Updated August 21st, 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 island for people who seek quality and peaceful vacations. It is a mountainous Greek island with canyons, some of them with plenty of water, green, and even 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!
The island is fortunate to have tons of history, chapels, castles, ancient sites, and landmarks to explore if you love cultural sightseeing.
This guide to Kythira island includes information about:
- Tips for visiting Kythira: when to go, how long to stay, what to wear
- How to reach Kythira island: by air, by boat, or by car
- Where to stay in Kythira: I recommend a hotel and an apartment for efficient traveling
- An Interactive Google Kythira Map
- Best Things to Do on Kythira Island: my favorite villages, the best beaches, hiking trails, and other sites I highly recommend you try for yourself!
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Athens Quick Reference (If you are Going to Athens)
- Where to stay in Athens: Four Seasons Astir Palace Hotel Athens (Doubles from €629 Β&Β) & Ancient Agora Apartments (Doubles from €95 Β&Β), Attalos Hotel (Doubles from €62 Β&Β)
- Heading to the Greek Islands from Athens? Book your ferry tickets in advance with no-hidden-fees FerryScanner or FerryHopper
- Essential Things to Have for Athens Metro: An anti-theft design Backpack, a World Travel Adapter Kit
- For Beach and Greece Lovers: Microfiber Quick Drying Beach Towel that looks like the Greek Flag!
- Private transfer with English-speaking driver from Athens International Airport to Piraeus Ferries. Check availability and prices on Viator here
- Map of Athens Metro
- COVID INFO FOR GREECE: Ministry of Tourism Official Website
Tips for Visiting Kythira
How to Get to Kythira Island
There are three ways to get to Kythira: the fast, the best, or the more adventurous one!
The more adventurous and my favorite one to reach Kythira island is 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. That way you get to see all the in-between sites such as Ancient Corinth or the Sanctuary in Epidaurus.
Suggested Itineraries in the Peloponnese:
- 4-Day Itinerary in the Peloponnese: Nafplion, Ancient Olympia
- 8-Days in the Peloponnese: Kardamili, Monemvasia
Where to Stay in Kythira
There are few hotels on the island, and mostly you will find beautifully restored old village houses. Athena Kythera (Self-catering, doubles from €54) has delightful owners, the property has a beautiful sea view of the sandy beach of Diakofti, a place to relax and feel at home. Maryianni Apartments (B&B, from €56), is set on Avelmonas, probably the most romantic beach on Kythira island, with a private balcony overlooking the Venetian castle and the sea, or the charming garden.
Interactive Kythira Island Map
Get your interactive map of Kythira here, to drive to any of the places listed on our things to do in Kythira.
Top Things to Do on Kythira Island
Explore the villages around Kythira
Diakofti is a tiny village surrounded by beaches with perfect white sand and crystal blue waters and is also Kythira’s main port. Located 31 km from Chora, it is fully organized to welcome travelers to its traditional houses and taverns with fresh fish. Right across lies the remains of the Russian ship wreckage!
Kapsali Bay is a Blue Flag beach on the south part of Kythira, comprised of twin wonderful bays that form the shape of the Greek letter Omega (ω). Kapsali can get busy in the full season as it is a very popular resort.
Don’t miss visiting Saint John off the Cliff whitewashed church in Kapsali.
Avlemonas Bay is probably the most beautiful seaside village in Kythira and a very romantic place to visit. In the most appealing natural environment of Avlemonas, you can have the freshest fish while very close lies the soft sandy beach of Palaiopolis.
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
Swim in Kythira’s Beaches
I have listed below some of the 30 beautiful beaches of Kythira to explore:
- Agios Nicholas: Pebbled, secluded, not organized
- Chalkos: Pebbled, secluded
- Firi Ammos (near Kalamos) – red sand, organized, 1 canteen, difficulty in parking
- Kaladi: Probably the most beautiful beach on Kythira. To get to the beach you need to walk down a 124-step steep stone staircase (but it is totally worth it!) Kaladi is omega-shaped with two small bays, turquoise water, pebbles, and sand in some places. The beach is divided into three parts where the third and most impressive is a small cave that you pass through and end up on a very small but wonderful beach! Pebbled, nudism friendly, not organized (no Kanteen, no water, nothing). Access is from the village of Fratsia if you are coming from the north, and from Livadi from the south.
- Limnionas: Sandy, secluded, not organized with trees
- Lykodimou beach: Pebbled, secluded, not organized
- Melidoni: sandy, organized, secluded
- Platia Ammos: Pebbled, secluded, nudism friendly, not organized
Explore Kythira Chora
Set on a hill above Kapsali – as a matter of protection from the medieval constant pirate attacks – the picturesque Kythira main town or Chora offers 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 being around the imposing Venetian Castle on top of Chora, built in 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’s main square you will also find an interesting Archaeological Museum with findings from the excavations on the island.
If you love guided tours then I highly recommend this comprehensive private tour on the island of Kythira.
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, and 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.
Kythira 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 Antikythira Island
Kythira island has been overshadowed by the neighboring famous island of Antikythira where the Mechanism was discovered there.
On May 17, 1901, Greek sponge divers bumped into an ancient shipwreck close to Antikythira island and inside the ship discovered the world’s first computer. The Antikythira 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 Antikythira 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. Kythira is connected to Antikythira by ferry 4 times per week (the trip lasts 1,5 hours). Check here FerryScanner or FerryHopper for timetables and prices.
Discover Unique Sites all over Kythira
Visit the Medieval Castle-town of Paleochora from the 12th c, the Venetian castle at Kato Chora Mylopotamos. 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 to the cave or just admire it from the safety of your boat.
Visit the beautiful waterfalls in Fonissa, an evergreen place with mesmerizing waterfalls falling from 20 m high in the Mylopotamos area.
Afterward, go to the nearby Platanos tavern which serves delicious local dishes under its three plane trees for 130 years. For dessert, stroll down the steps to the duck pond, and at the Kamari cafe for coffee and ice cream.
Feed the local stray cats in one of the 25 feeding stations all over Kythira island. More info on Adopt a Cat website here. 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 Kythira 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 Skandia Restaurant in Paleopolis, the birthplace of Aphrodite (I know Cyprus claims the same, no idea who is right :D), with fresh fish and 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. Rent a Car: probably the best option to go around Kythira and discover all the hidden gems of the island at your own pace.
Did you Go to Kythira Island?
Did you manage to go to Kythira? What were the best things you did in the area? Let me know in the comments below, I’d love to hear whether I managed to get it onto your bucket list! 🙂
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