The geography of the island of Kythera is bizarre. Although the island was historically seen as part of the Ionian Islands, administratively it belongs to Piraeus, the neighbour city of Athens; Kythera is just off the coast of Peloponnese and it is closer to Crete than it is to an Ionian island or Piraeus. As it is located on the crossroads of old maritime travel routes, Kythera has been subject to the influence of many cultures, most significantly Venetian and Greek but also Ottoman and English. Greek-Aegean and Venetian influences are most evident in the islands architecture.
Kythera has a large and somewhat complex road network that connects the villages scattered on the slopes of the islands rugged, mountainous terrain. The island has several beaches around its periphery in all shapes and sizes but not all of them are accessible. If you are lucky, you may discover an isolated beach that you can have all to yourself.
Chora – The Islands Capital
Chora is the island’s capital, brimming with souvenir shops, cafes and restaurants. The major site in Chora is the Venetian castle, built in 1503 but as Kythera is known for its architectural diversity, in Chora one will also see samples of Aegean architecture as well as old mansions built during English rule. The Historical Archives Office of Kythera preserves large collection of documents as far back as the 1600’s and it is also located in Chora.
The Village of Amvlemonas
The village of Amvlemonas has the reputation of the most beautiful village in all Kythera and is located close to the beach of Palaiopolis. There are many places offering accommodation in Amvlemonas and it will be a better option than the busier Chora if you appreciate tranquillity.
Mylopotamos – A Must for Hikers
Mylopotamos is a village with something different to offer; a must for hiking lovers that are visiting Kythera. You will start at the village square and walk through the narrow alleys and past fresh water streams to eventually reach an old, deserted Venetian settlement; then you can go downhill to the beach of Limionas where you can cool off with a dive. If you go back uphill and towards the village, you can take another route and hike towards Fonissa Waterfall. If you wish, you may continue towards Neromuloi to encounter more waterfalls. It is suggested that you take basic climbing equipment with you.
You may fly to Kythera from anywhere, via Athens or take the boat from Piraeus. If you plan to visit in high-season, between May and October, it is best that you pre-book your accommodation.