Kythnos, in the western Cyclades, is a hidden gem. Despite being one of the closest islands to Athens, it is largely off the tourist radar, and only gets ‘busy’ at the height of the season. So for most of the year, its deserted beaches and enchanting whitewashed villages can be enjoyed in perfect tranquillity and.....
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Kythnos, in the western Cyclades, is a hidden gem. Despite being one of the closest islands to Athens, it is largely off the tourist radar, and only gets ‘busy’ at the height of the season. So for most of the year, its deserted beaches and enchanting whitewashed villages can be enjoyed in perfect tranquillity and authenticity. Villages in Kythnos are mostly coastal; some nothing but a smattering of houses, a fishing boat or two rocking sedately alongside; others larger clusters of buildings, winding up the rocks to a domed church at the top. Loutra is one of the main villages, favoured by summer tourists due to its famous thermal springs, which are reputed to have healing properties; and where there is enough accommodation and restaurants to keep visitors happy. Merihas, the port, is also a popular destination for Kythnos’s visitors. Chora, the island’s capital, is perched on a spine of rocky hills that runs through the centre of the island, and is one of the most picturesque Greek villages you could wish to get lost in. Narrow alleyways with painted paving stones wind their way between the ubiquitous white houses and shops, leading to quaint little squares. Aegean-blue woodwork on doors and windows, and baskets of colourful flowers complete the picture. If you’re looking for sandy beaches, Loutra Beach in the north is the most popular, or you could head west to Kolona, which is a strip of land connecting Kythnos to the islet of Agios Loukas, creating a perfect little isthmus. Apokrousi and Episkopi are also on the west coast, just a few kilometres from Chora. The south coast of the island is home to the more deserted beaches, both sandy and pebbly, where there is not even so much as a taverna. If it’s history and architecture you’re after, you will find plenty of pristine churches and also the Mesolithic ruins at Maroulas, which are said to be from the first settlement of people on the Cycladic islands in 9000 - 8000BC.
*Credit and thanks to Roman Klementschitz, Kathleen Saccopoulos, Ariadnipr and Takeaway for the photos featured on this page.
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