, with a 19th c stone-built windmill and a large garden with herbs and lavender for your yoga exercise and relaxation.
Don’t miss the religious festivals in honor of Panagia Myrtidiotissa Monastery (September 24th)
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.
Taste the local delicacies at Filio tavern in Kalamos village, with grilled feta cheese and local greens in garlic or Skandeia Restaurant in Palaiopolis, fresh fish & aubergines with local flour.
How to get around Kythira
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.
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.
Useful Info and Emergency Phones on Kythira
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
Swimsuit for Kythira
How to Get to Greece
Like most visitors to Greece, you will probably have to fly to Athens or Thessaloniki International Airports to get to your final destinations.
For the Cheapest, Fastest, Best Worldwide Flights, I highly recommend the Skyscanner search engine site.
Where to Stay in Athens
Looking for the Best Hotels near old Athens Plaka and Acropolis Parthenon?
I have collected a fantastic list of some of the best Athens hotels close to the must-visit sites and the Metro in Athens.
On the left list, you will find the best mid-range to luxury hotels in Plaka, the old part of Athens, and on the right list, the best budget Athens hotels for an excellent and low-cost stay.
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.
Message from Evgenia
Some of my Favorite Travel Resources for Greece
- Airflights: Cheap/Fast/Best Worldwide Flights from KAYAK or SkyScanner search engine site
- Map of Athens Metro
- Booking.com: I use Booking.com because I can get the best deals, have info on hotels and Airbnb’s alike, with breakfast or not, free cancellations, and great prices!
- Ferries to the Greek Islands: Book your ferry transfer with FerryScanner or FerryHopper, and get the best prices 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
- Best car rental prices – Guaranteed. RentalCars.com
- Get Your Guide: For all your day or multi-day tours and city guide needs, I use Get Your Guide
- 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!)
- Emergency Numbers Anywhere in Greece: AMBULANCE 166 – FIRE 199 – POLICE 100– EMERGENCY NUMBER 112
More Inspiring Reading on Greece and Greek Islands