Take the ferry to Kythera and exalt your spirit in the idyllic birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite, located near the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese!
Kythera in Greece is a unique island in many respects, giving a confused sense of identity. Despite its Cycladic architecture, influenced by the Venetians, both historic and modern, it belongs to the Heptanese Islands, despite the fact that it is far from the rest of its sister Ionian islands.
The island has an air of romance attached to it. Walk in the paths of the heart and secret loves. According to Hesiod ( ancient Greek poet who lived during Homer’s time) the goddess of love Aphrodite was born in Kythera. The island was a source of inspiration for the French painter Jean Antoine Watteau and its painting. The embarkation for Cythera, the 19th century great French poet Charles Baudelaire who described the island in his poem A Voyage to Kythera, The Flowers of Evil, as the “Island of sweet secrets, of the heart’s festival!” and the 20th century greek filmmaker Theo Angelopoulos.
Kythera or Cerigo (the island’s Venetian name) is at the entrance of the Laconian Gulf. Take a tour around the island and discover its beauty : beautiful mountainsides and canyons dressed in green, valleys that end on the seashore, wonderful beaches with crystal clear water, picturesque little villages ( more than 40), flower- speckled cliffs, hiking trails that lead through a versatile nature to spring waters, churches and monasteries , monuments and castles of the past reflecting the history of the island and local tasty dishes.
Holidays in Kythera are a unique experience and those who pay it a visit are charmed by the island’s spell. Book your ferry tickets to Kythera in advance and revel in the small paradise of the Aegean!
Getting to Kythera by Ferry
Getting to Kythira by ferry is the best option you have. Kythera is located further from the rest of the Ionian islands so it’s quite secluded. The trip to get there is quite long but the destination certainly compensates you.
Each year, depending on the time of year, there might be more or fewer ferry connections to / from Kythera.
You can reach Kythera from 2 different ports of the Greek mainland:
From the port of Piraeus in Athens. There are conventional ferries, with a garage for vehicles, running from Piraeus to Kythera twice a week and the trip lasts approximately 6 hours.
From Gythio in Peloponnese and Crete (Kissamos). They usually depart 3 times a week.
Kythera ferry port
The main port of Kythera is located in Diakofti, protected by the winds, on the eastern side of the island and approx. 30 km away from Kythera’s main town (Chora).
Diakofti is a small and quiet fishing village and the construction of the port started in 1982 and it substituted the ports of Kapsali and Agia Pelagia.
In Diakofti you will be able to find some seaside taverns and guestrooms. The village has one of the prettiest beaches of Kythera, famous for its blue- green water, its soft white sand and exotic landscape.
Transportation in Kythera
Kythera has a big road network, in comparison to other islands of the same size and for your transportation on the island you can use either the bus service or a taxi. They are relatively cheap and have the capability of transferring you to any part of the island.
This public transportation is affordable and the best way to explore the island.
Routes are carried out between:
Chora and Agia Pelagia with middle stops in the villages: Potamos, Aroniadika, Karvounades and Livadi.
Please visit Kythera Bus Service for more information or call +30 697 296 4198, +30 697 703 2204.
A less affordable way to move around the island is by a taxi but it offers an easy and fast transfer to your desired destination. There is a sufficient number of taxis operating in Kythera. The cost of this service is displayed on the taxi meter and it is advisable to ask in advance the estimated cost of the ride from the taxi driver.
For more details please refer to Kythera Taxis or call +30 694 522 7480, +30 694 431 4125, +30 694 474 6246.
Kythera Airport to Kythera Port
Kythera Island National Airport “Alexandros Aristotelous Onassis” receives flights from Athens all year round and the duration of the flight is approximately one hour. The airport is located in the Sympetra area, close to Friligianika village The distance from Chora is about 19 km.
Unfortunately, there is no public bus service outside the airport of Kythera but there is a taxi rank just outside the arrivals terminal.
When you visit Kythera
The island of Kythera attracts a lot of tourists seeking some peace and quiet. Visitors are charmed by the scenery, the Cycladic and Venetian villages, the medieval castles, the monasteries, rocky coves and fine sand beaches. Kythera will definitely not disappoint you if you take the time to explore. These are some of the best places that are worth visiting:
- The charming capital of Kythera, Chora. Stroll around the alleys past the stately homes of the old aristocracy. Make sure you visit the Archaeological Museum with the archaic lion that has a special history, brought to the entrance of the fortress of Chora by the Venetians.
- The Venetian castle, also called “Fortezza”, built in the 13th century, stands imposingly over the capital Chora. Due to its strategic position the Venetias called it also the eye of Crete since it provides good observation points to the Aegean, Ionian and the Cretan sea.
- Inside the castle there are four churches but the biggest one is Panagia Myrtidiotissa, built in 1580. Once considered a catholic church but in 1806 it became an orthodox church. The miracle- working icon of Panagia Myrtidiotissa was kept inside this church as a way to protect the island from pirates. The monastery of Panagia Myrtidiotissa is located though in the south west part of the island, twice a year praised by locals and visitors.
- Just outside the port you will find the famous Nordland Wreck, a russian ship that was shipwrecked in 1986. The ship has remained there ever since with her bow sticking out of the water.
- Visit Kapsali village, the most popular spot of the island and enjoy your coffee or ouzo by the harbour at one of the many seaside taverns. The view of Chora and the medieval castle is amazing. Don’t forget to visit the cave with the chapel of Agios Ioannis tou Gremou, in the rock face above Kapsali, at the edge of a pine forest.
- The “Neraida” or “Fonissa” waterfall is located in the small village of Mylopotamos next to where the watermills of the island used to be.
- Built in 1857, under the British rule, the lighthouse of Moudari is one of the biggest in Greece. The lighthouse is located at the northernmost point of the island, cape Spathi. It has a height of 25 meters and the view of the sea is just amazing.
- The bridge of Katouni, built in 1826, is 110m long and 6m wide, supported by 13 symmetric arches with 12 cylindrical openings. The Katouni bridge was part of the road that connected the capital of Kythera to the port of Agios Nikolas or Avlemonas.
- Located in the northernmost part of a steep cliff set in the middle of the canyon lies Paleochora, once the Byzantine capital of the island, with its 13th century buildings. The Byzantine castle of Paleochora is one of the most important archaeological sites and it was a safe natural fortress built on the 216 meter high rock.
Savour delicious traditional products:
- Try the local thyme honey
- Taste the traditional sweet of rozedes made with honey, almonds, semolina, sugar, cinnamon and cloves.
- If you love almonds pasta mylou is the best sweet for you
- Drink some fatourada, the local liquor, made from pure tsipouro, cinnamon , cloves, flavoured with fruits.
- Don’ t forget to try xerotigana, made with thin layers of fried dough arranged in a shape of a water lily and dressed with honey, sesame seeds and cinnamon.
Before you leave the island buy a bouquet of sempreviva ( sempre viva= always alive) flowers: Yellow small endemic flowers that grow only in the south parts of the island on steep rocks and the skerry of Chytra, close to Kapsali.
Hotels in Kythera
The best options for accommodation, either you are looking for a hotel, a resort, an apartment, a studio or a villa, are in:
- The village of Kapsali in the southern part of the island, close to the beautiful Chora. It offers a good selection of taverns and shops and it gives easy access to the beach
- The village of Agia Pelagia has the most accommodation options. The village is not very scenic but you will be satisfied with the quality of the accommodation types and the excellent food wherever you choose to eat.
- The village of Avlemonas is also a good choice. It looks like a Cycladic village and the island’s largest beach, Paleochori is really close.
- If you are looking for elegant surrounds with plenty of options when it comes to restaurants, shops and bars Chora is the best choice for you.
Please find below some of the best rated hotels and accommodations:
- Sirene Villas
- Kythera Irida
- Avlemonas Bay Sea Houses Kythira
- Pantonia Apartments Kythira
- Anemes Kythira
- Astarti Hidden Retreats
- Vilana Studios Kythira
- Zathea Apartments
- Kythea Resort
- Anastasia Studios Kythira
- Gerakari Suites
Beaches in Kythera
Kythera has many beautiful beaches with crystal water, surrounded by beautiful landscapes, all with panoramic views of the Peloponneese and Cape Malea and easily accessible in 15 to 60 minutes. Counting more than 40 beaches you will find your unique beach, choosing amongst small, large, sandy, stony, organized or secluded beaches.
Please find below a list of the best beaches:
- Agia Pelagia: in the north part of the island, a large, organized beach with a black-grayish sand. Suitable for families and sports enthusiasts.
- Kapsali: 2km south of Chora, a large beach with pebbly sand and shallow water.You will find many restaurants, snack bars and coffee shops.
- Chalkos: 8 km south east of Chora. One of the most beautiful beaches, surrounded by wild beauty, with some pebbled and some sandy parts.
- Kaladi Beach Kythira: 30 km north east of Chora. A small clean beach, an ideal place to relax.
- Avlemonas: 19 km north east of Chora. Avlemonas has small coves with crystal clear green- blue waters.
- Platia Ammos: Located on the northernmost spot of the island. Platia Ammos is an average size sandy beach. Relatively quiet.
- Lagkada: 30 km north of Chora. It has gorgeous water, it’s non organized and the close gorge is a frequent climbing spot.
- Melidoni Beach Kythira: Located to the south west of Kythira. A small sandy beach with crystal clear waters and an amazing view to the island of Chytra.
Day trips from Kythera
During your stay in Kythera, take a day trip to Antikythera Island. The access to the island is easy and only two hours away from Kythera. AntiKythera is a very small island located to the southeast of Kythera, between Crete and Peloponnese, with only 50 inhabitants that live permanently on the island. Its economy is based on fishing, tourism is not developed yet and there are only a few rooms for rent. All around the island you will find nice small beaches to swim, such as Xeropotamos, close to which is located the ancient fortified town of Kastro and the remains of the temple of Apollo. There aren’t many churches on the island but on the name day of Agios Myronas, the patron saint of the island, on August 17th, the island is at its peak and many pilgrims visit the island.