It was in Greece where I met my partner and travel companion Achilleas. He is actually the photographer behind many of my photos. A few years ago we decided to move back to Estonia together. We currently live in the beautiful Tallinn. In our spare time we love to travel, especially to Greece.
One place that we visited recently that we absolutely loved was Kythira. This gorgeous hidden gem of Greece is technically part of the Ionian Islands. The island is located between the south of Peloponnese and Crete.
Kythira is an unspoiled island with a beautiful crystal blue sea, charming waterfalls and traditional villages. I would characterise the island as the perfect getaway for people who want to visit off-the-beaten-path parts of Greece. Ideal for travellers who value peace, nature and laid back vibes.
The Charming History and Culture of Kythira
People in Kythira are friendly and welcoming. The culture is not so different from the rest of Greece but it’s closer to South Peloponnese culture.
Kythira is known as the birthplace of Aphrodite (the goddess of love) in Greek mythology. The island offers many historical attractions with my favourite being the medieval capital city of Kythira, also known as Chora.
The capital city was founded in the 13th century by the Venetians. On top of the hill above Chora lies a Venetian castle which was built in 1503. There are a number of post-Byzantine churches to visit inside this castle and the views from the top are just magnificent! It’s definitely a must-visit.
My Favourite Places in Kythira – Chora, Kapsali, Avlemonas & Kaladi
Kapsali village is another fantastic spot that you absolutely have to visit. Here you can find a lovely promenade lined with delightful cafeterias and taverns. It’s a great place to meet locals and immerse in their culture.
The coastal fishing village of Avlemonas has beautiful, quaint bays and of course the stunning Kaladi Beach is perhaps the best beach in Kythira.
Top 10 Things To Do in Kythira
Kythira sure does pack a punch for such a small island. While it’s certainly not a party destination, the island still offers so much for visitors whether it be beautiful beaches, green landscapes or just an authentic Greek style. Below are my top 10 recommendations for first time visitors to Kythira.
1. Enjoy Breakfast and Coffee by the Sea in Kapsali
Kapsali village is one of my favourite places in Kythira. I simply love having breakfast and coffee by the sea here. The views of the Chora castle are spectacular. It’s the perfect place to start the day. I recommend trying the Greek iced coffee: Freddo Espresso or Freddo Cappuccino.
2. Watch the Sunset over the Monastery of Myrtidiotissa
The sanctuary of Panagia Myrtidiotissa is one of the great religious icons of Kythira. Many locals see the monastery as their principal symbol of faith and belief. It’s the most beautiful piece of architecture in Kythira where you can spend an afternoon watching the sunset in a blissful setting.
3. Stroll around the Narrow Streets of Chora
The narrow streets and white-washed houses with blue windows are so intoxicating to wander through. Leave your phone at home and stroll around the streets of Chora without a plan or a care in the world. It’s my favourite destination in Kythira that I recommend to all!
4. Go Swimming at Kaladi Beach
Kaladi Beach is one of the best beaches in Kythira. Discover a world of crystal-clear waters, pebbles and rocky landscapes, and superb caves that surround the cove. It’s an ideal place to go for a swim on a hot Greek summer day. Make sure to bring plenty of sunscreen and a beach umbrella.
5. Visit the Beautiful Avlemonas Village
Strolling around the cobblestone paths of Avlemonas village and its picturesque bays is a fantastic experience. Make sure you go for a swim in a natural bay with a secluded beach. The waters are famous for being crystal clear with an emerald-green colour. Such a gem of a village!
6. Chase the Waterfalls of Mylopotamos
The village of Mylopotamos is worth visiting in itself but the main attraction here is without doubt the waterfall that leads to a hidden stream. After visiting the waterfall, make sure you spend some time in the village. Enjoy authentic Greek food in Platanos tavern under plane trees of the village.
7. Relax at the Quiet Lorentzos Beach in Kythira
Lorentzos Beach is located in the east of Kythira and is a calm little destination. You can access the beach from the picturesque village of Agia Pelagia. During our visit we were the only people there. We had the whole place to ourselves. It was so peaceful. Maybe you will get that lucky too!
8. Dance at the Folk Festivals in Potamos Village
Potamos village hosts traditional folk festivals every Friday night. Visitors have the opportunity to dance the night away like local Greeks have done for many decades. This unspoiled village also offers a number of tourist attractions such as a Byzantine church dedicated to Saint Theodore.
9. Spend the Day at Fourni Beach
Spend a day at Fourni Beach and relax on the hammock inside the sea. The beach is located in the northeast of Kythira. It’s the perfect little paradise to enjoy with friends and family. There are also decent facilities at Fourni Beach such as food canteens, beach umbrellas and sunbeds.
10. Hire a Car/Motorbike and Road Trip Kythira
My final recommendation is to rent a car and explore the island. There are so many hills and mountains that you can cruise through. Discover amazing little villages, white-washed chapels and hidden lighthouses. There’s heaps to see and having your own transport really helps.
My Most Cherished Memories of Kythira
Beaches in Kythira are secluded and surrounded by nice landscapes. You can enjoy them in total privacy. My favourite memory goes back to the day when we visited Kaladi Beach. It’s the most beautiful beach of Kythira.
Kaladi is divided into three parts. On the third part you can find a small cave which ends on a teeny tiny little beach. It’s so cool! And we were lucky because when we visited we had the small beach all to ourselves for the entire day. It was like being on a deserted island.
Another cherished memory I have of Kythira was when we went for dinner in the wonderful Potamos village. We sat in a restaurant on the village square. Suddenly, a band arrived and started to play Greek folk music.
After a while, everyone got up and started dancing. Then I also joined in despite the fact that I don’t know how to dance traditional Greek dances at all! Nevertheless, it didn’t matter and I had so much fun.
The Gorgeous Local Food of Kythira
Greek food is always tasty and Kythira is no exception. You can’t go wrong with the food here. For local specialties make sure you try eggplants cooked with xinochontro (sour cream). It’s a classic dish in Kythira.
Another traditional dish is a local version of Greek Fava served with vegetables. Since it’s a Greek Island you can’t say no to freshly caught and cooked fish too. The seafood on Kythira is world class and super fresh. If you’ve got a sweet tooth then Rozedes is your best bet. It’s a sugary delight!
Where to Stay – Kapsali & Avlemonas
I would recommend basing yourself and staying in Kapsali or in Avlemonas village. Kapsali is the port of Chora which is the capital of the island. It’s built around two bays, has a beautiful beach, cute cafes and restaurants, and a promenade where you can go for a nice stroll.
Kapsali is one of the most alive areas of the island. The location is convenient because you can easily go from Kapsali to Chora by car.
The other place I recommend is the quiet seaside village of Avlemonas. Here you’ll find white-washed houses with blue windows and stunning little coves. The main beach of the village is like a natural pool. Both Kapsali and Avelmonas have boutique hotels or B&Bs where you can stay.
What you Need to Know Before you Go
Kythira is not a party island. You can find some relaxed bars in Kapsali and Chora but if you want to party all day long then it’s better to head to some of the more popular islands of the Cyclades. There are no beach bars here with loud music or nightclubs raging until the early hours of the morning.
That being said, some beaches are well equipped with sunbeds and food canteens. However, many are just natural beaches with no facilities at all. So it’s important to bring your own umbrella, sunscreen, food, water, etc.
My final tip (as mentioned previously) is to hire a car/motorbike to get around. The island is larger than it looks! Thanks for reading my guide on the best things to do in Kythira. I hope you took some inspiration and useful information from this blog for your visit to Kythira.
I believe Kythira is perfect for couples, families or small groups of friends who want to have a relaxed holiday. I promise you’ll love it.