Discovering The Cycladic Singularity Of Kythnos
You would’ve thought that by now all 33 of the Cycladic islands would be a known commodity. And to a certain degree they are. Even small islets such as Kimolos have gotten their fair share of the spotlight in recent years. Obviously, wanderlust is a real thing, and Instagram has a lot to answer for (looking at you, Santorini) but you’d be stumped to find reasons for this radio silence on other islands such as Kythnos. Kythnos is, after all, only a couple hours away from Athens, and one would think that the overspill would’ve reached this island. But one would be mistaken. Kythnos is what we call a unicorn. Beautiful enough, close enough and appropriately populated. That’s a winning trifecta. Probably at the cusp, as we speak, of getting what it wished for, this summer could prove pivotal for the island.
With over 70 beaches (naturally the best ones are only accessible by boat) to boot, Kythnos is no minnow. Look out for Kolona beach as this is the island’s show-stopper. Like a small causeway made of sand, this thin stretch of sand connects the island to this peninsula-like bit of land. There’s probably nothing more satisfying that seeing a two sided beach. It’s up there with life’s mysteries, and you’re privy to it. Other notable beaches include Lefkes, Skilou, Apokrousi and the weirdly named Gaidouromantra (donkey’s pen). And on top of that there’s thermal springs. Two of them, situated near Agioi Anargiroi village and Kakavos.
The baths have history as the Romans first used them extensively for a number of ailments, although it would seem the locals have not warmed to them that much. The kicker here is that at Schinari beach, the springs trickle down to the water and can be experienced in a somewhat ramshackle way, as a bunch of large stones are used to create a small pool of thermal water. It’s without doubt a surreal experience.
CASTLES & CAVES
It gets more surreal. One of Greece’s largest caves is located in Kythnos. There are a number of small ones, but the one at Katafyki is well organized, signposted and has tour guides. This cave bears all the hallmarks of prehistoric use. The stalagmites have been around a long time and the cave’s 3,500 square meters are still being explored.
Much like the castle of Oria. This architectural oddity dates back to the 6th century AD, when locals built a castle, subsequently fortified by the Venetians who swept into the island to protect it against Ottomans. The history of the castle is one of myth and lore, blood and tears. Apparently more than 100 churches existed inside the fortress, although only 2 remain now.
Kythnos is as sleepy as they come, with an unwavering belief in its ability to charm visitors with its simple and unpretentious lifestyle. One that consists of eating well and enjoying every moment of life. Pack your bags!