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The beautiful Kythnos island, belonging to the Cyclades chain of islands, is a popular tourist destination, mainly because of the wide variety of activities it offers the visitors. Believed to have been named after the leader of the Dryopes and the first inhabitant of the island, Kythno, the island has seen its share of civilizations inhabiting it.

The Dryopes are believed to be the earliest civilizations to have settled on Kythnos, with ruins of Cyclopean walls and temples having been found. Herodotus claimed that the Dryopes migrated to Kythnos around the 13th century B.C.

The Dryopes were followed by the Ionians, after which the island participated in the Persian Wars and came under the Athenian Alliance. The Romans then gained control of the island, followed by the Byzantines. Conquered by Marko Sanoudo under the Venetian rule, the island was renamed Thermia, for its hot springs. After this period control was transferred to the Castelli family, followed by the Gozadini family.

Although it was frequented raid by pirates, the island still remained under family rule until 1827, when the island was renamed Kythnos and took part in the war against the Turks. After being turned into a place of exile for rebels, under the rule of King Otto, 1862 saw an attack on the island by rebels from Syros. This led to further oppression of the rebels and the death of many brave men.

Today the island provides many attractions to its visitors, while it still maintains its Greek culture. Agriculture and fishing are still the primary occupations, while tourism is also a major contributor to its economy. Moreover, the Cycladic architecture characterizes Kythnos with whitewashed houses with wooden balconies full of flowers and narrow pebbled streets.

Merichas is the main harbor of the island and provides visitors with every imaginable comfort, from numerous taverns, restaurants, hotels, apartments, bars, and cafes. The beaches are also beautiful, long stretches of sand, sapphire water, ideal for swimming or just for a day getting the perfect Greek tan. The sunset at Kavos Marko is not to be missed while on Kythnos.

The island also offers many historical sights such as the Katafiki cave, the monastery of Panagia Kanala or the Castle of Orias. Providing a truly wonderful experience for all visitors, trekking and diving are the major activities available on the island.

Kythnos is also the island where the first Aeolic Park of the country was created, on a hill above Chora. Getting to Kythnos is equally easy, by boat from Piraeus. Also connected with the other Cycladic islands through ferry service, Kythnos is easy to get to and you are guaranteed a fun and memorable vacation on Kythnos.

More about Kythnos


10 Reviews
  • anastacia22 05 Nov 2011
    Easy to reach and lovely
    It is so close to Athens and yet it remains a pretty unspoiled island of stunning beauty. A friend of mine who leaves in Athens for 5 years now visits Kythnos every year. I was able to visit in the middle of September quiet and easy to get around. We stayed for three days but a car was essential to see most of the island's beaches which I loved, by the way. For many people I assume, including me, the best beach to visit is Kolona, two twin coves separated by a little sand area in the middle. It is easily accessed by boat and car. The food in Kythnos was very nice but a little expensive. Still I recommend you visit the tavern located opposite the main beach in Merihas, some meters from the port. In general the island is a nice opportunity for relaxing vacation and people are very friendly. On our way to the port we stopped by a local shop and got two jars of their famous thyme honey.
  • orlan 21 Sep 2010
    Hurry for alternative vacations
    I decided to visit Kythnos island this summer due to lack of time since I had only one weekend off work so I was to find a near by island to Piraeus. So I just choose Kythnos and I didn't regret this at all!

    First of all, it is a small island, cheap and not so crowded because it is no listed as common destination neither by Greeks or foreigners. Well too bad, because it is like all other Cyclades islands, with white houses on rocky surface but cheaper! When you will arrive in Merihas port, you will just see a picturesque typical port but not noisy! There are coffee shops and taverns right on the sandy seashore and believe me you will love to take your drink at night while in the sea breeze and your feet in the sea! But you will have to either rent a car or use local bus services, so to see the rest of the island.

    Locals are very helpful and polite and also on the port there is all day a kiosk open from teenagers that can help you with all that you may need, tickets, accommodation, distances, map etc which is something that I haven't seen it in any other island. Well done kids!

    Of course, you will have to visit Kolona beach (it's the most famous) , where actually are two beaches that are separated by a small sand area in the middle, so choose side!! There is a tavern there also and you will eat quietly among basil pots. Also taverns and coffee shops there play foreign music and not Greek, so no more sirtaki and opa! Try also Apokrousis beach! To reach this, you will have to use sea taxi which is somehow expensive! The only bad in Kolona is some people with their yachts and boats that are approaching so close to the beach! Come on, you people, leave some space for swimmers!!!

    Don't miss also the hot springs in the Loutra area where you can swim in the 43 degrees hot water which has heal properties, so you will see many grandmas and grandpas! If you have time, you can also visit the nearby island Kea (Tzia) which is also a sleeping beauty of Cyclades. There is a direct ferry between Kythnos, Kea and Lavrion. Hurry up for alternative tourism locations in Greece!

  • zoi 10 Mar 2010
    Beautiful island and relaxing
    Surprisingly Kythnos is not as developed as other Cycladic islands (like the neighbouring Sifnos, for example, or Milos) and it is only two hours by ferry from Athens! We spent a week in Kythnos two summers ago and although there is not much to see there, the calm ambience relaxs you.

    The beaches are not crowded, except for a couple of them (Loutra and Merihas). The other beaches are calm and not organized, maybe a fish tavern if you are lucky. Rent a motorbike to get around the island cause buses are not trustful at all, and they are very few.

    Chora and Driopida are the two villages that fight over each other for the picturesque view and the traditional aspect of life. Personally I prefered Chora for the bars and Driopida for the food, so that none of the two gets offended.

    Loutra is also a nice port on the northern of Kythnos and we tried some really nice taverns at the marina. The beach of Loutra is warm because of the thermal spas in the area. The inland is not hilly but roads can be winding, so pay attention if you drive.
  • joankam 31 Oct 2009
    Traditional and calm
    Although it is so close to Piraeus, not many people tend to choose Kythnos as a summer destination and in some cases they may not even hear of it!
    Kythnosis a marvellous built-up total with windmills, arches, small plazas, picturesque taberns and white houses, paved alleys and colourful blinds and doors!
    There is a spot in the port where you can swim through sanative hot water and Kolona is like a beach-bridge that links Kythnos with another islet and you can swim also from the two sides! Simply unique!
    Kythnos is full of sail boats and only in Merichas town you will find ATM and pharmacy. Personally I enjoyed the most dining in Kantris tavern with traditional food as garbanzo soup, sour skim-milk cheese croquettes- where the sour skim- milk cheese and greens are especially produced by the owner and his extremely polite and friendly family.
    A simple, quiet island with sufficient nightlife but I think we have misunderstood the meaning of vacation, it is time to relax, enjoy the sun and not get drunk all the time and choose our destinations based on this.
  • giupario 10 Sep 2009
    Off the beaten track
    I spent a week in Kythnos at the beginning of September: no crowd, sun and excellent beaches. My favourite were Apokrousi and Potamia, but also Episkopi is worth a visit. Kolona was nice but too hot, no shadow and too many boats. It can be reached by car, but the road is quite difficult, some driving skill is required. The same for Potamia.

    Most of the beaches on Kythnoshave gross, grey sand and many pebbles. Do not expect to find the white beaches of Kefalonia or Zakyntos. However, access to water is always easy, and you 'll find plenty of shadow under the trees that grow by the sea. There aren't renting facilities for umbrellas and chairs, so get your own.

    Night life in Merihas is reasonably lively: lot of restaurants (my favourite was Gyalos) and a nice bar with internet connection and lovely home made deserts - Beggeles. The disco in Akrotiri looked very nice, but at 11.00 pm it was empty - apparently people don't show up before 1.00 a.m., and leave in the morning, around 6 a.m. (definitely off limit for an old lady like me).

    For a nice accomodation I strongly reccommend Villa Elena in Martinakia : great view on the port and on the sunset, very confortable two-storey apartments, easy access to a small beach from the premises. To sum up, a very relaxing holiday in a place that won't disappoint visitors who look for a corner of authentic Greece.
  • agnest 09 Aug 2009
    Relaxing for weekend
    The ferry took only 2 and a half hours to get to Kythnos from Piraeus. It was a last minute destination to get away from the hot and noise of Athens. We stayed only for a weekend but it was proved enough to relax. We left the car above Gaidouromantra and walked a bit to get to the beach. It has pebbles and usually a few people. The wild landscape around is very beautiful and although there are no umbrellas, there are a few trees for shadow. Then, we headed for Kanala to have a meal in the beautiful taverns by the sea. By the way, we visited the monastery of Panagia. Kythnoshas nice villages to see. Chora and Driopida are more traditional, Loutra and Merichas are more tourist. People are happy to help you or show the way, although it is difficult to get lost: there is only one raod in Kythnos connecting the main villages.
  • shir334 22 May 2009
    Romantic destination
    Everything was pretty closed in Kythnos in early May. Most hotels hadn't opened yet and it was troublesome for us to get a room that time of the year. We had started to send reservation e-mails from end of March but we got no replies. In generally, this system sometimes doesn't work in Greece. Hotel owners are not much familiar with online booking, especially in small hotels. Anyway, someone answered us jut a week before we come to Greece. Otherwise, we would go to another island (probably Paros or Milos, but we have already gone there and liked, but we wanted to pick up a new destination).

    Kythnos is certainly very traditional. The moment I saw Chora, it striked me as a very romantic destination. It is more of a village rather than a capital, but this is where you can find public services on the island. Driopida is also very nice, sometimes I thought it was a mountainous village. Only when you see the sea around, you realize you are on an island. I didn't swim much on Kythnos because the water was still a bit chilly. We did a lot of sunbathing of course. That is what I like on beaches: to lay on the soft sand, sunbathe and read a magazine or listen to music. Beaches looked crystal but I can't give more advice on that.
  • bettyisl 04 Aug 2008
    A true and precious fairyland
    We discovered Kytnhos by chance while we were searching the Web for some Greek islands to spend our holidays. Since we had visited the must-see Mykonos, Santorini, Rhodes and Crete, we thought that a more quiet view of the Cyclades would be ideal for us and that is how we picked Kythnos. It was indeed a great choise!! Something very different than the other Greek islands and to my mind, the Greeks have a precious destination closeby. The villages were small and most houses looked old, but this is certainly a sight you will not find in the huge block of flats of the modern cities. All alleys would smell traditional cooking, sea breeze and flowers. Walk at Chora and drink traditonal coffee. Observe the serene, old faces of the locals. See the few children playing at the squares. Swim at the isolate beaches and listen to the wind. All these are unique experiences you shouldn't miss. Please protect Kythnos from tourism and keep it as it is, a fairyland!!
  • ekate5658 24 Jun 2008
    Very quiet and beautiful
    I believe the best feature of Kythnos is the quiet beaches. I love quiet beaches, where only a few people are there to swim or get to know each other and have company. The island is generally quiet, not many crowds to disturb your holidays. Walk on the paved paths, eat fish dishes that are healthy cooked, meet the locals. Most of them do not speak English, but the body language explains everything.
  • doloreszapa32 09 Apr 2008
    Try kalogiros dish and swim in Kolona
    Kythnos is a small island in the middle of the Aegean. It was not actually our first choise to come to Greece. We went there just for a weekend, to relax after five whole days on Mykonos. The endless beach parties of Mykonos were over and we were now on paradise. Kythnos was tiny, peaceful, almost isolate in some areas but yet lovely. Kolona was my favourite beach, but it was too tiring to go. I took us two hours walking from Chora!! Thank God, a wind was blowing, otherwise the hot sun would have burnt us! Also remember to try kalogiros in one of the seaside taverns in Merihas. It is a meat dish with tomatoes and feta, really delicious! Just make sure you have enough cash with you, because credit cards are rarely accepted on Kythnos.