Kythnos (or Kithnos) is a small island in the Cyclades in the Aegean Sea,
with easy access from Athens and popular with Athenians on summer weekends, and
as a place for a second home.
Tourism came late to Kythnos as it has no airport and its
port was too shallow to allow larger ferries to dock. A better harbor was built
in the 1970s and it was then that tourism took off, although it is still not as
well-known to foreign visitors as it is to Greeks.
Getting to Kythnos
Kythnos has no airport but the fact that there are good
ferry connections from Athens makes it a great choice if you want to enjoy a
quieter holiday. Those easy ferry connections, however, do mean that it is
popular with Athenians in the summer, especially at weekends. For the best
chance of peace and quiet, visit Kythnos in late spring or early autumn.
Ferries to Kythnos
Ferries from Athens to Kythnos leave from both Piraeus and
Lavrio. It's a 2-hour bus ride to Lavrio from the Mavromateion bus station in
Athens, but there are 1-2 ferries daily in the holiday season and the journey
from Lavrio to Kythnos takes about 90-100 minutes. The ferries from Piraeus run
six times per week in the holiday season and the journey time is about three
At the time of writing there are also ferries between
Kythnos and some of the other Cyclades islands including Kea, Kimolos, Milos,
Serifos, Sifnos and Syros. There are no ferry connections to islands outside of
the Cyclades, or to other mainland ports apart from Piraeus and Lavrio.
Ferries in Greece
Ferries in Greece has an excellent and very thorough website where, in addition to checking ferry schedules and times, you can also book tickets and get lots of useful information about travelling by ferry in Greece.
What to Do on Kythnos
One of the delights of Kythnos is that there is very little to do, making it an island where you can really get away from it all. It does have some terrific beaches - one reason it's popular with those Athenian holidaymakers.
Hiking on Kythnos
To get to some of the best you can walk through Kythnos's
rolling hills, so it's a good island if you like hiking too. There are lots of
trails although they're not always well-marked so be prepared to get lost. Alternatively
you can hire a guide or book a hiking holiday with Kythnos Hiking.
Again, spring and autumn are the best times for hiking. The average temperature in midsummer is
about 85F/29C, meaning that it often gets a lot hotter than that.
The Beach at Kolona
Beaches on Kythnos
Its best and most picturesque beach is at Kolona on the west
coast. There are two beaches here, one on the main island and the other stretching out
and joining Kythnos to a little offshore island. It's very picturesque… and
very popular. There is a café at Kolona in the summer but many of the beaches
are not organised so you should go equipped with food and water, and something
for shade, if you need it.
Kythnos Towns and
The main town and capital of the island, Chora, also goes by
the name of Messaria. It's a pretty town with typical whitewashed Cycladic
houses, narrow streets, several old churches and has some good restaurants
thanks to that regular influx of well-to-do Athenians. It's about 5 miles/8 kms
from the port, and although it's inland there are several beaches within
walking distance. Chora also has a Folk Museum you can visit.
Driopida is a really attractive mountain village about 7.5
miles/12 kms south of Chora, and it used to be the capital of the island. It
has really narrow winding streets which even Greek drivers can't get down, and
some old mansion houses. Here the whitewashed houses have brown-tiled roofs
rather than the more typical flat roofs elsewhere on the island. There are also
two small museums in Driopida, a Byzantine Museum and a Folk Museum.
One of the main attractions of Driopida, and one of the few
attractions as such on the island, is the cave of Katafiki. It's one of the
largest visitable caves in Greece and was first known about in the 1830s.
name katafiki in English means refuge, and that's what it has been to local
people in times of risk, and especially during the German occupation of World
As well as being a tourist attraction it's also a focal point for
people to celebrate the Resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday. If you happen
to be on Kythnos for Easter, head to the cave. You'll be made very welcome and
have an unforgettable experience.
Many people choose the fishing village of Loutra as a base. It's about 3 miles/4.8 kms from Chora and is a very laid-back but there's also a marina here which brings in the well-heeled yachties and for this reason there's a good choice of eating places.
Loutra is also famous for its hot springs and these are pretty low key and inexpensive to visit. In fact you can enjoy one of them for free on the beach, where the water from the hot springs emerges and goes into the sea.
The Church of Agia Ekaterina, near Loutra
There are a number of churches on the island that are well
worth seeing, and perhaps making them a target for a walk. The most interesting
is the church of Panagia Kanala in the village of Kanala. It stands on top of a
hill overlooking the sea. Outside is a lovely garden and inside is an icon of
the Virgin Mary, which was painted in the 17th century by a Cretan artist who
sought refuge on Kythnos. It is meant to have miraculous powers and the church is packed with pilgrims on the feast day
on August 15th - a time to avoid travelling to or from Kythnos.
Where to Stay on Kythnos
Other Cyclades pages
You can get from Mykonos to Santorini, and of course from Santorini to Mykonos, by ferry, by plane (sort-of) or even by helicopter.
The island of Paros in the Cyclades is famous for its marble, and on this page you can also see information about flights and ferries to Paros.
The island of Tinos in the Cyclades has several daily ferry connections from Rafina on the Greek mainland and is most famous for the Feast of the Assumption.
There are plenty of things to do on Mykonos, one of the most popular Greek islands, such as nightlife, beaches, churches and visiting the ancient site of Delos.
Syros is in the Cyclades islands, with Ermoupoli as its main town and some good beaches, described here on the Greece Travel Secrets website.
Surrounded by bigger and better-known Cyclades islands such as Ios, Naxos and Santorini, Sikinos is a delightfully untouristy island.
Sifnos is one of the smaller islands in the Cyclades group in the Aegean Sea.
Serifos is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, a rugged and mountainous island with a small population.
This is the first travel guide to Schinoussa and Iraklia, two tiny islands in the Cyclades, published by Real Greek Experiences.
The island of Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries to Naxos.
Mykonos in the Cyclades islands in Greece has cheap and luxury hotel accommodation, car rental, ferries from Athens, Santorini, Crete and other Greek islands.
The island of Milos in the Cyclades in Greece is noted for its museums and beaches, and read about flights and ferries to Milos.
Kimolos is in the Cyclades islands of Greece, close to Milos.
Kea is in the Cyclades group of Greek islands and this page from Greece Travel Secrets shows how to get there by ferry and what to do when you've arrived.
The island of Ios in the Cyclades group of islands in Greece is noted for its nightlife in summer, as well as its beaches, churches and the grave of Homer.
Travel information from Greece Travel Secrets about Folegandros in the southern Cyclades, close to Sikinos, with flight and ferry information.
The island of Delos in the Cyclades islands is a unique archaeological site, taking up the whole island, and a popular day trip from nearby Mykonos.
Travel information about the Cyclades group of Greek islands including Mykonos, Santorini (Thira), Naxos, Paros, Delos, Tinos, Siros, Milos, Amorgos.
The best time to visit Mykonos depends on if you want crowds or quiet, heat or cooler temperatures, all of which affect when is the best time to visit Mykonos.
Travel information about Antiparos near Paros in the Cyclades Islands of Greece from the Greece Travel Secrets website.
The island of Andros in the Cyclades has fast ferries from Rafina. There are some good beaches and the main town has two interesting museums.
Travel advice and information on Anafi in the Greek Cyclades islands with good beaches, walking, accommodation, tavernas.
Travel advice and information on Amorgos in the Cyclades, a dramatic and growing holiday destination with ferries from Athens and other Greek islands
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