Kithira Island, Aegean

Ionian islands of Greece.

Destinations / Kithira

Kythira or Tsirigo (Venetian name) is an island in the south of the Peloponnese near Elafonisos. It is considered the birthplace of Aphrodite and has been inhabited since the Neolithic era. It was colonized from time to time by Minoans, Phoenicians, Mycenaeans, Spartans, Athenians, Macedonians and Romans. In the 6th century AD, the administration of the island passed to Byzantium.

Together with Antikythera (their neighbouring island) they constitute the province of Kythera which belongs administratively to the Prefecture of Piraeus. Its population is about 3000 inhabitants.

It has a Mediterranean climate, with humidity and strong winds in winter. It is mountainous with rich vegetation (north and west), many springs, valleys, beautiful beaches and many small villages.

The inhabitants are engaged in trade, tourism and the agricultural sector with the main products being oil and the famous honey of Kythera. The island has great tourist development with many visitors and tourist businesses, hotels, traditional guesthouses, villas and other accommodation.

The cultural heritage of the island, with its innumerable monuments (Byzantine temples, castles, English buildings, churches) and its architecture with Venetian, Cretan and Manichaean elements does not leave the visitor unsatisfied. Visit the Historical Archive of Kythira in the castle of the country where a historical archive of all Greece is preserved.

The English school Milapideas (elegant, well-preserved building of the English period) which operated until the beginning of the 20th century. The bridge of Katouni is a beautiful monument of the island, a technical work of the English of exceptional architecture.

Climb the mountain of Ag. Georgiou where in 1992 the Minoan top sanctuary was discovered and you can admire the mosaic floor of the church with hunting themes, meanders and other icons. In the mountain Paleokastro that was built in Ano Kythira, you will find a temple of Aphrodite, the goddess Athena as well as the church of St. Anargyron where inside one will see columns with archaic capitals.

On the island there are many monasteries and churches of Byzantine and modern architecture as well as caves that are worth visiting such as Mylopotamos, Housti and Kalamos.

Be sure to visit the archaeological museum of Kythera where objects from the 9th millennium BC to the 3rd century AD, stone tools, Minoan finds such as the rare bronze figurines, the marble lion of Kythera (6th century BC) are exhibited. X.) and other exhibits. In addition to modern technology with a touch screen and video screen, the museum also has Brille leaflets that help the visitor understand the history and archaeology of the island.

Also in Kato Livadi in the special area of ​​early Christian, Byzantine and post-Byzantine works of art, you will admire frescoes, parts of mosaic floors of early Christian times, objects of silver, metal, ceramics and religious ceremonies, as well as religious works with paintings.

Climb the castle of Chora, which is open daily from 8 am to 8 pm, to admire its strategic location overlooking three seas (Ionian, Aegean, Cretan).

Walk to the Venetian castle of Mylopotamos built between the slopes overlooking the Ionian Sea and offering a unique sunset and admire its two-storey houses and Byzantine churches.

Take a tour of the ruined castle of Paleochora, which was the Byzantine capital of the island and which was burnt down by Barbarossa after slaughtering its inhabitants.

East of the island in the castle of Avlemmon which was a port and observatory of the Aegean, the visitor will see cannons, loopholes and the wreck of the ship “Mentor” with which Lord Elgina transported the ancient marbles of the Parthenon.

Other attractions of the island are the lighthouse of Moudari at Cape Spathi, another work of English rule. The rocky islet of Chytra or Egg with its sea cave, the shelter for the seals, the mavropetrites (rare and protected species of birds) and the local flower of the island of Sebreviva. The gorges of Tsakonas and the evil Lagkada, the waterfalls of Fonissa and Neraida and others.

The visitor has the opportunity for many activities on the island, such as hiking on the trails and beaches of the island. Bouldering, free or artificial climbing, practicing yoga, watching a movie in the cinema and much more.

Kythira island is well connected to the mainland and reachable by car at 366 km, approx. 4hr 43 mins or by ferry from Piraeus that takes quite longer on a 7 hrs journey. A real time saver is to fly over there from Athens Int. by plane just under 45 mins or by hiring out a helicopter; it’ll take no more than an hour’s flight.

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