Visited in 2016

Walking, hiking and trekking on KYTHIRA

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GENERAL INFORMATION

LINKS KYTHIRA

BOATS KYTHIRA
   - Vintsentsos Kornaros (LANE)

WALKS

(last update on June the 8th, 2016)

*** = very beautiful

**** = exceptional

1. Agia Móni

2. Avlémonas - Aï Giórgis sto Vounó and back

3. Chóra - Kapsáli - Chóra ***

4. Chóra - Ano Strapódi and back

5. Mitáta - Mávri Spiliá - Agia Spiliótissa -
water-mill - Mitáta ***


6. Mylopátamos - Píso Pigádi - Káto Chóra - Mylopótamos

7. Mylopátamos - water-mills - Mylopótamos ****

8. Potamós - Trifylliánika - Paleóchora -
Zaglanikiánika - Agios Níkoon - Potamós ***

 

Kýthira Kýthira is situated between Crete and the southeastern tip of the Peloponnese, but still it is considered as one of the Ionian islands, which lie mostly to the west of the Greek mainland, in the Ionian Sea. In antiquity however, the island was counted among the Cyclades. Administratively, Kýthira form with the sister island of Antikýthira a large municipality, part of the region of Attica, although it is very distant of that part of Greece...

The area of ​​Kýthira is 279.5 km2, but the total population does not even reaches 4000 inhabitants (2001), which corresponds to a density of less than 14 per km2. In 1864, there were still 14500 inhabitants, but since then there has been a steady immigration, not only to the Greek mainland (Athens), but also to foreign countries (the United States, Australia and Germany).

In mythology, the island of Kýthira is known as the birthplace of the goddess Aphrodite or Venus - although this honor is usually reserved for the island of Cyprus. In the history of painting, the island is quite known because of the painting "The Embarkation for Cythera," painted in 1717 by the French painter Watteau - it is this painting that there is an image of the goddess Aphrodite…
In antiquity, the island had already in the Minoan period (the peak of the island of Crete) commercial contacts with Egypt and Mesopotamia, later there was a Phoenician colony on the island. In the Classical and Hellenistic periods, Kýthira alternately was under the domination of Sparta or Athens, but after a period of independence, the island was incorporated into the Roman Empire - and for many centuries, Kýthira would remain a part of the Roman or Byzantine empire. After the weakening of Constantinople because of the 4th Crusade (1204), the island was occupied by the Venetians: from now on, it was called Cerigo and remained Venetian, even when most of Greece was occupied by the Turks. However, there has been this terrible period, when the Turkish admiral Barbarossa invaded the island in 1537: during this attack, the ancient capital of Paleochóra was completely destroyed and most of the inhabitants were slaughtered or sold into slavery.
From 1797, when Napoleon put an end to the existence of the Venetian Republic, Kýthira was a part, for a short time, of a French department, but later it came successively under Turkish, Russian (!) and British rule - but ultimately, Britain ceded the island to King George 1 of Greece (May 28, 1864).

The relief of Kýthira is fairly mountainous: the island is indeed crossed by two mountain ranges; in the west, there is a range of heights of over 400 meters, with as highest point the top of the Mermigáris (506 m); in the east, there is along the northeast coast a second chain, with as highest peak the Digenís (489 m). Between the two chains, there is a plateau with lower heights of 300 meters; on this plateau, one could have the impression that the island is rather flat - but even here, there are steep gorges that have been carved into the limestone soil.

In 1972, an airport was built on the island and it was renovated in 1998; there are daily flights to Athens. From the port of Diakoftí, there are boat connections with Piraeus, Antikythíra and Kíssamos on Crete (3 times a week, with the Vintséntsos Kornáros), and also with Gýthio, Kalamáta (once a week) and Neápolis (almost every day), in the Peloponnese.

Because of its location, halfway Crete and the mainland of Greece, Kýthira was an important crossroads for navigation in this part of the Mediterranean, but nowadays, the only important activity is tourism - although Kýthira is still untouched by mass tourism. The island can be considered as a hidden gem, not only because of the many beautiful views, with lots of greenery and water, but also because of the many picturesque villages, interesting churches and monasteries and splendid beaches.

There are no less than 64 villages, from which Potamós is the largest (396 inhabitants in 2011): the village has a lovely square where on Sunday morning a lively market is held. The capital of the island is Chóra (267 inhabitants), in the south: there is a Venetian castle, built in 1503, and it enjoys a wonderful view of Kapsáli, with its double bay and beaches; the latter village is quite tourist, with its hotels, restaurants and two small fishing ports. Avlémonas, located on the southeast coast, is also quite lively: this village also possesses a small castle, but there is especially the beautiful and rather close beach of Paleópolis.
The port of the island is Diakofti, but it has also a splendid sand beach. The village of Agia Pelagía, located in the north, is also experiencing a tourism development, especially thanks to the sandy beaches that lie further south. And then there is still the quiet village of Karavás with its beautiful houses, Mylopótamos from where you can make a wonderful walk to the water mills, the waterfalls of Fonissa and the cave of Agia Sofia, the village of Mytáta that is located in a very green environment, etc.

Kýthira also has many splendid beaches and small secluded beaches, which sometimes one only can reach on foot. The most beautiful are the beach of Diakoftí, that we mentioned already, the beaches south of Avlémonas (Paleópolis, Kaladí, Fyrí Ammos), some beaches on the west coast as Melidóni, Limniónas and Kalámi - the last two beaches at the height of Mylopótamos - and the small beaches south of Agia Pelagía.

As it is often the case in the islands, walking is also on Kýthira the ideal way to recognize the island, especially in the months of April-May and September-October. This is indeed the best way to get acquainted with nature - waterfalls, gorges, flowers - and with castles, churches and monasteries.
Here we should mention two Dutch couples: they have not only a beautiful place of accommodation, but they also organize walking holidays.
Frank van Weerde and Thom Schults live on Kýthira since 2003 and opened in 2010 the Pýrgos House in Potamós: they organize hikes, partly accompanied by Frank, who published "Kýthira on foot," a booklet with 32 walks - see http://www.pyrgoshouse.com/en/#.Vvz3zUdqI3Q
Albert and Anita have the guesthouse Xenónas Fos ke Chóros and also offer opportunities for hiking - see http://agreekisland.com

 

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oThe little church of Agia Varvára near Paleóchora

A bridge in the valley of Mylopótamos


 The kástro in Chóra

The path towards Aï Giórgis

The English school in Káto Chóra

The Black Cave near Mitáta