Kythnos Hiking (www.kythnoshiking.com), the tour operator that runs hiking
holidays on the Greek island of Kythnos, near to Athens, has chosen the 10
must-do adventures to include in your walking tour of the island, most are part of the
on-foot effort, others relaxing activities before or afterwards.
1. Breakfast in Stamati's Bar
Kythnos Hiking (www.kythnoshiking.com) starts each day's hike at Stamati's Bar beside the
Filoxenia Studios accommodation that we use in the island capital Hora. Stamati is a
trained musician and regularly performs at weddings, baptisms, and other island events. He
plays the lute, usually in a couple with a fiddle player. Occasionally he will still be playing
the next morning after a long night of traditional music and dancing. Breakfast comprises a
basic dish of fruits and yoghurt, with eggs, particularly omelettes, bread and jam, and coffee
regulars on Stamati's menu.
2. Visit an ancient city excavation
An easy walk across the verdant countryside of farms before the hill to Vryokastro, the
ancient city which goes back at least to 2500 years ago. Professor Alexandros Mazarakis
from Thessaly University, who has strong family roots on Kythnos, has been excavating
this historic site for the last 30 years.Each summer he brings students from Thessaly on the
Greek mainland, France, US and other countries to do the digging. After finding the key
temples on the site he is turning his attentions to the islet which in the past was connected
to Vryokastro on the main island.
3. Swim, kayak at Apokrousi beach
After the Vryokastro visit the path goes around the coast to the Apokrousi beach with views
across to the iconic Kolona beach (see later). Apokrousi is probably the longest beach on
the island and like many beaches on Kythnos is backed by an abundance of tamarisk trees,
which provide shade. Apart from swimming in the clear blue sea there is a chance to hire a
sea kayak at a modest price and paddle across the bay or further out to Kolona or on the
sea side of Vryokastro. Coconuts is the older of the beach bars and plays lively music. It
offers service to those sitting on its loungers nearby.
4. Taste Psipsina's Greek food with a twist
Taverna on Kythnos mainly focus on traditional dishes of meat such as goat, lamb, beef,
pork and rabbit. However, for vegetarians and vegans the Greek cuisine offers a range of
dishes such as mixed salad with local cheese, beans, chickpeas, fried vegetables, stuffed
peppers and tomatoes (gemista) and the briam vegetable stew. Our site includes full
details. Psipsina in the Hora backstreets offers Greek food "with a twist" with a series of
dishes with interesting flavours and accompanied by Greek wines. Dorina, a former DJ, is
your host and explains the variety of starters and main dishes.
5. Hike to ruined Byzantine castle
The trail from Hora to Kastro Orias on a spectacular coastal headland goes via the outskirts
of the Loutra port village and marina. In spring the route is full of spring flowers and
migrating bird species. The Kastro was sacked by the Turks in the mid-16th century and
remains ruined apart from a church with painted religious scenes. The views across the
Aegean to island neighbour Kea are awe-inspiring as are the cliffs surrounding Kastro which
protected the settlement from siege for 10 years. The site has been inhabited since 3000
years before Christ as well as in the Byzantine period.
6. Enjoy hot springs in Loutra
The walk back from Kastro Orias to Loutra goes via Maroulas, the excavation site of a
10000 year-old human settlement, possibly the oldest in the Cyclades islands. Part of the
site is no longer visible because of a rise of sea levels over the years. Loutra itself has hot
water sources with medicinal powers which supply a hydrotherapy centre in the summer
and a hot pool at the side of the beach throughout the year. Loutra is lively in the summer
with yacht visitors in the marina, various fish and traditional Greek restaurants, and bars.
7. Go underground in Dryopida
Dryopida is the second main traditional village on the island, after Hora. White-washed, red
tiled-roofed houses and pedestrian streets predominate in this village sunk in a narrow
valley to protect it from marauding pirates in past times. Apart from numerous churches,
restaurants, bars and shops, the village boasts an impressive cave, the Katafiki, used until
recently as a hiding place in difficult times. Tours of the cave show off the stalagmites and
stalactites as well as on one side the remains of iron ore mining activities which continued
up until 1940.
8. Scuba, snorkel at Aghios Stephanos
Kythnos has an active and highly professional scuba school and diving centre,
(www.aquakythnos.com) based in Loutra. One of its favourite locations for either scuba or
just snorkel near the surface is Aghios Stephanos where there are a couple of wrecks to
investigate as well as colourful fish. Access to the bay's waters are beside a small quay
also used by the occasional fisherman. After the diving there are two taverna at which to eat
and drink: Arodou at the end of the beach near the scuba quay is run by Dimitris; Kantris
which is 100m back from the beach has romantic views in the evening.
9. Kanala beach walk, massage
South down the eastern coast the hiking trail runs well away from most of the beaches
apart from Kalo Livadi. The route ends at the village of Kanala, the site of Kythnos's most
important church, the Panaghia Kanala, and the scene for a religious festival celebrating
the Virgin Mary in mid-August with a religious procession of its historic icon painting, music
and dancing. Kanala also offers upmarket accommodation and bars on the Megali Ammos
beach. Apart from its tasty food, the Almyra bar offers massage on the beach and
traditional music on summer Saturday evenings.
10. Cocktails at iconic Kolona
Kolona is the island's iconic beach, technically speaking a tombolo, an isthmus joining the
main island to the islet of Aghios Loukas. There are around 20 tombolo in Greece. The
20-metre wide Kolona sand strip runs for about 250 metres. The location is very popular
with yachts and motor boats who line up on both sides of the strip. Apart from sea access,
Kolona is reached with a 4x4 vehicle or after a 40-minute walk from Apokrousi beach. Each
year the services on the beach expand and include a cocktail bar down on the beach itself
below the taverna and music bar of which it is part.
For more information and to book your Kythnos Hiking trip click here. We hope to
start tours from mid-May, virus permitting.