Take a vacation in Kythnos! This island is very close to Athens, and is a perfect weekend getaway. It only takes 3 hours by ferry or 1 hour and 45 minutes by Flying Dolphin from Lavrio to reach this beautiful island in the Cyclades.The small white washed houses with their blue doors and windows, the clean beaches and the friendly locals will make you love this island.
Kythnos has endless beautiful scenery, picturesque villages, countless bays to swim in and so much more to discover. You have the choice of swimming in organised or free beaches and the choice of dining with a view of the sea or of a picturesque, cobbled path. Below you will find all the information you need for your visit to this island.
Table of Contents
- Kythnos belongs to the island complex of the Cyclades in the Aegean. It occupies the 9th place in ranking in terms of area, after Ios and before Mykonos
- Kythnos has changed many names. In ancient times it was called Dryopis or Ofiousa, because it was inhabited by Dryopes who had developed a thriving community. Later, after the 12th century AD, it was named Thermia, due to the hot thermal baths of the island. In fact, the locals still call it Thermia.
- The thermal baths of Kythnos were built and operated at the request of King Otto and Queen Amalia. It was a tourist attraction for the elderly, especially those with arthritic or muscular problems. Queen Amalia loved Kythnos and would visit it often for the baths. The marble baths which had been created for the needs of the royal couple have been saved. The island has 92 beaches and small bays which are accessible either on foot, or by vehicle or boat. Most of the beaches are sandy, but there are also a few with small pebbles.
- An ancient city was found in Vryokastro, which had been inhabited from the 10th century BC up until the 7th century AD. The excavations continue to this day with findings that show several ritual sites with two sanctuaries, Asclepius and Aphrodite. Statuettes of female and child figures, as well as heads of girls, torsos of boys and the head of Asclepius, are some of the findings, and even gold is said to have been found.
How to Go
Ferry boat: There are ferry boat rides every day from Piraeus and Lavrio to Kythno. Τhe ferry trips are more frequent in the summer months due to the large number of tourists visiting the island. The ride from Piraeus is 3 hours, whereas from Lavrio it is 1 hour and 45 minutes.
Air transport: A helipad is available near Hora, which can only serve a small group of visitors. There are daily charter flights during the morning hours, unless there is an emergency during the night.
Information on availability and prices of tickets to Kythnos can be found here.
Car or scooter: You can come by ferry and put your own vehicle on it, or rent a vehicle as soon as you arrive at the port. Most roads are mapped and your navigation will be easy. In the event your GPS does not direct you well, as happened with us in some cases, the island locals are always willing to give you directions. A scooter is the best solution to save time and to visit beaches like Kolona which has very narrow roads.
Bus: In Kythnos there is a bus network with the following routes:
Merihas, Hora (Mesaria), Baths – (Departure: 11.00 – 14.30 – 17.30 – 20.00).
Merihas, Hora (Mesaria) – (Departure: 08.30)
Merihas, Dryopida, Canal – (Departure: 10.45 – 13.30 – 17.30)
Sea Taxi: You may visit the beaches with sea taxis, from the harbour of Meriha. There you can rent whatever you need in order to spend the day on the beach of your choice.
Check our video from Kythnos here.
Βest beaches in Kythnos
This is the most famous and most photographed beach of the island. Kolona beach is unique in beauty, as it has a 240 meter stretch of sandy beach and a width of 100 meters. It connects the island with the small islet of Agio Louka. Access to Kolona is by a very small, narrow winding road but the view is worth it when you arrive. As the road is narrow and impassable you might opt for a sea taxi instead. If you go by car you will find it very difficult to maneuver when another car is coming in the opposite direction.
The sea laps on both sides of the sandy beach strip, creating two separate beaches with crystal, clear, blue water. This geographical peculiarity also protects it from strong winds, giving you the opportunity to enjoy your swim. Recently a few sunbeds with umbrellas have been added in a far corner of the one beach, whilst the rest is free and unorganised, leaving you with the choice of either. Right above the sunbeds there is a shop where you can buy some food and beverages.
Bonus Tip: Climb up to the monastery of St.Lucas on the islet, and take in the breathtaking, panoramic view, immortalising this truly impressive beach.
A little before Kolona beach you will find Fykiada beach. Access to this beach is equally hard through a very narrow dirt road. In Fykiada the beach is totally wild and unorganised, without any boats or noise nearby. You can also see the beautiful view of Kolona beach from there.
It has a sandy beach with turquoise waters, with seaweed lying between the sand and the beach.There are no shops on this beach, only a tiny bar at the far end. Most visitors leave their vehicles near this beach and walk to Kolona.
In front of the homonymous settlement there is the beach of Loutra. It is known for the salty and ferrous waters that end up in the sea from the hydrotherapy center through a channel. At the end of this channel, at the far right of this beach is the thermal pool where the hot waters meet the cool sea waters.The temperature of the water in the natural pool surrounded by rocks exceeds 35 degrees celsius.
The beach is very long, free of beach bars. There are several shops, rooms for rent and traditional taverns with whitewashed Cycladic houses. Also, on the right side of the beach, above the pool, is the mansion of the Mazaraki family. Built in western European style tower, it is a special building that dominates above the beach. There is even a small, picturesque harbour, which facilitates several boats.
After Loutra there is a small cove, the beach of Agia Irini. Due to its location it is protected from the wind, it is sandy with shallow waters, and is ideal for families with children. You will find many traditional shops to relax while enjoying the sea view.
Right after the port there is a small beach, Martinakia. This beach has fine sand and is organized with the beautiful, boho style, beach bar Hamsa. Also, in Hamsa the price of the set (2 sunbeds and umbrella) is 16€.
We suggest you make your reservation 2 days in advance during the high season. In Martinakia there is also the DaMassimo restaurant for Italian cuisine.
Apokrousi beach (or Apokrisi) is located in a small cove, between two hills. Apokrousi is one of the largest beaches in Kythnos and its characteristic is the clear blue waters, in which you will enjoy your swim. In most parts of the beach there are several tamarisk trees that will offer you shade, with benches next to them.The view of the beach is impressive, as you can see the islet of Agios Loukas.There are also various rooms for rent in the settlement of Apokrousi, and on the beach you will find a beach bar and 2 traditional taverns with local delicacies.
One of the busiest beaches in Kythnos, Episkopi stretches in front of the homonymous settlement, overlooking the closed bay. Here you will enjoy swimming since its waters are deep blue and shallow. The beach is sandy with tamarisk trees to offer their shade.The main feature of Episkopi is the Pountaki Beach bar, on the left side of the beach, which provides sunbeds and umbrellas. To the sound of music you can enjoy coffee, soft drinks and various snacks. The rest of the beach is unorganized, giving you a choice.
Bonus Tip: At the right end of the beach, is the small chapel of Agios Vlassis, built on the rocks. Right below the church, the beach and the picturesque creek stretch in front of you, a view that is worth photographing.
A wonderful beach that is separated in the middle by a rock, on which the Virgin of Flambouriani church has been built. Every August 23rd, this church is celebrated and a big festival is set up, attracting the whole island. It is not an organized beach, and you will not find shops and taverns here, only a few rooms for rent.
This beach belongs to the settlement of Panagia Kanala and forms a small pine bay. Access is by about 100 steps leading to a quiet beach. Along the beach there is a large number of tamarisks that create shade for the most part, having benches on their side. The beach is not organized, but due to its steps, we do not recommend carrying too much equipment (umbrellas, chairs, etc.).
The beach of Agios Sostis is one of the most beautiful and deserted beaches on Kythnos. It derives its name from the small church of the area which gives a Cycladic note to the beach with its white color. This beach is ideal for diving enthusiasts as it is windless and the waters are crystal clear, giving the opportunity to discover the seabed. In the middle of the beach there are a few trees that will offer you shade, but the rest is unorganised, so we suggest you bring along whatever you will need to spend the day there.
Bonus Tip: The beach is divided in two by an islet, and the left part is more secluded for those who want more peace and privacy.
Megali Ammos (Great Sand)
As its name suggests, it is a sandy beach in the area of Kanala. It is on the right side in relation to the Antonides beach mentioned above. It mainly attracts families as its waters are crystal clear and shallow. Along the beach there are several tamarisk trees that reach the sea, offering their shade.
Top things to do in Kythnos
Probably the most picturesque Cycladic village you will find in Kythnos. Dryopida is located at a sheltered altitude between the hills, right in the middle of the island. Formerly its name was Horio, while in the years of King Otto it was named Dryopis, in honor of the ancient tribe of Dryopes. In this traditional settlement it is worth roaming around the picturesque alleys, with the flowering bougainvilleas, and reading the scattered inscriptions with beautiful verses about the island.
The main attraction of Dryopida is the Katafiki cave which is mentioned below. It has several amenities, such as cafes, taverns, supermarkets, but also shops with souvenirs and pottery.
In the village of Dryopida, is the Katafiki (or Katafygi) cave, one of the most important attractions in Kythnos. Its temperature is constant at 17 degrees celsius throughout the year and most of it remains unexplored.
For several centuries it served as a refuge (hence the name) from pirates, the Franks, the Turks and during World War II.
Inside the natural part is about 600 meters. The artificial portico (2 km long) was created for the transport of ores by carts to the land exit to Kynidos. In the natural cave, the corridors that developed over the years resemble a labyrinth, within an area of 3,500 sq.m.
But the most impressive element in the cave are the stalactites and stalagmites where you will be impressed by their volume and shape. Katafyki was also a place of various events and festivals, and here too the glorious Easter is celebrated, with the lighting of fires that illuminate the interior of the cave.
The most famous route followed by hiking enthusiasts in Kythnos, starts from Loutra. The path is well marked and passes through an uphill ravine and from the plateau to Katakefalos. From this place the path continues, ending at the castle of Oria. The route is relatively easy and its length is about 3.5 km.
Walk in Chora
The capital of Kythnos, Chora (or Massaria) is 8 km from the port of Merichas. It is built on the edge of a plateau, and is one of the most beautiful settlements of Kythnos. Its picturesqueness combined with its Cycladic character, together with its cosmopolitan shops make it even more impressive.
There is a central cobbled path that gathers the commercial traffic of Chora and here are taverns, bars, shops and folk art shops.
Panagia Kanala and Agia Kalliopi
In the homonymous area of Kanala, there is the most important church on the island and on August 15th the biggest festival is held there. The miraculous image attracts thousands of pilgrims every year as it is said that the image was found in the canal between Kythnos and Serifos.
Walking a few meters after Panagia Kanala, is Agia Kalliopi. This is a beautiful chapel overlooking the sea. We came upon the most beautiful sunset, with warm colours forming in the sky and reflected in the sea, living one of the most romantic moments on the island.
Your vacation in Kythnos can be combined with an excursion to a nearby island. Sifnos and Serifos are the two closest islands you can visit.
There are not many types of activities on the island. However, for the more adventurous, there is the Aqua Team diving center in Loutra. A complete organized diving center, for anyone who wants to get to know the underwater world of the island.
Food and Beverage
Kolona bar restaurant
A beautiful shop with Cycladic colours high above on the edge of Kolonas beach. Here you will enjoy its beautiful terrace with the incredible view of Kolona and taste the fresh catch brought in by the boats. It also has a bar from which you can get coffee, water and soft drinks, with its own sunbeds and umbrellas at one end of the beach.
On the beach of Agia Irini is a restaurant of high standards, belonging to Mr. Costas Soumas. Its seafood is fresh and the selection of wines updated. The location of the restaurant, with the terrace above the sea, offers a special atmosphere. The prices are proportional to the quality of the food.
The first tavern in the port of Mericha, Fermina is the ideal choice for Italian but also for meat. Their dishes are neat and tasty, with rich portions, and the service is friendly and polite. There is the option to sit in the shop on the porch of Merichas, or at the tables down in the harbour watching the boats and “kaikia”(Greek fishing boats). The medium chicken pizza with Philadelphia that we got, along with the portion of fried squid and the big salad left us more than satisfied and full.
One of the more traditional taverns in Merichas. In Cretan you will taste the local cuisine of the island with their traditional dishes. Their seafood is fresh from the fishermen’s boats, their staff is very helpful and its prices are very good for the quality it offers. The owners of the shop, Marian and Antonis, are very friendly and hospitable. The view of the sea and the picturesque port, especially at sunset, really gives you the full Kythnos experience.
The Hangout of Detzi
On the main cobbled path of Chora, The Hangout of Detzi is probably the best place to eat. A beautiful environment and decoration, rich portions, delicious dishes and very good prices are the characteristics of this shop that will impress you. The beautiful terrace in Cycladic colors is special, where you will enjoy your food to the fullest.
This is the most famous bar in Chora, and the whole island. Kraken bar is an impressive place in a small square with tables, but also seats on the stairs, where you can enjoy your drink – cocktail. We suggest you make a reservation because there is a large crowd.
Ideal for lovers of authentic Italian cuisine, the DaMassimo restaurant is located on Martinakia Beach, on the right hand side. The wonderful place above the sea, combined with the wide variety of dishes will be unforgettable.
Read our article for Antiparos here.
Accommodation in Kythnos
For our stay in Kythnos we chose Tzamaros Studios, in the port of Merichas. There are two different complexes which are located 5 minutes away from the port. One has the older apartments, while the second to the left of the port is all new. In the first complex there is also the supermarket of the same family, so all your shopping can be done literally next door.
We felt the hospitality of the island, but also enjoyed moments of calm. The studio we stayed in was one of the new ones and it was exactly what a couple needed. There were all the necessary facilities (air conditioning, hot water, Wi-Fi). Vangelis served us and took us to the rooms in his car, because in the beginning we had confused the two complexes! The same service was available during the checkout. We stayed free of charge in the room, since our return ferry was leaving in the afternoon. The people are hospitable, helpful and can answer any questions you may have about what to do on the island.
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