Overview

Introduction

Kythira lies just off the south eastern part of the mainland Peloponnese and is almost a fantasy Greek island. It is hard to think of another that offers so much and yet has such low key foreign tourism. It reminds us of Greece before it got so popular, when accommodation and flights were still limited and the resorts only busy in August.

For this you have to thank the hard to-reach location off the main ferry routes and the fact that the airport is too small to take large aircraft. But, thanks to improved flight schedules from Athens - from one to two small planes a day - it is now possible to reach Kythira without having to overnight.

Kythira is the 17th Greek island in terms of size (280 sq km), about the same as Kos but with a fraction of the population (c 3500) and numbers of summer visitors. It offers a varied topography hiding many villages and over 30 beaches, and enough history and interest to satisfy the most avid explorer.

Traditionally listed as belonging to the Ionian group of islands, geographically Kythira is closer to the Aegean. This is reflected in the Cycladic style of architecture - flatroofed whitewashed houses, bluedomed churches and a  traditional fortified Hora (capital town) high above the sea for protection against pirate attack.

The island's strategic location at a crossroads between Crete and the mainland has meant a trading past and plenty of conquerors. Its history dates back to pre-Classical times and more recently includes roman, Byzantine, Venetian, ottoman and British rulers.

The most well known resort area is Kapsali in the south. you will understand why if you go. The village is built behind a pair of horseshoe-shaped bays - the main one of which has an excellent sandy beach - overlooked by the picture postcard whitewashed village of Hora and its Venetian castle high on the hillside above. Kapsali's beach is backed by an array of taverna restaurants, cafes and small shops and is of course busy in high season. Motor boats can be hired, there is a dive school and some seasonal excursions run by boat, including to the rocky islet of Hytra which has a fantastic sea cave where you can swim in translucent water. The area is also good for walking.

Agia Pelagia in the north east spreads around a couple of sandshingle bays and has a very laid back Greek holiday feel. It is known for the quality of its tavernas - there are five, plus the usual cafes and shops - and the main beach is organised in parts. A high season boat trip runs (subjectto weather, it can be windy here) to the islet of elafonissi close to the Peloponnese, which boasts Caribbean-like white sand beaches.

Tiny Avlemonas, halfway down the east coast, is charming and picturesque. It is known for its natural swimming pool - a fjord-like rocky inlet which has the clearest of water. The village has made this a centrepiece, with landscaped gardens, paths and seating leading down to it. ladders lead into the sea, which is very sheltered and therefore a popular swimming spot when the wind blows. The village has four tavernas, a pair of cafes and a mini-market. A 10-12 minute walk south (1 km) is the well liked long sandy beach of Paleopolis. Avlemonas is really a very sweet little spot, ideal for total relaxation in a small village atmosphere.

Kythira's interior hides a gently rural landscape and over 50 traditional villages. There are monasteries, hundreds of small churches, ruined castles and villages, springs, waterfalls and caves with stalagmites to discover, not to mention some fabulous beaches such as striking Kaladi or the white sands of Diakofti. There is a good value island coach excursion but, to make the most of Kythira, car hire is recommended as the bus service is limited.

 

A short tourist guide on the island of Kythira can be downloaded here. Information on the island's spectacular beaches can be found here.

Read more

Getting to Kythira

Flights to Athens from Bristol, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow, Luton, Manchester, Stansted. Then onward domestic flight to Kythira (50 mins) and transfer to accommodation (20-40 mins.). On return the reverse applies. Most flights should connect same day through Athens - however if not then an overnight hotel will be booked in Athens with transfers.

Multi-Centre Options

Many options tailor-made via Athens. Alternatively ferries connect Kythira with the SE Peloponnese (Neapolis port) in 75 mins. but you will need to take a hire car over (extra ferry and mainland insurance payable locally) and overnight. Cars can be dropped at Athens and Kalamata airports for a one way hire supplement. For a short side trip from Kythira we recommend stunning Monemvasia only an hour's drive from Neapolis, where we have a range of hotels you can pre-book, from small pensions within the castle walls to the wonderful 5-star Kinsterna Hotel.

Car Hire

Car hire can be pre-booked and delivery is free.

Representative

We have representation on Kythira c/o our local agent and you will be visited at your accommodation shortly after arrival and before departure.

Walking and Hiking

The Social Co-operative Enterprise Paths of Greece was founded in 2010 with the vision to help Greece become one of the top 10 hiking destinations in the world. They bring back to life the old footpaths in different localities, in a manner that they fully respond to the needs of the modern hiker - read more.

Click here for details on hiking on Kythira.

Useful information

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Mark Willson
Mark Willson
Best time to go
  • JAN
  • FEB
  • MAR
  • APR
  • MAY
  • JUN
  • JUL
  • AUG
  • SEP
  • OCT
  • NOV
  • DEC
Time Difference

GMT + 3 hours

Currency

Euro

Language

Greek

Average flight times

3 hours

  • Average temperature

    Average rainfall

Note: Map is for guidance purposes only.

Talk to our Greece expert

Jackie Gogonas
Jackie Gogonas

Those of our clients who have, over the last 20 or so years, visited Tolon in the Peloponnese will know Jackie; our very knowledgeable and passionate representative. Having decided to return to the UK, she has joined our reservations team and, needless to say, knows Tolon, a resort we have featured since 1973, inside out. It will come as no surprise to know that the Peloponnese is her favourite region in Greece.

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View over Kapsali from Hora, Kythira

Kythira

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We promise that a member of our specialist reservation teams will reply personally to your holiday enquiry before 5.30pm if received before 12.00pm (Monday to Friday). Enquiries received after 12.00pm will be replied to within 24-hours (excluding Sundays).

If your enquiry is of an urgent nature, please telephone our dedicated reservation teams on the numbers listed below.

Our lines are open from 9.00am to 5.30pm Monday-Friday and from 9.30am to 4.30pm Saturday.

  • Greece: 020 8758 4758
  • Cyprus: 020 8758 4759
  • Portugal, the Azores, Spain, Italy, Sicily and Scandinavia: 020 8758 4722
  • Latin America: 020 8758 4774

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