Kythnos has a land mass of 99 sq. km. and a coastline of 98 km. The population
of Kythnos is about 1,500 individuals. This western Cycladic island
is 52 nautical miles from Piraeus.
has several lovely beaches and many coves and is well known for
its therapeutic springs or loutra.
Like its neighbor, Kea, very few tourists
visit Kythnos and it is an ideal place to find and see the real Greece. There are many Greeks visiting the island, seeking relief in the thermal springs.
There is some basic night life in Merihas, Hora, and Loutra. The
islanders are extremely friendly and most tourists are Greeks seeking
the therapeutic springs. Kythnos is a good island for hiking.
generates its own electricity from wind and solar power. Its azure waters and sandy beaches offer good swimming and good fishing.
was an iron rich island until the ore became depleted in 1940 and islanders now farm,
make wine, honey, ceramics, weave baskets and catch fish. Figs grow well here and there are decent local wines. You can still see farmers working the fields with donkeys and other examples of a rural Greek lifestyle that have all but disappeared from the more fast-paced lives of most Greeks.
In 1974, a massive stone wall was built around the harbor to allow ships to dock and business has grown slowly from that time.
Merichas is Kythnos' main port, and offers the most convenience and has a
beach close by. The harbor is in a tree-lined bay where some tavernas are found. The locals encourage and feed a raft of ducks living along the sandy beach.
Merichas has fairly
typical but laid-back fishing harbor. Fishermen sell the day's catch in the mornings near the ferry dock and yacht berths.
It is busiest just after a major
delivery by ferry boat when you may see drays and forklifts delivering
foodstuffs and bottled liquids to its tavernas and shops.
main church is Panagia Flambouriani. The small islet of
Agios Loucas is connected by a narrow strip of land.
walk up the harbor steps leads to the nicer beach of Martinaki with
rooms to let and some good taverns. This nice beach is popular with families.
Merichas bars hold the only promise of nightlife to be found on the island.
Just north of Martinaki
are the unexcavated ruins of Hellenistic period Vryokastro. Famed for
proving impregnable to attack in 198 BC, Vryokastro survived when the rest of island was pillaged.
Below Vryokastro lie the pretty white beaches of Apokrousi and Episkopi. These are two of the islands loveliest beaches, although a bit further along and you find the nicest beach of the island, Kolona. It's an easy walk or reachable
by caique or water-taxi.
Kythos Town or Hora, the capital
The capital Kythnos Town is in the mountainous center of Kythnos. It's 8 km north of the port
Merichas. It has no hotels and only a
few rooms to let.
The narrow, picturesque alley-like pavements of Kythnos Town
are covered with painted designs of fish, flowers, mermaids and spiral
patterns. It is a real Greek village with a character all its own. There
are several churches among which the most notable are Aghias Savvas (1613) and Aghia Triada with its beautiful wood-carved screen, single-aisle basilica. Other churches claim icons made by Cretan-Venetian master Skordilis, including The Prodromos or Scout of St. John Church.
Just outside Kythos Town is the solar park and modern power-generating windmills. The steady wind keeps the windmills spinning.
Loutra, thermal springs and the north
The two iron-saturated springs at Loutra, Kakavos and Aghia Anargyri are the most important spas in the
Cyclades. Both are used for bathing and as a cure for gout, eczema, rheumatism
and something known by the antiquated term 'woman's problems'. Loutra is a small resort with some holiday villas,
a few tavernas and rooms to let as well as the Xenia Hotel which
houses the Hydrotherapy Center and boasts ancient carved marble
baths from which steaming water bubble forth.
Over the headland are two small
bays hiding the small pebbled Aghia Irini Beach and Schinari which gets the brunt of the north wind. The
oldest Mesolitic settlement found in the Cyclades is on the promontory just to
At Kythnos northern tip, an hour's walk from Loutra is
the deserted medieval Castle Kastro Katakefalos. This medieval ciadel was abandoned in the 17th Century.
Dryopida and Kanala
From Merichas another
road leads up to Dryopida, the only other real village on the island. Dryopida was once the island capital.
Its snow white houses are built on either side of a dry river bed. Its Katafiki Cave was used by islanders in times of attack. The cave is at the southern edge of the village. It has many decorative stalagmites and stalactites.
Dryopida is nestled on the sides
of a small ravine. Its red-tiled roofs look Spanish or Italian. It's divided
into two area– agrarian Pera Rouga by the river valley and Galatas the
upper village, where there are crazily paved streets and almost no cafes. Galatas was once a great ceramics center, now only one pottery remains belonging to the Milas family, still in business after five generations.
From Dryopida the bus
continues to Kanala a popular summer area overlooking the sea
with many villas and a grouping of sheltered coves with some small sandy
beaches. The church dedicated to the island's patroness, Panagia Kanala, is located here. There's a venerated icon in the church, supposedly painted by St. Luke, but probably painted by one of the Skordilis family. The icon was reputed to have been found in a canal, hence the Virgin Kanala appellation. The church is surrounded by shaded picnic grounds, which fill up with pilgrims on her feast days, Aug. 15 and Sept. 8.
From Kanala, a rough path leads down to Flamboura beach on
the west coast.
Drinking and Dining
There are good eateries in Kythnos, some are within the hotels. Merichas has several good spots. There are fewer choices in Dryopida, Loutra, and Kanala but you can find food in every village.
oldest Mesolithic settlement yet discovered in the Cyclades was
found on Kythnos north of the port of Loutra. It dated from about 7,000
Much later the Minoan's had a trading center here during
the Mycenaean period. The semi-mythical tribe called Dryopes, fleeing Heracles on the mainland, occupied
the island and are responsible for its present name as well as the name
of the old capital Driopida. Kythnos played an active part in the Persian
wars and joined the Athenian league and was later subject to the Macedonians,
Romans and the Byzantines.
In 1337 Kythnos was taken
by Marco Sanudo and came under the domination of the Venetian Cozzadini
family who held on to power even after the attack of the Turkish pirate
Barbarossa in 1537. The Cozzadini paid taxes both to the Turks and to Venice
for 200 years. The Turks finally overwhelmed the island in 1617. During
King Otto of Greece's reign it was a place of exile.
In the 17th century Kythnos was
a center of icon painting whose most talented were the Skordilis family
of painters whose works can still be seen.