Kythnos (Cyclades - Northwest Aegean)


Kythnos is a small and quiet island in Western Cyclades, but one with a rich history. The island has two significant settlements, the capital called Messaria and the village of Dryopis. Both villages are notable for their winding and often stepped streets, too narrow for vehicular traffic. They are very picturesque but in different architectural styles. Messaria has the more-typical flat roofs of the Cyclades, while Dryopida's rooftops are slanted and tiled. There is also a growing coastal settlement called Kanala on the east side of the island, and many of the larger beaches are settled by a handful of residents. On the northeast end of the island lies Loutra, a village famous for its thermal springs, which are said to have curative properties. Although the large tourist hotel there has been closed for several years, the bathhouse is still functioning and visitors may soak in its marble tubs.

Sightseeing in Kythnos is not only limited to the aforementioned hot springs. There is a number of beaches around the island, with the most noteworthy ones being Kolona, Lefkes and Skilou. The Cave of Katafyki is also a great spot for visitors interested in spelunking. Finally, the Church of Panagia Kanala and the Ruins of the Castle of Oria can offer some historical perspective on the island. Kythnos also provides the option of water sports and boat tours, with scuba diving being a prominent part of the island's culture.

The best time to visit is in late spring – the sea has warmed up to feasible swimming temperatures and locals outnumber tourists – and early autumn, when most of the tourists have departed and the sea is at its warmest. After late September, though, many facilities close down and ferry links get sparse.

Kythnos is only accessible by ferry from Athens (3 hours) as the island is too small to have its own airport. However flights to nearby islands and the connection via a local ferry might prove a much faster way to reach Kythnos and experience all that this gem of an island has to offer.

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aegean cyclades Islands