Greece holidays in Kythira island. Castles, caves, medieval villages and beaches… living history and captivating beauty.
Kythira. “Un mondo fa un mondo, e il Cerigo un altro mondo”. The Venetians used to say that the world makes a world, and Cerigo (also Cythera or Kythera) another world.
You will fall in love with this island, one of the birthplaces of Aphrodite, once a Venetian stronghold and later a pirate base. It has imposing castles, secret caves, picturesque bays, delightful villages and beaches to suit every taste. You’re holidays here in Greece will be thrilling!
What to do in Kythira
Fortetsa: A lookout across three seas
It used to be called the eyes of Crete as it looks onto the three big seas in Greece – the Ionian, Aegean and Cretan. The Venetian era comes to life as you walk through the castle in the main town. Among the sights are the Palace of the Venetian governor, the jails, the old cistern, the church of Myrtidiotissa, the church of Pantokrator, all landmarks and guardians of Kythira’s long history.
Kapsali and the twin bays
Though at its southernmost edge, Kapsali is the hub of the island. You’ll be captivated by this lively waterfront hamlet with its twin bays and solitary lighthouse. Bars, cafes and restaurants serving fresh fish and lobster, hotels, rooms to let, galleries and outdoor bookstalls on the coastal road – all invite you to enjoy yourself.
Paleohora: Mediaeval Kythira, city of ghosts
The castle-state of Agios Dimitrios, a place of legends and ghosts, used to be the island’s capital and is perhaps its most important historical site. Built by people from Monemvasia in the 12th century above two canyons at an altitude of 216m, it is not visible from the sea. Despite this, the infamous Ottoman admiral and former corsair Haireddin Barbarossa discovered, besieged and destroyed it completely. Exploring the ruins of its 80 houses and 20 churches is a haunting experience. The sole intact church of Agia Varvara is an architectural masterpiece.
Hytra: A dazzling experience
At a particular hour of the day the sun shines into the cave of the islet of Hytra, turning the waters turquoise and the walls golden. You can get there by boat from Kapsali and swim inside the cave. At 200m long and 22m high, it is one of the most spectacular in Greece.
Agia Sophia: The chapel in a cave
Life-size frescoes of saints painted in the 13th century greet you at the entrance of one of the most spectacular sights in Kythira. Inside the stalagmites and stalactites are natural wonders.
Kaladi: A picture-perfect beach
The island’s star beach. Blue-green waters, caves and sculpted rocks give Kaladi an undeniable beauty.
Beaches for all tastes
The list of beaches on this island is endless. Melidoni, Fyri Ammos, Halkos, Plateia Ammos, Limionas, Oheles: large or small, narrow or broad, there’s a beach for everyone on Kythira.
Hidden gems of Kythira
Watermills in Neraida ravine
It’s a fascinating spectacle! You set off from the waterfall and continue down the ravine of the Nymphs to discover the old watermills. One of the most enjoyable walks on Kythira.
The Venetian castle at Kato Hora Mylopotamou
This village, founded after the destruction of Paleohora, is an architectural marvel. You’ll see the ruins of a Venetian castle, churches and houses dating from the late 15th century.
Avlemonas by the sea
This little port could have been lifted from the Cyclades. Besides having a swim in the nearby bays and picturesque beaches, you can also take a look at the marvellous old Kavalini mansion with its sundial.