Having just returned from my summer holidays, I have to say that Kythera is a fantastic island and it really takes the cake for peaceful and relaxed holidays. I wasn’t expecting to like it so much when we decided on going there for summer vacation, but I can tell you now that I absolutely love it! It’s not only the wildness of the island (it still remains unspoilt!) or the delicious food (come on people, it’s Greece! In the majority of eateries you go across the country, you’ll surely enjoy your foo!), it’s also the people! I know everyone tends to say that a lot about anyone they meet on a trip, but Kythereans are some of the best Greeks I’ve come to know. They are humble, open and very welcoming people; people that look at you not as a tourist (allowing them to make an easy profit), but with an inherent kindness that is very difficult to find nowadays! This kindness and warm politeness are what make the island extra-special for me and I am sooo glad that we spent an uninterrupted week at the beautiful island of Kythera!
So, if you have some vacation days that you want to spend somewhere quiet, I would urge you to think about Kythera. As an island, it really combines everything and in order to make it even easier for you, I’ve created a little list with things you can do in six days on Kythera. Without further ado, let’s start!
It’s an island people! Of course I would start with the most obvious! Joking aside, Kythera has some of the most beautiful beaches (and water – I cannot forget the pure blue and clear water) I’ve visited in my life! Pebbled or sandy, the beaches around the island are ready for you to explore. However I would recommend to get off the beaten path and explore Kaladi in the east, Melidoni in the south or Chalkos – also in the south. In my mind, it’s not that Agia Pelagia or Kapsali are not nice as well, but the three mentioned above are something else entirely. In order to go down to Kaladi beach, you will have to park your car and then descend some 50 steps (maybe more, maybe less…). Melidoni and Chalkos are organised with umbrellas and sunbeds, but it’s all very relaxed. If you are looking for summer parties at a loud beach bar, these are not the place for that. Kaladi on the other hand is non-organised, but this doesn’t affect its beauty in the least! 🙂
Kythera is Greece, so you know what to expect! Great ingredients, cooked perfectly and staff smiling always. However, Kythera is not only that; from fresh fish and meat to oven-baked veggies, its cuisine is out of this world! I can tell you, you will be spoilt for choice. Trust me on this, by the end of your vacation, you will have gained around 4lb!
For a nice brunch or after lunch dessert, head on to Fossa in Kythera town. You can taste some amazing cheesecakes (the double-choc or key lime are to die for!) and probably the best coffee on the island. For traditional Greek cuisine, Skandeia near Avlemonas or Tavern Filio in Kalamos share easily the top. The portions are epic, while the food is so tasty you cannot even imagine! For the plain meat-eaters don’t worry I have something for you, too. Toxotis in the village of Livadi serves the best grilled meat on Kythera since 1987, accompanied by local red wine made by the owner himself!
Your late-night cravings will be sated with a visit to Souvlaki (also in Livadi), where you can have – what else? – pita souvlaki, gyro or loukaniko. Warm and yummy, you will quickly fill up with some very good meat. Finally, a nice restaurant – that could very well be found in Athens or any other big city – serving Greek cuisine with a twist is Familia. This restaurant is in Fratsia, a quiet village that dates back to the 14th century. All of its dishes are inspired by the Kytherian gastronomic heritage and unique culinary culture. If you can, do try the rabbit with mushrooms, it’s unbelievably delicious!
Go on an adventure
If you dream about a vacation where you will not only get to sit on a sunbed and sunbathe, I have the solution. Why not join a boat excursion to Hytra islet or to some beaches, accessible only by a boat? Captain Spiros is here to save the day! With daily excursions departing from Kapsali pier in the south of Kythera, this is a trip not to be missed. You must at least once join captain Spiros in his glass-bottom boat for a swim in these incredibly clear, turquoise waters, however bear in mind that these sea excursions are weather permitting. If there is a lot of wind, then Hytra is no-go and the boat will take you instead to the – haunted – beach of Kiriakoulou and even further to Kakoplaka, which is exactly what we did while on Kythera. The wind was strong, so captain Spiros had to remain local and thus we swam in the crystalline sea of Kiriakoulou and Kakoplaka. The excursion costs only €15 and for three hours it’s well-worth it in my opinion!
This is so exciting, I am telling you! So you’ve been to a nice beach, enjoyed your lunch and now it’s time for a drink! Our favourite places we’ve been to for a nice cocktail on the island are Koukos Bar near Kythera town, Arachtopoleio in Avlemonas and Astikon cafe bar in Potamos. Koukos Bar is literally on the road, and you can see cars pass you by. Otherwise, Arachtopoleio is fantastic for sitting and admiring the medieval ruins and the sea, while Astikon is described as “music cafe bar”; you can have a drink while listening to live bands. The atmosphere is cosy and relaxed, you won’t have to dress up to the nines! This is what really impressed me on Kythera; the music is never loud, so you can sit back, talk with your friend(s) or significant other and enjoy your drink. It’s like the island has its own rhythm; only if you stay relaxed you can hear its sound!
The island produces quality products, so you can expect to find something you love. You can purchase olive oil, thyme honey, olive oil or carob flour rusks (that are soooo yummy) or the Kytherian drink, Fatourada from retailers all across the island. Fatourada is a spirit made from tsipouro and citrus fruit – found in abundance on the island – infused with cinnamon and cloves. If food and edible products does not rock your boat though, I have a little well-hidden secret. There is a shop full of treasures in the village of Potamos, selling herbal cosmetics and beauty products. The shop is called Herovolo and its owner – Sofia – is bubbly and so knowledgeable about her creations. Soaps, shampoos, creams and handmade bags and sandals can be found there. When I visited Herovolo, I have to tell you I went a little crazy. I bought a coconut-mango foam bath (parabens free) for me and a moisturising cream with aloe vera, shea butter and rose-water for my mum and my boyfriend’s mum. There are also soaps – I loved the poppy-seeds soap, lip balms, body butters, masks, firming creams and others that can make any girl happy. It’s amazing what you can find there and Sofia is always happy to help. Another good thing? If you have a bottle that you can fill up, Sofia will fill it up for you. Eco-friendly and sustainable shopping at Kythera, so I have to give her props for that!
After all these, you can get my point about Kythera being a heaven on Earth! The rugged terrain, its people, the sea, all of these make Kythera a great holiday destination. Aphrodite was right in choosing this island for her place of birth. It’s no secret I want to be back on Kythera soon, as I fell in love with everything there!
Till next time,