The natural beauty of Kythira is beyond any compare. Steep cliffs, poetic harbors, fertile valleys, waterfalls, lovely beaches, restored mansions, ruined medieval castles, Venetian and Aegean elements. Kythira maintains a strong authentic island figure without being delivered to "development".
Island's history is rich as it has seen merchants, conquerors and pirates over the years due to its strategic location. According to some theories, Kythira is also the birthplace of Aphrodite, the Ancient Greek Goddess of love.
Kythira has been an inspiration for a number of artists. It seems that anyone who steps his foot in Kythira "is haunted" by the beauty of his landscape. Jean-Antoine Watteau, a great French painter, captured the sense of Kythira in his famous painting "The Embarkation for Kythira", while Charles Baudelaire in his poem "A Voyage to Kythira" describes his encounter with a barren land.
Kythera is a plateau with panoramic views of the three seas that meet here: the Aegean Sea, the Ionian Sea and the Cretan Sea. The "irrationality" in Kythira is not limited to geopolitics. The island is a part of contrasts.
Villages and Attractions
Chora ,with its traditional narrow streets, its architecture and its castle has been characterized as a "traditional settlement".
Kapsali, the harbor of Chora with twin bays, is the center of entertainment. Opposite is the rocky island named Hytra. The sea cave on the south side and the hidden shelter for seals located on the back of it are a pole of attraction. It is worth visiting!
Paleochora is the Byzantine capital of the island. Devastated since the 12th century, it is "hidden" between two wild, imposing gorges, popular among hikers.
The village of Agia Pelagia, with the oldest harbor of the island, a lovely beach and many taverns.
Avlemonas, with the quiet little harbor with its small Venetian castle, is a destination on its own.
Potamos, is a village of great architectural interest with the traditional houses, the old mansions, the Venetian garrison .Traditional cafes, bakeries, taverns, offering superb local specialties, and numerous accommodations.
Mylopotamos is the traditional village that stands out in the west with the waterfall of Fonissa and the medieval Kato Chora with the Venetian castle, the impressive landscape and the preserved Byzantine churches in the castle. Both Mylopotamos and Kato Chora have been described as "traditional settlements".
For the nature lovers : Neraida or Fonissa Waterfalls in Mylopotamos. A perfect spot for exploration through the forest. The waters are chilly cold but dont miss to dive, its so refreshing!
The beaches worth visiting are Diakofti, Palaiopoli, Kaladi, Fyri Ammos, Melidoni, Kapsali, Agia Pelagia, Fourni, Chalkos, Platia Ammos.
Fatourada, a local liqueur made of tsipouro and spices (such as cinnamon).
Paximadia handmade twice baked bread slices with olive oil.
words & photos by Sonia Farasopoulou