Kythnos

Cyclades

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 hours.

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 Villages

Chora

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.

Photo by Milan Gonda (see more of his photos on our page Photos of Greece).

Driopida

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.

Katafiki

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.

The 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 War II.

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.

Loutra

Loutra

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

Churches

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

See our other Cyclades pages...

  • Naxos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    The island of Naxos is the largest of the Cyclades and on this page you can see information about flights and ferries to Naxos.

  • Tinos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

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  • Syros

    Syros is in the Cyclades islands, with Ermoupoli as its main town and some good beaches, described here on the Greece Travel Secrets website.

  • Sikinos

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    Serifos is one of the Cyclades islands in the Aegean Sea, a rugged and mountainous island with a small population.

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    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.

  • Milos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    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

    Kimolos is in the Cyclades islands of Greece, close to Milos.

  • Folegandros

    Travel information from Greece Travel Secrets about Folegandros in the southern Cyclades, close to Sikinos, with flight and ferry information.

  • Anafi in the Cyclades islands of Greece

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    Travel advice and information on Amorgos in the Cyclades, a dramatic and growing holiday destination with ferries from Athens and other Greek islands

  • Kea

    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.

  • Schinoussa and Iraklia Travel Guide

    This is the first travel guide to Schinoussa and Iraklia, two tiny islands in the Cyclades, published by Real Greek Experiences.

  • Mykonos

    Mykonos in the Cyclades islands in Greece has cheap and luxury hotel accommodation, car rental, ferries from Athens, Santorini, Crete and other Greek islands.

  • Ios in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    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.

  • Antiparos

    Travel information about Antiparos near Paros in the Cyclades Islands of Greece from the Greece Travel Secrets website.

  • Andros in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    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.

  • Cyclades

    Travel information about the Cyclades group of Greek islands including Mykonos, Santorini (Thira), Naxos, Paros, Delos, Tinos, Siros, Milos, Amorgos.

  • Delos in the Cyclades Islands of Greece

    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.

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