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Kythnos is part of the Cyclades islands but it’s in a unusual position compared to the other islands in the Aegean sea. It is in fact near to Kea which is close to Piraeus and Athens. The island is often visited by local tourists and can give you an idea of the differences between a modern Greek lifestyle and the traditional lifestyle of the Cyclades. On this island there are also some thermal springs that are absolutely amazing!
Kythnos is near the port of Piraeus but it isn’t included in most of the commercial ferry routes that you can use to reach the other islands, se getting there might be a bit difficult, there are still some ferries that will take you there, just fewer than for other islands. It is still considered easier to reach than the small Cyclades but even being so close to Piraeus reaching islands like Koufonissi and Milos is easier.
Besides Athens Kythnos is connected to other islands of the Cyclades.
Why choose Kythnos?
The island is quite dry, mainly barren so with few cultivations and plants. This doesn’t stop the greeks to consider it their favourite place for a vacation, a bit like for Kea. For this reason you may want to plan a route to visit both the islands and have a real taste of greece, or else visiting it just for a few days to decide whether you like it or not before moving to some smaller islands.
Most of the beaches are with pebbles and often not very big, but this doesn’t mean that they aren’t as nice as the ones on other islands … just different. On Kythnos there are a large number of populated areas and the main ones (Loutra, the Chora and Driopida) are located on the highest part of the island, while near the port of Merihas there are just a few houses. There are also some very nice and fancy hotels with a wonderful sea-view.
Each of the three main centers has its own features and monuments, so if you rent a vehicle you’ll be able to explore all of this island’s secret spots. Obviously there are also plenty to of traditional churches, the most important of which is the church of Trinity.
Kythnos’ coast is very rocky as you will notice of you arrive on the island by ferry. There are many creeks around the island and in each of these you will find some small and isolated beaches. Some of the beaches are the following:
Agios Dimitrios beach
A long beach with crystal clear waters and golden sand surrounded by tamarisks and located on the southern part of the island. The ideal destination for someone looking for peace and quietness. In the southernmost part of the western side of the island there is Agios Dimitrios village from where the beach gets its name.
One of the longest sandy beaches in Kythnos, it is located on the north-western part of the island and surrounded by tamarisk trees. The beach offers a beautiful view on Kolona beach and there is a nice tavern.
Located slightly north from Merihas port this beach is very equipped for tourists. It has been rewarded with the “blue flag”, a sign of this beach’s beauty. There is also a tavern on this beach.
In the southern part of the western coast of the island there is Flabouria that has a traditional church on a hill that divides the beach in two parts. A lovely isolated beach that is ideal for divers and fishermen.
Not very distant from Merihas port this beach can be very crowded during the summer while during the low season there are usually just a few yachts anchored and the beach is often free. It is one of the nicest beaches in the Aegean sea and a small limb of sand connects the two islands of Agios Loukas and Kythnos. The beach can be reached by foot, by car or by boat.
Kanala has a small limb of sand with few houses and a wonderful view of the sea. The perfect place if you want to spend a relaxing and quiet day at the beach. Like most beaches on Kythnos it can only be reached by sea with a rented or small boat.
Art, nature and beaches, there are many things to do in Kythnos despite the fact that you will have to get organized well as the territory is very vast. There are many churches, monasteries, caves, beaches and thermal springs. Be prepared to travel a lot if you want to visit this island.
Monuments and museums in Kythnos
There are many churches and museums throughout the island, like the museum of Driopira or the different churches built in Bizantine style called Panagia Kanala.
The most famous attraction of the island is the thermal center, known for being one of the best in the whole of Greece and located in Loutra in the northern part of the island. Near the locations of Kakavos and Agioi Anargyri there are also some waters rich in sulfur that are famous since the ancient times for being very useful against rheumatic diseases.
Loutra is located near the sea and near here you will find some of the best beaches of the region.
Day trips and excursions
If you love trekking and taking long walks the island of Kythnos is the perfect place for you. Of course the best period when to go walking is during spring and winter, when the weather isn't too hot. Unfortunately the paths aren't signaled very well so you will have to ask beforehand. One of the best and easiest paths that you can choose is the one that takes you to the Chora. There are also a few paths that take you to Driopida, Kythnos and Kolona.
These are some truly remarkable caves that were once used by pirates and from the local people of the village of Driopida before becoming a mining site for steel. The entrance is free but an offer is appreciated. Unfortunately you won't be able to visit the tunnel where the material used to be sent from Driopida and Lefkes.
Diving center in Kythnos
There is also the chance to go diving or snorkeling. The seabed is absolutely spectacular and if you take a boat trip you will even have the chance to reach some truly unique diving spots. The prices range between 60 and 80 euros per person.
When visiting Kythnos you should think in advance on how you are going to move around the island as there aren’t many taxi boats and local buses only runs in July and August, so your best option when visiting Kythnos may be to rent your own vehicle.
Renting a car in Kythnos
There is a good road route in Kythnos, for this reason it is the perfect island to decide to rent a vehicle. Cars can be hired directly in the port of Kythnos and the prices are usually very low. Of course, renting a car gives you the chance to reach spots that couldn’t otherwise be reached with a bus. Choosing a scooter is also a good solution that will still give you the chance to visit the island freely!
Moving around Kythnos by bus
The bus line covers most areas of the island from June to August while during the other months the line hardly runs at all, so before leaving you might want to look for a private driver or where the closest taxi stop is.
Moving around Kythnos by taxi
Taxis are an excellent solution when visiting Kythnos. There is also the chance to look for a private driver that might even leave you his telephone number in order to organize other trips. Taxi boats connect the main beaches and give you the chance to reach them in a much faster and cheaper way (the price is usually about 10€).
Reaching Kythnos isn’t very hard. In fact once you have reached Athens you will just have to reach the port of Piraeus where you will find the ferries that leave for Kythnos. The closeness to Athens is the reason why the journey won’t last very long even if there aren’t many ferries to choose from. Otherwise you can always leave from the port of Lavrio.
Reaching Kythnos from Piraeus port (Athens)
This is certainly the quickest route to reach Kythnos. Once you have landed in Athens’ airport you will have to reach the port of Piraeus where you will take a ferry for Kythnos. The journey lasts about 3 hours and costs € 25,00 per person. Remember to check in advance the timetables. If your time of arrival does not combine with the timetables of the ferry no worries, you can always take advantage of your free time and visit Athens’ art and beauties (especially the city’s acropolis).
Reaching Kythnos from the port of Lavrio
There is also the chance to take a ferry in Athens' second port: Lavrio. This is a good alternative if you can’t find a ferry from the port of Piraeus. This happens quite often during high season. The other reason why you may prefer to set from Lavrio is that often prices in this port are much lower than in the previous one. The ferry trip lasts just over 3 hours and costs more or less 16,50 € per person.
Reaching Kythnos from the other islands
Kythira also has ferries that travel on a daily basis to the islands of Milos, Kea, Kimolos, Folegandros, Andros, Serifos, Sifnos and Syros.
The island has a heliport that is used both for transporting ill or injured people and for transporting people to the island. Of course this isn’t an option that everyone can choose but if you wish to here you can find all the information www.airlift.gr.
Most of the apartments and hotels in Kythnos are located near the port of Merihas where you will find most of the island’s attractions and some agencies where to rent a vehicle.
Where to spend the night in Kythnos
There are different places to choose according to the position and type of place where you will be staying. Before booking anywhere we suggest you check the island’s routes and transport systems. If you aren’t planning to rent a vehicle we suggest you check where you are going to stay and checking how close it is to the closest bus station.
The studios in Kythnos
Out of the main villages which are Merihas, Agios Dimitros, Dryopida, Kanala, Kalo Livadi and the island’s Chora you will find many typical Greek studios. The prices are slightly lower than on other islands of the Cyclades. There are also many apartments that can be rented and offer many comforts besides giving you the chance to cook at home.
A vacation in a villa in Kythnos is something many people dream about. There are many villas to choose from spread around the island where you will have the chance to enjoy some real peace.
Hotels in Kythnos
The easiest solution is to rent a book a hotel room as usual but like on many other islands the real problem is finding a place where to stay. There aren’t many places and you should book it in advance.